August 17, 2007

Forsberg Family Vacation

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Ruins of Quirigua

I grew up taking road trips across the country with my family. Every summer without fail we would load up the minivan and drive. Lately it's been more difficult to get everyone together and plan a big family trip. We all seem to be going in different directions, with different schedules. This year, the family came to us. For 10 days we experienced Guatemala and soaked up the culture and richness of the country together. For my parents, it was their first international trip and for Katie, who had already been here once and Mark, who had spent a month this summer studying in Honduras, it was still an adventure. We all saw things a little differently this time around. Even us, who have traveled this path many times over.

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Laguna Lachuá National Park

It was invaluable to have everyone come to our site and see what we have done since we arrived. It is one thing to email our stories, but another thing to experience them with us. At times, the steps seem immeasurable to us, but to see how we have changed and grown through someone else's eyes is refreshing. It was great to have them meet our neighbors and the kids that we spend time with. The individual students that they are sponsoring through the scholarship program, were all able to spend time with them and see that there is a real person on the other end that cares about what they are doing. It was a powerful interaction for the kids and my family.

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Meeting the scholarship kids they sponsor

Throughout the week and a half, we took in the sites of Antigua, Lake Atitlan, traveled to Salacuim and Laguna Lachuá, visited our host family in Santo Tomas, made the long drive up to Tikal National Park and spent a night in Rio Dulce. Every day was different and every day there was a new obstacle to overcome.
I really enjoyed watching the reactions to some of the things that we now consider fairly normal; a metal ladder leaning against an electrical line, a man climbing up the side of a bus to put something on top while it is moving down the highway, kids doing cartwheels at a stoplight for money and the lovely habit of throwing toilet paper in the wastebasket. It made me realize how much we have adapted in order not to notice these things and also how the readjustment back will be challenging.
This is a family trip that we will talk about forever. Whether it changed some viewpoints of those that came, or those that they met, it definitely impacted everyone in a different but important way.

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Tikal National Park

1 comment:

Mom & Dad said...

Kari, thank you for sharing your thoughts. It was a life changing experience. Thank you both for all the work you put into the trip for us. It makes your stories come alive. Love, Mom & Dad