I can’t believe that this time a year ago, I was in Central America. Granted, it was a work trip but I got to travel outside of North America for the first time in my life to Guatemala and Honduras for two weeks. I saw great work being done, met wonderful people, and saw how beautiful each country is. I got to see and stay in the cities of Antigua and Tegucigalpa, as well as the rural mountainsides and quiet communities of both countries.
It’s really only recently that I’ve come to realize how grateful I am to be bilingual. Being fluent in Spanish has been such a normal part of my life that I’ve never given it much thought. If anything, I’ve always seen it as a way to communicate with family members who don’t speak English; I never really thought about how it could play a role in my career and create new opportunities. The whole reason I was sent on this trip was because I’m the only writer in my department that speaks Spanish and it made more sense to send a colleague along than hire an on-site translator.
I’m glad I not only got to have this experience, but that I also get to tell the stories of the people I met. I’ve written extensive coverage on the projects we saw in Guatemala and am currently writing a feature story about Honduras that will be accompanied by my co-worker’s video footage. Even if I never get to go on a trip like this again, I’ll always be grateful for this one.
If anything, this trip has made want to travel more, both to other countries where I know the language and to ones I don’t. But all that in due time. For now, I have a nice three-day weekend to look forward to. :)