Our Guatemala adventures – a trip to go down in the record books!

My son and I traveled to Guatemala a few weeks ago and we had such a lovely trip! Lot’s of big adventures, some great down time, wonderful and deep conversations and tons of fun!

We had a few days in Antigua where we climbed Volcan Pacaya, made chocolate at the Choco Museo and spent a ton of time exploring the city and eating vegetarian tacos! Jac is a vegetarian and he found (and we ate there 3 times) the BEST taqueria on the planet!

We headed up to Lake Atitlan, stopping to visit a shaman en route – which was fascinating! While at the lake we took Spanish lessons at Jabel Tinamit and absolutely loved it! I’d definitely recommend that school to anyone looking to take Spanish immersion classes.

While we were in the Lake Atitlan area we also visited Maximon (a Mayan deity that that resides in a home in Santiago Atitlan – not to be missed), jumped off a 10-meter cliff and spent some quality time with our friends at the Starfish Impact School, Colegio Impacto.

We were able to serve the girls lunch and my son Jac (who is quite tall for a 12-year-old Guatemalan boy) was like the Justin Bieber of the Mayan world. All the girls were giggling and adorably shy staring at him with their hands over their mouths. Huge boost of self-confidence for a kiddo that thinks he is “different” than everyone else. And helping teach an English class at the school was so rewarding! The girls are smart and funny and care so much about each other. I loved seeing the inclusiveness! Wow – we were blown away with the program.

But I have to admit, going on a home visit with my son was more impactful than I could have imagined. The family that hosted us lived simply but they were such humble, kind and generous people that it touched my heart beyond compare, truly. With the help of our wonderful guides, Nami and Susie, who could translate between English, Spanish and Tz’utuhil with ease, we were able to ask and answer many questions about each other’s family, work, life, etc. What an amazing experience!

The mother had the most beautiful smile. Within the walls of their humble house they shared the greatest riches — laughter, joy, kindness, love and so much more!! The mother wore the most beautiful headscarf made of gorgeous deep blue velvet. She asked if she could wrap my hair in a traditional scarf as well. It was incredibly moving!

Together we created and shared the most amazing meal, had a wonderful conversation and connected on a level that I wasn’t sure was possible in a few hour visit. It was and it doesn’t get any better! Before we left the mother asked if she could give me her head wrap. I was incredibly touched and cried like a baby. She only owned two wraps! I am honored to have it and I will cherish it forever.

When Jac and I left Panajachel for Guatemala City we had one more amazing experience up our sleeves … Jac met his foster family. It was a beautiful reunion! They are such loving and kind people. As a mother, my heart is happy to know my beautiful little boy was genuinely loved and cared for in his first few months of life. Jac also met his foster brother, Antonio (who was named after him) and said he felt like he had a “brother from another mother”. Jac was able to ask them a thousand questions and feels truly grounded in Guatemala now, knowing he has “family” there.

We loved all our adventures and feel great about our accomplishments. We loved taking Spanish classes and learned so much. We loved spending time with the girls, the teachers, the chefs, the staff, and our guides (Nami and Susie) at Colegio Impacto. We loved our home visit with an indigenous family and we loved our time with Jac’s foster family. What a huge treat this trip was!

We felt loved and welcomed everywhere we went. We challenged ourselves and learned more than we could have ever thought possible. We left the country feeling connected – to each other as well as to Guatemala and all of our friends and family in country. And most importantly, my beautiful boy feels like he found his roots – in a country he loves. We will definitely be going back as often as possible.

When you are ready to explore the world with your family, please schedule a 30-minute Discovery Session with me at www.calendly.com/bambi. I’d LOVE to help!

Bambi Wineland is the mother of two internationally adopted children, a traveler, a Certified Professional Coach, and the Founder and CEO of Motherland Travel. Motherland Travel began by designing Heritage Journeys for families with internationally adopted children. The emphasis of those Heritage Journeys has always been on deepening family connections, building self-esteem and cultivating pride in a family’s multi-cultural heritage. Motherland Travel also uses the philosophies of transformative Travel for designing family trips with purpose – building rich connections, with each other and the world! Read more about her here >> http://motherlandtravel.com/

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