I am a Los Angeles teenager who loved every aspect of the urban life. Los Angeles is a city filled with bright neon lights and gritty music venues. L.A. was my playground; a location where I spent countless hours at obscure rock halls living life to the fullest. I thought was going to spend the summer of 2009 just roaming and enjoying L.A. My parents had other plans. Two suitcases and an angry teenager arrived at La Aurora Airport, Guatemala two days later. I was completely devastated. I was ripped away from my beloved city of Los Angeles and thrown into a world I hated; the rural life.
It took 7 hours from the capital to arrive at my mother’s home town of Rio Hondo, Guatemala. I was irritated and tired. Rio Hondo, as you can see from the name, is a town of rivers and lakes. The weather is tropical; the days are humid and exhausting, the nights are cold and rainy. My mother looked so happy to be there and she promised that Rio Hondo was filled with exotic beauty that L.A. was incapable of providing. I rolled by eyes and went to sleep.
The next day my mother said she was tired of my bad attitude so she decided to take my brother Jonathan and I to her favorite river. She told me that hopefully the river would wash away by horrible attitude and that I would experience a calming effect provided by nature. The path leading to the river seemed whimsical and romantic. Swooping trees provided much needed shade and created juxtaposition to the dangerous rock filled trail. Finally arriving at a quiet location of the river, I saw nature at its best. The water was chilling and refreshing while it relaxed my body. The soft sand massaged my feet and I decided to let go of my temperament. The small currents seemed to call out my name as I swam underwater. The small, multicolored fishes seemed to understand my feeling of release and relaxation. I felt free and all I wanted to do was swim. I didn’t want to leave.
Later that day I went for a walk towards my mother’s newly bought plot of land. That walk provided another insight into nature’s magnificence. First I experienced the grandeur of the mountains as I slowly walked uphill. The healthy green grass was wet with the night’s rainfall. The land seemed to spread in front of me and I immediately started taking pictures. At that moment I became excited with the new possibilities of my new found love of nature. I then knew I had found a new passion; a bigger passion than my love of L.A.
I walked back into town and I started exploring. The town wasn’t as primordial as I believed. They had stores, cyber cafÃ©s, and even delicious ice cream shops. I began seeing the town’s mix of the Guatemalan culture with more modern western ideas. In one corner you could see a teen with the latest fashion being accompanied by her grandmother in a traditional Mayan outfit. Sociologically I was fascinated. I knew from that summer that I wanted to travel the globe, taking pictures of this planet’s diverse cultures and experiencing what nature offered. L.A. was still an exciting fast paced city and nothing was going to change that, but the world now seemed far more intriguing and I needed to experience every ounce of it.
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