***disclaimer: i am copying this (and paraphrasing) from my journal of the trip...so it may be a little more stream of consciousness than usual***
so we are well on our way to guatemala. i am tired, but excited & also THANKFUL...PRAISE, because we almost missed our flight! it is funny how in extremely important situations...everything either works with you or against you! in this situation, it was a little of both...but no middle ground. we were running late...then the MARTA decided to act crazy, then we had to rely on our charm (and the amazing powers of persuasion from our company manager Patton White) to get our butts on that plane!
no matter how much we believe or think we are in good shape, when you have to run the entire length of an airport with luggage in tow...it makes you very winded, tired, and sweaty! so now we are on the plane...and i will probably nap :)
after much sleep...we have landed, again...PRAISE!!! i hate turbulence...it is frightening...
YAY...i got the very first stamp on my passport!!! i always hear horror stories about customs, etc....but that was rather quick, easy, and painless.
upon leaving the airport we get the first pleasurable experience of the Guatemalan climate...dry, breezy, sunny, blue skies...and also the immediate realization that there is a definate hustle and bustly of a city...we are in Guatemala City, Guatemala. there are lots of folks outside the airport...women breast-feeding their kids, familys sitting on the curb of the street...and we are greeted by the smiling face of our tour guide Roberto! off we go...
if you thought riding in normal traffic is scary...i suggest you go to latin america where all logical rules of transportation go out the window (literally)! luckily our hotel is close by...once we drop our stuff off...we go eat at Las Palmas...yay...food, yay...yummy food! from there it is time to go to the bank to get money, then off to the museum where Roberto took us through a "brief" historical overview of the Mayans...their culture, their art, their beliefs, etc as we walk through the museum...
i had to pay to be able to take pictures...that is odd, but hey...i want to document everything.
(pictures will follow...i'm writing this blog on a time crunch...sorry)...it is really funny how all of a sudden we go from beautiful pottery and other handmade objects full of detail & cultural significance into the last room which is full of catholic artifacts. it was strange to see how there was just a huge shift in culture, belief, and pretty much a way of life.
it is strange...the human need to conquer and impose their way of life on others. to justify their slaughter & overthrow of the Mayan empire...the church said that if they consider the Mayans as "savages" they they could kill & conquer because they are spreading the word of God & the gift of salvation to a people who are deemed as "un-Godly," "savage," and just in need of "saving."
thus begins the beautiful and odd marriage of the pagan ways of the Mayans and the Christian beliefs of their conquerors.
roberto said, "Guatemala is a land of contrasts."
i am moved by the beauty of the landscape, the climate...the air is thick with history, i think we all notice it...we aren't in kansas anymore. we are in for a journey of a lifetime...change is palpable...i feel it in me already.
i live my life as a Latin American...with no real connection to who i am in this crazy world, when it comes to history & heritage...i have been so "American-ized." it sounds cheesy...but i am in the land of my people...same skin, same native tongue (that is still very foreign to me)...i long to have that zest for life that they have...despite their economic conditions.
i can't help but think...what would my life be like if my grandparents didn't make that tough decision to leave their home, their history, their lives (as they knew it)...in search for something better...in search for the American dream!
in short...i realize...we are no longer talking about going to Guatemala...we are here...and i am thankful...life is amazing & beautiful...you just have to open your eyes...and realize & accept that!