“I feel tall,” said Maya as we were talking about what we noticed in Guatemala after a week. I couldn’t help but laugh at her comment because I couldn’t relate and I thought it was comical. I actually feel like I am an average size here in a funny way. In the United States I am shorter [than most], but here I am not the shortest one. I have seen various people of different color, size, height, and languages.
The one difference that I admire and love about this country is the open society it is. Strangers just come up to talk to you and acknowledge your presence. People are so welcoming and friendly. I sometimes wonder if America could ever be that way. While walking around, I see and feel the liveliness this country has. The streets are filled with people, the kids are filling up the playground, the traffic is full of cars and buses filled with people, and there is not a place where people are not gathering.
Despite the corrupt government, tragic history and living conditions, the people in Guatemala open their arms and homes to newcomers. I have experienced that during my stay with my host family and CASAS. They welcomed us as well as encouraged us to learn and understand their country to deepen our connection with them. They also want us to try to learn the language, even if we mispronounce words or speak in Spanglish. I have learned so much about this country already, but there is more to know. I am eager to see what all I’ll learn and see in this beautiful, welcoming country as we continue our travel.