Howdy folks, and welcome to the next, slightly delayed, yet ever so flavourful, edition of The Adventures of Guat-Squad!™ Though my glasses may be at the bottom of a river, my blood sugar level is sky high, and The Best® blogger Ada Krahn is ready to give you the hoo-diggity on our week in the lowlands in northern Guatemala!
Our schedule changes very drastically week to week, and this affects the social dynamic of the site greatly. The weeks we spend with our host families in San Juan del Obispo are structured, yet fairly independent. There’s a weekly routine we fall into, with a significant amount of time alone at our individual houses. We focus and work hard on our Spanish classes, make time to read our Discussion books, and do what work we need to for each site committee we’re a part of (worship, entertainment, media, etc.). Whenever possible, we find time to go for coffee or sit in the park with each other. It’s a strange mix of Getting Stuff Done and staying quite still. Don’t misunderstand me, we all love and enjoy so much about being here, and I am exaggerating some of the stress, but my point is that we were itching for a change of pace by the end of our 4th week in San Juan. I noticed a subtle bit of homesickness looming over us. A lot of us were missing people and things at home, and a need for some adventure and a break from the responsibility of class and schoolwork. So our break from Spanish class for the past two weeks was warmly welcomed by many of us!
We spent the week travelling between a few hostels and hotels about 6-8 hours northeast of San Juan. The altitude in this area is much lower, meaning it was much more hot and humid! The first few days we stayed at Denny’s Beach and enjoyed the massive Lago de Izabel, beautiful sunsets, and an amazing hot spring waterfall! We also got a chance to visit Tikal, an ancient Mayan city, and hear about what archaeologists have learned about the place, as well as what knowledge had been preserved via oral tradition.
I think we all benefited immensely from living together again for a whole week. We got the chance to spend time talking to more fellow students than we would while in San Juan. I won’t go into too much detail, so as to avoid next week’s writer’s thunder, but the week following this travel week was really good for us in similar ways. We split the group in half to travel for the whole next week. While we missed our friends in the other group immensely, we had the opportunity to have more time with people we maybe didn’t usually spend as much time with. We had closer conversations, and made new bonds and memories that we brought back to then share with the rest of our friends.
I think I’m just trying to show all of you at home that what we’re experiencing here in Guatemala is constantly changing. What we focus on, how our community functions, the amount of physical, mental, or spiritual stress changes week by week, sometimes day to day. It wakes us up when we get too comfortable, and gives us breaks when we’re overwhelmed by certain aspects of the program. Every day is a unique experience that pushes our limits, and fortifies our relationships with each other, the world, God, and ourselves. Thank you for continuing to read my thoughts instead of turning back once you read my intro! We’re not ready to come home yet, but we’ll be glad to be home when we are.