Sunday, April 8, 2012

Today was our last full day in Antigua and we're all really sad, but excited to come home to see our families. I'm especially excited to bring back all the gifts I bought people!
This morning we had a wonderful Easter breakfast. We took a 10 minute bus ride to a very fancy restaurant. The bus was really cool; it didn't have any windows or doors and there were four benches for us to sit on, two of them facing backwards. The restaurant overlooked Antigua and the volcanoes so it was really beautiful. We all got delicious food too. It was a really good way to start off our Easter day, especially since it didn't really feel like Easter without our families and Easter traditions. Harrison was the only lucky one who was visited by the Easter bunny, so the rest of us are hoping he didn't forget us at our houses :)
After breakfast we came back to Antigua for mass. Not everyone could understand the readings, but just being there and knowing our families were doing the same thing at home really touched many of us. Listening to the same readings, singing the same songs and celebrating the same things made me realize how connected we really are as Catholics. I always used to think it was silly that Catholic churches were structured the exact same way everywhere in the world and I didn't understand why they all had to read the same readings every week. But being here, listening in mass and knowing my family was doing the same thing in a different country was SO cool! It made me feel so connected to these Catholics I've never even met before. We're all connected through this belief that none of us can prove and every week we hear the same things, no matter where we're from. So, in a nutshell, mass was amazing.
After mass we went to tour some crypts and ruins. They were pretty cool and it only cost 40Q which is like $5, so it was definitely worth it. We saw some skeletons and crypts as well as some cool paintings and Mayan artifacts.
Then were got to explore on our own until 5:00. Some people hung out at the hostel playing cards, some shopped and some just walked around the city. At 5:00 we met up at the hostel just in time to see the Easter procession walking by. The streets were packed! But not full of observers, because everyone was IN the parade. I seriously think all the Antigua citizens were in that procession, so just us tourists were watching. It was so cool. We've talked as a group a lot about how amazing it is that these people parade their faith through the streets; nobody would ever do that in the US!
Then we all went our own separate ways until tonight when we met up on the rooftop of the hostel for one last group discussion. We reflected on our favorite parts of the trip and prepared to go back home.
We're going to bed soon because we have to be on the bus to the airport by 7:45 tomorrow morning.
We're so excited to see everyone!!!
~Lauren Schoenbauer

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