Antigua was amazing. After only being there for a few weeks, the city, its people, and its environment already have a piece of my heart. There is so much I could say about the city and my experience there, I don’t even know where to start. I could talk about the daily surprise thunderstorms and how you would have to be crazy to go anywhere without a poncho, rain jacket, and umbrella all stuffed into your backpack. I could tell the story of my first homestay lunch, where a language barrier caused complete silence until the tablecloth caught on fire. Or I could talk about being confronted by a group of rambunctious school teachers on Cerro de la Cruz, who gave me hugs and laughed at my inability to speak Spanish. Another particular favorite of mine is when my homestay and I were insulted through song in the garden by our house.
My incredible homestay family.
Another thing about the city, how absolutely stunning the city itself and the surrounding environment are. The streets are lined with colorful walls that hide homes, schools, and restaurants alike, not to mention the secret life of the rooftops. I made many friends on the rooftops.
The Casa rooftop is fabulous.
Then there were the churches. My heart almost stopped every time I walked into any of the historic cathedrals, although this also happened whenever one of them would spontaneously set of a firework on the next street over. I found myself attending mass for fun.
Staring at the mountains around the city never got old, and honestly became a favorite pastime of mine. They were jagged and unpredictable, and covered entirely in jungle. They made for some interesting architecture too. I learned that there was no fear in building your house-complex on the side of a cliff. The neighboring town at the base of Agua made a pretty nice example of this, and at night it almost looked as if it were a bunch of floating lights.
There’s so much I want to say about Antigua and the other places in Guatemala and Belize, but no matter how much I do write, there will always be more to say. I even tried to keep a journal that I will probably never get to the end of. So I decided, after some aimless sketching on Cerro de la Cruz, that maybe documenting and talking about my experiences by drawing them would be a better plan of action. I made this decision a little late in the trip, so I am still working on them and many of them will be from pictures. I have been (and still am) drawing different scenes that stood out to me as characteristic of the places I went and my experiences there. They are of landscapes, people, and even mundane scenes that I had simply gotten used to seeing. Sometimes they include color, if I think the scene needs it. I write the date and place on the picture as if it were a written journal entry, making it a visual journal. It may not recount the events the way a journal usually would, but my hope is that these drawings will be just as effective, if not more. After all, they say that a picture is worth one thousand words, and the events of this past month are worth one million.
I have a lot of words to catch up on.