We make it a point to visit Guatemala when each of our compadres' daughters turn 15. The quinceañera is a coming of age ritual which in their family is celebrated with a Catholic Mass and a party for family and friends. Yoselin is the fourth of five daughters to celebrate her quinceañera. We first met her when she was only four years old! The years have passed swiftly.
Humberto and Paulina have always told us to feel free to invite any of our friends and family to visit them. Up until now, our dear friend Mukul from India was the only one to take them up on the offer. This year, our friends the Tolers (Kevin and Jenn and their daughters Julia and Meghan) decided to join us for the quinceañera. It is perfect timing, since Julia herself would be turning 15 just a month later. Julia and Meghan are both studying Spanish in school, and we knew that the art of the area would inspire Kevin and Jenn.
Kevin, Jenn, and the girls would stay for 10 days, and when they returned home to Boston, we would take Paulina and Eddy with us to Ecuador for a week to meet our compadres there. This was a tradition that we began last summer, when we took Aracely and Vanesa. They are indigenous Mayan, and our Ecuadorian compadres are indigenous Kichwa, so it is an amazing opportunity for cultural exchange. Guatemalans only need a passport to visit Ecuador, so it is a perfect destination for their first plane trip!
After a week in Ecuador, we would return to Guatemala for 6 days before returning home. I would work remotely from both countries, taking some time off to do some sightseeing as necessary.
Yoselin's party was on Saturday night, July 22. However, I had quarterly planning meetings at work the previous Tuesday and Wednesday, so we couldn't leave until Thursday. Our flight was bright and early on Thursday morning; not ideal after two long days of intense work for me, but it would get us into Guatemala City early in the afternoon.