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

What It’s Like Being a Homebody and Adventurer

I have two great loves in my life.

One is sweet, loving, welcoming. Has the warmest hugs. Comforting, a shoulder to cry on, supportive no matter what. An embrace so familiar, a love so captivating that it fills me up and almost swallows me whole. Such vivid happiness.

The other also brings happiness, but in a different form. Daring, spontaneous. Irresistibly intriguing. Always pushing my limits and encouraging me to grow tall but to also dig deep. Never boring. Only passionate, freefalling love. The kind of love people write books about.

These two loves are a part of myself. One is called Homebody and the other is Adventurer. The two couldn’t be more opposite, and at times, it’s difficult for them to both co-exist within me.

If anyone knows me, they know that I hold traveling very near and dear to my heart. The first time I knew I loved being abroad was my very first trip to San Lucas Tolimán, Guatemala- my freshman year of high school. Oddly enough that’s exactly where I’m sitting at writing this entry from; back where it all started. Traveling is compelling to a lot of people for a lot of reasons, but if I had to pin it down I think it would be this:

TRAVELING IS A FRESH START. I’m not sure if other people will understand this idea but to me, it makes perfect sense. A lot of people have things at home that bring them down, stress them out, and ultimately steal their happiness. But personally speaking, when I’m in a new place, none of that stuff matters. Sure, it might be a physical break but it’s just as much a mental break too. A new start can bring new friendships, experiences, and new perspective upon return.

TRAVELING IS KNOWLEDGE. Not the institutionalized mandated knowledge that I love SO much but the kind of knowledge that can only come from first hand experiences. Honestly, learning on my own terms is something I get really pumped about and especially in a new culture, learning is endless. In a good way. A word I learned as an Anthropology student is “ethnocentric,” which means “comparing another culture to your own” and basically thinking your way of doing things is the RIGHT way. It’s kind of amazing how much we can learn from opening up our minds and learning from other cultures.

TRAVELING IS A RUSH. Obviously I’m not the only one who gets excited for a trip or vacation. Most people I know also love seeing new places like me, so I think this sensation is pretty well known. Nothing really makes me as happy and excited as making travel plans.

So like I said- if anyone knows me, they know I live for this stuff. But the people that know me will also say that I hold something else just as near and dear as traveling: home.

Home is, of course, where my heart is. And as much as I love all of the excitement and newness of traveling, I seem to love being home for the almost opposite reasons…

HOME IS WHERE IM KNOWN. I mean this literally and figuratively. Literally, because everyone knows each other in Weston. But figuratively because my life that I have in my home town is a part of me. I don’t have to try to be someone I’m not. I don’t have to worry so much about “finding myself” because I’m already known for who I am as a person.

HOME STAYS THE SAME. Sometimes life can be so fast paced, especially in college, and it can be exhausting. Things are constantly changing, whether it’s friendships, relationships, jobs; but home always seems to stay the same. Sometimes it’s nice to know that some things will never change.

HOME IS COMFORTABLE. As much as I love new experiences and trying different things, coming back into my comfort zone is always something I look forward to. Home is a routine and I know how to follow that routine like the back of my hand, falling right into place as if I never left.

No matter where I am, whether it’s at college or in Guatemala, I’ll be thinking about home. My family, my pets, my friends, my room, my town…all of it. Maybe not at all times, but these thoughts are definitely in the back of my mind. And no matter how awesome and life changing my time away is, there’s always a little part of me that longs to be home.

So where does this leave me? How can I love 2 things for completely opposite reasons? These are the questions I end up asking myself. And while the answer is still a little unclear, I feel like I’ve found a good enough answer for the moment.

Something I have always seemed to struggle with internally is my inability to be decisive. I had the hardest time trying to decide what college to go to. And if I should break up with my boyfriend. And if I was ordering the right ice cream flavor..(or should I have just gotten the chocolate?) Every decision, big or small, seems to be difficult for me to make. I always want the best of both worlds, and when I’m forced to make a decision, I often second guess myself. I’ve always considered this to be a weakness…

…but in this case, is it? I’m so hard on myself because I don’t want to be a “the grass is greener” type of person, but in this scenario it actually works out. I don’t have to choose between being a homebody and an adventurer because I’m both. I love being away because of the fresh start, knowledge, and the rush. I love being home because I’m known, it stays the same, and it’s comfortable. All of these reasons are opposites, which is why they balance each other out. They aren’t comparable because I love them in different ways. I don’t have to compete with these different parts of myself because they can both coexist peacefully in my life. They fill all my gaps, lighten all my dark spaces, pick up each other’s slack, and make me capable of happiness at all times in my life.

In this way, I think it’s possible to be a homebody and an adventurer. I think if you have enough love and passion for both, then it works perfectly.

Side note: I made this realization this past weekend while writing in my daily journal. I was feeling really home sick after skyping with my family, and really started to struggle with this inner battle of “what am I doing” and “how can I miss home so much but also not want to leave here” It literally eased my mind to address these thoughts and come to the conclusion that I don’t have to be one thing or the other and that I could start using these excuses to be sad as excuses to be genuinely happy. I hope this helps anyone else who is feeling the same way sort through your own thoughts!

Peace & Love

Mattie