Crazy Times

I haven't blogged in a long long time, even though I always say I'm going to blog more. Things have just been pretty crazy around here for us and it's been mostly work related, which I tend not to blog about. I also got really sick with a stomach parasite (it's as bad as it sounds) and was down for what felt like the entire month of April. BUT, my family visited this past week, our first family vacation in years, and we had a really great time.

We visited the Mayan ruins of Tikal. They are absolutely breathtaking and should probably be one of the wonders of the world, in my opinion.

And of course, there's our baby boy Regis. He's doing well and growing bigger every day. He's teething like crazy and starting to lose his teeth. Besides the high amounts of energy that comes along with being a puppy, he's a very good boy. I am very attached to him. To call me overprotective wouldn't be an exaggeration. But look at that face! How could you not fall in love??

I'll post more later about Ted and I's life down here in Guatemala. Its challenging but we're learning and growing as a couple and for that we're thankful. <3 

Baby Regis

I haven't posted in so long because we have been crazy busy! I was in a rough place when I wrote my last post, but I'm so happy to say that things are certainly looking up :)

^^That little face has brought us so much joy in the last few weeks! Meet Regis, the newest member of our family and our first baby ;) We picked him up two weeks ago and he has brought us so much joy and so many laughs. This little puppy is naughty. We can't let him out of our sight for more than a few minutes. The teething stage is in full swing, so everything within reach ends up in his mouth. But besides a few time-outs, he's been the sweetest addition to our family. Regis loves to be with us at all times, loves his stuffed elephant, Ellie, and snores loudly when he sleeps.  He loves to run and play fetch, and has yet to bark at a single stranger (I have a feeling he won't be a guard dog). 

We went to a beach during Easter break and introduced Regis to the ocean! He was nervous at first but grew to love it. Watching him swim is one of the cutest things I've ever seen in my life. 

Parenting a puppy is no joke folks! It's tiring and time consuming. But he is the cutest distraction and we love him to death.

A Weekend Away

Ted, being the sweet man he is, planned a weekend away for me in a pretty lake town called Panajachel. I've been over working myself a bit lately. I'm taking online graphic design classes that are much more time consuming than I thought they would be. I also opened an Etsy shop (check it out here if you'd like). I'm having a lot of fun with it and it helps me build a portfolio for future design work, but it is very time consuming!  Anyways, I needed a break, so we traveled two hours to a small town surrounded by a huge lake and volcanoes. 

Panajachel is a bit of a hippie town, we saw many Americans who had sort of left it all behind and started a new life in this small place. We were offered a lot of weed (no we didn't take any) and felt a bit out of place once in a while, but it is still a nice tourist destination.

Our first meal tasted so good but didn't make us feel so hot...I wouldn't say we got food poisoning, per se,  but we definitely didn't feel right. In fact I'm still in bed recovering. But we pushed through and explored Panajachel's nature preserve, which was very cool. We crossed one of those bridges that you see in the movies, the ones that are made of rope and swing back and forth. Terrifying. Ted took a video of me holding onto the sides for dear life. You can also see the moment he drops the lens cap through the bridge (hahaha)

This is our last week of language school before we prepare for our work in Gualan! We are a bit nervous to get started but we are excited to start the work God has planned for us.


Things To Be Thankful For Here In Xela

I feel like I've done a lot of complaining lately, so I thought I'd document some things I'm thankful for here in Xela. Adapting to a new culture can bring out the worst in anyone. Your own language no longer works (scary), there are strange, new smells, sounds and tastes, and the days feel a bit longer. Sometimes I don't feel like myself. It's hard to explain, but being the 'outsider' can be tiring. I'll be going through my day and be suddenly reminded of a comfort of home and it cripples me. I have to concentrate on adapting to life here. It's a bit like running a marathon. You can't look back, you must push forward. Through out all of this, I'm finding things to be thankful for. 

One of these things is Cafe Armonia. We found this place during our first week here and fell in love. They have the best hot chocolate in the world and wifi (yay!). They also have super clean bathrooms, which I love. 

Another thing to be thankful for is good pizza. We're both lactose intolerant, but we suffer through because its a little slice of home. 

And, I cut my bangs. New country, new hair.

Antigua For The Weekend

I haven't blogged in awhile and I've missed it! I've tried, but with spotty internet and the 100 million things I have going on, it's been tough. I feel like I'm on a more consistent schedule now, though, and I'll try to blog more often.

We spent the weekend in Antigua, which is a three hour bus ride from where we are living currently. We desperately needed some rest and a little escape from studying, and Antigua was the perfect place. Antigua is a very popular tourist destination in Guatemala with a rich history and lots of chocolate. History and chocolate just so happen to be two of my favorite things, so I was pretty happy to be there ;) We have a dear friend who lives right outside of Antigua. Nury and her husband Arnoldo keep a house specifically for missionaries to stay in if and when they visit Antigua. It's a beautiful home and we were so happy to stay there. Here are some pics of our extended weekend :)

When your ice cream matches the wall, you kind of have to take a picture ;)

When your ice cream matches the wall, you kind of have to take a picture ;)

Antigua has the very best tea, coffee and hot chocolate.

Antigua has the very best tea, coffee and hot chocolate.

A special thanks to Arnoldo and Nury for opening up your home to us :)

I'm also putting together a little video so stay tuned!

 

We're In Guatemala

We're here! It's surreal to be in Guatemala semi-permanently. We've been planning this trip since before we were engaged and spent our almost 6 months of marriage raising support and planning. We flew in last Friday, feeling ready and excited. We stayed two days in Amatitlan before heading to Xela for language school. 

In a word, I'm overwhelmed. Not necessarily in a bad way, but sensory overload to say the least. Ted is fluent in Spanish, but I would be lying if I said I was. I study privately with a tutor for 4.5 hours a day, then venture out into the city for immersion training. The family we are living with, three older sisters who look and act like Guatemalan Golden Girls, speak no English. Understanding what people are saying to me requires my complete and total undivided attention. By the end of the day, my brain is completely fried. In a strange way it feels good. I know I'm learning valuable and usable information. But I may need to start taking daily naps.

This place is becoming more familiar and homey to us. I'm becoming used to the loud traffic and barking dogs. I love the view of the volcano from every angle of the city. We found a small cafe next to our school called The Green Cafe. It reminds me of home and it feels nice to blog from here.  I'm tired, but it's all good. Ted works tirelessly to make sure I'm safe and comfortable. Thank God for him. We're going to have fun here ;) More pictures to come! 

No Job Means More Time With My Girls

Ted and I quit our jobs in preparation for our trip. Since it's been postponed, we've had a lot, and I mean a lot of free time. We've filled it with time spent with friends and family. I'm not complaining. Although the circumstances of our delay are tragic, I'm so thankful for this extra time to spend with loved ones and mentally prepare for this trip. Lately, I've felt much more at ease about moving to Guatemala and am ready for the adventure.

I met up with my sister and BFF Rachel downtown today. We shopped and drank coffee (tea for me) and, of course, took pictures on the beach. Love these girls <3

sister sister. follower her here

sister sister. follower her here

Two of my favorite humans

Two of my favorite humans

What a beaut

What a beaut

Those eyes <3

Those eyes <3

Obsessed with this coat and hat

Obsessed with this coat and hat

Skating Around Town

Our new departure date for Guatemala is January 29th. Woohoo! In the meantime, Ted and I have been spending time with family and relaxing a bit. We quit our jobs and sold our apartment thinking we wouldn't be here anymore...I guess I can't complain about all the free time we have ;) We had wanted to go ice skating on Ted's birthday but the lines were too long at the rinks in Chicago. We're visiting my parents in Indiana at the moment, so we decided to give it a try.

I've never been the best skater. I've only been twice, and both times were disastrous (an old guy used me to break his fall once). But I knew going with my love would be a much better experience, and I was right. I didn't even hold the wall the whole time ;) 

Do I look as scared as I felt? >>

 

For Everything, There Is A Season...

I've been pretty silent on the blog for the past few days. This past Friday was supposed to be the departure date for our trip to Guatemala. Unfortunately we had to postpone, as my grandpa died suddenly on the fourth. With a grieving heart and concern for my family, we canceled our flights.

Instead, we've spent the last few days surrounded by family, mourning the loss of one of the greatest men we've ever known. It's a shame it takes a death to bring a family closer together sometimes, but hugging each other a little tighter is a comfort. I've always admired the adventure-filled marriage my grandparents had. Looking through old pictures of their smiling young faces made me thankful for the marriage I've been blessed with. We'll leave for Guatemala when we're supposed to. For now, our hearts need a little healing <3 

First Chrismas

Our first Christmas has come and gone...how did that happen?! Does anyone else get slightly depressed to see the Christmas season go? I know I do. We'll be keeping our decorations up for just a bit longer.

We spent our Christmas with family, both his side and mine. And guess who was Mary and Joseph in the Christmas play? The Fischers! We took our parts very seriously and even memorized all our lines despite the teleprompter we had available to us. 

I insisted that we buy matching Christmas pajamas and make it our tradition from now on. Ted was hesitant at first, but he ordered them for me anyways (that's how much he loves me). He came around and we both love them now.

My cute family decorating Christmas cookies ^^

Our adorable new cousin, Piper Grace! ^^

And now, we pack for a year out of the country. The next few weeks will be a whirlwind! Merry Christmas! 

My One and Only's Birthday

Happy happy birthday to my sweet husband. How I got so lucky to marry such a kind, patient man I'll never know. We spent the weekend downtown, one of our favorite places to be. We stayed at the InterContinental on Michigan Avenue and partied at the top of the John Hancock building. This man deserves the world, but a weekend on the Magnificent Mile will have to do for now <3

I made Ted a Friends cake. The show brought us closer together, what can I say?

Vintage Christmas

Do you ever get the feeling that you were born in the wrong time? I do, all the time. I would've loved a 50's Christmas. 

Christmas Decorating and Outtakes

 

We took our Christmas card picture...here's an outtake. I thought we looked moody.

We decorated the house with my family this past weekend. My sister came back from studying abroad and it felt so good to be reunited with her. How is it Christmas time already? This time last year, Ted asked my parents for my hand in marriage...needless to say, a lot has changed since then! Time flies when you're having fun I guess. ;)

My Thoughts On Moving To Another Country...

Trying to organize my thoughts less than a month before moving out of the country is nearly impossible...there's just too much to think about! Firstly, I love being in new places. I love travel and culture and learning new things. I know that this next year will be life changing in that regard and for that I can't wait. 

But there is a lot of fear. And emotion. It's also Christmas, which makes me a bit more emotional than usual anyway. There's figuring out what to pack and what to leave behind. There's learning a new language and leaving behind beloved American food. There's saying goodbye to family and friends and our first little apartment. And did I mention fear?

I'm often asked if I want to back out. And I would be lying if I said it doesn't cross my mind. There are days when the thought of missing holidays with family and not going to Target for a year stop me in my tracks (I'm not kidding about the Target thing). I'm only 24 and I'm not claiming to be wise, but if I've learned anything, it's that fear cannot determine my choices. Caution, yes. Fear, no. If I would've let fear rule my life, I would've never picked up a horn and played in Carnegie Hall. Or traveled to China. Or moved to Chicago and met my husband. It's when I've pushed fear aside and gone for it when I've truly lived. And I'm going to do that again.  So this next year will be different. Yes I know you have to be a bit crazy to do this sort of thing. But more importantly, you need to be brave. And that's not a bad trait to possess, right? 

Life Lately

Life has been busy busy busy lately and I've had little time to dedicate to the blog. But Christmas season is here! Our little apartment is decorated with the cutest little tree and a mini nutcracker. The tree was Ted's first Christmas tree from when he was a baby. So cute.

I had a lot of fun decorating this little studio. We're looking for someone to re-lease it once we leave and I'm having a hard time parting with it. 

Our flight is booked for January 8 for Guatemala! It doesn't feel real yet but the closer we get to our departure the more ready I feel. These last few weeks have been dedicated to spending time with loved ones before we leave for a year. It's overwhelming but we cherish it.  

Birthday Festivities

I'm 24! I was a little sad to leave 23 behind because it treated me pretty well, but I'm confident that 24 will be pretty great. Last year on my birthday my love and I went down the the Christkindlmarket downtown (we weren't even engaged yet at that point!). We decided to make it a tradition and went again yesterday. I love Christmas and chocolate and downtown Chicago, so the German Christmas market is a treat for me. They sell spiced wine in the cutest mugs that you can take home and the prettiest Christmas ornaments you'll ever see. 

Thanks to everyone who wished me a happy birthday, I felt the love. And a special thank you to Ted for treating me like a queen on my birthday and every day :) 

First Thanksgiving

Our first thanksgiving as a married couple is in the books!

I ate more than I thought was physically possible, but I suppose that's what thanksgiving is for. I really savored the time I had with our family because I know we're leaving soon. I took extra 'mental pictures' throughout the day and tried to cherish that feeling of being at grandma's house. Do you know the feeling I'm talking about? It's a good one.

Art of the Week

I remember thinking as a little girl that when I swung really high on my swing set I might actually hit the sky...I freaked myself out on occasion.

Buy art here

Wedding Pictures Are Here!!

Yesterday evening we received the USB containing hundreds of beautiful pictures of our wedding day. Looking through all the pictures was like reliving the day at a much slower pace ;) I loved seeing the looks of joy on everyone's faces. Here are my favorites :

It still feels like a dream.