Guatemala

Matt 25 37-40"Then those 'sheep' are going to say, 'Master, what are you talking about? When did we ever see you hungry and feed you, thirsty and give you a drink? And when did we ever see you sick or in prison and come to you?' Then the King will say, 'I'm telling the solemn truth: Whenever you did one of these things to someone overlooked or ignored, that was me—you did it to me.' (Msg)

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April 29, 2008 - Guatemala

Several months ago I sat in a Mexican restuarant with my good friend Esteban.  Stephen, or Esteban, is a world class traveler by my standards.  He as been to so many excellent Latin American destinations and it is always great to hear stories of his travels.  The only down side is that it is infectious.  On that evening I had decided that I would take my first trip and to keep it "safe" and to keep Jen's (My lovely wife) blood pressure down, I decided that I would go to Mexico.  Cuernavaca to be exact.  Beautiful city from what I hear.  Cuernavaca is one of the top spots for language learners because of all the schools in the area.  There are many "after class" destinations too.

The wedding, school, moving to a new cities, and life got in the way and I was not able to take the trip.  Although I was happy about the changes going on in my life I was pretty sad that I was not able to go.  Worse yet, I had planned it with my other good friend Jake.  Now I had to tell Jake that I wouldnt be able to travel with him.  I had really looked forward to it.

 Fast forward to this week, I recieved an email from Esteban who is now in Columbia (Man he makes me jealous).  Jen and I began talking about it and decided that I really needed to take one of these trips.  So I began searching for a school that would offer small class sizes, cultural activities after class, a small town with few tourists.  My options were Mexico, Guatemala, or Honduras.

Esteban had told me earlier that Honduras was a great place.  The classes were one on one instruction.  The town where the school was located was small.  The one thing that worried me was the trip because San Pedro Sula, the flight destination, is known for its criminal activity and then it was a couple hours ride on a bus to Copan. 

Mexico was an attractive option because it is generally regarded as being more safe, although I am not sure why.  Still, there are beautiful cities there and Oaxaca City and Guanajuato, as well as, Cuernavaca are on my short list of destinations.  The downside is that the class sizes are larger.

With a little more investigation I think I have decided on Guatemala.  Guatemala is such a beautiful country and I am so excited thinking about all the sites I will see.  I want to see the ruins in Tikal, the beautiful Lake Atitlán, and the colonial city of Antigua.  I will be staying with a host family and I pray that it will be a good experience.  The classes are one on one intruction for seven hours daily.  This will be an excellent Spanish immersion experience, I believe.