And the greatest of these is love

I don’t ever want to stop traveling.

This whole trip has taught me so many things and given me so many new experiences. Especially this last week in dealing with my heartbreak and deciding what to do about the situation, I’ve learned so many things. Unfortunately, I’m learning too many other things and not enough Spanish!! Hahaha.

I was ignoring José when he was trying to contact me last weekend. I hurt too much to talk and say anything nice so I ignored him. He was trying to stay my friend, but I wasn’t sure yet what I wanted to do with the situation. I saw him Saturday night when I went out dancing with Kevin and he wasn’t with other girls, so a little part of me wondered if he was telling the truth about everything else he told me. Only God will know.

Sunday, I decided he must have gotten the picture because he stopped bothering me which gave me some space to think. I decided that I am going to try to forgive him and stay his friend. I’ve never given up a friend ever in my life (who’s wanted to stay my friend, that is), why should I start now? Everyone messes up. So I therefore began my usual “break-up” letter.

Yes, I always write a letter to people I’ve gone out with. Future boyfriends, be warned. Haha. I have realized that I am quite a strange one recently, as everyone who I was talking to was suggesting that this was a horrendous idea, but I’ve always done it because it makes me feel better. It allows me to get my feelings out, but also allows me to thank them for the good times we had and end things in a way to where I can more easily forgive the person. It does not take away the pain, but it at least makes me feel like my hands are clean. So I wrote a long note to José and explained that we can try to still be friends, but if we stay friends there are rules now because of what happened. One of those being he has to be 100% honest with me about everything from here on out. Sure, I suppose I won’t know, but aren’t the people that do things like this the ones that need a real friend the most? I don’t know. Maybe I am blabbering on like a naive child, but this was my thought and so that’s what I decided to do.

I had my dear Willy read my letter to see if it all made sense and my Spanish was good and he didn’t correct much at all! What great news is this? He said there were some things wrong, but it made enough sense to understand it.

Sunday I had lunch at Isolina’s church and mostly studied. Orlando invited me to come to A Lo Chapin to hang out with the usual group so I did and we all went to the Sala for Salsa Night after Kevin and Byron closed the restaurant. ¡Que divertido! 7 guys asked me to dance! Where are all the guys that ask girls to dance in the U.S? Somebody please tell me because I would like to know. One of the guys, Marvin, works at Rainbow Café so I kind of knew him. He was really good at leading me in Bachata. I met another guy that was good at leading me in Salsa, so that was fun.

Monday I finally went back to my volunteer job. I was surprised that I could wake up after staying out til 1:00 AM. But everything went well. I supposed I was motivated because I could see the end in sight (Friday).

Spanish class was awful on Monday. I learned nothing new because for the first time in almost a month, we had a new person. Oh, how I need to work on my patience. I was horrible when I was new to the class, but since I’ve been spoiled with private classes this last month, it was really hard to be patient with his bad Spanish. It also made me realize how important it is to continue to practice Spanish after learning it. He learned Spanish for two months in South America, just like I have here, but he hasn’t used it in a year and it shows. I think I’m more frustrated by his attitude than his lack of speaking ability because he gets so insanely mad at himself and makes so many frustrated gestures and noises that it grinds on me. I’m trying to learn how to not let it affect me, but since I myself am trying to work on being a positive person, it’s hard to be around negativity. It is especially a huge challenge when I know that my time and money are being wasted waiting on him to stop being frustrated and just try!

Willy also wasn’t there Monday which didn’t help because I’d been dying all weekend for him to read my letter to José so he could help me correct it. And obviously, of course I always miss Willy over the weekend because he’s the greatest teacher and the only 110% trustworthy friend I have here so far haha. No, I trust my other friends, but Willy is definitely the only friend I have here that gets me.

Tuesday I didn’t do much. I was supposed to have my tandem partner meeting with Lily, but she cancelled again so I had a pretty slow day that day.

Wednesday I went back to my project again and had a traditional Wednesday (minus my Salsa class). I decided to hang out for a minute in A Lo Chapin and visit my friends before heading to Rainbow to give José his letter. Willy has been sort of my guidance counselor this whole trip as well and knows everything that’s happened with me, and he told me he thought I should send my letter to him, even though everyone else thinks I should have nothing to do with José. So that was the sign I needed to know I was doing the right thing and not being a stupid girl. Willy actually seemed rather impressed and touched by my letter and said he’s never done that or received one from an ex and it actually made him think he should write one now. I was so touched to hear that I touched someone’s heart like that because that made me feel like I’m doing something right with my life.

Wednesday was hard in Rainbow to be around José, but not be able to talk yet because he hadn’t yet read the letter. But God blessed me with a multitude of friends. I saw almost every single one of my friends, plus made some new ones, that night by staying for the whole Open Mic Night. And what else? I finally sucked it up and SANG! Only took me two months to get up there (although, if I may say, I have been sick for quite a lot of the Wednesdays). I was shaking like a leaf, as I hate to get up in front of people, but I got asked by 3 different guys to practice with them and sing later. How exciting! I hope they actually mean that because then maybe I could even conquer my fear of singing on front of people while I’m here.

I was planning to head back to A Lo Chapin, but on my way out, Kenny finally talked to me for more than 30 seconds and we hung out for the first time in 2 months of knowing him at Rainbow. ¡Por fin! Haha. Me and him and one of his friends, Edgar, went to the Sala to dance and we had a great time. Hopefully we’re finally friends now. I like making friends.

José started texting me again that night, after he had read my letter, and he wanted to talk. But since I finally made up my mind to be his friend, I said we could talk Thursday. So Thursday we went out to dinner and talked and tried to be friends again. I can’t believe I’m doing this. I’ve surprised myself with my strength in this issue. I just feel like I should try to stay his friend and I don’t know why. We’ve only known each other a month or two; why do I need his friendship? It’s especially hard too because so many people are judging me now when I hang out with him because they don’t think he deserves my friendship and they think I’m foolish. I don’t know. Maybe I am, but I gotta do what I feel is right, right? How blessed are we to have such a loving God that lets us come back no matter what. This whole situation has made me see what it means to love unconditionally. Not only do I have to fight the feelings I had for him and the pain from him lying to me, but I also have to fight the judgment of other people. It’s hard as balls! How the hell does God love such terrible creatures as us?

Glad to still have my best friend. Judge not lest you also be judged

Glad to still have my best friend. Judge not lest you also be judged

I went to A Lo Chapin after dinner to hang out with my usual crowd because I was supposed to go dancing with Kevin again, but I wasn’t feeling up to it that night. I had a stomach ache and was tired and I found out Orlando was mad at me for something I said at Rainbow the night before. Miguel explained it to me (I’ve mentioned Miguel before right? He’s another friend at A Lo Chapin who knows English and Spanish so he’s a huge help when I’m having trouble explaining something!) what I did and it sounded like the dumbest thing ever to me because our culture is so different, but after further explanation the next day, I understood and felt awful. I am learning so many things about this culture that are making me so thankful for mine. I had no idea I even said anything bad, but I did and he was hurt badly, but refused to talk about it until the next day. So I went home and slept because I was sad to have hurt a friend and because I needed to go to work the next day.

30 minutes after returning to my house, I heard a girl get robbed right in front of our house. She didn’t get hurt that I could hear, but someone definitely robbed her. Pobresita. I hated to hear that because I’ve felt safe here for the most part so far. I also found out the next day that someone about a block away from our house got stabbed 3 times in the stomach. ¡Que horror! I suppose I’m not in the safest of places after all, but I am glad I am being watched over by an all-powerful God. I am fortunate to have been safe this whole trip so far. That could have been me!

Friday was my last official day at my project. I decided to make it this way because I’ve missed so many days and I hate feeling bad about missing them so I thought since I have travels in the near future and am planning to start Salsa lessons that I am better off saying I can come when I can come instead of promising something I can’t commit to. It ended up working out anyways because a lot of the times the adults can’t attend my English class and the last girl that was in my class is leaving to go live with her Aunt and Uncle now, so I’m really not needed too often there anymore as it is.

I also went out to A Lo Chapin, as usual, and fixed things with Orlando. What an interesting night that was. I was really tired again for some reason, but had no desire to return to my house at 10:00 pm, so I stayed and just rested my head on the table for a lot of the time. But 11 older guys in total ended up coming to hang out and drink and I felt like I was in a cantina instead of a restaurant. Hahaha. I’m never quite sure why I hang out with guys, but I enjoyed laughing at their ridiculous behavior and horrendous singing voices. I got a chance to talk to Orlando about a lot of things and that was nice to have someone finally open up to me. I love when people trust me with things because it makes me feel they trust me as a good friend, which I most certainly try to be.

Yesterday, I woke up early around 8:00 am and noticed my phone blinking already and saw it was from José. I didn’t realize how early the music started in the streets. The 15th of September is like our 4th of July so for the 14th, the little kid bands were parading through the streets. He promised to take me to this before telling me he had a girlfriend and since I’m trying to stay his friend, I still wanted to go. So we went to that and it was fun. That’s also when I got to have a nice life lesson. He was letting me read a conversation he was having with a girl to prove that he doesn’t look for anything, it just “happens” to him.

He was right. This girl was blatantly throwing herself at him asking “What are you doing tonight? I want to see you before I go back to my country tomorrow. Do you want to see me?” with wink faces. At first I thought, poor girl has a crush on him like me and thinks he’s single so when he sent a message to show me how she would react that said “I want to see you and give you lots of kisses” (But kisses here can sometimes signify just those kisses on the cheek), I yelled at him and said this is what I mean by “playing” with someone and that’s not fair to her and this is when he should be honest and mention his girlfriend. So he ACTUALLY listened to me and said that he had a girlfriend…

To which the girl responded. “That’s okay. You know I have a boyfriend too right? WHAT HAPPENS IN GUATEMALA STAYS IN GUATEMALA!!!!! ;)”

Can I express in words without offending my family on this blog how boiling mad this made me? No. I can’t. I’m sorry, family, close your eyes… BUT WHAT THE FUCK?!!?! I was so upset by her response that I actually cried. (Don’t laugh at me!) I can’t believe people such as this exist. José made fun of me for tearing up, but I was completely in shock of how disgusting of a girl this was and it made me realize what everyone has been talking about with “extranjeras” coming down here to have a good time and why guys take advantage of them. José actually listened to everything I told him he needed to type to this girl like “I’m sorry. I’d like to see you and say goodbye, but nothing more. Because I have a girlfriend and I’m loyal.” So that was impressive. I suppose I don’t have control over whether he does anything with her later or not, but the fact that he actually typed those things was a good sign that he wants to stay my friend and means it.

World, why are you this way? How can people do such things? I understand a slip up, I think. But to blatantly say basically “Yeah I have a boyfriend, but who cares? What he doesn’t know won’t hurt him”? just killed my heart. I weep for this world. No wonder there is so much pain and heartbreak with people that do things like this. Stop being so selfish and respect other people, PLEASE! I know it’s hard. I KNOW. But for real people, if we are not the difference, who will be? No one’s perfect, me included. But for goodness sakes, we can at least try to respect people and love people and not do awful things like this.

I’m definitely having my eyes opened to the world, but I’m still refusing to let it change what I think. And what I think is love people that have hurt you and be an example no matter how many people try to make you change and no matter how many people try to bring you down to their level. Rise up and fight in the name of Love!

Anyways, off my soap box. Around lunch time, he dropped me back home and I ate lunch and headed off to my regular hang out place, as usual. I decided to do my homework there yesterday instead of Máximo so I could be surrounded by people instead of solo. I have now decided that if I actually want to study, this is not the best idea haha. After I finished my homework, Byron, Orlando, Miguel and I headed to the park again to listen to some more of the music that was going on for a bit and then back to A Lo Chapin where I spent the rest of the evening. I am thankful for my group of friends there because I always have a place to go when I’m feeling lonely. And they at least somewhat understand our cultural differences so I can somewhat be my normal self there without worrying about leading someone on because I hugged on them or smiled at them. Hahaha. Or at least if they don’t understand, Miguel can explain it to them better than I can.

left to right -Miguel, Me, Orlando, Byron. Love these kids :)

left to right -Miguel, Me, Orlando, Byron. Love these kids :)

Today I had to get up bright and early again because I thought José and I were going to the stadium to watch a band competition, but it was still just the parade in the park going on again. But oh well. It was still fun to watch. What was interesting to me was the drastic change in temperature. I was freezing in pants and long sleeves earlier this week and today I was frying in a skirt and t-shirt. While the fair was going on, it got cloudy and the temperature was perfect and as soon as the cloud move, que calor otra vez! So strange.

Recycled Dresses?

Recycled Dresses?

another shot of the parade

another shot of the parade

Not really sure what this was for. Definitely saw some strange things in the parade

Not really sure what this was for. Definitely saw some strange things in the parade

I got really hungry while we were watching so we decided to leave and go eat. And the oddest thing was, I had a huge craving to eat Guatemalan food! So we went to a place that served comida tipica and it was ricoooo. I must be becoming accustomed to the food here because I hated the tortillas when I got here and now I crave them haha. And what a great lunch that was. It was so stinking cheap!

$2.50 for all this food?? I need to stop eating at the tourist restaurants...

$2.50 for all this food?? I need to stop eating at the tourist restaurants…

So far for the most part, so good. We’ll see if I can continue to stay friends with José. As long as he behaves and continues to follow the rules I laid out and as long as I can continue to stay strong, I think all will be well. Perhaps it will change when his girlfriend actually gets here and I have to see them together, but for now I am managing to keep my head up and pass time with him without getting depressed. Me not getting depressed over a guy that broke my heart. Proof that miracles do happen.

And now off I go to visit my other friends!

Keepin it calidad. Peace out, peeps.

2 thoughts on “And the greatest of these is love

  1. Aunt Kristin says:

    Thanks so much for the beautiful Antigua postcard. We all appreciated your thoughtfulness. We went out to dinner at Texas Roadhouse last night to celebrate your mother’s birthday. She let the restaurant staff embarrass her singing will she sat on a saw horse with a saddle. She was a good sport; I’ll send photos. Nice pre-wedding dinner at Uncle Paul’s tonight. Very relaxing outside with white lights. When are you headed out of the country and where and with whom?

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