One highlight of this last week was that I had the opportunity to go on a seven hour bus ride from Copan Ruinas, Honduras to beautiful Antigua, Guatemala with some friends. Although Antigua is definitely a major tourist destination here, it was a great chance to learn more about Latin American culture as we watched the Semana Santa processions going through town. It was also an opportunity to take some time to relax and reflect on what I have been learning here.
In Antigua I also decided to fully embrace my role as a tourist gringa (a nickname applied to any and every white person, although it technically only refers to Americans) and take lots of pictures - something I never have time to do in Copan Ruinas! Here is a sampling from my experiences in Antigua:
I really loved the walls throughout Antigua - and in all of Latin America! They are just rich with texture, character and history.
Me standing by the cross overlooking Antigua and the volcano behind the city!
One of the beautiful cathedrals in Antigua.
I also had an amazing opportunity to help a group of people making alfombras in the street. These are pictures made with sawdust in the street. They are walked on during the Semana Santa processions in which people carry massive statues of Christ through the streets. Alfombras are created to beautify the streets and prepare them for the coming of Christ. More pictures of this will come!
I was able to read a substantial portion of Tolstoy's War and Peace - for those of you who have not yet read it, I urge you not to be discouraged by its length as it is a good read! One line that has stuck with me as I think about the sadness and poverty and struggles faced by people here (and everywhere!) on a daily basis is an expert of the thoughts of a Russian soldier at the moment of falling injured in battle:
"How quiet, peaceful, and solemn, not at all as I ran," thought Prince Andrew - "not as we ran, shouting, and fighting, not at all as the gunner and the Frenchman with frightened and angry faces struggled for the mop: how differently do those clouds glide across that lofty infinite sky! How was it I did not see that lofty sky before? And how happy I am to have found it at last!" - Tolstoy
Although the world around us can feel like a battle, there is a bigger picture that we can embrace. The battles and struggles of today are nothing compared to the infinite grace and power of God, and I think that we can all benefit from taking the time to gaze up at the sky and realising that life is bigger than what we see in the here and now.
Anyways, these are a few of my thoughts and experiences these days. I will try to add more photos of the Semana Santa processions in a future blog post. Thanks for reading!
And tonight a special hello goes out to the lovely Kasadee - missing you and all my other lovely friends in Canada :)