I recently read an article about embracing whimsy in Darling Magazine (which is fabulous, btdubs). So I went on a whimsy walk, a whimsy watch. Sometimes I spend so much time missing my friends and family and “home,” that I forget this place, this country, Guatemala, is so beautiful, magical, delightful.
On my whimsy walk I see all things beautiful. All things magnificent.
-Flowers sprouting out of tiled rooftops–thin stems bursting into star-shaped clusters.
-A girl in a Cinderella gown, glittering tiara, white silk gloves up to her elbows, a white feather wand framing her face and up-done hair on a photo shoot around town. She’s posing by the fountain, in front of the arch. And then, peaking below the lace of her dress, ordinary flip-flops on an ordinary 15-year-old girl’s dusty feet.
-Faded tiles on out-cropping windows, trapped behind wrought iron bars. Faded beauty behind the barrier.
-A pug puppy, black snouted and snuggled into the armpit of a young girl
-A toddler with a full, black bowl cut chasing and tumbling after bubbles blown by his giggling mother.
-A baby being pushed in a red car stroller.
-A chocolate lab splashing after a yellow ball in the fountain. Shakes off as a water flies from his Hershey fur.
-Clouds swirling the top of the volcano like whipped cream on a sundae.
-A flash of bow tie as a man drives by in a red Jetta and I dodge a disheveled drunk clambering towards me on the sidewalk.
-Two boys, 8 or so, competing to hand me a restaurant flyer. “You cheated, you ran!” complained the one. “You never said I couldn’t,” says the other, smugly. I fold the flyer into my pocket, smiling as I go.
-Paint peeling off old buildings in a splatter paint pattern.
-A crowd watching a clown juggle sticks aflame.
-A pouting girl tucked into a doorway, exasperated parents try to coax her and her protruding lip to keep walking.
This place is magical. The ice cream, the sliced fruits. The two seasons in one—clear skies in morning, rainstorms at night. It’s beautiful.
Not just because it’s foreign. The mix of people. The diversity of families–not just the tourist families with white, chunky ankles above their Teva sandals or the slim European girls in the wildly patterned leggings. But even among the Guatemalans. The indigenous families in their traje. The mom showcasing a variety of colorful scarves on her forearm. Tiny girls with skirts cinched around their miniscule waists. Dads in slacks with slick hair. Then the capitalinos–the families that came from the city to spend the day walking in the park. Trendy skinny jeans, pointy leather shoes for men and perilous high heels for women, faux hawks and chunky necklaces. The barefoot gringos with dreadlocks and braided bracelets.
Magic all around. Beauty all around. Whimsy all around.
It’s beautiful to sit in the park and smirk to myself as the middle aged American woman stutters broken Spanish to the middle aged Guatemalan tour guide who’s always sitting on the same bench in the park, khaki tour guide vest, always talking to a different middle aged foreign woman about the weather, the city, the people. Indiscriminately commenting that “your Spanish is so good.” And she replies with a beam of pride and downcast eyes and slight shake of the head and the Spanish equivalent of “No, I know only little.”
I know only little, too, but it’s dazzlingly beautiful.
This post is part of Lisa Jo Baker’s Five Minute Friday prompt, Beautiful. Every Friday, we turn off our inner critics and perfectionists and just write for five minutes straight. Zero editing. Just a stream of conscious free for all. And then we all link up and encourage each other. To learn more about Five Minute Friday and how you can participate click here.