UNTIL NEXT TIME.
"Cual es su problema? Es una pastilla para parasito de su estomago. Y despues, dulce. Tiene dolor de cabeza? Cuantos anos tiene? Esta embarazada? Esas son las verrugas. Es necesario tomar la pastilla despues de comer porque sin comida, una ulcera es posible. Jabon para tus pies. No, yo no soy Chino."
It has been a week since I touched back down in Philadelphia Airport at 1am. In that week, I got some much needed sleep, saw my pain doctor, went back to the University of Delaware, reacquainted myself with my test prep materials, and took a practice MCAT test - those were the “highlights.” One week, and it had been nearly impossible to get those spanish phrases - the ones I had spoken hundreds of times on a daily basis in Guatemala - out of my mind. I had expected this; this occurred last year, and I’ve learned that all I can do is embrace it. The experiences I had are so freshly imprinted on my mind that it still seems like they still belong in what is now my present. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing (I just hope that I’m not thinking about the spanish translations for “soap” and “I am not Chinese” during my real MCAT).
In fact, it isn’t a bad thing at all - I wouldn’t have it any other way. For one week, my world was Guatemala; the fact that these phrases are still resonating in my mind serve as a small testament to that. I can say, with all confidence, that I found myself much more engulfed in Guatemalan culture this time around. I became much more easily accustomed to their ways and to their lives having some past exposure under my belt. The shock and awe, however, is still fresh - as I believe it will always be no matter how many more additional times I may visit.
It is this shock and awe - of living conditions, differences between our cultures, abundance of medical ailments, and the lack of care, services, and basic medical knowledge - that continues to drive me to come back to Guatemala. These two past years have sparked a new interest and curiosity in me, one that continuously wonders about the rest of the world and the injustices that occur.
Last summer, I traveled to Guatemala primarily to “get my fix.” I had felt that I was wasting my summer. My days were long and monotonous; I yearned for something more intensive, a unique break from what had become my daily routine in my parents’ office. After completing this journey, I did not “get my fix.” Rather, I had uncovered a new passion, which at this current time, still has not been satisfactorily quenched by my second trip to Guatemala.
I want to see more. I want to do more.
I am not sure if I will visit Santo Maria de Jesus or Santo Domino Xenacoj next year. A few months ago, this same thought went through my mind; my monetary reserves were dry, time to study for the MCAT was valuable, and some physical issues worried my personal physicians. And yet I found myself on the plane headed to Guatemala City, due to the extreme generosity of the University of Delaware Honors Program, and the help of friends and family.
I hope to do more of this - blogging - in the future. If I am blogging once again, it will mean that I am going on another journey (I will not be doing it otherwise…). I’m not sure where life will take me. But I cannot wait to discover where I will be off to next.
As you can tell, I am a pretty big fan of serendipity. There is no other adequate way to explain how all this occurred. The word itself, although literally meaning “happy accident,” has been voted one of the hardest English words to translate into other languages (according to a quick Wikipedia search) - it has a meaning that itself is elusive yet all encompassing at the same time. Hence, the perfect way to describe the situation at hand. Many lessons I’ve learned in life come from “happy accidents,” and they have not totally led me wrong thus far. We will see where serendipity takes me next year.
If you made it this far - to the last post - I appreciate you taking the time to read my blog. I truly hope that it was somewhat enjoyable to read; I assure you at the least that it was much harder for me to write than for you to read. I never promised that the blog would be well written; I understand my shortcomings and accept the lack of competent literary skills as one of them. But I do promise that the content is true, accurate, and a genuine representation of what went through my mind during my trip to Guatemala.
Attached is a link to the new “photostream” for those who are interested in seeing other other 236 favorited photos (or if you aren’t my facebook friend). Again, many thanks to the University of Delaware Honors Program, and to you readers as well for taking the time to stick around and read my blog.
As Shawn Smith - the founder of “Now Is The Time” mission trips - (and many locals) would say before a new journey or just as fittingly at the end of one: Dios te bendiga - May God bless you. Vaya con dios - Go with God. Pero no inmediatamente - But not immediately.
Until next time.