Getting Busy Living


You get settled in a new town.  You find the value grocery store, the best street food, the quality restaurants with local prices.

Then life becomes routine.  Life goes back to the way it was at the last town.  People get to know you, so you can’t play the mysterious character anymore.  Life gets boring…if you let it.

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My aura changed when I got to Antigua.  I really dig the town, but I got out of whack and a heavy darkness has been draining out of me.  Picture walking out of a dry sauna into the snowy outdoors.  Steaming bad vibes, visible to everyone around me.  Guys relate and open up because they know we all go there from time to time.  Chicks see it and take cover.  It’s just not safe.

So that’s what I’ve been dealing with.  The transition is like being the life of the party and then you go to the bathroom and everyone discovers something terrible about you.  You come back and everyone’s just staring at you.  At a party, one of your friends would take you aside and tell you what happened.  In a new town you have to try to figure it out without any clues.  You start putting the pieces together like a detective in a suspense movie.  Then it clicks.

I’ve been a miserable four-letter word for the past couple weeks.  It doesn’t matter how a bad habit is formed.  What’s important is doing what it takes to break it.  I usually start squirming and trying things until something works.  The first thing that got me out of my funk was boxing lessons.

Boxing helps release trapped energy.  It also forces my body to adjust.  I don’t crave sugar as much.  I crave more vegetables, which are the cheapest (and healthiest) food you can buy.  I’m starting to look better and feel better.  I’m doing something that I have wanted to do since I was a kid.  I’m also learning to become dominant in daunting situations.  Life will always try to push us around.   It feels really good to push back.

Being content with myself helps me to be content with others.  My boxing teacher, Hannes, is a grumpy over-analyzer like myself.  We have a little support group going on.  He’s conquering his fears and taking control of his life, too.  He is kind of a scary guy with a “wolf smile”.  He’s intense and doesn’t put up with non-sense.  To lighten up a bit he’s taking Zumba classes with a bunch of Guatemalteca chicas at the gym where we box.  We did the painting thing the other day and will be hanging out for sure.

Oba is in town with the Dubes as well.  Mathew McConaughey said in an interview that you gotta have your guy friends to live a healthy life.  I believe it.  Going solo is inefficient.  Friends back at home are irreplaceable, but the energy has to travel many miles.

DSC_0154Riding with Hannes to the Macadamia farm to paint

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Guatemalan landscapes are much better viewed from a dirtbike

“You can’t teach soul.” -Mario Loor

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The short patter of footsteps on my roof always entertains me.  It is probably the cat, but pretending it’s a Guatemalan rat living in the ceiling is also funny.  This room is laughable at best. That’s exactly how I’m going to enjoy it.  I can’t quite touch the opposite walls at the same time, but it’s close.  It must have been a storage closet, but the yellow walls, narrow rafters and street lamp give it charm.  I’m just going to fill it up with art.

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The rug really ties the room together.

You can’t let life get boring it.  The same courage it took to buy the plane ticket is the same courage it took to get that tattoo.  Courage is courage.  Fear keeps you on your familiar grocery list – on the streets you know – listening to the same music.  “But I know what I like,” you say.  

Tastes change.  If we aren’t trying things, we end up stuck with things we don’t like anymore.

It’s up to us to ask what we really want.  That’s easy.  When the door opens, we have to walk through.  That’s hard.

We tend to schedule away our time long before it gets here.

I get stuck in a grind anywhere I go.  I start to hesitate, mumble, lose ground.  Put me on a chicken bus to a place I’ve never been and I’m speaking with confidence in broken Spanish.  When you feel butterflies in your stomach, that’s the feeling of gaining strength.  You are about to grow.

This blog serves as a thermometer to read how I am doing in life.  The last two posts were negative.  I try to keep it honest and not hide one side of my experience.  I knew I was not healthy and so I asked myself what can I do to turn this around?

This is what I came up with:

  • Work less (which meant spend less time/money chasing things that don’t matter)
  • Treat my body better (boxing lessons have already found me)
  • Develop the big picture part of my brain (the artist painting the coffee shop gives lessons)
  • Move to the music of life (after boxing there is a Zumba dance class – trying to hang with latinos is intense!)
  • Better my communication (I’m waiting for the Spanish school “door” to appear)

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Andy (local artist) teaching me about depth and light/shade

DSC_0013 Andy also told me to learn a human face, practice drawing animals.  I feel like a proud 12 year old girl!  Can we hang it on the fridge?!?!


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The only thing more hilarious than my room is my bathroom.  The shower curtain always wrapped me up like a 70’s horror movie, so now I just squeegie the floor with my foot afterwards.  Occam’s Razor: The simplest solution is often the best.


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Space is limited in the city.  You gotta adapt and find a way to enjoy what you got.

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