My first two weeks back in the guate have been marathon-esque. Last year it took me a while to feel comfortable, but this year’s different. I hit the ground running. Last Sunday I had a pot-luck at my apartment, after being back only 14 days. And on Saturday I took some of the new teachers on a hike up Laguna Chicabol, which is a lake in the crater of a volcano. The pot-luck and the hike were two great events that are helping build a strong community, which was one of my goals for my return. Without asking the new teachers, I’d have to say God has been answering my prayer.
My summer in Colorado was a blast
, but I’m glad to be back. While I was in the states for the summer I attended a couple weddings and met my niece! She’s almost seven months old now and has already won the Miss Universe title. Here are a few of her answers to the judge’s questions, “‘Out of all your family who do you love the most?’ ‘Brendan.’ “If you could change the world what would you do?’ ‘I would live closer to my favorite uncle.'” The rest she answered with her adorable giggle. How could she not win?
I also enjoyed seeing all of my friends back in the States. I danced my heart out at all the weddings and even climbed a 14er. My time in the States seemed short, but it re-energized me for my return to Guatemala. I need that energy to teach because I am now chasing after little kids. Early childhood teachers should be sainted. But I know this is where God wants me to be, even if I am teaching something completely different than I was last year.
At first it felt a little weird to be back in Xela, because I was unsure of what I was going to do with four year olds in PE. It also felt weird to be back because even though I’d only been away two months, I’d managed to grow comfortable being in the States. Who doesn’t like hot water all the time and toilets that flush paper to boot? But God uses those challenges to help me grow. I know God wants me here. He has strengthened my friendships from last year and he is helping me form new friendships with the new people on staff. I am excited to see how they fit in and I sure hope I can help them feel comfortable. I’ve been trying to use my apartment to help that desire. I’m loving living in a place on my own. I miss my host family, but being able to invite people over is worth it.
The pot-luck I hosted at my house was a blast and I hope to have more. Mostly so that I can continue to help make the new teachers feel at home, but also because when you have a pot-luck the leftovers are left over at your house. That’s a nice perk for my roommate and me. God is moving down here! I just hope he can teach me how to teach pre-k PE. The kids are adorable but don’t speak English and like to run all over the place. It’s craziness.