In the fall of 2009, I had finished a handful of years at school and had completed an internship at my dream job – National Geographic! I studied Geography in college with an emphasis on Global Studies. What an awesome thing for me to spend my time reading and learning about! I had many awesome professors (both in the geography department and elsewhere) that helped me increase my knowledge, appreciation, and love of the world and the people in it.
During these years I also spent an incredible amount of time researching travel. I read about places, possibilities, and potential adventures online and in the many, MANY books I’d check out from the library. I spent nights watching travel shows, my favorites being Rick Steves and Globe Trekker (both likely available at your city library). I’m pretty sure I spent more time researching travel than I did doing my actual homework. Luckily for me, the two overlapped quite nicely :)
All of this global influence in my life made me eager to be out exploring the world again. My next international trip for me was to Guatemala. This trip was different from all the others I have yet been on. My brother and I went to Guatemala with Hug it Forward, an organization that teams up with communities to build bottle schools. That’s right, schools made out of plastic bottles. It’s a really interesting premise that seems to be going really well. If you want to see and learn more, check out the links as well as this video from one of their trips.
Spending over a week in one place and getting to know the kids at the school was a lot of fun. I still remember many of their names. The picture above is from when Christian and I had matching injuries. Mine was from playing soccer in sandals; I’m not sure what his was from, perhaps the same.
There are so many good memories from this trip! I remember having a relatively lengthy conversation with one boy and afterwards wondering and marveling at what we even talked about, and how; our language overlap was quite slim. This trip was an excellent opportunity to learn and practice spanish, especially words like basura, botella, and tenazas :)
My brother developed the nickname Gringo Loco. I went by the much more respectable epithet, Gringo Contento. I was also known as Guapo, of course :) Somehow I became the heartthrob of most grade-school girls in the town. It must have been those luscious locks I was sporting! Still in my possession are the bilingual love notes I received.
Tyler took it upon himself to teach the kids how to yodel. I gladly assisted from time to time in this endeavor. Thankfully, we have this recorded (along with our attempts at speaking Spanish).
Another thing I remember about Guatemala was the simple and consistent food we ate there. From time to time I’ll recreate the feeling of being there by cooking up some beans, scrambled eggs, and a bit of crema to mix in. It’s SOO delicious!
We met some great people on this trip, both the Guatemalans and our fellow travel pals, and I’m very grateful to have had this experience. I’ll post more stories from this trip, but I wanted to at least have a general overview of the trip recorded here.
Be excellent to each other!