Life in California and a little trip to Guatemala

Trip Start May 30, 2008
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10
Trip End Jun 09, 2009


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Where I stayed
Ladera Ranch

Flag of United States  , California
Sunday, May 18, 2008

Well, we have been living in Ladera Ranch, California just over a month now and we're really loving it! The sunny weather, friendly people and gorgeous beaches are everything we had hoped for...

We had my parents come down and visit, and it was really nice to spend time with them and show them our new casa and way of life. Last week, we had Tony's mom Rosie come and stay with us, and that changed things a bit for the next few weeks....

I've always been fascinated with Guatemala. I knew Tony was born in Guatemala City, but knew little of his family's history. Well, during Rosie's stay, we had the chance to learn a great deal about his family history! Tony's paternal grandparents were actually immigrants from Seville, Spain. Vicente Luna was a music professor and his wife Marianna Escalante made their home in Guatemala City. They had eight children, including Tony's birth father, Cesar Antonio Luna, born in Guatemala City. Soon after his birth, Marianna & Vicente split up and Cesar Antonio was adoped by Eduardo Castillo and Berta Castello. He was 9 months old, but was able to keep in touch with his father Vicente because he was a good friend of Eduardo's.

Cesar Antonio was a good guitar player and singer, even singing on local television in Guatemala! He was also a talented artist and architect. When he was younger, he traveled to Panama to take part in an art competiion with people from around the world. He won 2nd place, and returned home to Guatemala City to be congratulated by the President of the country. He was even offered a job as an animator by the Disney corporation, and they offered to move him to the US. However,he declined saying that he, "didn't want to be a slave to the white people". He was 29 at the time.

At 30 years old, Cesar Antonio married Rosie. She was 24 and had dated him since she was 18. They met at a party for the airforce (apparently Cesar Antonio was also in the airforce), and he was going to be singing and playing guitar at the airforce party. They met at several parties, but Cesar didn't pay much attention to her, thinking she was too young. Each day Rosie used to walk from her home to her grandmother's house to take her food. She would often run into Cesar Antonio on the way. Soon, he began walking with her each day, and 8 years later they married.

Cesar Antonio was killed, when his daughter Ana was five years old, and his son Tony (my husband) was 6 months old. It is still unclear exactly how he died. Perhaps it was because he designed building for the government, and therefore, also planned the escape routes for presidents and dignataries. Did this mean he was too close to the government? It may also be because those that worked for the government made good money and he was simply the target of a robbery. In any case, Rosie was told it was a car accident, but he had been found with no ID, no money, etc.

Rosie's family was from the area called Chiquimulilla, where they owned large coffee plantations. Her grandmother, Jacinta Mayen(Cynthia in English)was married to Concepcion Mayen. The family is still farming coffee in Chiquimulilla, and in fact, a cousin called Alfredo Malgar is the current mayor.

Jacinta & Concepcion had an arranged marriage, and later had two children: Laura Mayen and Maria Amanda Mayen. Laura Mayen died at the age of 98, in Los Angeles, California. She has one living daughter, Alba Luz, living in Miami. Their other child Amanda is Rosie's mother (Tony's grandmother), born in 1921. She is currently living in Chicago, Illinois.

I am still working on getting the full history of the family, as it is very interesting. I've also been fascinated with Guatemala and have also sponsored a little girl called Aura Leticia Cumes Satz for nearly 7 years. She comes from the Western highlands, a city called Chimeltenango.

All of this inspired me to look for tickets to Guatemala to take a little vacation. And, what do you know? I found tickets leaving in two weeks for less than $200/person. So, this is to be a blog about Guatemala, as we journey into a country rich in history, both of our family and the Mayan people.
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