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Teacher. Traveler. t is the end of the journey... on june 1st i will turn in the keys of my apartment near IC Norte America, in Cochabamba, Bolivia...take a cab to the airport, and fly my magical home... Guatemala... behind i will leave a city in which i made many friends,

Roots & Wings

GUATEMALA | Saturday, 23 June 2007 | Views [790]

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 in the USA for a total of 7 years, I decided to take a sabbatical in Guatemala. I had lived abroad for 11 years and I wanted to get back to my roots to the place that defined who I was.

I spent most of that year in Antigua Guatemala and Lake Atitlan. Two of the most beautiful places I know. It took me a few weeks to readjust to what was familiar. 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 approached I began thinking of starting to look for a job. The thought of returning to teach in the USA came to mind, but a phrase from Mario Benedeti, poet and novelist from Uruguay, came coming back to me. He said in one of his poems: "The south also exists...!"

After giving it some thought I decided to go "south." I began looking for a job online. A couple of weeks later I was hired to teach grade 6 in Cochabamba, Bolivia. On August 10th, 2005 I arrived at my new home 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, Venezuela, 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 a Ricardo Arjona concert in La Paz.

In June of 2007, I went back home to Guatemala again. After those two years in South America I felt more chapin, more latino and more a citizen of the world. I am so glad I listened to that inner voice that reminded me that "the south also exists...!"

Thanks to that decision, now, I not only have roots, but I also have wings.

http://marioarana.blogspot.com/

Tags: argentina, bolivia, chile, colombia, ecuador, living abroad, south america, teaching abroad, venezuela

 

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