Tuesday, July 5, 2011

One year ago today....

July 5th, 2010 was our last official day as expats living in Guatemala. It was a really sad day for us. Sometimes it's really hard to believe that we have been gone for one whole year. While we remember every detail just like we were just there yesterday the year itself feels like it has gone by really slowly.....at least in comparison to the year that we spent in Antigua. I suppose we've struggled with adjusting to our old American lives a bit more than we realize. Honestly, I think we still struggle with it, but I'm glad that we do because that means that our experience left a lasting impression on us. Coming back to the States, a big fear that we had was that we'd fall right back into place a little too easily - in essence forgetting the hardships we saw & endured. While the past year hasn't exactly been our favorite one, we certainly have both learned and reflected a lot.

It was more like a year and half that we lived Antigua, but we didn't really form our good friendships until after we had been there for a couple of months. My expat bestie Abby reminded me this weekend that the first official time we hung out outside of work was at a 4th of July party 2 years ago. It was the beginning of some great friendships for both Ben & I and although we aren't there anymore, we know that the special bond we formed with everyone in Guatemala is something that will always hold close to us.

I love you Abs!

For our last hooray in Guatemala, we spent a weekend (4th of July weekend) at one of our favorite destinations - Lake Atitlan. To make it even more special, we went with our other besties, Carlos & Britt. We met them while living in our first apartment in Antigua. They were our neighbors - the ones that were always parking us in (we had to park single file down a long driveway)! After a few weeks of tiptoeing around, we finally knocked on their door one evening to chat (car talk) and it wasn't long until we were spending all of our free time hanging out with them at Carlos' favorite place, The MonoLoco bar. Ironically, Britt held my job at Common Hope before I arrived......it's a small world after all!

We love you Uncle Carlos & Aunt Britt

It was a difficult decision for us to leave Guatemala - much more difficult than it was to decide to relocate there. We really didn't want to go, but after a lot of thought we realized that while we had an amazing experience our life there felt very temporary. Under the right circumstances we would have settled down for the long run in Antigua, but our situation didn't feel permanent. It was heartbreaking to come to the realization that we had to say goodbye to the country that had grown to feel like our second home, but we are confident that one day we will return and make Guatemala a more permanent part of our lives. Hopefully it will be waiting for us with open arms when we finally return, because we will always love it and it's amazing people!

We love you Guatemala!

1 comment:

Natalie said...

I can't believe it's been a year either!  I remember reading all of your posts as you were packing up to leave and then as you were coming home.