Vale la Pena!

Okay, so as picturesque as I may  have described life in Antigua in my last post, I’d be lying if I said life here wasn’t hard.

And no, not hard in any obvious ways.  I mean, one of the sweetest ladies in the world is washing my clothes (with a machine, not a pila) and cooking all my meals.  Plus, I’m going to school in what could pass for the Garden of Eden.

But it’s been hard in other…smaller, but simultaneously bigger ways.

For example, any time I start something new I get a tad freaked out.  Living in Guatemala, yeah, that’s a new experience. Beyond that though, it’s something that I’m essentially experiencing without my family and my closest friends.  Everyday there’s something new and exciting to share and I miss hearing what’s happening in their lives as well.  On that note, Happy Birthdays to my mom and sister!

Too, I’m really missing my students.  A lot.

Then there’s the whole learning-Spanish-thing.  Umm…it’s really hard.   For every one thing that I learn, there are fifty more things that I don’t know.  I’m also not accustomed to not mastering something right away.  Slices of humble pie are always tough to swallow.


All of this leads me to the title of this post.  Vale la pena!  It basically translates to It’s Worth the Pain.  We haven’t even been here that long and the reality of the words are hitting me more every day, how more often than not, the most worthwhile things in life don’t come easily.

For example, last Saturday we left six in the morning to climb  Pacaya, an active volcano about an hour and a half outside of Antigua.

We couldn’t get close enough to roast the marshmellows but we did eat a breakfast of banana bread and fresh pineapple at the top of a neighboring ridge watching the rocks spurt out from the top of the volcano.  The walk up the mountain was tough… but by far one of the most incredible experiences of my life.  Besides the volcano, the view from the top of the mountain was breathtaking.  You could see all the way to the Pacific Ocean, a first for me!

Then the next day we hiked up the Cerro de la Cruz here in Antigua.  It overlooks the entire city of Antigua.  Again, a tough climb, but sooooo worth it.

On a more serious note, for the past two Sundays, we’ve gone to a church that’s attached to a home/hospital for the physically and mentally disabled.  I can’t put into words what it was like last Sunday… after hearing the Gospel where Jesus told us,

Rather, when you hold a banquet,
invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind;
blessed indeed will you be because of their inability to repay you.
For you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.

Then to see the priest go through all of the rows of wheelchairs and distribute communion to each and every handicapped person there…  To see the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, invited to the banquet of the Eucharist…Christ practices what He preached… do we?  And why not?  Anyways, in such impoverished countries, the handicapped are truly the poorest of the poor.  The love and devotion shown to them was a powerful witness.  It’s not easy to care for someone with such special needs…but how beautiful will the reward be one day.

Ahh, there’s always just so much to process.

Anyways, moral of the story.  As hard as some days are, I know the result is going to be something beautiful.



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