Our Move to Panajachel, Guatemala - Day 1 of 3

Even with much simplifying, it seems we still have a lot.
After days of planning, packing, stress and last minute decisions as to what things come with us and what things don't make the cut, it seemed we were about ready. Monday was filled with last minute packing, cleaning and then, the best part - we got to relax for a few minutes. One of our good friends, Sarah was already at the house with her two sons and had been helping us throughout the day. Good friends Ken and Kelly Miller showed up for final goodbyes, and then my younger brother, Mitchell with his wife, Vannthy, and daughter, Selena, and my older brother, Brent and his wife, Erin came as well. Mitchell graciously showed up with enough food for everyone, and we enjoyed relaxing for a while. We were asked, "Are you getting excited?" Leiane and I had to stop and think, because for the first time in the last couple weeks, we were probably starting to feel something that resembled excitement. The previous two weeks had been slammed full of planning, logistics and stress, and so this was a welcomed emotion.

Upon waking Tuesday morning, we still had plenty to do, making sure everything was packed and ready to be loaded, and making sure that we left on time. Leiane is a planning maven, and you don't want to get her off track (you should have seen her during regional convention - it was a thing of beauty).

My mom and her husband, Geoff, came by around 9:30am or so and brought breakfast and COFFEE - yassss! That was on thing we had not counted on, how we were getting that morning wakeup goodness in our system, because everything was packed.

A good friend and extremely self-sacrificing brother, Max, had offered to taxi us to Atlanta, and he arrived with his van and box trailer to haul the six of us and our luggage. After loading up and a quick check on tire pressure, we were on our way. The van's air conditioning was not working, so on this 90º day, it felt good once the van was moving and air was flowing.

Our friend and dutiful taxi driver, Max.
No, we didn't forget Sebastian! He's over to the left hiding.
Evie stressed a bit upon leaving, but Leiane, the master planner, had the perfect remedy to calm her nerves.
The three hour road trip was going really well; I even got to drive a leg of it when Max felt his eyelids getting heavy. Driving a van with a trailer in tow is not something I had done before, and it was a bit nerve-racking; it seemed the lanes were way to narrow for me, and every time a vehicle flew by or when we passed a semi trailer, I really had to adjust. At about the time we were entering Atlanta (exit 84 at I-75S), Max asked, "What's that sound? Is that us?" I thought it was the sound of a wheel cover, making a crinkle sound as were slowly trudging along in the near rush hour traffic of Atlanta. He didn't remember his wheel covers making that sound, so I looked back in the rear view mirror and saw that we indeed had a flat tire on the trailer. The tire looked as if it had unravelled, and the wire in it was making contact with the wheel well, producing the sound.

We managed to quickly find a safe place to pull over (ok, relatively safe - this is Atlanta at rush hour, and people here seem to have neither patience nor common decency as they would use the wide shoulder we were on to try and make an early entry to the exit ramp ahead). After a couple phone calls and an hour and half wait for roadside assistance, we were back on the road to our hotel.

Things were going great, and then just as we reached Atlanta, one of the tires on the trailer unravelled.
You'll probably never see such an upbeat bunch of stranded people. We were surprisingly upbeat.
Out with the old, in with the new.
Does anyone else dread Atlanta like I do? The traffic there is the worst.
Looking back at the day, it was quite a blessing that our flight was not that same day, as we surely would have missed our flight. It ended up being a minor inconvenience that did not dismay us one bit.

After unloading at our hotel, we quickly got the kids ready for our promised trip to the pool, which after the hot day, was very inviting. The day couldn't have ended better, as a couple from our congregation in Panajachel, Andy and Nataly Perez, were actually back in Atlanta on that same day and came to our hotel room to share a meal. Pizza, beer and stories about how women use incomprehensible amounts of toilet paper rounded out our evening, and then we were ready for bed. We were to wake up at 3:30am to make the 4:00am shuttle to the airport so that we would arrive at 4:30am - the prescribed three hours before our flight. With all our luggage and six people, we didn't want to take any chances.

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