6 Years an Expat.

Reflecting on Lake Atitlan
Reflecting on Lake Atitlan – 2010

I didn’t leave because I was disillusioned.

I wasn’t running away from anything, at least not consciously.

But soon, so soon after arriving I had a gut feeling that this would become my lifestyle. I didn’t know whether I’d stay in Guatemala after my initial two-year contract was up, or try my luck in another Latin American country, or maybe take a leap and move to Asia or Africa like so many of my friends and colleagues have. But I felt pretty certain that I wouldn’t be returning to reside in the States for a long time.

I was immediately free—as in the opposite of busy.

It was so liberating! Even in an oppressively dangerous, dirty and foreign city, I was free. I’d been busy in Austin. Lots of work, both during and after school hours, family visits, dinner parties, chores, errands, grocery shopping. Suddenly, I had no obligations (other than work, and my job was a lot less demanding than it had been in TX), no plans and no expectations.

In retrospect, it almost seems as if I was fleeing from something specific when I left home but I really wasn’t aware of it at the time of departure. That something is best summed up as The System. I was stepping out of the frame, quitting the race, moving off the national grid, opting out of my chosen (and initially beloved) career as a school teacher.

Today, I’m just as disillusioned with the field of schooling and “education” as I was when I left my first career in advertising and marketing. If not more so. Because I never saw advertising as I saw school teaching: as worthwhile, inspiring and important.

Now, I see traditional schooling for what it is: a way of training the masses to be oppressed.

After three years of living in Guatemala City, I was in for another huge shift in lifestyle… the biggest ever. Becoming a mother. I met my partner, got pregnant and moved to Lake Atitlan in 2012. I became immersed in the colorful, complex Maya culture. The world did not end that December 21.

For the first three years at the lake, we lived in or near Panajachel, a bustling small town with a unique mix of local Mayans and non-Mayan Guatemalans, long term expats, short term volunteers and really short term tourists.

Just over two months ago, life shifted yet again. We moved across the lake into our own home on our own newly bought land.

We are really off the grid now, and I’m so excited for all that is to come.

My career has shape-shifted into a mix of entrepreneurial endeavors related to yoga, writing and continually discovering what enlightening education (for my self, for my daughter, for my students, for our community) means.

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