We made the descent down into the green mountains that surround Lake Atitlán. The windy roads made everyone sway in the chicken bus back and forth. We passed the very first town that we gave school supplies to with Mayan Families, San Jorge, and I instantly got butterflies. Waves of memories rushed over me and I knew this was only the beginning.
15 minutes later, we were back in Panajachel. We jumped off of the chicken bus with all of our bags and were immediately greeted by the exact same guy who we met last time. He was a nice guy who worked for a couple of hostels in the area to bring tourists in from the shuttles and buses into their places to stay. Jonathon immediately recognized him and said, “Yes I know who you are, I remember you! No thanks, we’re staying at a friend’s house.” The guy looked at him confused, but smiled and let us go.
We had met some new friends back in Antigua, Signe and Nicoli, who were waiting for the exact same bus as us. They were from Denmark and spoke perfect English, so we enjoyed getting to know them on the bus to Panajachel. We told them that they should just stick with us and that we could get them a room in the same hostel as us. One of the many reasons we love traveling is meeting other awesome people from around the world. We became instant friends and loved learning about each others different cultures & countries.
We put our bags down in the local coffee shop, Cafe La Parada, that Jonathon and I would always go to for podcast interviews because of their fast internet. Jonathon went over to our hostel, Hotel Emanuel, to see if the owners were there while we all checked our email. As soon as he left, our young friend Jesus came up to us to sell us greeting cards that his mom makes.
Jesus is an amazing young kid who learned English just from speaking to tourists on the streets by selling them cards. He had been doing this since before we lived here two years back and is such a smart kid. He remembered Jonathon and I right away because we gave him & his friends school supplies. I asked him if he was still in school and he told me of course because school is the most important for success. I gave him a big hug and told him he was right.
An hour later we grabbed our bags and set them down in our new rooms. We wanted to get our original apartment that we had shared with our sisters on the first floor, but it was taken by a long term renter. So we got one of the smaller rooms on the first floor. As soon as we set our bags down on the bed, I ran up stairs to see the best part of the whole house–the rooftop. Nothing had changed.
The desk was still there, the wash board was still there and the sheet metal rooftops hadn’t changed. I could see the lake and the volcanos off into the distance. There was a dog barking at me on the rooftop below and a rooster crowing behind me. One thing was for sure–we weren’t in Oklahoma anymore. This was the original LOOTB office and it was good to be back.