Thursday, February 11, 2010

It's A Small Guatemala

My mom likes to say that stuff like this happens to me wherever I go, and when I studied abroad, it was a running joke that I had some weird connection (at the very least, a mutual Facebook friend) to almost every single person on our program. You can call me creepy, but I do tend to discover mutual friends, weird coincidences, or bump into people wherever I am in the city/country/world. So far, Guatemala is no exception.

1. Within my first few weeks here, Sara and Abby (two friends from William and Mary -- we all lived together in Unit G of the frats our sophomore year) happened to be in Guatemala for a week and a half. We met up for a fun-filled day in Antigua and couldn't believe how crazy it was that we were all randomly hanging out in Central America.

2. One of the girls I live with here at NPH, Leeah, is a fellow '09 grad. Earlier this week, we were discussing our other friends and acquaintances in this part of the world, and she mentioned that she had several friends from college (at Notre Dame) volunteering in Honduras right now. Wait, I have a cousin who graduated from Notre Dame and is now working in Honduras. Where are your friends working? Yep, you guessed it: Leeah's friends and my cousin Peter are all working at the same organization (Farm of the Child) on the beaches of Trujillo, Honduras. If either of us ever decides to brave the 22-hour bus ride from here to there, we now know we have a buddy.

3. In Birmingham, in the land of Southern Living and test kitchen tasting, I worked with the fabulous Jenn Barnes. It turns out that she went to school with a girl, Janine, at Northwestern who was also moving to Guatemala to work for a year. She put us in touch with each other, and Janine and I both live about 20 minutes outside of Antigua. So, we met up for dinner last night! Since we're not too far from each other, I'm sure we'll hang out again.

4. During dinner last night, we discovered that Janine also has a friend, Greg, who is teaching English in a small Guatemalan town. What's the town called? Parramos. Um, that's where we're living this year. As of today, some of the other volunteers and I are already in touch with Greg. He's not teaching here at the moment, but he'll be back in March. We're planning on meeting up. That's just crazy.

5. We all get annoyed with our 15 daily Facebook invites to events that aren't even in our current city (or country in this case), but the other day, taking a second to read one of those invitations actually paid off. The event was a fundraising event because, as I discovered, I have a friend from way back in high school, Mandy, who will be part of a service trip to Guatemala in late February/early March. The group will be several hours away from me for the majority of their trip, but they will be spending their last few days in Antigua. We have tentative plans to meet up. :)

6. And finally, Sam and I have a list of three or four William and Mary friends who might just end up in Guatemala over the next year (for reasons other than that they miss us dearly -- that, of course, is a given). :) We are only half-kidding when we say that the College might very well be taking over this country.

Here I was, thinking my year abroad would be isolating me from all friends and family back in the States, but I guess I was wrong haha. It's a small, small Guatemala.

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