A week ago today, I pulled my hat over my face and cried as my plane taxied down the runway toward my next work trip. Fear locked on as I absorbed this fact: In just a few hours, my toddler and I would be in two different countries. I swear I held my breath until we landed in Guatemala City.
Warmth replaced anxiety when I found a familiar face waving in the crowd outside of the airport. But I wasn’t done holding my breath.
I held it in excitement when I came face-to-face with co-workers and friends who I’m usually video-calling from 3,000 miles away. And when I met the rest of our Antigua team, all incredible people who I’m lucky to know. When I saw my first volcano and chicken bus and the charm of what has to be the prettiest place on Earth. When we toured Ecofiltro (on a mission to provide clean water to 1 million families by 2020) and Educate Buena Vista (on a mission to educate and serve a low-income village), and then discussed what level of impact our own team might be able to make in the world. When I had to scoot over to make room for the cutest little boy to walk his two cows down the street. Drank the best coffee, saw unreal flowers, ate so many fresh avocados that my team called me Panza Verde (“Green Belly”). Dodged took-tooks. And stretched my brain in four day-long meetings that resulted in some meaningful work.
When I said goodbye to the team, I held my breath so that I wouldn’t straight-up ugly cry on the cobblestone streets.
Then I finally let my lungs relax on the flight home, as I faced a new fact: I’d return to my little man as a stronger mama with a wider perspective. And a newfound love for Guatemala.
Muchas gracias to everyone who made this adventure a perfect one.