Friday, July 20, 2012


And she's back! After missing our connecting flight, the group spent a night in Houston courtesy of United Airlines and flew out the next morning - so I'm a day later than expected, but here all the same. Guatemala was amazing. The people of San Lucas Toliman were so welcoming and there was such a strong sense of community. Walking through the streets, everyone would smile and say hello, and the kids got especially excited, clustering together to wave and yell "Hola!" The mission's work was truly awe inspiring. The progress that San Lucas Toliman has made since the civil unrest of the '80s is remarkable and I'm glad that I could be a small part of working towards a better future.
I wish I was still there, in fact. It seemed like I left at the most perfect moment - when everything seemed to just be going down hill and I wasn't getting anywhere. It was great to get away for a week and just forget about all that and be with a group of incredible young people. I hardly even thought about what I'd left behind in Minnesota - my lackluster job, my so-called friends, all those dumb boys - and instead focused on making new friends and challenging myself to do physical labour. I revelled in my achievements and learned that I am excellent at hoeing and pick-axeing. I wore bermuda shorts and didn't even bother with makeup, and none of it mattered. It was great. It was just what I needed and I ended up growing immensely in my faith. And even though I'm now very sick and think I have the amoeba, it was all worth it. Time to eat rice & bananas, drink ginger ale, and watch "That '70s Show" re-runs!
I definitely don't think that I'll be getting into the bermuda shorts trend anytime soon, but it was nice to not have to care about what I was wearing for a while. As a result, I am feeling very inspired and ready to dive back into my wardrobe. Before leaving, I was feeling pretty bored with fashion and with my closet, but now I'm full steam ahead and ready to get out of that weird funk.
I bought this top in Panajachel, Guatemala. We had Sunday off from work and caught a boat across Lake Atitlan to go shopping in Panajachel and San Antonio. When I saw this top, I had a definite positive reaction to it. I pretty much just went up to the shopkeep, pointed at it, and said, "I want that." I dished out the low cost of 50 quetzal (which is about $7) and walked away feel very satisfied about the new purchase.
I bought the belt for the low low price of 25 quetzal. I bartered with the shopkeep even though I was typically wary of bartering since what they asked was usually pretty low to begin with. Half of the Guatemalan population lives in poverty and I heard that the average income is around $130 a month. I didn't think it really mattered if I got something for 40 quetzal or 50, but it did matter to the people I was buying from.
I also bought this new backpack for school! I'm so excited for semester to start and to be back in the classroom, and now the backpack makes me even more excited! It seemed fitting to buy the backpack because the coffee crop is one of the biggest economic players in San Lucas Toliman. Since the mission began distributing land and pretty much took hold of the coffee market, workers have been recieving fair trade prices for their coffee beans (200q for every 100 pounds - whereas the market price can vary but is usually less than 150q). While at the mission, we toured the coffee grounds and learnt a lot about the process of making a cup of coffee. One of our main projects was to fill little plastic bags with dirt which would then become a home for a coffee seedling. It takes 5 years before a coffee plant is ready to be harvested! It gave me a whole new appreciation for the coffee that I drank every morning. The mission puts out Juan Ana fair trade coffee and it is easily some of the best coffee I've ever had in my life. So you can see why I'm excited to be toting this bag around campus next semester! I also attached a llama keychain and a parrot keychain that I bought in San Lucas. I'm a sucker for cute keychains.
When I got home on Thursday, I found a package waiting for shoes! I nearly forgot that I had bought these from before leaving. They're so lovely - fit perfectly, easy to walk in, and super light weight. Not to mention, they were only $17. I'm super excited to incorporate them into my wardrobe more. They add the perfect amount of edge, don't ya think? Plus, I love clunky footwear. The clunkier, the better.
Anyways, those "That '70s Show" re-runs won't watch themselves! I have no idea what the rest of this month - or summer - has in store for me, but I'm very much excited to find out. Keep cool, kitties xx


Anonymous said...

Those are great shoes! You look fantastic!

SafiyaMarie said...

Oh man, it sounds like you had an amazing experience! I'm planning on heading to Vietnam to teach English at some point and I cannot wait! Also, I couldn't agree with you more about shoes, the clunkier the better!

cecylia said...

hey gorgeous, you look like a model!! Love that red top!

Rebecca said...

Oh wow I would love to go to Guatemala, what an experience. Either way, love your backpack, and your outfit too.

Ava said...

you are stunning!

Priya said...

I loved reading about your trip Chloe! Sounds like you had a bunch of different opportunities for service, which is the best kind of mission trip in my opinion. It can definitely shake up your thinking and leave you feeling inspired and fresh when it's back to real life! Not to mention, I'm sure you helped a bunch of happy people! Looks like you came away with some amazing treasures too, and I'd be lying if I said that's not a cool part of a mission trip. You're gonna have the coolest backpack in school!

perfectly priya

ola said...

love this top!