It’s so sad to think that my time here in Guatemala is over. I absolutely loved every minute of it, and as I sit in the airport in Guatemala City with a sunburn on my shoulders and hopes for some internet soon, I can’t imagine having a much better week than the one I’ve had.
From the second our shuttle from the airport dropped us off at the volunteer center, I absolutely loved everything about this city and this country. I spent my mornings strolling around Antigua with no agenda, nowhere to be, a few Quetazles in my pocket and no need to rush anything. I spent my afternoons volunteering, spending time with some of the most loving children I’ve ever met.
So since I didn’t get a chance to write yesterday, I should write about my last day at my volunteer placement. I had to go to Dueñas alone since my other volunteer friends were out of town on a weekend trip. I hopped on the chicken bus alone and walked down to Vida for my last day. Carlos, one of the guys who started the organization, asked if I could spend my day in the classroom with the older kids because their teacher was home sick for the day. I absolutely loved working with them. When it was time for me to head home, I went to say goodbye and the teachers presented me with a huge posted signed by all the younger kids and individual cards from all of the older kids. I was crying. It was so cute.
I then said goodbye and all of them were screaming my name and hugging me and kissing me on the cheek. There were lots of “Te queremos! Te queremos!” and “Adios Sydney! Hasta luego!” It was beautiful. When I got home, I read the letters and notes from the kids. It made me realize how much of an impact I had on them even though I’d only seen them for 5 days. It was such a good way to end my stay here.
Then came my last day in Antigua. Saturday morning we got up and spent the morning sipping coffee and reading on our terrace at our house. We eventually ventured out to climb up to La Cruz with an astounding view of Antigua.
Then we went around to grab some lunch and head over to a hotel with a beautiful poolside bar and restaurant. “Just pretend we’re staying here. We’re white. We look like we belong.” – the motto of the kids just trying to spend a warm day by the pool with daiquiris and nachos. It was beautiful. After resting the day away in the sun, we headed back home in a tuk tuk (such a far walk ugh) and got ready to head up to San Cristobal – a restaurant with the best view of Antigua.
We caught a shuttle up to the restaurant and I honestly had to blink tears out of my eyes as we took in the view. It was one hundred percent the best view I have ever seen. You could see all three volcanoes surrounding the city with clouds sitting delicately on top of them. They grow all of their own food for the restaurant on the property, so we wandered through the greenhouses and gardens then settled down for some glasses of wine and some appetizers overlooking the city.
It was honestly the best possible way to spend my last day in Antigua, and I am going to miss this place and these people so, so much. This was such an incredible week, and I could not have chosen a better way to spend my Spring Break. I can’t wait to come back to Antigua soon. It’ll always hold such a special place in my heart. So thank you to all the volunteers I was able to share my week with. Thank you the volunteers and kids at Vida, because you have changed my perspective on so many things. Thank you to the staff at Máximo Nivel for helping me to feel so comfortable in a foreign country alone.