Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Why I do it.

So here we are, a little over a year after we made the decision to leave our jobs, pack up our home and search for that thing that was missing in our lives, south of the border. While the past year has seemed to pass quickly at times, there has also been a lot of waiting and searching on our parts – making plans to go to Guatemala, packing up our things, searching for jobs while we were there, coming home without finding jobs, searching again, waiting to see if we got jobs and then packing up again. Now we can look back on it and know it has been worth it, but really the waiting was the hardest part.

Lucky for us there is no more waiting (at least for those things) and now the living it has begun.
Many times over this past year (and years previous – we’ve been talking about it forever!) we have been asked 1 question over and over. Why? Why do you want to do this?

While we both have our different reasons, we do have one thing that we completely agree on. We want to see the world. And even more than that, we want to help the world. We believe that by using our talents to help people, we can help make a difference in their lives for the better. We also believe that by becoming better informed, more cultured people ourselves, we are helping the world -both in the present and future.

Fortunately, most people in our lives seem to understand or at least accept our choice. We have a pretty amazing group of friends and family who support us and believe in us. Many of them have done something similar themselves and many of those who haven’t, wish they could.

Don’t get us wrong, there are people who don’t get it too. They are worried, they are scared, they are uninformed, they are over-informed. We get that. We really do, but we can only live our lives the way we feel we should, not the way others want for us. And when it comes down to it, we know that these people too, will always be there for us and we love them for that.

For me, the reason I do it is easy. I do it for Ben. Of course, I want to do it too, but he has been the one to help me realize my wildest dreams really can come true. Those of you who know me probably have a hard time seeing me, the perfectionistic, neat-freak, over-organized, girly-girl who loves all things pretty, living in a developing nation. I get it. I have a hard time with that sometimes too. But there are several things that keeps me going.

#1 - I love travel.
I might even be addicted to it. Sure, sometimes travel sucks. Things don’t always go as planned, the rain can ruin your day (at least for me), or even worse, you’re liable to get sick from something your body isn’t used to. For me though, it only takes one good day to make those bad days tolerable. Experiencing other cultures makes me feel like I get to live multiple lives. It’s like I get to make a clone of myself, send her off to absorb everything she can about another world, and at the end of the day I get to drink in it all in, while still knowing that I didn’t have to give up any of my old self. I get to make me as a whole, fuller and better.

#2 - I can am make making a difference in lives.
I work for an amazing organization that touches the lives of approximately 8,000 Guatemalans daily with education, housing, healthcare and family development. My day to day doesn't always involve interaction with the families we support, but I work to educate visitors about our foundation and encourage them to sponsor our affiliated students so that they can directly make a difference in the lives of a child in need. I don't even like to think about what kind of lives many of the people would be living without Common Hope. I will forever support their cause.

#3 - The people inspire me.
A common thought that so many of us Americans have when speaking of the struggles of the world is, “We have it so good.” It’s true, we do, but they do too! We have so many “things” to be thankful for, but other cultures have some really great things that we don’t have, things that we can’t buy. There are many aspects to life here and Guatemala that have amazed me and continue to do so everyday. These are the things that I aspire to bring home with me and adapt into my life, my family and my career.

Of course there are times when I get scared about living in a country where "peace" is a fairly new concept. I worry about the things that might happen. I get nervous that I might fail. I’m sad that certain things in my former life, won't be the same when I return. But there is one thing that I know for sure - these experiences will make me stronger. And when I come home, I’ll know where I’ve been, who I am, and where I want to be. I will know that I am ready to start a new chapter in my life, building on the story that I have created.

*If you never have before, take a look at the quotes in our sidebar. These are the words that define this chapter in our lives.

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