A glimpse of home and what it felt like


Lake Atitlán

Every day that goes by is another day until you reach success–or any goal for that matter. In life, nobody is handed things directly to them–we earn it–we have to put forth the effort to grasp what we desire. 

After 16 years, the air smelled different, the colors popped, and the dirt beneath me rubbed softly up against the soles of my shoes. Life changed in a blink of an eye. There were more cars than expected–rush hour wasn’t the same–each vehicle stick-shifted its way through the brick streets. Life in Guatemala could not be compared to the busy streets in Michigan. A whole new country, culture, different dialects of Spanish and Mayan voices–there were endless dreams walking around every corner.

Shocked with emotions from every which way, I found it hard to breathe, but it didn’t matter how much oxygen flowed through me as long as my culture was coming back to me. The men, women, and children on the streets weren’t at all fearing how much they could eat, they weren’t begging for a way out; they would look at you with pride on their faces. I knew in my heart that the broken parts of life for them made them stronger, not weaker.

Each house tied together sought to unify each village or city as one–a whole. They need each other to build their communities. They provide for one another. They drive towards success, not just for themselves but for their country. 

The world outside isn’t the unknown for them. Some may look in and feel hopeless souls roaming through the cities, but if you truly step into one’s shoes, you will begin to understand that there is faith shining over them.

The lives of little ones are so dependent on their families. No matter who made it across the border or who’s working in the states, sending letters back to them, their brains are hanging on to the gravity keeping them together. One day, they will have gone to school, will have written an essay, will have spoken words of a truly powerful, life-changing human being–they just don’t know it yet. 

I knew in my heart that the broken parts of life for them made them stronger, not weaker.

From the city to the mountainous villages and way back beneath the jungle trees, hard workers, and courageous human beings, so much pride could be seen. It was as if I was walking in a world full of a traditional way of living that I would never be able to take back with me. 

Antigua, Tikal, Lake Atitlan, and Guatemala City are all fractions of what I wish I could see, but I finally felt peace–not just with the thoughts I kept inside but peace with myself–peace with who I am and how I got to where I am now.

My heart sank, I didn’t know what I was walking into. I didn’t know if Guatemala was going to be the same as 16 years ago, but I walked out refreshed. I was finally able to see the beauty behind the cover of my past. There is still much left to uncover.