Here I am, leaving the country of Guatemala after almost three months of living, working, and learning here. This is probably the most bittersweet I have ever felt. I am excited, sitting on the verge of being back in my own culture and seeing my loved ones, feeling comforts that were sorely missed. But I have an overwhelming sense of sadness that I almost don’t want to confront, because I wouldn’t get on the plane if I did. Leaving my friends, my niche, the language and culture here, the beautiful people, the sense of purpose and drive; it is all so difficult to bring myself to leave. This just hardens my resolve to come back.
I have had some amazing times. Last night, the group and I watched a slide show of just some of our photos, and it was so clear that we have been all over this country, done all kinds of things, and seen so much more than I could have thought possible in three months. In fact, I was not expecting to Love Guatemala as I do. Guatemala was never on my “Must See” list, Central America hadn’t before caught my attention…and now it has my heart. I fell in love with the people and way of life here. I fell in love with the possibility of my life here. So having to leave that behind today is a rough task. Going home holds many joys as well, and I have to keep thinking on that to keep me sane.
I have also been deeply blessed by the group of amazing people I shared this journey with. I see them every day, and I have not gotten sick of them. My love for the entire group has just grown through every experience we share. The past two weeks, we have swam in jungle waterfalls, jumped off of bridges, drank horchata to our hearts’ content, done social work in rural aldeas, rode chicken buses, and just hung out with each other relishing our time in this beautiful country.
Yesterday I had to say good bye to my friends who live in Antigua. It made me realize how close I had grown to them in such a short time, and how much I value their friendship. It also makes me grasp at any possible opportunity to come back and live here. I have a home here, and my heart knows that. I am so grateful for the time I have spent here, I look forward to time in the future to be back here, and I pray that all my life will be filled with experiences of amazing people, culture and places like I found in Guatemala.