Back in Guatemala again, settling in to my international home of Antigua. Gearing up for another 3 months of growth and adventure in this most beautiful country. I must say though, that because I am comfortable here, doesn’t mean there won’t be challenges of all kinds this time around. In fact, my first lesson of the trip: it’s not going to be the same “this time around.” And that will be a GOOD thing.
I am at a different home-stay where things are done differently, I have no side-kick or person I experience all this newness with, Calvin isn’t in town, I have to forge my own way and do my job with only a clue of how to go about it. For the first day, that’s a lot of change to take on. But realization thankfully set in pretty quickly. No, I’m not housed with the students– maybe that’s a good thing, so I can have my own space and keep a professional friendship with all of them (and maybe escape every now and then!). Yes, I am in a different home-stay– that comes with whole new relationships, lots of new stories, different food, different perspectives on the families of Antigua, and so far, lots of laughs! No, there is not someone at my side to constantly do things with– how great is that?! I get to plan my days, am free to wander and explore what peaks my interest, and make a whole new community of friends in my fave town. And a new job? Bring it on. I am ready to be flexible, learn, and be a resource to the students.
Yesterday we did orientation here in Antigua and took them up to Magdalena so they can see the community with which we work, and the real rural Guatemala (not the Antigua bubble). I was asked so many questions, and I had many answers to give — I have been here before, know these people, can rattle off Guatemalan slang, and give confidence to those who are new to this all. But oh, how I am blessed with such an AMAZING group of students. World travelers, all competent and excited to learn and be here. And such fun! I can’t wait to see what adventure lie ahead for the next few months, if I am this happy with the first few days!
Speaking of adventures, last evening at around 6pm an earthquake, 6.5 on the Richter scale, hit near the coast and sent some amazing trembles and waves to us here in ‘Tigua. I was on the top floor of my house, and the whole world started pitching and swaying. It felt like I was surfing. At the time I was skyping with my parents in the states and my brother in China, and started shouting about the earthquake. They became concerned, until I stared laughing and getting WAY too excited. “This is so fun!” It was one of the biggest I have felt here in Guate, and for sure not the last this trip. Conversation at the dinner table turned to the bigger and more fatal earthquake of 1976, and my host dad, Jose, started telling us of the many bodies he had to carry out of the rubble in Antigua when he was only 16 years old. Guatemala is so prone to natural disasters and doesn’t have the infrastructure to really stand against it all. So when things hit– they hit hard, people loose their homes, loved ones, and everything they own. So even though I get a little too excited about the fun waves, it is sobering to know the history and continued struggle of Guatemala. Let’s pray for just the little ones from here on out!
Here I sit, in my favorite coffee shop, Y Tu Pina Tambien, connecting with old friends, drinking great Guatemalan coffee, and feeling at home once again. But there is so much more yet to learn and experience and uncover in this amazing place. Come along the journey with me!!