Jenna Yordy
Jenna Yordy
Guatemala, 2023-2024
Hola! My name is Jenna Yordy, and I am a recent Global Leadership and TESL graduate. I am so excited to begin this 7 month journey in Guatemala, where I will be working at an orphanage in Cobán and at a trade school in Chimaltenango. Join me on this adventure as I experience living and working in Guatemala! Read More About Jenna →

Bittersweet Goodbyes

Hola friends and family!

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and New Year spent with your loved ones! In order to maintain my visa, I need to leave Guatemala every 90 days, so I was also able to spend time with my family this holiday season! It was such a gift to be able to reconnect with my family and friends before returning to Guatemala for another 3 1/2 months.

Although I was looking forward to coming home, it was incredibly hard to leave the people I’d grown so close to in Santa Cruz. My last few weeks, I tried to soak up every minute I could with my host family, as well as the kids and staff at Casa Gloria. I played uno and baked cookies with my host siblings (picture #1), laughed and reminisced with my coworkers, and loved on the kids – my new little siblings – at CG. I also did a lot of reflecting on my time there, thinking about what I had learned and experienced, and also making a list of key events and memories that I didn’t ever want to forget. A few of these memories include my youngest host sister, Michelle, always attempting to sneak into my room to see me, Meyli’s (CG’s secretary) endless patience with my subpar Spanish skills, watching soccer with my host brother, Emerson, and receiving the best hugs from my host sister, Sulmi. Each day that passed, I felt the love and gratitude that I had for these people grow more than I thought possible. That being said, there was also a sadness and heaviness that I felt on my heart as well. I knew saying goodbye to my new friends and family would be one of the hardest things I’d ever experienced.

In my last few days at Casa Gloria, I carried out my typical tasks, including teaching English classes and taking a few dogs to the vet. The staff at Casa Gloria also surprised me by taking me out to dinner. I had not expected this at all, but they gave me a cute invitation (picture #2) and we ate at a delicious crepe restaurant nearby! I was so honored and grateful for their kind gesture. Additionally, before my last English class, all of the staff, nannies, and kids presented me with a gift (picture #3). The beautiful drawing contains each of their fingerprints with their names, “so that I’ll never forget them,” they told me. I was overcome with emotion at their thoughtfulness, thanked them for everything they had done for me, and promised to frame their gift as soon as I made it home. We ended with lots of hugs and a big group photo (pictures #4-5)!

My last night with my host family called for about twenty games of Uno, twirling around like princesses (picture #6), and lots of love (picture #7). I refused to be sad because I simply wanted to enjoy my last moments with my family. They mean more to me than they’ll ever know!

The morning that I left, I only wanted to thank my host family over and over for everything they had done for me. But it was hard, in a way, because how do I adequately express my gratitude to the people who welcomed me into their home with open arms, fed me, looked out for me, and treated me as one of their own? It’s hard enough to represent such reverence and thankfulness in English, let alone in Spanish! I only hope that my words and actions were enough to show them how much I love them. I hugged each of them for an eternity, said goodbye, and then walked out the door. The weight of my sadness was great. Yet, I was, and still am, eternally grateful for my experiences there and everything I learned. My new family and friends will remain in my heart forever.

After leaving Santa Cruz, I headed to Antigua for a few days to spend some time with my host family there before I flew back to the U.S. It was wonderful to see them again, and my host dad and sister were even kind enough to take me to the airport (picture #8)! When I finally landed back in Tennessee around midnight, I was greeted by my mom, sister, and best friend in the airport (picture #9). It was a great welcome back to the States and a moment I won’t forget!

By the next time a submit a post, I will be with my new host family in Chimaltenango and working at Monte Cristo! I am excited for this next adventure and can’t wait to share my experiences with you all.

As always, thank you for your thoughts and prayers!

Much love y hasta la próxima,


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *