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The Best Thing About Guatemala

Hello parents and other people reading this!

I’m not exactly sure how to start this, so I’m just gonna jump right in. There are a lot of great things about Guatemala. We are constantly surrounded by beautiful views and have the chance to do some amazing things. In the afternoons for the past two days, Primo and I have had the opportunity to paint with a local artist, and for the past few days we have had the honor of living with local families in San Juan La Laguna.

All of this is amazing, and I will never forget the great experiences I’ve had here and amazing opportunities I’ve had to immerse myself in the culture, but my favorite thing that I’ve gotten to experience in Guatemala so far is the snacks. Due to the exchange rate of 1 U.S. dollar to 7.5 quetzales (Guatemalan currency), everything here is pretty cheap and my perception of money is completely screwed. We got smoothies the other day on the way back to our homestays after Spanish classes, and I deemed the Q25 smoothie “overpriced”, when in reality it costed about $3. Anyways, back to the snack (I know there is supposed to be an “s” after “snack” but it rhymes if it isn’t there). There are a lot of snacks here. There are Oreo-like cookies called “Cremas”, which are a favorite of the group. They come in three flavors: vanilla, chocolate, and strawberry (in order of my personal preference). The group also enjoys “Can-Cans”, which are similar except they have one chocolate cookie and one vanilla cookie. My personal favorite sweet snack is called “Picnics”, which are wafers with cream in the middle. They come in the same three flavors as the Cremas, but I’ve only tried vanilla so far. No one else really likes them and everyone loves to inform me that they taste like cardboard. An almost unanimous favorite in the group are “Tortrix”, which are apparently the national chip of Guatemala. Tortrix come in a variety of flavors, including Limon (lime but like you know how La Croix lime seltzer doesn’t actually taste like lime, and it just kinda tastes like it was transported near some limes or shared the same air as some Hint of Lime chips? It tastes like that), Picante (spicy but they’re not actually spicy), Queso (cheese and I have yet to try these because I am a little suspicious of cheese flavored chips so I cannot form an opinion), and Barbacoa (barbeque flavored but it tastes enough like barbeque for you to know its barbeque flavored but not enough so it actually tastes like barbeque. I’m not 100% sure that makes sense but I’m going to pretend it does). My favorites are the twisty ones that I think are chile lime flavored but I’m not a hundred percent sure. I also like the spicy chile taco ones that come in a purple bag (I apologize that I don’t know the actual flavors. The names on the bags are “Chiltepe” for the twist ones and “Chileros” for the purple taco ones.). Some people in the group enjoy the mix, which has all the shapes of chip, but it’s not my favorite. In my opinion, the only ones that actually taste like anything are the Chiltepe and Chileros flavored chips. The rest all taste the same to me. Ah, I almost forgot everyone’s favorite snack, Penguinos. Penguinos are basically chocolate hostess cupcakes, and they’re delicious. I first encountered Penguinos in Todos Santos after having bought multiple packs for Primo and Nelly and not eating a single one. They were delicious. All was well until one day, some members of the group got Diarrhea. I know, it’s disgusting, but it’s true. After an unhealthy amount of days of Diarrhea, it came to be believed that the cause of the Diarrhea was the Penguinos. I don’t think this is necessarily true and I am not in a position to talk about this because I have not experienced this, despite eating my fair share of Penguinos.

After writing this, I realized that none of the parents and most of the people reading this don’t know me at all, so I thought it might be beneficial to say that this entire entry is kind of a joke. As much as I do love the snacks here and everything I said about them is true, they have not been my favorite part of this trip. We’ve had so many amazing opportunities and experiences on this trip so far that we probably wouldn’t get anywhere else and will probably never get again. I’ve had the honor of living with not one but two different indigenous families, and I am very grateful for the opportunity to practice my language skills in a genuine environment. I’ve learned so much on this trip, and both about important issues such as gender roles in Guatemala and immigration, and myself. I am extremely grateful towards my parents for sending me on this trip (love you guys) and towards the instructors and everyone at Dragons for making all of this possible.

If you’ve read this far, thanks for reading, and to my parents and siblings, I love you guys and I miss you and I’ll see you in 11 days.