Two Homes

When people ask me how Guatemala was, my go-to reply is: “It was really good.” Then they say something to the equivalent of ‘im glad you had a good time’ and then we move on to another topic completely.

Good. It was really good. Sometimes that’s all people want to hear. Sometimes it’s the easiest response. Sometimes it’s the only way you can sum up and put into words the most substantially profound experience of your life.

In truth though, this time in my life deserves so much more than being classified as a ‘good’ time. Even so, I can’t seem to find words to express myself in this instance. Great? Amazing? Life changing? Magical? Time stoppingly awesome? Nope. These words don’t come close to any sort of explanation I’m seeking.

And with that, I’m stumped. The love I feel inside for this country and my time in it, will never be able to be truly communicated. While this frustrates me, I guess it’s also what makes the experience so special.

But where there’s a lack of words, there’s an abundance of photos, and these are the closest things I have to communicating everything I have felt and am feeling.

So, pictures.

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Walking through the market in Santiago- had to snap these delicious looking fruits.

 

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A stunning view from the top of Cerro de Oro- a hike that almost killed me.

 

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Without nature, there’s no life.

 

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My roomie, Josie, getting a confetti egg cracked on top of her head during Semana Santa.

 

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One of the highlights- day trip to the pools of Quixaya. 

 

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Crazy intricate and beautiful ‘carpets’ for Semana Santa.

 

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My absolute favorite Semana Santa carpet. Photo creds to Gato!

 

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View from the top of our sunrise hike.

 

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The 3 amigas! Alex and Heather, I love you two. 🙂

 

 

 

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What did we do to deserve sunrises?

 

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Minor, Heather, Alex, Josie- the gangs all here!

 

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First leg of our Semuc Champey trip- getting up at 5:30, riding in the back of a pick up truck to receive our 10 hour long shuttle ride!

 

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By far the coolest part of Semuc Champey- the cave tour. The whole thing is a candle lit tour.

 

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Before or after I skinned my knee on an underwater rock?? Idk.

 

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THE VIEW. Pretty pretty waterfalls.

 

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Ignore the fact that I look like a 5 year old boy in this picture and just look at how much fun we are having swimming under the waterfalls.

 

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River floating with the beer salesmen, ft Alex’s feet.

 

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Literally the only picture I took inside of a tuk tuk. Aka: Guatemalan uber.

 

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Thank you Dylan, for the bed-full of confetti. Happy Semana Santa! 

 

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The amount of Quetzales I spent on bottles of pop is probably sky high and I have no regrets. Not a single one.

 

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One of our favorite taco shops in San Lucas, with the central park in the background.

 

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I originally posted this picture on instagram with the caption ‘my love for ice cream knows no borders’ and then my mom instantly texted me to express her concern about my fingernails. Just a little side note about doing construction for 3 months in Guatemala- your fingernails along with the rest of your body never seem to be clean. Sorry mom!!!

 

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St. Patty’s Day beers with the ladies at Casa Vieja.

 

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We had to scavenge for green food dye for this, but worth it.

 

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The infamous chicken bus ride to Chichicastenango. Nothing says Guatemala like overstuffing transportation systems!

 

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Semuc Champey!!! Such a magical place that I will never forget. Featuring lady picking her wedgie right smack in the middle.

 

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This is my buddy Renee. And my other buddy, dog that I never learned the name of. Renee and I would do yoga together down by the lake in the mornings and this dog would always want to join in. Maybe her name should be Yogi.

 

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The last picture I took in Guatemala: the view from our roof, clotheslines and all. I already miss seeing this on a daily basis.

 

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My view every morning at yoga. It honestly can’t get any more beautiful than this.

 

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Just because I love artsy yoga pictures. (This was a floating dock and was very hard to pose on.)

 

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Just one more 🙂

 

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This picture was taken on the day we learned how to cook Chili Rellenos at the women’s center. The aesthetic these chilis have deserved to be photographed.

 

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La jefa, doing what she does best: working it in her fedora!!!

 

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Kayaking in San Pedro!

 

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Josie’s birthday cake- definitely as good as it looked. Felicidades!

 

 

 

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One of my favorite pictures EVER. The serenity is unreal.

 

 

I’ve been home for a little over a week now, and while the transition back was a bit strange, I seem to be falling right back into the swing of things. It’s nice to be back in the land of air conditioning, flushable toilets, english speakers, and most importantly….free refills!!!

Thanks to everyone who prayed for me and kept in touch during my travels- it means more than you know. Until next time!

 

Mattie

Mi Vida Guatemalteca

I’ve been living in Guatemala for almost a month now. My mom has been asking a lot of questions about my when my next blog post will be and when I’m going to post my pictures, so I figured it’s about time I do both. These are for you, mom!

 

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My neighborhood in Xela, where I attended Spanish immersion school. Miss it!!

 

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The view from my 2 hour hike to the tip top of Volcano Chicabal.

 

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I’m a sucker for some pretty flowers.

 

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1 million stairs. Or at least it felt like it.

 

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The view from the hike. The flowers were left over from a Mayan ceremony- obviously a kodak moment.

 

 

 

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One of my first outings in Xela- the cemetery. Almost everyone is buried above ground in these colorful graves.

 

 

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A very fancy grave sight.

 

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This was the view on the walk to the Fuentes Georginas. Just the right amount of spooky.

 

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This picture doesn’t show for it, but these waves were gnarly.

 

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Beach side view from a stunning black sand beach.

 

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I stole this coconut from a friend just to get this picture…worth it.

 

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This dog might have been mangy, but friendly nonetheless. I named him Arthur.

 

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A night out of karaoke and shots with my Celas Maya friends. I miss you people dearly!!!

 

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A woman without a man is like a fish without a bicycle. Captured this pic while in the bathroom at a bar in Xela- loved it.

 

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Spanish scrabble on my last day of class with my dear teacher Carlos.

 

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Countless women with countless stories from Trama in Xela.

 

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First sighting of Lake Atitlan. It’s good to be back!

 

 

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The swinging bridge to Nueva Providencia. Beautiful but a little scary…I’m lying, a lotta scary.

 

 

 

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Sweet sweet Jennifer snacking on some tasty watermelon. Love this little one!

 

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A couple of awesome kiddos from one of the stove sights. Adorable!

 

Ok- sorry it’s not more but that’s all I have to show for this month. I have been really busy doing construction work with the mission and taking pictures often slips my mind. Next month I will try to post again with more photos. Anyway, for those who are wondering, I am absolutely loving my time in Guatemala. I have been truly touched by the people, culture, and work I have been involved with in my short time here so far. (to make a long story short) 🙂

Thanks for reading once again. I hope everyone is well at home. Until next time!

Mattie