Settling In

We passed the three-month mark here in Guatemala City a few days ago and we are finally starting to feel settled in at our house. A big reason for that is finally getting most everything unpacked and the leftover boxes out of the house. The house turned into a disaster zone once all of our HHE shipments arrived. Add to that the fact that we also had loaner furniture from the embassy and the house certainly felt a bit packed.

Here’s where all of our empty boxes ended up. This is a good chunk of them, but there were also many more that were unpacked and hauled off the same day by the movers.



Once we had all the boxes emptied, the moving company was able to come back and remove all the boxes, as well as hang pictures on the walls. It was a big relief to once again only have the car in the garage.

We feel like our adjustment to life down here has gone much more smoothly than we anticipated. The only thing that has really set us off at times has been the absolutely horrendous traffic during rush hour, especially on Friday afternoon. We’ve had several instances of being in the car for over an hour for short trips that should have taken about 10 minutes. We’re learning what to avoid and when, and unfortunately, that sometimes means deciding not to get out when we would like to, particularly on Friday afternoon.

Here’s one crazy example of the traffic. In early October, Andrea Bocelli was in town for a concert in a part of town known as Cayala. It is not very far and is very similar to CityCentre in Houston, with pedestrian areas for shopping and dining. There are also lots of new condominiums in the area. A co-worker at the embassy invited some folks to his place, as he was near enough to be able to hear the concert. We knew the traffic would be bad, but we wanted to try to make it. After 45 minutes, and as we neared a point of no return as far as being able to head back home, we decided to give up. Another co-worker that forged on told DiploMom the next day that it took him 2.5 hours to get there and 12 minutes to get home. Insane.

DiploTot is continuing to enjoy life here, particularly going to the park across the street. Here she is enjoying herself in her Radio Flyer tricycle.


We’re looking forward to the arrival of the dry season. It typically rains most everyday at some time in the afternoon and lately, we’ve both gotten a bit more annoyed with it. I do have to say that the house hasn’t felt as humid as I thought it would during the rainy season. It is by no means dry in the house, but I think I envisioned more of my typical reaction to Houston humidity, but thankfully the more pleasant temperatures help mitigate the damage. The house usually feels quite pleasant and with the windows open and a breeze, things are quite comfortable, even with the rain.

And one last item that we are quite thankful for is that we have, thus far, avoided any major digestive issues. I thought surely that would be a part of our initial months here, but so far, so good. 🙂

Embassy Halloween Party

The embassy Halloween party was held this afternoon at the ambassador’s residence. The weather was great as we avoided any afternoon showers. There were tons of kids and it was a great time. As you can see below, DiploTot was dressed in an adorable owl costume.


She did pretty good with the hat portion of the costume in the beginning, but inevitably, it came off.


And when we would put it back on, it was off again fairly quickly.


The residence has a huge amount of green space, which is perfectly suited to large parties.


DiploTot became particularly enamored with the Queen of Hearts and the Mad Hatter at their candy station.


So much so that when she spotted the Queen during some of the entertainment, she had to head on over.


Here she is lined up for the costume contest for the 0-4 year olds. She didn’t take a prize. I know I’m biased, but come on, how did that happen. 🙂


It was a great afternoon and we’ll have embassy trick-or-treaters coming to our neighborhood on Halloween, so the owl costume will be back out again soon.

Family Loss

My brother-in-law, Randolph P. Lane, died unexpectedly at the age of 46 on October 16th in Houston. I took this photo of him, my sister-in-law and DiploTot when we were home in July before leaving for Guatemala. It captured well the joy they brought to one another and the joy that DiploTot brought to them both.


Randolph attended McCallie School and graduated from Chattanooga Christian High School. He earned a liberal arts degree in International Political Science from Emory and Henry College in Emory, Virginia. At Emory and Henry he was a member of the rugby and soccer teams as well as serving as a student advocate on both the judicial and academic boards of the college. He was selected by the faculty to represent the college as a delegate to the 29th annual Naval Academy Foreign Affairs Conference held at the U.S. Naval Academy.

He was a member of the Hamilton County Rescue Squad, serving several years on the Cave Rescue Unit. That interest evolved in his obtaining a paramedic license and a career working in emergency medicine.

Randolph served the country in a numerous ways, including the U.S. Navy, the 20th Special Forces Group in the U.S. Army National Guard with the rank of Second Lieutenant, and as a graduate of the U.S. Army Infantry Officer’s School and U.S. Army Airborne School at Ft. Benning, Georgia.

Following his military service, he worked as a Protective Specialist for several private contracting companies, including Triple Canopy. Randolph served as a consultant at the Diplomatic Security Training Center in Washington, D.C. for the U.S. Department of State.

Randolph lived his life to the fullest, striving to uphold the principle, “Man’s chief end is to glorify God and to enjoy Him forever.”

A private family service will be held at the Forest Hills Cemetery in Chattanooga, TN on Wednesday, October 23.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Lone Star Veterans Association or the Wounded Warriors Foundation.

Children’s Museum

Guatemala City has a great children’s museum that we were able to visit the last weekend that my in-laws were here. All the workers at the museum are enthusiastic and ready to engage with all of the kids. I was very impressed with the entire operation. I know we will be making many visits during our time here and as DiploTot gets bigger, she’ll have even more options available to her.



She really likes the bubble station where they have this huge one available that totally envelopes the kids.




DiploDog Sleepover

An embassy family was gracious enough to keep DiploDog for us while we were in Antigua and she had a great time. Their daughter was turning 13 and had a big sleepover party on Saturday, so DiploDog was at no loss for attention. Here she is making herself at home – just one of the girls.


DiploDog was apparently on her best behavior, so we were pleased that everything went so well and that she will be a welcome guest again.