Back to School

I know, successfully making one batch of Muddy Buddies (a.k.a. Puppy Chow) without burning down Guatemala doesn’t make me a domestic god, but I definitely feel like I’m well on my way. And, by next week, I will have successfully made two batches (fingers crossed, everybody). These are exciting times.

The reason for the culinary expeditions is the beginning of a new school year here in Guatemala (they do this bizarre and illogical thing where school starts in January and ends in November; what madness!). We have five kids attending a private school about 1.5 hours away, which means by 5am I have probably already downed two cups of coffee, with a third on its blessed way. The second round of school-goers, who study at the orphanage, departs at 7:15, a much more Christian hour, leaving the house empty and clean (by fourteen-year-old-boy standards).

So far, I love the whole process of shipping them off to knowledge-ville. I love the cognitive haze that comes from waking up before God intended and exorcising said haze by the sacrament of coffee. I love gently shaking the boys awake and then, when they fail to display signs of consciousness, flipping the lights and becoming un-ignorable. I love going back to their rooms five minutes later to find them sitting in bed motionless, possibly dead, with one pant-leg halfway to the knee of the wrong side. I love how their speed in preparing for school increases exponentially as time goes by, with one or two in full sprint as the minute-hand slides to “late.” I love saying adios to the last to leave, I love finally sitting down in peace to read my spanish Bible, and I love waking up an hour later in a pool of caffeinated saliva.

I love my third (or fourth) cup of coffee.

The whole process of becoming a part of these kids’ daily routine is a bewildering joy. I’m learning, slowly, what it means to really serve them, to live into the reality that I came here to support them and point them toward God, to model Christlikeness to them in a compelling, authentic way, and to be there for them in whatever capacity my limited spanish allows. Some days I forget. But some days, when my memory doesn’t fail me, I’m thrilled to experience the little graces that come from cleaning the windows, folding the laundry, helping with homework, and trying to explain negative numbers without knowing the spanish word for “anti-matter.” Tiny things they may never realize are all done for them, with love.

Yes, mom and dad, I’m thinking of you as I write this. Thanks.

I still have lots to learn, but what a privilege to be learning here, in this place, with these boys.

Anyway, back to my exhilarating home-making exploits. I remember how much I loved all the little snacks and stuff that would sometimes await me when I opened my lunchbox or returned home, and I figured I might try and give the kids here a taste (kill me, please) of that memorial childhood staple. After all, why not?

So if you have any awesome snacks for teenagers that are easy to make by a young twenty-something on the path to culinary theosis, please send them my way.


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