Guat's Up? A Mini-Vacation in Guatemala

I would be lying if I didn't say I have been extremely stressed lately in job hunting. Perhaps I'll eventually reveal all of the notes on that, but leaving teaching is difficult. Enough about that, I decided to give myself and the muse a fun little break (it would cost me more than I thought in the long run), but my wanderlust is insatiable as I knew I wouldn't be able to enjoy Africa during this summer. Guatemala would be in a rainy season and the transport from Guatemala City to Antigua would take awhile, but the trip would be a lot of fun.   

In the two days I was there, I would enjoy some wonderful Guatemalan stews, explore jade jewelry (huge resource there), good coffee, tons of crepes, exotic ice cream flavors such as curry peanut butter & maple hazelnut. Exploring the cheap markets of the city for a tamale was also fun with all of the kind people that I met throughout my travel. It's a nice and relaxing tourist town where everything is for the thrifty and the locals are amicable. I also want to make a note of all the good beer brewed in the country, it's surprising including the Gallo (chicken) beer and the people's love for the animal.

The big highlight of the trip was ATVing through the mountains and almost volcanoes through a foggy, muddy and rainy Antigua. Many of the views were beautiful - photos to come later - and looking through the mist, exploring a local village of Mayan descendants during a Corpus Christi celebration and seeing the lush greenery of city was a sight to behold. 

While unfortunately I was only able to see Guatemala City and the Fuego, Agua and Pacaya volcanoes from afar the rest of the experience was a tranquil and refreshing experience overall. As I said, travel is spirituality for me and even at the low points in my life I still need it.

Check out Guatemala, it's low prices, Mayan culture, friendly people (including the guys who sell flutes for some reason???? - Peru is the land of pan flutes, Guatemala is textile), and relaxing times will have you wanting to relax there forever.

Purpose, Reflection, and Future

Recently, I have been in a deep analysis as to who I am and what purpose do I serve in my own life, the lives of others and on this earth. I am not a spiritual crusader, but I do ponder on one's mission or meaning in life. As I nearly turn 30, I am at a crossroads in what to do with myself. Logical progression years ago seemed to teach which turned into leadership which turned into running my own school or becoming a professor. Then I lived and explored Southeast Asia for two months which led me to wanting to get out of America fast. With our new president it has only solidified that want.  

I began to research how to teach abroad, specifically around social studies and english. I had hopes for possibly teaching High School or sticking with what I already knew in middle school. I joined a few different institutions from Search Associates, research with International School Services, and Teachaway and a few others. Ultimately the Search Associates Fair, was a great experience, but due to missing out on a chance at teaching at Lebanon, I began to wonder my true reasons for wanting to teach abroad and true reasons for wanting to teach.

As such, I was led to believe I may have been going about this wrong. I was led to that by a great self-help book called What Color is Your Parachute? Within the book there is a thorough process called the Flower Method that takes a look at your thought process in regards to skills, knowledges, and locations and people for work. As such, I realized that teaching is almost but not quite satisfactory for what I wish to do with myself. Now, there is a process for still teaching a year abroad with Teaching Nomad to cover some college  and credit card debts. This is acceptable in China even though it prolongs what I want to do with myself. Still, it would be simply building towards a transition.

This transition has me looking at museum and historical research jobs as I think that that is truly what I'm best at besides travel. However, the research could even lead me to more travel to research the history of various civilizations in a cultural and social sense. As I am better at working with data and information around the humanities subjects this fit will be better for me. Thus, I am looking at jobs that focus on this through film and writing. So far, the museum world of NYC (Natural History Museum), The Smithsonian and it's African-American Culture Museum, and organizations such as the History Channel, Discovery Channel, PBS and National Geographic have a high appeal to me for research, study, writing, filmography and museum curation.

I may regret the years I lost on not knowing myself, but I don't regret the purpose I gave to hundreds of young Black and Brown kids in the US. In the end, my future lies elsewhere and all roads will lead to this. 

Basking in Berlin, Germany

Hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving, mine was spent in Berlin, Germany. I went during my vacation as I have always wanted to visit Germany for its history, culture, food/beer, and some of its kinks. I also wanted to see where I felt the country was headed as I saw remnants of a collection of chaotic issues throughout Berlin.

My early days were primarily focused on seeing parts of the Berlin Wall, the Jewish Memorial and Museum, Topography of Terror, Reischtag Building, and Brandenburg Gate. As I saw the gate, apparently Obama was rolling by which was crazy to see and hear as Germans got excited. I will truly miss Obama as if you've been paying attention you would've noticed that all my travel has been during the Obama administration and it has been beautiful to hear and experience how the world deeply loves him. 

As such, seeing all of Germany's history in which they are truly sorry for I learned how petulant America is with its grievances. Nearly all of the exhibits besides the Jewish Museum are free because Germans want you to know about their mistakes from Nazism in the Topography of Terror to the Holocaust with concentration camps and the Jewish Memorial to the crisis around the Berlin Wall and it's intriguing and lengthy memorial (Note - there is an entire outline on where the wall used to be). Whether Fascism or Communism Berlin has seen it all starting in 1934 to 1989, Berlin has had to see a ton of political problems that killed millions of people in Europe (the spread of the Holocaust is alarming as it went to even Greece which surprised me). This is a large contrast to America which often pretends as if slavery didn't happen and is still an issue. Meanwhile, in Berlin you will rarely find anything revolving Nazism and Hitler even in the museums of Berlin as they deeply hate that it happened. 

On a more positive note I met some cool American women on Thanksgiving Day and had a good time checking out the Christmas winter wonderland setups with German housing throughout the plazas. We also got to enjoy the sausages and beer that was surprisingly reasonable in price for our holiday meal. Beyond that, Germany has pretty low costs on everything compared to Italy and France for EU countries. I enjoyed paying only 3 Euros or less for half a liter of beer. Also, the transit system was relatively reasonable and highly reliable with times on buses, tram, trains and subways - nearly beating NYC's. Make sure you have a ticket though, the checkers who wear normal clothing can surprise as the first time on the subway for me and I encountered ticket checkers. To continue on costs and food the Brezels were 3 per 1 euro and were delicious as was the chocolate and vanilla creme croissant I had - pastries are key here. 

The People were another wonderful aspect of the country. The language was surprisingly not to tricky to pick up and I understood platz was plaza and street was strasse, but people responded and heard me out. This was primarily due to the large diversity in Germany as it was quite friendly for everyone. Turkish, Dominicans, Blacks, Africans, and even East Asian people all speaking German and working different jobs; white people as the help and Black people as the concierge. It was also interesting seeing predominantly homeless white people for a change. The kinks were great too as it is quite possibly the kinkiest country on the planet which you can ask me about offline, but no German blondes for me. 

Lastly, though I got stamps in transit with Norway and Sweden, I didn't get any from Germany directly except for the East German stamps as an outdated change of pace. It maybe because Germany is a Schegen country to, but straight from Norway to Germany and off the plane into a biergarten with no immigration. As such, I highly recommend Berlin and Germany for a lot of fun overall and a forward thinking country that we could've eventually become but now we must go through a seemingly Hitler regime among other setbacks before we achieve the unfortunate aftermath.