Things that I have learned on this trip:
Do not assume that just because a boy is under seven years of age that he is incapable of wiping the floor with you via the worst chess game of your life (he plays professionally! What a little hustler!! Acting all cute so I would play with him). Castling? WTF is that? Has anyone heard of this move? I feel like I´m in the outtakes of Searching for Bobby Fisher over here. You beat me in eight moves, huh? Well you know what kid? There´s no Santa. Yep, it´s all made up. How do you like me now? Hey! There´s no crying in chess, buster.
No worries, only the biggest and hairiest spiders can swim.
Vamos, Panteras! is an exceptionally cute saying when shouted by a native Guatemalan guide who takes us into a volcano, with a gold tooth and her hands wrapped around her only nutrients for the day: a bottle of orange soda.
Sleeping is optional.
Stereotypes ARE hilarious. As in, the British can have a forty five minute discussion about the proper cake to serve with tea and then devolve into a near brawl over it. I met the most British guy of my entire life and he was such a foppish dandy hiking up his black socks and his little shoes and calling himself The Tulip Man that I could barely stand it. Also the Irish drink an astounding amount and call mushrooms ¨mushies¨, the Dutch can swim really well and have bad shoes, Kenyans run really fast and the Swedish do not smile at other people on the street. Please note, all these hilarious tidbits were actually brought up by the individuals themselves, and when I asked what their American stereotypes were, one paused before shouting ¨You go girl!¨.
Coconut bread is an acceptable meal. Also, gum, popsicles, or a mouthful of salt water.
While we´re at it, jumping into a body of water is an acceptable shower.
Cranium is a really great game for when it rains. The footnotes of Crime and Punishment? Not quite as fun.
I do not need, nor want, a cell phone, email address, or calendar. I do need, and want, a new sweatshirt, as this one should be burned immediately after what it´s been through.
Snorkeling in a thunderstorm in Nicaragua is the coolest thing you can ever do.
It is not, under any circumstances, a good idea to buy hot sauce and then put it in your bag and then break the bottle all over everything unless you want to smell picante. Really, really picante. All the time. So much so that stray dogs approach.
Accidentally leaving important personal items in every country you visit does not make your bag any lighter.
Taking the time to get away from your daily grind, and yourself, is actually easier done than said. So do it whenever you can, no matter what the monetary or supposed drawbacks, because your life is only your own, and no one else will ever make it as meaningful for you as you can, all by yourself.