Monday, March 7, 2011

Greetings from Guatemala City - March 4 from Nicole and Jonathan

We can both remember the phone calls we received in September that offered us a spot on the Medical Mission trip to Haiti. Although things did not work out in Haiti, we are blessed with the opportunity to have this experience in a new country that has just as much to offer. Now seven months after that phone call, we have landed safely in the beautiful country of Guatemala! It feels like we have been preparing forever, so we are so glad to finally be here. It is so real to us now!
We met up with our Los Angeles medical staff (Cathy, Bonnie, and Richard) in Dallas and all of us flew to Guatemala together. When we landed, we rushed through immigration to pick up our bags and head through customs. We met our Heart to Heart representative and our driver to take us to the Hotel Biltmore in Guatemala City. We arrived at the hotel, which is absolutely beautiful, dropped off our stuff and headed out into the city to find some food.
We both were a little nervous at first as we walked through the crowded streets just because the Guatemalan culture is very different from ours. The street we walked on had tons of night clubs packed with people and they were trying to get us to enter their club. Many vendors tried to sell us necklaces, roses, and CDs. We were caught off guard when we noticed several heavily armed guards lining the streets. Little did we know they would be so willing to pose for pictures with each of us!
We found a neat restaurant called Tacotenta and sat down to have chips and salsa, guacamole, floutas, and quesadillas. We talked and got to know each other a lot better as bands walked in off the streets and through the restaurant serenading us with music and singing. We shared stories and many laughs!
Now we are in the hotel, eagerly awaiting the arrival of the rest of our group and the week that lies ahead. We are trying to load up on sleep tonight since it could be scarce the rest of the week! Tomorrow morning we are having breakfast in the hotel and meeting with a representative of the Jewish community in Guatemala City. We are excited to learn more and ask him questions. The rest of the group arrives at 2:15 pm. We will pick them up in the airport and head off to the village where we will be staying! We are so excited for the amazing week ahead of us! Talk to you soon!

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