Before moving to Guatemala, my relatives invited friends and family to throw me a big going away party. My family just loves a reason to celebrate (they would fit in perfectly in this culture) and everyone was excited for the next journey in my life.
The most common questions people were asking me were:
“What are you going to be doing?”
“Are you excited?”
“Have you been to Guatemala before, what it is like?”
“Do you know anyone in Guatemala?”
“Where are you going to be living?”
I had answers to all of these questions expect for the last one! I had visited Guatemala for about a month previous to moving, and during that time I had no idea what our address was!
Trust me, I inquired a lot in my broken Spanish, but no one could give me an answer. The best answer I could come up with was “Oh, we are staying with a family down here. It’s actually 2 small houses and a large house with a commons area”
This often provided a decent enough answer to the question but some relatives were concerned about mailing things, so they wanted to know my physical address. I told them I would get it as soon as I could.
But there was a problem:
As far as Puerto Barrios was concerned, our house didn’t actually exist.
Every time we ordered food to be delivered, it took upwards of an hour to arrive at our house. The process usually involved us calling them back after 30 minutes, explaining the directions as something like this:
“Colonial and Inde!! On the road to the Gallo plant! There is a 3 way intersection. Our house is within walls and there is a big black door. No, that is too far, it’s a paved road. Si, just like you are going to the Gallo plant but don’t turn down the road. Ok, see you soon.”
Then they would call us back a handful of times to confirm they were going to the right place and to let us know they were still coming. Although some days I feel I could have easily walked there and back faster than they drove.
Seeing how troublesome it was for people living in the town to find our house, I decided to tell my friends and family not to mail me anything until I moved. Chances are I wasn’t going to get it anyway!
Even though I never found out the address of our house, I did manage to get the next best thing: Pictures!