I didn’t realize how close we were to travel burn out until we arrived in our saving grace location, Quetzaltenango (Xela), Guatemala. The stress of constantly moving from place to place was starting to show not only on my body, but was starting to tear away at my soul. I really just needed a place to hang my hat for a bit, or, in other words, a place to call home.
Coming from Tulum where the temperature was always in the 90s, it was soul quenching to put on my jacket. The colder temperatures made my cheeks tingle and I giggled when I was able to see my breath as we stepped outside. I felt like we were back in San Francisco. Looking up from the main plaza, lazy, misty clouds sprawled over the lush, green mountainside. Shaun and I just kept staring in awe.
Holy shit. We’re in a cloud forest.
A change of scenery was much appreciated.
Yes, it can be a shock to the system. Not only the cold nights in houses with no heating, but a shock to the system to see familiar faces and places.
We have spent the past two weeks completely immersed in Spanish classes here in Xela (and Shaun is taking another week to work on speaking!). Not only have I overcome the fear of talking to people but I’m pretty damn good at it.
If we are not in school, we are at home with our homestay family, Bilma and Jorge. Over homecooked meals (oh Lord I missed you!) we became close friends. Chatting in Spanish I learned how to bring out my sarcasm with a family that was a perfect match for us. If you weren’t careful it could lead to disaster. Readers Digest version: Never bring up chocolate and champagne with them unless you want to see your host parents getting a little too graphic with how they use it.
Needless to say there is warm laughter and love in our home. I feel incredibly blessed to be here.
As we were sitting in our favorite bar last night with a few friends, celebrating our last moments together, I realized – We are living in Xela. We have a favorite bar. We have friends in a city.
It is going to be so hard to leave.