I am looking at a hamburger with four bites left and I am not going to eat them. When I became a vegetarian Oct. 4 at 11:58 a.m., I hoped to never eat meat again, however this ideal would have to disintegrate.

When my dinner arrived to my room this evening to Casita 1 at Quinta De Las Flores in Antigua Guatemala, I expected to receive a mushroom burger, but instead I received a hamburger with mushrooms on it.

I looked at the burger and weighed my options. I could either eat the burger and satisfy the hunger pains I felt from skipping lunch, or I could throw away the hot meal...and my Quetzales, or Guatemalan currency, with it.

I munched sweet potato fries as I pondered my decision.

My thoughts traveled back to the slippery roads that encapsulated my house in Vadnais Heights, Minnesota.

“No como carne. Sin carne por favor,” I repeated to myself as I jogged up and down Rice Street a week before leaving for Guatemala. I felt this was all I needed to know in order to thrive as a vegetarian in a Spanish-speaking country.

In retrospect, I never thought I would experience the feeling of wanting something inside and outside my body at the same time.  I experienced this when I reluctantly raised the burger to my mouth and let my teeth seep into the juicy lump of carcass topped with mozzarella cheese and teeny tiny mushrooms. I felt the bolus slip down my throat and settle snugly in my stomach where it lounged and gurgled for the rest of the night. I needed the nutrients,


No como carne.