Traveling Mari

Mari is loving Guatemala!

Little Girl June 11, 2013

Filed under: Guatemala — Mari Gray @ 1:04 am

When I was little, I had a superpower.  Maybe I still have it but it’s not nearly as powerful as it used to be.  I could transform.  One day I would be a little Mayan girl in Guatemala, and then in the sun I would turn into a dark-skinned girl with a crazy ‘fro.  Over the years, I’ve had people ask if I was part black, or Native-American, or filipino, or South American… 

 

In all seriousness, when people ask where I am from, it’s always a bit difficult for me to answer.  And now I live and work in Guatemala, where I was born.  But I wouldn’t say I am FROM Guatemala ( except from when I got that scholarship in college for being Latin American, that  is ).  That’s all very confusing to explain.

 

I just found these photos of my transforming supergirl days. 

 

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ExOfficio South Australia Catalog April 29, 2013

Filed under: Australia — Mari Gray @ 8:58 pm

What a nice surprise to see on the ExOfficio website that the catalog has come out from our adventure to South Australia!

I was reminded to check when my roommate found me on the website searching for some good travel gear.  She seemed a bit surprised.  She knew that I had recently gone on a trip with ExOfficio, but I guess didn’t expect to find me featured so much.  I didn’t expect to see myself so much either, so that makes sense.

 

I love Gypsy the little kangaroo!  I didn’t know that kangaroos could be so cuddly.

 

Without further ado, check it out here:

 

S13_EXOFFICIO_CATALOG

 

Utila Once Again April 4, 2013

Filed under: Utila — Mari Gray @ 8:32 pm

I decided to get out of town for Semana Santa, as even a month before the proper Easter week I was starting to feel the suffocating effect of the crowds of tourists hovering over the processions.

My choice destination: Utila, of course!  The Hedman Alas trip to Ceiba and back were not nearly as terrible as I had imagined, though it did take well over 12 hours each way.

Turns out, Utila was packed with tourists as well, but a younger and drunker crowd than in Antigua.  I have not decided which I find more tolerable.  All the drunk mainlanders wouldn’t have bothered me much except for I took a few shifts at the Tranquila Bar where I used to work about 3 years ago while living on the island.  It did feel good to be back at the bar, I admit,but I would prefer not to deal with borrachos until 4am.  At least the place is right above the sea, with a gorgeous view of the sunset from the dock.  If only the sand flies would stay away…

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dock

From the Ecomarine dock

water cay

Even with all the craziness on the island, I still enjoyed a couple days of diving at my old dive shop, Ecomarine, and chilling out with my lovely friends above.  What a great reunion for all three of us to be together again, that hadn’t happened since I left the island 3 years ago.

Back in Antigua now, teaching English and farming with little kids.  I must say that the Utilian life is not for me anymore, I feel much more at ease here in the mountains.  That’s a good sign, I think.

 

Pacific Sunrise March 10, 2013

Filed under: Guatemala — Mari Gray @ 8:18 pm

Pacific Sunrise

The first little bit of a gorgeous sunrise on the Pacific coast of Guatemala. Great surf spot. Too bad I don’t know how to surf! Excellent running beach.

 

The Attack of Carnaval February 11, 2013

Filed under: Guatemala — Mari Gray @ 9:22 pm

Happy Carnaval!  It’s actually tomorrow but we at the school celebrated it today since there is no school tomorrow.  Tomorrow is the first questionable day off of the year, and we’ve been in school for a month now.  We seem to be doing much better than last year, when school was only in session half the days it was was supposed to be.  I’ll leave that tangent for another day…

We “celebrated” Carnaval today at the school, and at the end of the day I found confetti and glitter all over me, even in my pockets, even in my underwear.  It was fun playing with the kids at first but I had to tell them “Enough!” at a certain point.  After they had gotten me covered with confetti several times, that is.

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I like to think that I have a good relationship with my little students, but I wonder if they have some pent-up resentment toward me?

 

South Australia Adventure Photos February 5, 2013

Filed under: Australia — Mari Gray @ 8:35 pm

Photos from the photoshoot adventure trip to South Australia with ExOfficio are starting to come out on Facebook.  What an adventure it really was!  I am so spoiled.  These are my favorites so far:

 

Photo credit: Gregg Bleakney

 

On a scenic flight around Wilpena Pound in the Flinders Ranges.

On a scenic flight around Wilpena Pound in the Flinders Ranges.

 

With little Gypsy on Kangaroo Island

With little Gypsy on Kangaroo Island

Sailing with dolphins!  One of my favorite pastimes.  'Cause you know, I get to go sailing anytime I want... I WISH!

Sailing with dolphins! One of my favorite pastimes. ‘Cause you know, I get to go sailing anytime I want… I WISH!

Remarkable sunset at Remarkable Rocks.

Remarkable sunset at Remarkable Rocks.

 

 

 

Enjoying a glass of Clare Valley wine.

Enjoying a glass of Clare Valley wine.

 

Not bad.  Our Australian guide didn't take a single bite from the platter though.

Not bad. Our Australian guide didn’t take a single bite from the platter, though.

Lake Gairdner Jump!

Lake Gairdner Jump!

 

Woohoo!  Finally in Australia after 20-something hours of travel.

Woohoo! Finally in Australia after 20-something hours of travel.

 

Welcome to the outback!

Welcome to the outback!

 

Lake Gairdner, a salt lake.  Surreal.

Lake Gairdner, a salt lake. Surreal.

 

 

Parents January 31, 2013

Filed under: Guatemala — Mari Gray @ 4:47 pm

From my experience, working with the parents of little students has its ups and downs.  They can be ridiculously demanding and/or very helpful.

 

We had a meeting with the parents after the first week of school up in the village.  Almost all of the moms showed up, with no dads around.  We went over the basics of how we work in a Montessori setting, what we expect of them, and what they can expect of us.  I think pretty normal stuff.  We had a sheet ready for the parents to sign both as a means of tracking attendance and also to emphasize that there is an agreement of both parties to work together for each child.  This is what they do at the Montessori school in Antigua, and we have been using their program as our model.

 

I knew that the literacy rate was low in El Hato, but I never expected that most of the moms would need an ink pad to stamp their finger because they could not write their own names.  The other day, we asked a mother how her daughter’s name was spelled – with a C or with a K – and the mother didn’t know.

 

I expect that many children in our class will be able to write their own names at the end of the school year, after much practice.  They’ll already be surpassing their mothers in that sense, at the age of four or five.