Alas, our time here in Guatemala is coming to a close.
Today marked our last Sunday afternoon trip across the lake to the famous “Smokin’ Joe’s” BBQ in San Pedro, where we shared ridiculously good food with friends one last time. The house is at that stage where it has to get worse before it’ll get better. Things are coming out from under the beds that I thought were lost forever. Funny how that happens. There’s a pile of school books and completed art projects sitting in the living room, waiting for their futures to be decided.
It’s amazing how I can accumulate so much stuff that I don’t need over a six month period!
I dumped out my basket of clothes on the bed yesterday and started agonizing. I’ve picked up some pretty unique wearables while we’ve been here, and getting rid of stuff can be tricky. In fact, I’d say it’s my biggest weakness when it comes to travel. I can take long bus days, weird food, crappy hotel rooms, and general confusion. But I really suck at throwing out things at the end of a long stay. I have something like eight or nine outfits right now, which is about four too many for my backpack. Think I’ll grow out of it eventually?
It’ll be worth the organizing and sorting and packing though. It’s been six months since we flew to Guatemala, and I’m starting to get that itch. Heck, I’ve had that itch for a month now. It’s time to move on. The grandparents are eager to see us; there’s a pretty little cottage waiting for us in Ontario, and a whole new set of adventures to embark on. I’m looking forward to being busy again. The rush of the States has a certain appeal after the sedated lifestyle of San Marcos. The potential to get to work hard with my mind and hands once more (spring break/no teaching is killing me) is perhaps the most exciting of all.
We’ve all been talking about what we can’t wait to enjoy again back home (besides time with family and friends. They’re obviously at the top of the list). I’m especially looking forward to:
- Cadbury mini eggs. They’re my favorite. I’m hoping there’ll still be some around!
- New socks. My feet are too big to buy a pair here in Guate.
- Pears. And also apples. (eyes roll back in head, tongue lolls out)
- Stateside milk. I don’t know. It doesn’t taste right anywhere else.
- Bathtubs. There are few to no bathtubs in the third world.
At the same time, though, I’ll miss this little town. It’s one of the only places in the world where I feel like I’m truly part of a tight-knit locationally-based community. I’ll miss being able to walk down the street to the local tienda to pick up milk and eggs and running into half a dozen friends along the way. You can’t walk anywhere in the U.S., everything is done by car. Which almost completely eliminates the need for human interaction. I’ll miss the lack of cars; the serenity that’s so hard to find back home.
There’s a quiet cafe on the main street (which is about four to five feet across and not accessible to motorized vehicles) where I go to sit on faded patch pillows and sip homemade chai. It takes about 40 minutes for a cup to be made, and that’s my writing/drawing time. I suppose I’ll most miss the laid-back, accepting lifestyle that people here adopt whether they’re here for a few weeks or a few months to years. Time here is less important than experiences and mental/spiritual heath. I’m expecting that there’ll be some culture shock when I touch ground in the U.S. in a few days.
Heading back to my country of origin always wakens feelings of excitement as well as a strange sort of sadness in me. I can never decide if I’m more looking forward to the people and long-missed conveniences of the States, or already missing the home we’ve created in the place we’re leaving behind.
Either way, my writing time is over. Time to dive back into the packing process. There’s that pile of freshly cleaned clothes on my bed just waiting to be sorted into “donate” and “pack” piles. Please tell me I’ll get better at this in time!