After an incredibly long day of traveling involving all forms of public transportation (planes, taxis, chicken buses, the back of a pick-up truck and yes, even a boat) Jen and I made it to our first destination and this creative, handmade sign sat on our table: La Dulce Vida.
I ordered a liquado con fresa (Guatemala’s version of a strawberry smoothie) and sighed with contentment. Sitting in this quaint open air patio next to the lake, I realized yes, this is the sweet life. Traveling in Guatemala is not exactly convenient or easy. Life is not catered to tourists. There is no posted bus schedule. The bus “system” (If I can even call it that is in question) still remains a mystery to me. Sometimes there are big spiders in the rooms. And hot water remains a luxury that only some families have. I know I am not doing a great job at “selling” the high points of Guatemala to you, but I guess my point is that even with these modern inconveniences, some part of me just loves it here. When I am in Guatemala my best self comes out.
I believe there are certain people and places that bring out our “best selves”- you know, the person you wish you were all the time, but often gets buried somewhere between the stress of work or piles of laundry or waiting in line at the grocery store. ugh. Those situations do not always bring out the best parts of me. But something about life in Guatemala brings out my best self– the self that is patient when things don’t go according to plan; the self that is just as eager to listen as to talk; the self that is willing to try something new. It brings out the self that is content to just sit and smile and meet someone new, and maybe most noteworthy, I find that this self is filled with gratitude.
Guatemala reminds me that the process is just as important and maybe even more important than the product. I am not even sure what “product” I am referring to per se, maybe its the abstract feeling that is always sitting restlessly inside of me, longing and searching and wondering whats next. It’s this internal and maybe external feeling that once I get there (wherever there is) then I’ll be content, or happy or _________ (fill in whatever adjective you choose) But something about being in Guatemala, reminds me that I am exactly where I need to be.
Traveling with one of my best friends, meeting new people, visiting old friends, learning about a coffee farm and seeing kids from the schools where I worked last year would have made the trip worthwhile. But there is something deeper, far more significant that happens in my heart while I am in Guatemala. Somewhere between the laughing and exploring and resting and waiting and dancing and learning is this deep sense of fulfillment. Life is Good*
*more to come.