After 4 months in Central America what do I have to show for myself?
1. I have a wicked sandle tan.
2. I have 6 weeks of spanish school under my belt and somewhat surprisingly, I can understand a lot. However, if anything I realized how long it will take to become proficient, to be comfortable and to be able to have real meaningful conversations in spanish. But I am hopeful that someday I will get there.
3. 4 new stamps in my passport: Guatemala, Belize, Mexico and Honduras
4. Lots of new friends and connections. I played cards one night with a Swiss, an Australian, a German, and a Canadian. We ate dinner with guys from Israel, Ireland, and England, drinks with Spaniards, fellow Americans and a Dutch couple and shared tortillas with indigenous Guatemalan families. So many interesting people, living so many different lives.
5. A new appreciation for fresh tortillas, weird fruit, and hammocks. The tortillas in Guatemala and Mexico were fantastic, like nothing I have had in the US. I understand now how people can eat them with every meal. The produce down here is wonderful in general, but the fruit in particular is something I will truly miss. There were many days where half a papaya was lunch or a licuado made of fresh melon or mango was breakfast. Hammocks are just heaven, especially with a good book and a warm breeze.
I guess the truth is I don’t have a lot of tangible gains from my excursion. Besides a few pictures, a hammock from Mexico and a Guatemalan weaving, I have a lot less than I started with. But it was a dam good time, with good people and good food and I am full for gratitude for the people who were able to share some of this experience with me.