Back to H.U.G. Guatemala for the Holidays

Back to H.U.G. Guatemala for the Holidays – by Founder Emlyn Lee 

Hola y Feliz Navidad! I’m back in Guatemala enjoying another Christmas in one of my favorite cities, Antigua. I decided to return back this year to check out our H.U.G. (Help Understand Give) Guatemala project, and to share this beautiful country and holiday season with my family and friends.

Although I usually travel alone or have a friend meet up while I check out or create new business developments for Cultural Embrace’s program, my oldest sister, Ann, brother-in-law, Bill, and 12 years-old niece and nephew, Michael and Alexa wanted to go on a meaningful vacation during the holidays. They currently live in a town right next to San Mateo, California (near San Francisco), so they thought it would be fitting to spend the holidays sharing it with children from our H.U.G. project in San Mateo, Guatemala (near Antigua). So this is a rare, yet very special treat to have my family join me on this holiday adventure.

I have customized this trip a bit from our typical Volunteer in Guatemala week program, or our popular requested Group Travel itinerary, so we can have a family fun-packed week. We are spending the first 5 days in Antigua…one of the most charming cities in the world. It is foreign-friendly city, with cobble-stone streets filled with delicious restaurant, cafes, shops, and hotels; yet it still maintains the local Guatemalan culture (indigenous and modern) and charm.

Most of our participants take 4 hours of one-on-one Spanish lessons with our partnering language school in Antigua, and I was thrilled when Michael and Alexa agreed to take lessons during their ‘vacation’. We enrolled them for two hours of Spanish a day for the next three days which is perfect for younger children and their attention span…and they had a blast! I loved hearing that they had more fun and learned more Spanish in the first two hours than all the years that they have been learning Spanish since age 3 from day care years. And to be honest, their attitude and confidence in Spanish showed immediately after their first class, as they were trying to speak Spanish to the waitress.

Ok, I can go on and on, but it’s 7pm on Christmas Eve. I certainly don’t want to miss a meal in Antigua, as the restaurants and cafes are delicious and beautiful. And then will join the locals and celebrate Christmas by attending a service at the Cathedral located in the town square. Feliz Navidad to you and your loved ones!

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