Two days ago, after the longest day of my life I finally landed in Guatemala City. The trip here was pretty exhausting (largely due to the fact I had to be at the airport at 4am) but also incredibly fun (because we decided to turn our 9 hour layover in Miami into an adventure to get breakfast in Little Havana and a day trip to South Beach). It was great to travel with some of the other students in my research program, and although tiring, the trip was exciting.
We spent our first night at a small hostel in Guatemala City, and then the next morning, after a breakfast of pancakes and fruit, all 14 of us piled into a van. With our luggage tightly strapped down on top of the van, we headed for Quetzaltenango (Xela). The trip was about a 4-hour drive on a windy highway up into the highlands, with beautiful scenery. It was a cloudy day, and the clouds hung low over the mountains—absolutely breathtaking.
In Xela we had lunch at La Chatia Artesana, a restaurant with delicious sandwiches. The in-country coordinator for our program gave us the run-down of our first couple of weeks, and then we headed out to walk through the city for a bit. It was raining. Pouring, actually. But in the midst of jumping puddles I was still able to take in some of the beauty of the city and its European architecture. However, because “packing lightly” is something that just isn’t in my DNA, I had to leave my rainboots at home, so of course my poor feet were completely wet and sliding around in my sandals. Yuck.
Finally, we waited in the lounge area of our Spanish school for our host mothers to come pick us up, which felt pretty much like back in the day when you had to wait for your parents to get you from your after school program. My host mother is so incredibly nice. Already, she has cooked a delicious dinner of mushroom soup, chicken and tortillas and walked me through Xela to show me how to get to my Spanish school. We bonded over our love of OPI nail polishes. Love her already.
I’m excited to start Spanish lessons tomorrow and explore more of Xela over the next two weeks. But high on my priority list is finding a pair of rainboots because this rain is something serious.