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Talking Sticks

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How Molly Berry moved to Guatemala and began Luna Zorro!

 

If you want to experience the beauty of not just a human being but a story teller who inspires you to live a colorful and fulfilling life, follow Molly Berry on Instagram @luna_zorro. I myself live in Guatemala, and still drool over her adventures to Cuba and Panama. She has an exquisite eye that captures every ounce of beauty this country has to offer. Molly is a gifted writer and designer, but more over she has an artistic sensibility that allows her to capture the true essence of life in Guatemala. She is a mother of two, and the founder of Luna Zorro, a textile business with a social impact.  We were lucky enough to meet Molly in her beautiful home in Antigua and get the scoop behind what lead her to living her life in Guatemala. 

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Tell us the story behind how you came to live in Guatemala?

I was born in San Francisco and then raised between there and Napa Valley. I went to UCLA, and then I left to go abroad my junior year of college and that was the first time I had left the United States. I went to Brighten, and after the year abroad I new pretty much my goal was to get to Italy next. That year in Brighten really started my love affair with travel and I new I wanted to live abroad.

 When I graduated, my major was called world arts and cultures at UCLA, which was so perfect for me! But I graduated and felt more confused about what I wanted to do. All of my friends were getting jobs and going places, but I was really not excited about being in an office. So I went to Italy and taught for two years. Then I came back to California. I had been acting my whole life, so I got an agent again and moved to LA. That was up and down for four years. I was mostly doing voice over work. 

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Do you sing?

Yes, I sing!

But I was mostly doing voices for cartoons and animated toys. I did a lot of toys for Leapfrog. But now when I do those voices for my kids, my son Joaquin is like “oh Mom please stop.” 

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So then I had to make ends meet,  I decided to start my own jewelry line. I started making jewelry while I was acting. The jewelry was getting a lot of attention, but it was during this period of time when I thought... “Wait, I’m trying to be an actor, I need to focus all my attention and think positively about that”

Then I went back to the Bay Area and started teaching theater at an elementary school. And that’s where Juan and I met, my husband. That was so much fun, I loved being in a community again, and I really do love kids, so I was so happy to be with them. I realized that acting is a really hard world to be in, and with the jewelry I was always on my own.

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So then I didn’t know what else to do, I’d been all over the place, so I decided to get my teaching credential. I probably should have been a creative director or something, but I was never willing to put the time in at an office. The thought of getting only 10 days off a year killed me.

So I turned to teaching because I was tired of worrying, I was 29 and I wanted something more steady. I needed to pick something and stick to it. I’ve been on my own since I was 18, I put myself through college, and I’ve always figured it out. But money is that thing that creates anxiety and worry for me. But, nonetheless, I’ve barreled down this road of just being like “I’m going to figure this out”

Pictured above Luna Zorro pillow, shop  here

Pictured above Luna Zorro pillow, shop here

So I made that decision, and basically the next two and half years of my life I was constantly working and going to school. I did a masters in education. And it was really good for me, I needed structure and to feel productive. And once I had made that choice, my life came together. Before that time a lot of things in my life were not steady, and I was pretty lost in a way. But once I made that decision, it set a lot of things into motion. 

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So Juan and I got engaged, then he got offered a job at a small forestry in Panama. And so I applied to teaching positions at schools there, and all three schools offered me a job on the spot. These schools were really well funded, really international, big classrooms, materials, and it was like OK, we are going to move here.

So we were like “we are moving to Panama.” We got married, and two weeks later I moved to Casco Viejo, Panama. It’s such an awesome place. I loved it! But the first three months I was living there alone and I didn’t speak Spanish.

Then Juan came down, and that first year we just had so much fun. That’s where our life really began. And then I got pregnant! We decided to stay in Panama, and now 8 years later we're still in Latin America! We ended up staying 4 years in Panama, but Panama was expensive. It was not very easy. We basically started over with a small savings and built everything we have ourselves.  I mean I started my business with no capital what’s so ever, I wouldn’t necessarily encourage that to people, but it’s worked for me and it’s not been easy.

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So we finally decided to make the move to Guatemala so Juan could take over his family farm. Around the same time Hazel was born!  Just before she was born I wanted to get a new bedspread, but one that wasn’t every color of the rainbow. Something a little more neutral and modern, but with the integrity and the quality of something made here. So I started asking everyone around the market, and finally one guy was like “well, what do you want”. So I said, can I draw it? He said yes, so I drew it and barely two weeks later they had it made in San Juan and brought it back to Antigua.

 It was a king size bed spread, exactly what I had drawn, the colors I wanted, and just what I’d asked for! Then I took a picture of Joaquin sleeping on the bedspread and an architect/interior designer in Panama (who’s daughters I’d taught) saw the picture on Instagram. She was like, “what is that bedspread, I’m doing a remodel of Las Clementinas and I’m looking for something exactly like that.” So she said, lets talk, and we had 12 made for her. I just wanted to see if it would work! And it did! That's how Luna Zorro started, and we've been happily living in Antigua Guatemala since then.

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amanda daum