Well. Here I am again in the airport. Arrived at my gate hours before my flight because everyone suggested leaving early due to possible Christmas traffic. It almost feels like dejavú. I was way too early for my flight here as well.
But here I am. Only 2 days before Christmas. Nearly a week after when I was supposed to be here. And 5.5 months after arriving in this beloved country. It almost doesn’t feel real. I can’t begin to describe the feeling I feel right now. Perhaps the week of being sick damaged some brain cells, but it’s almost like I was able to shut my brain off. I feel numb.
The last few days that I was here were surreal, like it wasn’t supposed to happen (well, it wasn’t. I got sick. But I’m almost sort of glad I did because I think I needed that last bit of time to pull myself together to leave. I don’t think that I was ready last Wednesday). The majority were spent in a bed in a hotel room watching TV or movies, being so well-taken care of by Galleta, who I can’t thank enough for everything that he’s done that last few days. Last night, we spent our last night in Rainbow Café, listening to Kenny and Edgar for the last time. I hadn’t been in a long time to listen to them, nor to eat in Rainbow, so it made for a very nice closing to my trip. Ended where I started, but as a completely new person.
And that I am. As I sat here in the airport finishing out my journal before starting my blog, a guy approached me to see if I would be willing to participate in a survey. I assumed it was more a survey about the airport, but after we got past the typical “what’s your age?” “what country are you from?” questions, I was hit with ones that I wasn’t prepared to answer.
What was the best thing you liked about Guatemala? (where do I start?)
What was the worst thing you saw? (cheaters, racism, judgement, and trash)
Why did you come here? (Learn Spanish)
What do you see in the future for Guatemala? (Change)
Will you come back? (Of course)
It’s by the grace of God or my lack of sleep that the flood gates didn’t open in front of this poor guy. I have already let the tears out once today saying bye to Galleta in the entrance of the airport. You wouldn’t think such a vulgar phrase as “SOS LA MERA VERGA” could make you tear up so much, but it pretty much means you’re the best person ever and well, he’s the mera verga for taking care of me through his birthday and dropping me off at the airport and helping me with everything. That was definitely my hardest of goodbyes. I tried to see Willy today, but he was stuck in orientation, and I decided it was for the better because neither of us are good at goodbyes and that would have sent me in a fit of tears as well. Can’t ruin my make-up now, right? (Whatever, mascara is going to be all over my face by the time I get off the plane in the States).
So what do I do with this post now? I never thought this day would come. I really. I can’t believe how quickly six months passed by. I can’t believe I was here in Guatemala. I can’t believe any of what just happened. I don’t even know who I am anymore.
I remember my first post sitting in the airport in Atlanta, trying to distract myself from the fear of leaving my country. I remember waiting in line at security, nearly calling my mom to come back and get me because I didn’t want to do it anymore. A trip that I decided on “de repente” as they say here, I had found, booked, and bought my trip within less than two weeks of deciding to do it. What possessed me? I’ll never know. But whatever it was, I owe it a big thank you.
Nah, I’m joking. I know what it was, it just sounds way better in writing if you act dramatic and don’t get all religious on people. But, I have no other person that I can thank more than God, the only one who knows how to make sense of my life. The only one that knew that I was actually capable of doing this. The little spark that kept me going forward, even though I was scared out of my mind.
And here I am at the end of my show, viewing the results. I think I still have a lot to think about, as I still don’t even know where to begin in writing this. I’m just shocked that the trip is already over. Shocked that I did it. Shocked that I met so many good people and so many bad people in the same place. Shocked that I learned Spanish enough to communicate pretty damn well. Shocked that I got sick so often in the beginning of my trip, but never came home. Shocked that I rode in the door of a chicken bus whipping around curvy roads. Shocked that 6 months has already passed by. Shocked that I’ve ridden in countless pick-up trucks, sitting on the edge. Shocked that I’ve ridden motorcycles without a helmet. Shocked that I road-tripped solo through a land unknown. Shocked that I learned how to dance a little Salsa. Shocked that I climbed the second highest volcano in Guatemala. Shocked that I was even IN Guatemala. Shocked that I worked for free and made art of recycles and loved it. Shocked that I organized a fundraising party. In a foreign country. Shocked that I made friendships that feel like second family. Shocked that I have another place in the world that I can call home.
A bittersweet emptiness fills me as I sit here, watching my plane pull up. Shocked that I am here in the airport. Excited to see my friends in the States and my family, but torn apart to leave my other family behind. But, it has to be done.
Just. I don’t know who I am anymore. What happened to the girl that got made fun of in middle school, who had no self-esteem, who, as much as she dreamed and dreamed, always felt defeated at some point and never felt like she could be anything in the world?
Shocked. There’s just no other word. I’m shocked. People think I’m beautiful here. And I have put on more weight and gotten more acne than I had before I left! People still judge me, but I have so many people that look up to me. So many. I guess what needs to be learned is you have to learn who to pay attention to. People are always going to judge you and talk bad about you, but you gotta keep a go. Who am I? I’m happy. I’ve changed for the better. It’s amazing.
I’m flattered by all the love I’ve received here. All the respect I’ve been given. I’m just a person just like anyone else. I was made fun of. I’ve been hurt. I never thought I’d be something special for anybody, but here I am leaving a trail of broken hearts over my departure (don’t worry, mine is broken too). Someone who had little self-esteem for the majority of her life who always listened too much to the negative has changed her life. But I’m not special. I’m just like anyone else. The past does not define who you are and the future holds a precious gift as long as you are willing to let go of your fears and fight for it. I did it. I did this crazy trip to Guatemala. I learned Spanish. I did what I came to do and more. So I guess what I learned the most out of anything in this trip is….
¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡TU PUEDES, MI AMORRRRRRRRRRR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!