Thursday, October 7, 2010

What To Do Now?! Que Hacer Ahora?!




Have you ever faced a situation in which life seemed to get really complicated? Something happened that made you throw all your plans overboard?

In June 2007 I explored Tikal, the  majestic ruins in the middle of the jungle in the north of Guatemala. "Survivor: The Maya Empire" was filmed there in 2005. This was my 5th visit to Tikal and I loved it as if it had been the first. Just when I was walking back to the parking lot to get the bus back to Flores, it started to rain. I took my cheap but handy plastic poncho out of my bag, put it on and began walking towards the exit of the park, a 10 minute walk. In the evening I decided to call the bus company to confirm my ticket to the Mexican border the next day. I was so excited about spending a few days in Cancun! I looked for my bus ticket and I realized that not only I did not have my tickets, but I did not have my passport, phone numbers, and bank information. NO! I felt like I had been punched really hard in the pit of my stomach.

For a minute I felt so lost and angry at myself I literally felt sick. As a traveler I know the importance of keeping your documents dry so I had everything in a Ziplock bag. I always carry in my bad and take care of it, or so I thought. How could I lose it? I was staying at a hostel where I shared a big room with 5 other travelers. Had someone took it from my bag thinking it had money? I freaked out. I could almost see myself wasting a week or more in Guatemala city getting a new passport and a new US visa to be able to travel via Miami to Egypt where I was moving to teach in a couple of weeks. I began to say good bye to my delicious 2-week trip to Cancun. But somehow I pull myself together and I reminded myself of how for many years I have believed in the power of prayer and being optimistic no matter what. I took a deep breath and thought of what to do next. I went to tell the receptionist at my hostel about what had happened. She knew a lady who knew where the actual manager of Tikal lived in town! I went to a travel agent who knew his address. I walked and found the house and talked to his wife because he was not home. Again I began to get discouraged.

Walking back to my hostel I asked myself: what do I do now?! After considering the options I decided the best thing to do was to get on a bus to the park the next morning. On my way there I prayed and I thanked God for everything He has provided me in my life. I thanked Him for my family, for my career, for the opportunity to travel, for His love and mercy in my life. I also pictured in my mind walking to the office and a clerck telling me: yes, we have it sir. As I arrived I thought to myself: perhaps I am not supposed to go to Cancun. Then I thought: no, I want to go and I trust God will take care of me at all times.

And yes, they had it!! Someone had found it and returned it!! I thought carefully about all this and I realized later that the passport fell off when I took the poncho out of my bag.

Everything was back on track!

I had lost just one day, but I learned a great lesson about not letting circumstances determine how I feel and what I think. On top of that, that day was sunnier so I wandered around Tikal and took better pictures than the previous day.


ESPANYOL

Que hacer ahora?!

Has enfrentedo alguna situacion en la que parecia que tu vida se complicaba demasiado? Te paso algo que te hizo tirar todos tus planes por la borda?

En Junio del 2007 explore las ruinas de Tikal, las majestuosas ruinas en medio de la selva en el norte de Guatemala. "Survivor; The Mayan Empire" se filmo allí en 2005. Esta fue mi 5ta visita a Tikal y me encanto como si hubiera sido la primera. Justo cuando estaba por regresar al parqueo  para ir a tomar el bus de retorno a Flores empezo a llover. Saque mi poncho plástico barato pero útil de mi morral, me lo puse y empece a caminar, una caminata de unos 10 minutos. En la noche decidi llamar a la compania de bus para confirmar mi boleto a la frontera de Mexico al dia siguiente. Estaba super emocionado de pasar unos días en Cancun! Busque por el boleto y me di cuenta que no solo no tenia mi boleto sino que no tenia mi pasaporte, mi libreta de telefonos, y mi informacion bancaria. NO! Senti como si me hubieran sacado el aire con un golpe en el estomago.

Por un minuto me senti tan perdido y tan enojado con mi mismo que literalment me maree. Yo se lo importante que es mantener los documentos secos, asi que tenia todo en una bolsita plastica que siempre llevo conmigo y que cuido muchisimo, al menos eso pensaba yo. Como pude perderla? Me estaba hospedando en un hostal donde compartía la habitación con 5 viajeros mas. Sera que alguien en el hostal la tomo pensando que tenia dinero? Me asuste. Ya casi me veia desperdiciando una semana o mas en la ciudad sacando un nuevo pasaporte y una nueva visa Americana para poder viajar a Egipto a donde estaba por mudarme en unas semanas. Empece a decirle adiós a 2 semanas deliciosas en Cancun. Pero, de alguna manera, mantuve la calma y me recorde a mi mismo que por muchos anios he creido firmemente en el poder de la oracion y el ser optimista pase lo que pase. Respire profundamente pensé en que hacer ahora. Fui a hablar con la recepcionista respecto a lo que me había pasado. Ella conocía a una persona que conocía donde vivía el admistrador de Tikal! Fui a hablar el agente de viajes que sabia la dirección. Camine y encontré la casa y hable con la esposa porque el no estaba. De nuevo me sentí desanimado.

Al caminar de regreso al hostal me pregunte de nuevo: que hago ahora? Despues de considerar las alternativas decidi que lo mejor que podia hacer era tomar un bus al parque la mañana siguiente. En el camino iba orando, dando gracias a Dios por su provision en mi vida, por mi familia, por mi carrera, por la oportunidad que tengo de viajar, por su amor por mi. Tambien me visualizaba en mi mente caminando hacia la oficina y a un guardaparques diciendome: Si, lo tenemos señor. Al llegar empece a pensar: quizá no deba ir a Cancun por alguna razon. Luego pensé: No, yo quiero ir y confio en que Dios me cuidara en todo momento.

Y si, lo tenian!! Alguien lo había encontrado y devuelto a la oficina. Pense detenidamente sobre todo esto y me di cuenta que el pasaporte se cayo cuando saque el poncho de mi morral.

Todo volvio al plan original!

Solo perdi un dia, pero aprendi una gran lección sobre no dejar que las circunstancias determinen lo que siento o lo que pienso. Ademas, ese dia estuvo mas soleado asi que volvi a caminar por Tikal y tuve oportunidad de tomar mejores fotos que el dia anterior.