I Have Too Much Stuff

Alas, our time here in Guatemala is coming to a close.

Today marked our last Sunday afternoon trip across the lake to the famous “Smokin’ Joe’s” BBQ in San Pedro, where we shared ridiculously good food with friends one last time. The house is at that stage where it has to get worse before it’ll get better. Things are coming out from under the beds that I thought were lost forever. Funny how that happens. There’s a pile of school books and completed art projects sitting in the living room, waiting for their futures to be decided.

It’s amazing how I can accumulate so much stuff that I don’t need over a six month period!

I've stocked up on cool "elfy" clothes over the past few months.
I’ve stocked up on cool “elfy” clothes over the past few months.

I dumped out my basket of clothes on the bed yesterday and started agonizing. I’ve picked up some pretty unique wearables while we’ve been here, and getting rid of stuff can be tricky. In fact, I’d say it’s my biggest weakness when it comes to travel. I can take long bus days, weird food, crappy hotel rooms, and general confusion. But I really suck at throwing out things at the end of a long stay. I have something like eight or nine outfits right now, which is about four too many for my backpack. Think I’ll grow out of it eventually?

It’ll be worth the organizing and sorting and packing though. It’s been six months since we flew to Guatemala, and I’m starting to get that itch. Heck, I’ve had that itch for a month now. It’s time to move on. The grandparents are eager to see us; there’s a pretty little cottage waiting for us in Ontario, and a whole new set of adventures to embark on. I’m looking forward to being busy again. The rush of the States has a certain appeal after the sedated lifestyle of San Marcos.  The potential to get to work hard with my mind and hands once more (spring break/no teaching is killing me) is perhaps the most exciting of all.


We’ve all been talking about what we can’t wait to enjoy again back home (besides time with family and friends. They’re obviously at the top of the list). I’m especially looking forward to:

  • Cadbury mini eggs. They’re my favorite. I’m hoping there’ll still be some around!
  • New socks. My feet are too big to buy a pair here in Guate.
  • Pears. And also apples. (eyes roll back in head, tongue lolls out)
  • Stateside milk. I don’t know. It doesn’t taste right anywhere else.
  • Bathtubs. There are few to no bathtubs in the third world.


At the same time, though, I’ll miss this little town. It’s one of the only places in the world where I feel like I’m truly part of a tight-knit locationally-based community. I’ll miss being able to walk down the street to the local tienda to pick up milk and eggs and running into half a dozen friends along the way. You can’t walk anywhere in the U.S., everything is done by car. Which almost completely eliminates the need for human interaction. I’ll miss the lack of cars; the serenity that’s so hard to find back home.

There’s a quiet cafe on the main street (which is about four to five feet across and not accessible to motorized vehicles) where I go to sit on faded patch pillows and sip homemade chai. It takes about 40 minutes for a cup to be made, and that’s my writing/drawing time. I suppose I’ll most miss the laid-back, accepting lifestyle that people here adopt whether they’re here for a few weeks or a few months to years. Time here is less important than experiences and mental/spiritual heath. I’m expecting that there’ll be some culture shock when I touch ground in the U.S. in a few days.

Heading back to my country of origin always wakens feelings of excitement as well as a strange sort of sadness in me. I can never decide if I’m more looking forward to the people and long-missed conveniences of the States, or already missing the home we’ve created in the place we’re leaving behind.

Goodbye, lovely Lago.
Goodbye, lovely Lago.


Either way, my writing time is over. Time to dive back into the packing process. There’s that pile of freshly cleaned clothes on my bed just waiting to be sorted into “donate” and “pack” piles. Please tell me I’ll get better at this in time!

4 Replies to “I Have Too Much Stuff”

  1. Oh I love to read your posts. We as well are starting to think “packing & pitching”…It’s amazing what we’ve collected on this little houseboat in the past 2 years. I think what confuses a mama most & hurts hearts is while throwing things out I worry I’m throwing out childhood memories <3 OUCH

    1. That’s the hardest. I hadn’t thought about doing it from a mother’s perspective. When we packed everything up for the first time we’d been living in a two story (with a big basement) house for around four years. You can imagine the number of things we had and didn’t need… I remember Mom giving us kids each a small box that would fit on the front of our bikes when we set off, and that was OUR packing space. All the little treasures that were most important to us fit in there. It’s funny, but we each still have some of the things that went in our first “treasure boxes”! I have this old loved-to-the-point-of-being-threadbare cat beanie baby, Ez has a small elephant toy with a glass heart bead he found in Prague sewn to its chest, and the other guys have some little keepsakes too. :)

  2. It’s an example of how anyone can find good points in events (or anything else) which otherwise would be not so pleasant. Have a good trip!:)

    If it’s possible, could you please post a photo of your ‘elvish’ dress/view from the front? I hope my daughters will have enough patience to make something like that for themselves :). Thank you!

  3. There are so many things about you that I find inspiring. I have to say your ability to fit it all into a backpack is one of them. I’m not sure I could. Okay, I probably could. I just don’t know that I want to. Then again, if the trade off was Guatemala, I might not be quite as reluctant. The clothes though…no. I don’t think there is anyway I could part with the outfits like the one you are wearing. One of my favorite daydreams as a 39 year old mom is to be a lawyer one day…with teal blue and black hair, lace up leather boots (like yours actually), and fairy outfits, mismatched colorful outfits like my coat of many colors and Imelda’s scarf, or bohemian/gothic style clothes. I don’t really want to be conventional anymore. It’s boring.

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