I recently went on a personal adventure to Antigua, Guatemala. It was my own miniature version of Elizabeth Gilbert’s Eat, Pray, Love. Well, she traveled for an entire year (to Italy, India, and Bali) and I only went away for two weeks, but hey – it was my solo adventure.
Eat – I threw out any attempt to be gluten free, meat free or sugar free and opened myself to whatever came. Oh! I sampled frijoles for breakfast, café con leche, strawberry sauce on crepe-thin pancakes, and fresh, hot, homemade tortillas with almost every meal. Heaven!
Pray – I happened to be in Antigua over Ash Wednesday – the beginning of Lent — a big event in a vibrantly Catholic country. What I didn’t expect was that the city would be literally covered in ashes that day. The Fire volcano had erupted for hours through the previous night (“oh, that’s what that sound was!”) and had blanketed the town in ash. It was truly an ‘Ash’ Wednesday.
Learn – Unlike Ms. Gilbert, I went to improve my Spanish, not my love life. And happily, thanks to 15 hours a week of private instruction and a full-fledged cultural immersion, I learned a lot of Spanish. But in the end, it turns out that I learned about love as well. For even though I adored 70 degree days, outdoor cafes, and flowering trees, I missed my husband. Yes, love for my husband called me home in spite of New England’s frigid weather. The cliché is true: home, indeed, is where the heart is.