Today has been an absolute emotional roller coaster for me. This morning we had our graduation from Sol Latino at this really cool family themed restaurant called Albamar. They had playgrounds and these giant concrete slides that would absolutely not be okay in the United States but that's what makes them awesome. I must've gone down it like 5 times. It totally made me feel like a little kid again. After playing around for a bit, we all came back inside to receive our diplomas and to give our thank you speeches. Mine is below!
In english: "Before traveling to Guatemala, I was a little scared. But after arriving here in Xela, I knew that I didn't need to be nervous. The food, the people, and possibly the quetzalteca showed me that Guatemala is a very fun and friendly country with beautiful views and a lot of culture. I am never going to forget the memories that I created here in Xela with all of you. Playing "stop" or "spoons" with the teachers and other students, eating doblados, chocolate bananas, fried chicken from Pinulito during the pause, or eating 3 tacos for 10 quetzales after a night of drinking, I'm always going to remember all of these memories. I want to thank Dr. Quinn, Erika, Sol Latino, and especially my marvelous teacher Annabella for everything. I have a gift for Annabella but she couldn't be here today, but I want her to know that I'm going to miss her. I don't want to leave Guatemala because this past month has been an experience of a lifetime. And my experience in Guatemala would not have been the same without Annabella and without all of you. Thank you for everything!"
In all honesty, I have no idea how I didn't cry while giving that speech. This past month has been such an amazing journey in my life and I don't want it to end. Just having the experience to actually *live* in a different country to experience it inside and out has been utterly life-changing. After the speeches, we played around a little bit more and hit some piñatas for Sofia's birthday as well as the celebration of 10 years of Somos Hermanos. Then, we had lunch and said goodbye to all of the teachers.
After graduation, we walked around Xela one last time and did some last minute shopping while we were still in the area. We also checked out the bread house owned by the host family for Kurun, Elaine, Lois, and Sofia! Finally, Mitchka, Katie, and I had our last dinner with our host family and took pictures with everyone. It was pretty hard for me because I'm horrible with saying goodbyes but I'm so happy to have had the opportunity to have spent a month with such an amazing and welcoming family :) -Scott