About Paula

DecoraingAbout Me

Hello! I’m Paula, the creator of Growing Up Bilingual. I originated in Guatemala and now call Florida home. My journey to the United States began in 2008 when my husband Cesar and I decided to make the move with our two kids. Back in Guatemala, I attended a bilingual school, and I dreamed of providing the same bilingual experience for my children. Life had different plans, though. Now we’re in Florida, working hard to keep our Spanish alive at home and preserve our Latino heritage and Guatemalan gastronomy and traditions.

About me Paula Bendfeldt

You can also find me on 365 Things To Do In Southwest Florida, where I write about the best things to do in Southwest Florida, and on MagicalCentralAmerica.com, where you’ll find the best information, tips, recommendations, and itineraries for traveling to Central America.

What I Do:

At Growing Up Bilingual, I share our love for our Latino roots, our travel escapades, and my culinary and crafting ventures. We’re an active family that thrives on learning about diverse cultures and the world. I center my philosophy on nurturing my kids into global citizens by exploring our Latino heritage, language, culture, food, and travel. Some of my favorite things to share include our journey as a bilingual familyrecipes, crafts and Day of the Dead content along with everything related to my home country Guatemala!

My Expertise:

My background in bilingual education and my fervor for Latin American culture have driven me to make it my mission to instill a love for language, culture, food, and travel within my family. Over time, I’ve developed my knowledge and skills in these areas, and my blog stands as a testament to our ongoing journey of embracing our Latino heritage, uncovering the broader world and sharing about our Guatemalan culture.

My commitment is to provide you with precise and reliable information. I take pride in meticulous fact-checking and rely on reputable sources to ensure that the content I offer is of the highest quality. You can trust that the information you find here is well-researched.

A Passion for Cooking:

I have a deep love for cooking that fuels my creativity in the kitchen. I enjoy experimenting with various ingredients and cuisines and crafting fresh recipes that bring delicious flavors. My journey in the culinary world has been a personal one, allowing me to connect with my Latino heritage through the art of cooking. Surprisingly, cooking wasn’t a shared passion in my family when I was growing up. My initial attempt at cooking resulted in a small kitchen fire when I was just 24 years old! Despite the early mishaps, I didn’t let them deter me. Once I discovered I could create mouthwatering dishes without causing culinary disasters (yes, those happened, too), there was no turning back. Cooking with my children has become a cherished family bonding experience and a way to stay closely connected with our Guatemalan heritage and Latino culture.

best guatemalan tamal recipe

Guatemalan tamal rojo recipe.

Embracing Guatemalan Culture Through Food:

My Guatemalan roots hold a special place in my heart, and I am deeply committed to sharing the richness of this culture with the world. Through traditional Guatemalan recipes, I aim to offer a delicious way for those who share my affection for Guatemalan culture or have Guatemalan roots to connect with their heritage. These recipes are a culinary bridge that allows us to explore and savor Guatemala’s flavors, traditions, and stories.

Why I Travel:

Traveling is a passion for us as a family, and we’re always ready for fresh adventures. I also embark on solo journeys often. My passion for travel was sparked during my childhood when my family made the most of every weekend and vacation to explore. Even when finances were tight, we embarked on road trips within Guatemala and neighboring Mexico.

Rio Celeste waterfalls in Costa Rica
Rio Celeste waterfalls in Costa Rica.

I was 13 when I went to Czechoslovakia (now the Czech Republic) with the CISV organization for a summer. That transformative experience ignited my wanderlust, and I’ve been exploring ever since and have traveled to over 25 countries. Traveling doesn’t have to be extravagant; it’s about being resourceful and finding ways to make travel a part of your life. You don’t need to become a nomad to travel; you can make the most of your vacation time and explore solo or with your family. When we’re not traveling, we learn about our Latino roots and diverse cultures through activities like cooking, crafts, and reading.

Sharing the Beauty of Guatemala:

While I love traveling to destinations worldwide, my heart has a special place for Guatemala. This stunning country offers a wealth of natural beauty, a rich culture, and a captivating history. I am passionate about sharing the wonders of Guatemala with a personal touch, offering insider tips and information from a local’s perspective.

Colonial ruins in Antigua Guatemala.
Colonial ruins in Antigua Guatemala.

I invite you to explore my Guatemalan Insider’s Travel Guide, where you’ll discover comprehensive, up-to-date information on the best things to do in Guatemala, from the best activities and places to visit and the best restaurants to the best Guatemalan hotels for every budget. It’s your go-to resource for planning an unforgettable trip to Guatemala, with valuable tips and suggested itineraries.

Personalized Itineraries to Guatemala from a Guatemala Travel Expert and Insider

As an expert in Guatemalan travel, I am excited to offer a personalized itinerary service that tailors your journey to your specific travel priorities. Whether you’re seeking adventure, cultural immersion, or relaxation, I can craft a customized itinerary that brings your dream Guatemalan experience to life. Explore the beauty of Guatemala through my eyes, and let’s embark on an unforgettable adventure together.

Lake Atitlán in Guatemala.
Lake Atitlán in Guatemala.

Working with Brands

From those early kitchen misadventures, I’ve come a long way. I’ve collaborated with renowned brands like Nestle, Kraft, Tyson, the Peanut Board, and more, creating original recipes. Some of my recipes have even been featured on websites like Walmart, Maseca, and Starfine Foods (makers of Borges olive oil).

Get in Touch

Whether you want to say “Hola!” or share your thoughts, ideas, or suggestions, I’m always thrilled to connect with my readers. Feel free to drop me an email at [email protected].

Thanks for being a part of our cultural journey. I look forward to sharing more adventures and delectable recipes with you!

2 thoughts on “About Paula”

  1. Hi Paula,
    We love you’re website! Great ideas and inspiration! We was wondering if you can help us. We adopted our daughter from Guatemala in 2005. She really wants to find her birth mom and siblings. Do you have any reputable people that can help us?
    Thanks! Carlos and Stacey

  2. Hola Paula!! My wife Denise and I would like to obtain the printed instructions for your Easy Chipotle Seafood Stew (with Clamato Tomato). We got the ingredients for the stew, but were unable to print out the instructions—our computer may be too old!! We are providing our e mail address below. Mil gracias!!


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