Saturday, August 20, 2011

Monday, August 15th – Homeward Bound!

This last day I managed to make a couple early morning visits, first with Ana (my Antigua house mother) and then with Katia (my Antigua teacher). It was so fun to be able to tell them about my adventures and be able to use past tense verbs!
When I returned to CasaSito to pack my things, one the ladies was there working in the office – my solitary living quarters was coming to life! After packing, I went to do one last draw from an ATM to pay for my CasaSito housing and a couple of their shirts (for me and Taylor), but was rejected! Arrrgh! Really, the last time I’d need to use an ATM here and now my bank has a red flag up! Luckily David at my school CSA was able to run my credit card and give me the cash. I ended up with barely enough time to get back to the house, give them a gift of smoked salmon and huckleberry jam, say good-bye to those all who were there, and haul my stuff out to the curb to meet my driver, Eddie.

Eddie is the same guy who picked me up from the airport, and we had very little conversation on that trip because he doesn’t speak much English and my Spanish was very limited at that point. Well, the ride back to the airport was completely different! We talked the whole way. I told him all about my adventures and the places I went, he was very curious about Chajul…I get the feeling not many people ever go there and there’s a bit of both mystery and fear left over from when all the bad stuff was going on there during the 30 year civil war. Anyhow, we talked about the upcoming elections, and some of the presidential candidates, and a bunch of other little side topics, and I found myself wishing the drive was longer so we could keep chatting. The time passed much more quickly on this return trip. At the airport, I lingered in some of the little shops, where things were selling for 2-3 times the market prices, knowing that it would be the last time I’d see some of these fun little trinkets, textiles, and styles of art. I spent my last few quetzales on a few little things, including a cigar (I found out later from Taylor that I should have removed the label from it before going through customs!) oops!  
As I was getting on the plane in Guatemala, my name was called and they told me that my backpack didn’t pass security so I’d have to watch as they went through it looking for some metal object they couldn’t identify. After 5 minutes of them looking, I took over, unsure myself of what they might be looking for. I finally found the culprit, and revealed my top-secret jump-rope with lead weights and a little spring in the handles! We repacked it all and both I and my bag were on our way! Too bad I didn’t think to leave the jump-rope in an easy to fine place, because they weren’t as polite about it in Texas and simply dug through everything with zero concern for my belongings, ripping a bunch of my CSA papers and folders and cramming it all back in without bothering to buckle up anything. It’s a good thing I had the whole backpack in a huge protective duffle or it might not have all made it back! The funny thing is, I never once got a chance to use that darn jump-rope while I was there! Best intentions gone awry! Other than that, it was a pleasantly uneventful journey home, and Chuck was waiting for me as I came out of the terminal! It was so good to give him a huge hug! And the best part was the next day when Taylor, who I thought had left the same day for college (like Sierra did), showed up at home! It turns out that I would get a couple extra days with him before he had to leave! And thanks to Skype, I feel like I’ve already been with Sierra at her new dorm-home in Fort Collins, CO.

It’s nice to be home, but Guatemala, and the people of Chajul in particular, will always be in my heart and on my mind!

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