Sunday, January 23, 2011

Roots and Wings. Raices y Alas.

Roots and Wings

In June of 2004, after going to college in Arkansas for 4 years and teaching in Honduras, Costa Rica and the Carolinas for 7 years, I decided to take a sabbatical in Guatemala. I wanted to get back to my roots. I spent most of that year in Antigua Guatemala and Lake Atitlan. Two of the most beautiful places I know. I was home. My family. My food. My people. My land. I felt "Chapin" again. Chapin is the nickname given to Guatemalans. 

As the end of my sabbatical got closer I began thinking of looking for a job. The thought of returning to the US came to my mind, but Mario Benedetti came to my mind. He is a poet and novelist from Uruguay. He said once: The South also exists...! That thought made me to seriously consider going to South America instead of North America. After a few days looking at the pros and cons I decided to go South. I found a job online. I contacted the school in Cochabamba, Bolivia and after a few emails and a phone interview they hired me to teach grade 5. 

I arrived in Cochabamba on August 1st,  2005 with 2 suitcases and a backpack full of dreams. For the next two years I had the opportunity to live, to teach and to travel in South America. I had the joy of becoming friends with many Bolivians and with many people of other nationalities. I volunteered in an orphanage teaching English twice a week. I explored Ecuador, Colombia, Venuezuela, Chile, Argentina and Bolivia, I had previously traveled in Peru, Brazil and Uruguay. From the sunny Cartagena to the spectacular Patagonia. I watched the sunset in the Galapagos and sang at the top of my lungs at a Ricardo Arjona (most famous Guatemalan singer-song writer) concert in La Paz. 

In June 2007 I went back to Guatemala on my way to Cairo, Egypt where I was hired to teach 6th grade. On that first morning waking up in Guatemala I felt more Chapin than ever, and I felt I was truly a citizen of the world. 

Today I am happy for that moment when I realized that the South also exists...! Since then, I not only have roots, but I also have wings.


Raices y Alas

En Junio del 2004, despues de asistir a la univerdad en Arkansas por 4 anios y dar clases en Honduras, Costa Rica y las Carolinas por 7 anios, decidi tomar un año sabatico en Guatemala... Queria volver a mis raices... la mayor parte de ese año lo pase en Antigua Guatemala y el Lago Atitlan... estaba en mi tierra.. con mi familia.. mi comida.. mi gente.. me senti "chapin" de nuevo... chapin es el sobrenombre que se nos da a los Guatemaltecos... al terminar ese año tenia que buscar un empleo... pense en regresar a los Estados Unidos, pero de alguna forma me recorde de Mario Bennedetti, poeta y novelista Uruguayo, quien dijo: "El Sur tambien existe...!" asi que despues de pensarlo decidi ir al Sur... encontre un trabajo en Cochabamba, Bolivia... llegue en Agosto del 2005 con dos maletas y una mochilla llena de suenios.. por dos años tuve la oportunidad de vivir, enseñar y viajar en Sudamerica... tuve la alegria de establecer una amistad con mucha gente de Bolivia y de muchas otras nacionalidades... fui voluntario en un orfanato dando clases de Ingles dos veces por semana... explore Ecuador, Colombia, Venezuela, Chile, Argentina y la bella Bolivia... previamente habia viajado en Peru, Brazil y Uruguay... desde la soleada Cartagena hasta la grandeza de la Patagonia... desde ver el atardecer en Galapagos hasta ir a un concierto de Arjona en La Paz... volvi a mi tierra en Junio del 2007... esa mañana cuando me desperte de nuevo en Guatemala me senti mas chapin, mas latino y mas ciudadano del mundo... hoy soy feliz por haberme dado cuenta de que el Sur tambien existe..! 

A partir de ese momento no solo tengo raices, sino tambien tengo alas...