Rainstorms in Guatemala

The PsycheAwesome Moments

Rain is, without any doubt, my favorite weather.

I love turning on the windshield wipers and driving. I love checking out of class to dance alone, and I especially love standing still and listening to it fall. At home, the rain is cold and it is hard to stay outside for five minutes without needing three extra layers.

Over spring break, my family and 20 medical and non-medical professionals, traveled to a small town in Guatemala. In Nuevo Progreso, it rains every afternoon for at least an hour. Every few years, a medical group that works with my dad’s ophthalmology firm travels to Nuevo Progreso for one week to perform cataract, glaucoma, and other surgeries at the local hospital. The medical group is comprised of surgeons, assistants, Spanish-speakers, and young adults. I roomed with and spent most of my down-time with Camilla, a family friend about the same age and immaturity level as me.

Camilla and I walked through the market every afternoon on our lunch break. We played soccer on the dirt field, marveled at the colorful, hand-woven bracelets and accessories, spoke with the locals, but mostly hoped for rain. Around 3 p.m. each day, there are rainstorms, and Camilla loves the rain almost as much as I do. On our third day at the market, we were discussing our mutual love for rain, when we felt small, hesitant drops on our overheated shoulders. We stopped speaking, and simultaneously looked skyward. We sprinted up the hill, through the nunnery doors, to our rooms.

Pretty immediately, I ran outside, into the open area, shoeless but still clothed, and lay down. I closed my eyes and started giggling. I couldn’t stop giggling; it was not a surface giggle or the giggle girls use to flirt. It was the giggle little kids make on a teeter-totter or when they are playing tag (before the part when someone gets hurt and starts crying). The giggle turned into a full laugh, and mind you, my laugh is anything but gentle. It began in the bottom of my chest and built to its loud, intrusive sound. I was too happy to care about disturbing someone’s meal or nap. My whole body and outfit were soaking wet, shaking with laughter. I had just started to calm down when I looked to my left and saw Camilla lying down, shoeless, her eyes closed. The giggles returned, and we laid on the ground, laughing, until we started feeling cold.

But the cold did not stop us. We got up, drenched in tropical rain, and started dancing and singing. We were fountain fish, spitting water into the air for all to enjoy. We were tribal dancers, stomping our feet in the water granted to us by the rain gods. We were anything but overstressed young adults about to go to college. Our giggles and songs had attracted the townspeople who not only glanced into the nunnery, but entered to stare and laugh at the insane Americans.

This moment was not special because I was in a foreign country experiencing a vague realization about the connectedness of people, or because I was doing service for people who I assumed needed my service. Rather, this moment was incredible because I was completely out of my element and felt completely at home. It was a feeling of pure joy, love, and peace. It was a feeling I have not often felt before or since. This feeling reminds me what it means to take an opportunity, however small and unimportant, when it is given. It reminds me to be happy, even when the sky is cloudy and the rain is falling.

Kacey Sorenson is a senior at Miramonte High School in the San Francisco Bay Area. In her free time, she loves participating in choir, volleyball, and spending time with family and friends.

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