Write, write, write, write, write, write, write. Recently, that’s all I’ve been doing. Just not here.
And that’s really annoying, because I have an awful memory, and one of the reasons why I started this blog was so that I’d have some recollection of Guatemala in the future.
I was a Peace Corps volunteer in Paraguay. I lived in a third-world country where the pages of Newsweek doubled as toilet paper and bugs laid eggs in your feet. I learned how to keep bees and how to kill a pig. I taught computer classes. I became someone’s godmother. I baked loads of banana bread and tried my first Big Mac. I discovered that even someone named Angel will shoot a man. And that gun shots sound an awful lot like firecrackers–which is not really good, because when you hear them you might think “woohoo!!” instead of “run!!” I met my now-fiancé. I got a dog. I went to Brazil, Argentina, Chile, and Peru. And that is what I remember from my two years in South America. If I tried really hard, I could maybe come up with a few more details, but likely not enough to warrant another paragraph.
I was out the other night with Shon and a Peace Corps friend who was in town, when Shon asked me to tell the story of “the guy” we met in Mexico. “What guy?” I said. “The guy!” he said. I looked at him blankly. “The boat guy??”
And only then did it come back to me. Just three months after our trip to Oaxaca’s Pacific Coast, and I had already forgotten about going into the dimly lit beach shack of a Mexican dude who was our guide on a boat tour so he could videotape Shon and me using him as a foot stool, treating him like a “bad” dog, and acting out a foot fetish. It sounds as ridiculously bizarre and slightly sick as it was, and we didn’t go through with the whole thing. We got so far as the foot stool–somewhere out there is a video of Shon and me sitting in chairs with our feet resting on the bare back of a Mexican guy (the camera was filming from a bookshelf)–and had enough. We would not act out the dog scene (the guide insisted he play “bad dog” while I reprimand him and Shon film); as we made our exit, he offered to suck my toes for the “foot fetish.” I know it sounds absurd that we even got ourselves into this situation but, for the record, the guy did seem nice and NORMAL during our tour, so when he asked us if we could help him out with an audition video he needed to make for a play (minimal details were provided, mind you), we were happy to oblige. Maybe not our best idea ever. Regardless, my point is even this story was stored in my brain’s recycle bin, waiting to be permanently deleted.
Like I said, though, I have been writing–a TON–just elsewhere. And all that writing has been for… my new job! Yes, I now have a full-time, Monday through Friday job that has been keeping me busy. It’s with what’s known in the travel industry as a destination management company (or DMC). A DMC is like a tour operator, but one that’s based in-country and that has a level of expertise that you only get from being local. DMCs won’t just take you to an ancient Mayan ruin, they’ll organize a private sunset viewing followed by dinner with a resident archaeologist. My DMC specializes in a handful of Central American countries, and my job is in communications. Essentially, I produce many words to be used in many ways. I know I’m being a bit vague, but I don’t want to share too, too much. I’m still new! : )
Except, here I’ll go ahead and share one more thing: The company is based in Antigua, Guatemala, a place that I’ve yet to mention on the blog but have gotten to know very, very well. It’s a Spanish colonial city that was the capital of Guatemala until the late 18th century, when a huge earthquake shook it to its bones and destroyed many of its buildings, churches, and monasteries (of which there were many). Over the centuries, some of these structures were restored, but for the most part, they were left alone, and today, the city is now one of cobblestone streets, pastel-hued houses, and beautifully crumbling monuments.
Antigua is a two-and-a-half-hour drive from Panajachel, so I’ve been taking a shuttle back and forth; I’m usually in Antigua Monday through Wednesday and back in Pana the rest of the week. For where to stay, I’ve been reliant on Airbnb (which Shon and I used recently in New York City) and a coworker who owns a hotel. Getting out of itty-bitty Panajachel has been great–especially when it means that I get to be in beautiful, bustling Antigua.
So, that’s the update. You now know where all my words have been going. I’m planning some short posts on Thanksgiving (we hosted!), our new house (as I hinted here, we moved!), and… our new dog (he wasn’t in the cards). The posts will be short as the memory is vague.
P.S. All photos are of Antigua!