guatemala, here i come!

i can’t believe this, but i am in the middle of packing my bags for guatemala.  GUATEMALA, BABY!!!

it is so surreal to me.  for the past few months, i have been absolutely terrified of this trip.  but over the last few days, i have actually been starting to get excited.  and there is so much to get excited about!!  there are also a lot of scary or worrisome or sad things, and i don’t want to forget the fact that i am going on this trip with my class to help build stoves for a group of people who have very little money and live in very rough conditions.  we’ve been warned time and time again that it can get pretty depressing.  and i know, from my study abroad trip last summer to belize, that the culture shock happens when you get there, and happens when you return to the States as well.  i had a harder time adjusting to life back here, than i did to life for the short time we were there.  very unexpected; it definitely caught me by surprise.  after my return home from belize, i was in such a weird frame of mind that my wife was worried something had happened over there; that i had had some sort of realization or feelings for someone else.  while this felt like a punch in the gut to me, i did have to acknowledge that i was definitely acting a bit differently.  because i had had a realization–just not the kind she was worried about.  while in belize, i realized just how wasteful i am, every single day of my life.  i realized just how wasteful we ALL are, here, even when we’re trying not to be.  i used to feel good about myself because i recycle and i avoid places like WalMart and McDonald’s; i was a vegetarian for nearly four years and that has to count for something, right?

coming back, though, i realized that i’ve been living like a spoiled princess.  going to belize really put things into perspective for me, and ignited a passion that i still haven’t fully identified, yet i know i am getting closer.  i know that i want to continue traveling, and i hope, after this service learning experience, that i will want to continue volunteering and helping fellow citizens of the world.

my wife hadn’t been super excited for me to go to belize last summer, and up until recently, she hasn’t been excited for me to go to guatemala AT ALL.  it was something that i could feel for months, yet we’d never talk about.  totally the elephant in the room.  i guess she thought i was trying to run away, or fix some sort of unhappiness in me, or something.  we talked about it once or twice, and i think that once she finally expressed her fears out loud, it helped her let go of them.  i am pretty open with my feelings, sometimes to a fault, and i think she has finally realized that if i’m unhappy about something, i will talk about it [usually incessantly, and you won’t be able to shut me up!  ditto to if i’m happy about something too, though.]  i think *hope* that she has finally realized that i am doing this because i AM happy; that i’m doing it to continue to be happy.  i can be quite dependent and reliant, especially on her, so i think sometimes she forgets that deep down, i have a super independent spirit.  i am super scared to travel alone, i am scared of doing things without her, but that is exactly why i need to.  also, just as importantly, i am only going to get these opportunities once.  i really want to take advantage of my college experience.  it’s like the seventeenth time that i’ve tried, and i’m finally, finally, really DOING IT.  so i want to do it right, and i want to do it all.

i am thirsty to live, thirsty to travel, thirsty to help people, thirsty to discover the world.  i look forward to the trips we take together, but i will not NOT take advantage of a school trip just because she can’t go.

that being said, it does hurt when she doesn’t “get” why i’m going, because i want her to see me as someone who isn’t afraid to go out there and see the world.  i want her to see me as someone who doesn’t need permission or approval; who just does it because life is an adventure.  that being said, i think she is making progress, and i think taking a couple of trips together [which we are currently planning!] will help us both as individuals and as a couple.

i guess it’s back to packing for me..i can’t believe that in three days, i will be eating dinner in guatemala.  i just can’t comprehend it!!

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