It started out as a cool idea. My sister in-law sent me an ad about the NAPA-OT Field School in Guatemala. It's a collaboration of Anthropology and Occupational Therapy students and professors who spend the summer in Antigua, Guatemala learning about the culture and trying to make an impact that will last long after they return home. It seemed interesting since my family is from Guatemala and my grandpa Mario just moved back. So I thought "What a cool trip! I want to go!" I applied to the program, got accepted, and I'm headed out...
There's just one thing- I'm not really an adventurous person. I'm actually sort of a scaredy cat and a bit of a hypochondriac. I wear make up to the gym, never leave the house without looking presentable, and staying clean is a must. Guatemala isn't exactly the best place for someone like me. I went once 10 years ago for a visit with my family and everyone in our party got so sick that we had to have an ambulance come check us our prior to boarding our flight home.
So why go at all? Well, I got into Occupational Therapy for a few reasons- one of them being my grandma. In 2007, when I moved from CA to Jersey, she got pretty sick with cancer and I wasn't around. As she lost her abilities to function, she deteriorated more, and in 2008, she passed away after we all said our last goodbyes. My grandpa was heartbroken and lonely, so he moved back to Guatemala to be close to our extended family. The work I'll be doing in Guatemala is centered around creating opportunities to assist elderly people as they age and become more dependent. One day, my grandpa will need these services, so it's a way to help him in a way that I couldn't help my grandma.
I leave for Guatemala on the 4th of July, exactly 6 years to the day I met my fiance Brian at the Islands Restaurant in Fullerton, CA. I'm thrilled to begin my adventure, but it's hard to imagine not having my partner in crime by my side for 6 whole weeks. Since we're getting close to my departure date, I'll be posting more about what I'm doing to prepare and whatever pops up along the way!