Somehow, though, enough of these busy and occasionally lengthy days have passed that my year here is almost over, a reality that I am currently trying to process. While most days come and go at a seemingly ‘normal’ pace, weeks fly by and months go even faster, almost as if in the blink of an eye (I think I may still be mentally in April). This apparent discrepancy in time has made the idea of leaving so soon – in 10 days, to be exact – a bit harder to acknowledge because it seems surreal. I can still vividly remember the phone call with Dana during which she told me I had been accepted as a PD, walking around Sololá for the first time feeling totally disoriented and overwhelmed, and our first day in the classroom at the school, all of which happened almost a year ago.
As might already be evident, I don’t feel ready to leave. There are so many things that I love about life here; for instance, the kids at school, the exciting potential still waiting to be developed in our growing programs, the warmth and friendliness of so many people, the stunning lake and volcano views, meandering through the market midday to pick up fresh food for lunch, among various other things. When I head back to the States, I don’t want it to feel like my experiences here were so long ago and that Guatemala is so far away. I believe that it would be easy to return and fall into a new routine in Texas, and, while that may help me cope with how much I will miss this place, I hope that my memories will not quickly become distant.
One of the greatest personal challenges that I have overcome this past year is learning how to live in the moment and appreciate all that I have to look forward to at the start of each day. Through making a conscious and consistent effort, I will try to maintain this new perspective upon readjusting to life in the States because, what will I have actually learned if I allow myself to be consumed by the fact that I’m no longer in Guatemala? Truthfully, there is a lot to be excited about when I go back, even though fifteen-hour days in the law school library might not seem as adventurous as hopping on a camioneta to go to a meeting in Xela for the day. What’s important is that I find a balance between reflecting on my year with MPI Guatemala and embracing all that’s new.
I’m so grateful for all of the incredible opportunities I have had here this year and eager to continue to support the MPI Guatemala site as it continues to blossom and thrive. Here’s to an amazing year and the amazing people with whom I spent it!
Manna love forever and always,