Loving Arms is a Canadian charity working to transform the lives of the people we serve living in Guatemala.
I wanted to start off by apologizing for the delay on these blogs. I have not had wifi for the past couple of days but I am hoping that my wifi will be working again soon! For the time being I will be writing these blogs and then using a hotspot to post them. Because I will have no wifi I will also not be able to post pictures on Facebook so I am very sorry about that but I will do my best to find wifi whenever I can.
Anyways I am alive and enjoying this fantastic trip! When I last left you guys I had just finished my first two days of working and I was getting ready for my tour of Antigua. On Saturday I woke up excited and ready to explore and learn about this beautiful city but instead I woke up to a laptop and a bunch of reports. I was given the responsibility of reading through the reports written for sponsors of the children at the school and I had the task of correcting any grammatical errors or spelling errors. Normally I would not be the guy to ask for grammar and spelling help but I guess if I am the only one that speaks fluent English then maybe I am the guy for the job. I actually read through my last blog and noticed there were several spelling mistakes and I would like to take this time to acknowledge my typing abilities and my hand-eye coordination skills and how I tend to hit the wrong letter many times. This is where I miss my mother because she would be the one I would ask to proof-read these blogs before I posted them but I guess I will just have to trust spell check for now.
Anyways, after I finished all of the reports I was immediately grabbed and pulled to a car outside of my home. Now I know this sounds like kidnapping but I can promise you it was a good kind of kidnapping. Alicia’s daughters Fernanda and Jimena, who I have become very good friends with during my time here, took me into their car and started driving. We first arrived at this old church in Antigua that had been destroyed by an earthquake over 100 years ago but somehow this church kept part of its structure and now it is a beautiful tourist destination. The structure of the church was incredible and the size was also shocking. As I walked around the church, Fernanda showed me what each of the areas used to be. I also found a stone that had some of the names of the people that ran the church. There was also a downstairs portion where there used to be special rituals done as well as celebrations. There were even some candles down there that I was thinking were used recently for some sort of ritual or celebration. It was amazing to learn about this church!
Next we walked around the town of Antigua and found another church but this one was still standing and there was a wedding going on inside so we decided to go and watch for a bit. I also noticed how incredible the structure of this church was and it was really interesting to see how careful people in Guatemala are when designing a building and I will give another example of this later.
Next we went to the city park which kind of reminded me of Central Park in New York City. This is a very popular park and it was very packed. As we walked through this park we noticed there was a dance group performing by the park so we went and watched. The group was called Viva Antigua which I believe means “Life of Antigua” but my Spanish is horrendous as I explained in my last blog. This dance group put on quite the performance with incredible dancing but also fantastic acting! I could not take my eyes off the show but there was so much more to see so we left.
Next the girls took me to their favourite ice cream shop where I got lemon pie ice cream and it was probably the best ice cream I have ever had. Next it was time to explore the markets of Antigua. If you have ever been to Antigua then you would know that the markets are one of the most anxious and nervous places you will ever go to. As I walked through the market I was constantly screamed at and begged to purchase something from their shop. Now although I absolutely love the fashion in Guatemala and I would love another poncho, I decided I could not take this craziness anymore so we left.
We decided the best way to relax was to walk down the streets of Antigua. These streets are beautiful and filled with colourful buildings as well as astonishing views of the many volcanoes in Guatemala. The streets were filled with people selling cheap sunglasses, ice cream, and even fidget spinners. While walking down the streets we found a street performer who was making a balloon animal while the song “Eye of the Tiger” was playing in the background. Now as crazy as this sounds it was hilarious and I shared a short clip on my Facebook so go check it out!
Next we went to an art gallery on the street. I have never been that into art but there were some very fascinating pieces and some were even produced by American artists which I thought was quite interesting. Next it was time for the main event: The Antigua Fair. This fair was put on because it was Antigua’s birthday in a few days. This annual fair was something I was very excited about. We arrived at the fair and met up with one of Fernanda’s friends named Nicole. Nicole was very fun to be around and also knew a lot of English! When we got to the fair we decided our first ride would be the caterpillar roller coaster. This roller coaster was not the craziest ride I have ever been on but the fact that I had nothing securing me to my seat and I almost fell out of the cart multiple times made this one of scariest rides I have ever been on. After this we calmed down with some bumper cars. I felt very awkward slamming into Guatemalan children but honestly I could not find the brake so I had to stop somehow! We then rode a few more relaxing rides before deciding it was time to leave.
After the fair we decided it was time for dinner. I suggested we should go eat some Guatemalan inspired cuisine so the girls took me to Taco Bell. Tacos are a Mexican food and Mexico is very close to Guatemala so I mean technically it was almost Guatemalan food. Now if you have ever been to Guatemala then you probably visited the famous McDonald’s in Antigua that is very beautiful but have you ever been to the Taco Bell? Probably not but this was easily the nicest Taco Bell I have ever been too. After eating we realized it was late so we went back to the car. The night was over but not before blasting Spanish “trap” music all the way home (thank you Nicole). It was an amazing and also special night because I have struggled with not having any communication with friends and family back home but spending time with Fernanda, Jimena, and Nicole made those struggles go away.
If you have made it this far then thank you for showing an interest in my trip! I will hopefully have these coming out every few days from now on. As always thank you for the support and make sure to check out my Facebook for photos of my trip! Adios amigos!
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