you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year 2004 !
How are you?
Here is our news, with big changes in our life in 2003.
Our three-year project to move to the
colonial Spanish town of Antigua, in the mountains of Guatemala,
finished with a long drive from Prattsville to Antigua in July. We now
live in Guatemala.
Barbara & Tomas
a holiday in Antigua, we bought a property in 2000. We started
building in 2001, a new, “Antigueño”, colonial style house.
In 2002, when our house was finished, Tomas bought a 48’
tractor-trailer, transported our possessions
to Antigua, and has lived here since.
Meanwhile, Barbara and Jennifer moved to our house in the Catskill
Mountains, so Jenny could graduate from high school. Finally, this
July, we repeated the big trip. This time, we took our old Mazda MPV,
bought a new VW diesel wagon and drove down with Barbara, Tomas,
Jennifer, Sona, our Armenian exchange student, and Sammy, our
1-year-old Shiatsu/Maltese. We drove 4,600 miles in 16 days, with
interesting stops in Louisiana, Texas, Mexico City, the Palenque Mayan
ruins and San Cristobal de las Casas in the southern Mexican state of
Chiapas. Since then we’ve sold the Mazda … on the trip, it used up
$460 of gas, while the VW Jetta used only $106 of diesel!
from Armenia, was here in August, learning Spanish and then returned
to Yerevan, the same time as we went to New York to drive David, with
his stuff, to another year at the University of Rochester.
(go to part 2)
Since then, we have been back in Antigua, Barbara and Jennifer
learning Spanish. We have completed the “commercial” house in front,
but instead of renting it as shops, we decided to rebuild the shops
into two more rental apartments. We already have two apartments
rented out and by February, new tenants will move into the two
additional units. All four will then be rented out long-term. We
still have three shops in the street, one rented out, one waiting for
Jenny’s DVD rental shop and one to rent out.
Antigua is the "City of Eternal Spring”. Streets are cobblestone. It
has many churches and monasteries. We have already told you all that
last year, but it struck us again last weekend, as we wandered around
in our short sleeves, in glorious sunny weather, listening to several
of the 11 different Christmas concerts going on around town, in front
of 400 year-old buildings.
Barbara was busy in Prattsville the past year, running the Zadock
Pratt Museum and making sure Jennifer graduated. Now she is here in
Antigua, learning Spanish, with a teacher visiting us those afternoons
that Barbara does not play bridge at various neighbors’ homes.
We are exploring many restaurants of Antigua. Barbara is managing our
large new house, with the added help of two full-time cleaning ladies
and a gardener. Tomas has now installed, with the help of neighbors,
over 100 small gardens around the trees in the Alameda Santa Lucia, in
front of our “casa” (house). You can see the gardening project, and
our house, at:
Jennifer & David
Jennifer (20), graduated from high school, proud of her diploma, and
with an enormous graduation party in Prattsville in early July. She is
now here in Antigua, in her own apartment. She goes to Spanish school
daily and is making progress. With her new friend Monica, they spend
weekends cooking, shopping, sightseeing around town, eating out,
having a good time. In 2004, we hope to open “Jenny
(go to part 3)
David (19) is in his second year at the University of Rochester, 4
hours by car from Prattsville, in the very cold north in New York
State. It’s an excellent national university and David is trying out
various subjects to figure out what he would like to study and seems
inclined toward psychology, psychiatry, or brain cognitive sciences, a
UR specialty. He has made the Dean’s list and that pleases us no
end! In the summer, he again worked as a lifeguard at the New York
Power Authority’s Minekill pool near Prattsville. With a college
friend, he also visited us here in Antigua.
arriving here in July, we traveled around Guatemala in August … a
fascinating country, with many surprises … wonderful sights, first
class hotels, even a mini-Disneyland. Since the big drive south, we
have been in Prattsville in August, October and November. We made two
trips to London, one at Easter, when we again met with Sona from
Armenia and went to Paris for a week. We just came back from London
early in December. We are writing from Delaware, while visiting
Barbara’s parents for an early Christmas and will spend the holidays
in Prattsville, with the kids and grandma Sasha, who is arriving from
Germany. We will be in Antigua for the New Year, when the Antigueños
make an enormous town-wide street party with music, fireworks and
When the last of the apartments are constructed, we are planning to
set out on more travels … first of all around Guatemala, then to Cuba
and around Central and South America. We plan a London trip in the
Spring and a long trip to Italy in October: our 25th
Our new life in Antigua is wonderful. Please tell us about yours.
Please do plan to visit us here … it is “Spring” all year round,
except in “Winter” from May to November, when sometimes it rains and
in the “summer”, from November to May, when it does not rain and we
need to water flowers every day.
OUR BEST WISHES FOR 2004 !!!