My blog always falls apart in the last few months of the school year. Most years I’d say it’s because the end of the year is SO BUSY. Events, graduations, exams, saying goodbye to dear friends and coworkers who are moving on to their next adventure. While that’s partially true this year, the greater truth is that I’ve been having a hard time assimilating the wide range of experiences and emotions that the past months have held. I shied away from writing instead of writing my way through it.
So, I’ll do my best –
The past few months started with basketball. I was practicing with my team when a man approached me telling me that the coaches from Spain, the ones who came to coach the national team, liked how I played and wanted me to try out. But, in order to try out, he needed to be sure that I’d never played for the US national team.
I literally laughed in his face.
Then regretted that. I apologized and said “thanks for the question – it’s a compliment – but, no, not even close.” In my head I added, “I couldn’t even be a BALL GIRL for team USA.”
That conversation led me on a three month long try out process where I got in great shape, met some wonderful, committed Guatemalan athletes, and improved more than I ever would have thought I could at age 31. As you can see from the photo below, team Guatemala has a SERIOUS height disadvantage on the FIBA scene.
During the try out process, my brother in law, Pablo, found out his cancer was back. He had an invasive intestinal surgery where the doctors discovered that the cancer had metastasized. The prognosis is not good, and barring a miracle, chemo is palliative not curative. As you can imagine – that gut wrenching news + trying to walk with Pablo through this as best as we can has not been easy.
I got to the point where balancing basketball and family and school was simply too much. So, before the final cut for the national team I said, “thanks for allowing me to be a part of this, but I simply cannot devote the time and energy to it that you all deserve. My heart is not here.”
While it was a hard decision – heck, the Central American Games are right around the corner – I do not regret it at all. I hope I can still make it to the Games and cheer on team Guatemala!
During this stretch, three dear women in my life here had babies. Sweet, healthy, cuddly, wonderfully smushy, cute babies. It’s been an honor to be with them and their partners as they celebrate life and the changes in their little families.
However, each time I snuggled those babies it reminded me that we were STILL waiting to have our paperwork processed by the National Adoption Council. Really, how long does it take? Our baby or babies are trapped in an orphanage – and we all know that safe houses aren’t necessarily safe in this country! Get them out! Bring them home!
Finally, last week, we heard that our file is processed and we are officially IN the system. We have a day full of meetings next week where, I presume, we’ll learn about what the process looks like moving forward from here.
What else happened in these months?
I ran a half marathon with two hilarious and inspiring women who have since moved on from Guatemala. Our weekend in Coban was the perfect Guatemalan weekend. What? You gave our room away to the Elite Kenyan runners? We need beds too! No, we don’t want a picture with them, we want our room! An appropriate farewell to this country for both Karina and Rachel.
My time was a few minutes slower than last year, but considering my training consisted of a lot of basketball and long runs on the weekends we didn’t have basketball practice, I’ll take it.
We celebrated our fifth wedding anniversary. FIVE YEARS!
Most recently, Joel and I got to spend the first week of summer break in Honduras – we visited his dad and grandma in hot-as-hell San Pedro Sula. Like “I’m mellllltttting” moaned in the Wicked Witch of the West’s voice hot. Then we carried on to Roatan for the official anniversary celebration and spent a few days in a tropical paradise which is always good for the body and soul.
That brings me to today.
After a week of recovering from what feels like an annual bout of June food poisoning, I’m sitting with a cup of coffee at my side and thankful for the time and space to begin to assimilate all the experiences and emotions of the past months.