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

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The Need To Feel Alive

Everyone has different fears. For some people, it’s spiders. For others, it’s heights. For many, the dark. In a world full of many things to be fearful of, my main fear would have to be coasting.

TOO MANY times I catch myself doing this thing I hate, over and over and over again. Coasting is scary because it’s so easy. It’s too easy to fall into a rut of doing the same thing day after day, going through the motions, feeling more or less emotionless. Coasting means not really caring about the fact that life is passing you by while you are going about your days in a comfortable zombie-like rhythm.

Yes, don’t get me wrong. I am fearful of creepy crawlers, heights, dying, etc etc etc. But what I am the absolute most fearful of is life passing me by. Some days I feel like I live life to the absolute fullest, but then there are other days when I end the day wishing I would have spoken up, made a new friend, done something adventurous, learned something new, told my family I love them, or just wish I did something differently. When I am old and nearing the end of my life on earth, to have these regretful thoughts about my entire life is what I fear the most. And fear, as I’m learning (especially from the latest election) is a very powerful thing.

On the other end of the spectrum, love is also a very powerful thing. The love of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Isn’t that what it’s all about? The love of being present and alive is what drives a lot of my decisions and has a huge influence over how I live my life day to day.

I think a lot of people share this same fear and love, whether or not it’s acknowledged. Whether we are driven by fear, love, or a balanced combination of both, the outcome is the same. We want to live our lives to the absolute fullest. We have a need to feel alive. I have compiled a list of little things that I do personally to try to make the most out of every day, and I thought maybe it could be of use to someone, so here it is:

1. Make a mantra for each day. I just recently started doing this and it honestly works wonders. Although it can be a tad cheesy, personally, I love it. A mantra is any positive phrase that you want to embody and remember throughout the day. So if you’re religious, maybe it’s a scripture verse. If you’re not, maybe it’s something like “accept what is, instead of resenting what isn’t” or “make happiness a priority” or maybe something specific like “today I will talk to the cute guy at Starbucks.” Literally anything can be a mantra and it helps keep me centered.

2. Pay it forward. This is super important for me. Every day I TRY to do something for someone else. Whether it’s paying for someone’s coffee, helping someone in need, being a shoulder to cry on, or even literally smiling at someone or loaning out a pencil. Honestly, any small act of kindness makes the difference.

3. Make a to-do list. So this might sound like something that is living more in the future than in the present. And I will admit that I am always 2 steps ahead and sometimes am bad about keeping myself in the present. With that said, I think that I benefit from making a to-do list. I’m not talking about a day to day to-do list but more like a lifetime to-do list that you keep adding to every day. It reminds me of how much I have to live for and all the amazing things I want to accomplish. And for me, it works.

4. Talk to a stranger. Ok, obviously my mom taught me not to talk to strangers. But I feel like if you’re in a public place, not 5 years old, and have good judgment, then it’s ok, right? Talking to people I don’t know is out of my comfort zone, which is why it’s on this list. But talking to strangers can lead to new friends and new stories.

5. Inspire yourself. I do this via blog. Reading other people’s blogs, planning future trips to far off places, watching at makeup tutorials, or looking at recipes on Pinterest, all inspire me in one way or another. Getting inspired by things I love is an awesome way for me personally to be more goal oriented.

6. Laugh really hard. Casssh me oussside, how bow dah? I find a lot of things pretty comical, so this is an easy one for me. But sometimes, someone/something will make me laugh so hard that I will laugh about it days after it happens, and those are the best days. You can’t have a bad day when you’re laughing, right?

7. Tell your loved ones they are loved. I mentioned this in an earlier blog post, but it’s just really important to me. To have a family who loves for you, cares for you, supports you, is something special. Sometimes I’m bad about telling my family how I feel on the daily, but every chance I get I tell them I love them because you never know when the last time will be.

8. Chill out. If you know me, I’m pretty much always stressing out about something. As a natural born worry wart, sometimes it’s so hard to just chill. When I start to get stressed out I remind myself that what I’m stressing over usually doesn’t matter in the grand scheme of things and being carefree is a better way to spend my time. Life is too short to be stressed all the time. So take a chill pill and take…(see #9)

9. You time. In the wise words of Parks and Rec, treat yo’self. I think it’s absolutely necessary for anyone’s sanity to take a break and get some time to yourself. Doing something you love every day is essential. Even if it’s a couple minutes, I find that it makes me a tad less stressed, and a little more happy.

10. Learn something new. I’m a firm believer that to learn is to live. New languages, new hobbies, new foods, new places, new knowledge always makes me feel like I’m truly living. It’s hard to do this every day, but I will say it’s pretty easy while traveling. 🙂

Personally, this list helps me live every day to the fullest potential and avoid coasting. I think at least trying to make time for even a couple of these things per day is important.

 

To my friends and like 7 followers (lol) : Thank you for reading! I hope you are liking all my extremely personal, probably really cheesy, possibly wanna-be inspirational thoughts. Love ya’ll.

Mattie