Flashback to Guatemala: And Then There Were Three

About a year and half into our Guatemalan tour, our daughter was born. And, like many Foreign Service babies, she was an instant rock star.

Unsurprisingly, two very white, blonde people produced a blue-eyed blonde daughter. You know, like this, except not so well-dressed.

nino de pragaThe Nino de Praga is just one of the many blue-eyed, blonde characters in Catholic iconography. So, take a blue-eyed, blonde baby to Catholic, family-oriented, Latin America and what do you get?

¡Mira que linda! ¡Que angelita!

The angel in question.
The angel in question, fresh from heaven.

Rachel got lots of attention everywhere we went, starting in the hospital, where she was the star attraction in the nursery. Later, while we were out and about, people would ask to borrow her to show the cooks in the kitchen, or a friend in the next tienda over. We joke that Rachel thought her name was Que Linda until we left the country. I am sure it was one reason she was so smiley. She got smiled at a lot.

It’s all a bit racist, I do realize that. But, to be fair, in a country with a majority indigenous and mestizo country, a blue-eyed blonde baby is pretty unusual. Especially in the mountain towns, because really, how many people who look like us take their tiny baby to Totonicapán or Patzún?

When Rachel was a few weeks old, my family came to visit. My dad and brother are big guys, both over six feet tall. They helped out by popping Rachel in the Snugli while we explored mountain villages. Not only had the locals rarely seen a man carrying a baby, they had certainly never seen such a large man carrying a baby strapped to him as a woman would. The petite ladies of the towns could not stop staring and giggling. It was pretty hilarious.

My brother toting the baby in Antigua Guatemala.
My brother toting the baby in Antigua Guatemala.
My dad chilling with a cerveza along the road to Coban.
My dad chilling with a cerveza along the road to Coban.
Best family photo ever, on top of a Mayan temple at Iximche
Best family photo ever: grandmother, mom, dad, brother, on top of a Mayan temple at Iximche.

The last few months in Guatemala are a bit of a blur for me, for obvious reasons. My husband’s parents came to visit after my own did (with the first grandchild on both sides, we were very popular that way) and we had some great trips with both families to various towns. There was a quite a bit of shopping, as I recall!

My grandmother trying on huipiles (native blouses)
My grandmother trying on huipiles (native blouses)
Textiles in the market
Textiles in the market
Shopping for huipiles with my mother-in-law
Shopping for huipiles with my mother-in-law.
I bought three of these masks. They wear Santa hats every Christmas.
I bought three of these masks. They wear Santa hats every Christmas.
Jewelry for sale on the ferry to Santiago Atitlan
Jewelry for sale on the ferry to Santiago Atitlan

I got a lot of advice on babies as well. I was still too shy to breastfeed in public, so if I sat down to give Rachel a bottle, I’d get asked “porque no le da pecho?” (Why don’t you give her the breast?) And for heavens’ sakes woman, put a hat on that child!

And this kind lady showed me the proper way to carry a baby when she saw her fussing in the silly American backpack.

Best baby photo ever.
Best baby photo ever.

A baby was a great icebreaker, too. When kids wanted to look at her, I’d ask to take photos. I’m really glad I did, because I’m so enjoying looking at them now!

Pretty girls.
Pretty girls.
guatemala-16
Gorgeous.
Mamacita and baby sister.
Mamacita and baby sister.
In Santiago Atitlan.
In Santiago Atitlan.
Blind street singers. I've always liked this photo.
Blind street singers. I’ve always liked this photo. They were good, too.

And finally, diplomatic passport number three arrived, and it was all over. We were all off to a much less colorful and interesting country, alas!

Little did she know how often she'd be using that passport!
Little did she know how often she’d be using that passport!
Advertisements

2 comments

  1. Great pictures! I recognize many of the places – some things haven’t changed. Do you mind if I share the picture of the girl on the ferry to Santiago when I go back in the summer? There’s a good chance I can find her.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s