Day 12 - The Beginning of the End

Everything has to come to a close sometime. Subway recently ended their point system. You can no longer invest with the Lehman Brothers. Even the Beatles broke up eventually. That's why I'm disappointed, but not shocked, that we go back home tomorrow.

The day was rather uneventful. We headed back over to the school to say our final goodbyes. They received us with a little fiesta. A lot of the younger kids were dressed up in costume, and they had us judge a dance competition. I'll be honest, none of them were Chris Brown. But they were still pretty cute. The best of the little kid dancers was Frankenstein.

The older kids had a dress up dance competition, but there was only one entry. It was this kid Rafael who we kicked it with. He wore a wool tan suit and a old man mask, and for his dance, he shuffled around pulling women out of the crowd to dance with. He even pulled down our girls, leading to the funniest few minutes of the trip.

After the dance exhibition, the party got buck wild. They had a pinata, and us gringos took turns getting blindfolded and taking our whacks. Ben got frighteningly close to smacking a little Guatemalan girl in the face with his stick after she rushed in to try to score some candy off the ground, but Ryan still took home the grand prize for his valiant impalement through the heart of the paper Elmo.

Then we had a little dance party of our own. The Guatemalans showed us a little somethin' somethin' about salsa dancing. Despite our lesson, I did not feel competent on the dance floor. Then we showed them Soulja Boy. I know, it's way played out and hella expired, but there are only so many dances that we look even slightly competent at.

We had to get home for lunch, so it was time to say final goodbyes to our Guatemalan amigos. People gave speeches, contact information was exchanged, tears were shed. Cindy definitely tried to garner extra cheek kisses from me, I obliged.

After lunch, we had to go on some last minute market missions for souvenirs. Laura picked up Slumdog Millionaire on the day after it won best picture (it is NOT out on DVD yet) and I got two really obnoxious T-shirts. They're pretty funny and somewhat vulgar but it's acceptable seeing as it's a foreign language.

Mari had a special dinner for us, complete with cake and really rich hot chocolate. I will miss her. Unless of course, customs doesn't find her in my backpack.

Everybody around me is packing right now, but I figure I'd bust out some reflective words right about now.

First of all, this is the last blog. Hopefully you readers have enjoyed it; otherwise, hopefully you soon suffer a mild injury. It's been a pleasure to write it and fun to offer my interpretation of everything we've done--hopefully I didn't butcher anything too badly (EDIT: there is one thing. Yesterday we went zip-lining too. I forgot to write it. My bad. It was fun. Sorry Heidi.).

Second of all, the trip. All jokes aside, going on this trip was definitely a great experience. It was pretty crazy to get a new perspective on how they live over here--it's a way of life totally foreign to us. Literally. I'm not really sure if it makes me embarrassed for all our excesses, or appreciative for how lucky we are. It felt good to be able to communicate and have fun with Guatemalan kids our age--kind of shows that we're all sorta the same no matter where we're from.

But what really made the trip great was the people on it. Everybody got along real well and we all got a lot closer to people we might not even have known otherwise. Major shout out to Mike and Bob and Barb for being great chaperones and somehow finding a way to make it all work out.

OK now I gotta go pack. Final verdict: Guatemala is dope. So is TSC. See you tomorrow Mom and Dad! Or Wednesday the rest of you.

Zach