Saturday, June 11


So Guatemala was Guatemala, but what now?

Well, I'm not taking it easy, that's for sure.

I got back in Michigan on May 12.
I spent 3 weeks with my family before making my next move for the next adventure.

Which brings us to what life is looking like now.

I'm an Immigrant Justice Program intern at Neighborhood Christian Legal Clinic (IJP, NCLC) in Indianapolis, Indiana.                                   (Mouthful, isn't it? But it does sound pretty official.)
Even when it's exhausting and terrifying and overwhelming and crazy, I'm loving every beautiful second of it. I'm using my Spanish, I'm getting lots of face-time with clients and prospective clients, and I'm able to actually listen to people in an office full of lawyers and other professionals. This organization is truly making a difference and I get to watch faces light up with little rays of hope for their situations.

A generous family offered to take me in, so my residence for the summer is a basement in a house about 20 minutes from the clinic and downtown Indy (all of the perks of a private apartment, all of the advantages of living with a family:).  Even Oscar, the cat, has been nothing short of welcoming.
I'm following leads for part time work so I have some income in addition to my 20-ish+ hours a week at NCLC. I've been there a week and already I'm assisting with intakes (that started on my first day!) and do odds and ends of filing and data entry (Joys of being a non-legal intern...I input data. They write official lawyer-ey things.)
Sorting through all of the emotions of reentry after my initial rough bout of reverse culture shock has proven to be more of a long-term process (I think I can safely say that almost, if not all, of us from the Guat semester are still dealing heavily with this) and there are days that still just feel ridiculously hard. But that's the reality right now. It's part identity crisis, part homesickness, part reverse culture shock, with significant shares of being easily overwhelmed, constantly exhausted, and always feeling like there's something missing.

There's an awful lot going on in my heart and my crazy little head. But it's all good things and I wouldn't have it any other way.

Friday, June 10

the 10-second Guat review

Now that I finally have a little bit of time to breathe and have started to determine some semblance of 'normal', I guess we're due for an update.

Guatemala was incredible. It was beyond words. It broke my heart in so many ways and left me feeling like my soul is spread into two different countries and, no matter where I am, I'm never really 'whole.'

It's impossible to sum up the trip in a way that's both meaningful and does justice to the realities of Guatemala, so, instead, here's some random pictures. For more detailed stories, my guatemala blog is still in existence.

The semester adventure crew, on top of the most famous temple at Tikal (Templo del Gran Jaguar, featured in Star Wars, lots of historical sight info...good times.) I'd say it pretty well displays our interesting personalities and sense of humor.

 Just, please believe me here...everything about Guatemala is beautiful. Yes, some parts hurt and you have to dig to find the hope and beauty there, but it's there. Even in the (surprisingly comfortable all considering!) traditional clothing.
We'd do just about anything to help out with each other at school, including being models for presentations.

This woman is a saint. Her name is Gloria and she's the reason I now consider myself as functionally bilingual. Her patience, humor, and genuine desire for justice spurred me on every day.
{Gloria, eres uno de las personas del mundo que ha enseñado y ayudado me lo más. Otra vez, gracias no esta suficiente. También, todavía, mi Español esta mejorando.}

These kids. Oh my heart. Semillas de Amor basically just gave me an extra mountain of little siblings that I'll love forever. Reading homework (plus any other homework that needed help getting done) four days a week with some of the silliest, most difficult, frustrating, beautiful, sensitive kiddos out there. When my return trip happens, seeing them will be on the itinerary.