I am awful at keeping connected to social media. I have many friends all around the world, but I rarely keep in contact with them. The only way I remember to message them is when I get notifications on my phone. This caused me to be even more disconnected in Guatemala than I usually am.

This wasn’t a bad thing, really, except when it came to keeping in contact with my family. I only FaceTimed with them once, when I had been trying to FaceTime them once a week at the least. Again, I don’t think this is a bad thing, because it helped me to focus on the task at hand and to be immersed in Guatemala without jumping into social media every now and then.

Without leaving everything behind, I don’t think it’s possible to really appreciate and understand a new culture, country, or people. If I were to constantly be reminded of what I was used to I would only compare everything to that, being forced to say, “Oh, that’s wrong,” rather than “Oh, that’s different.” This made a world of a difference, allowing me to empathize with those around me, even if I didn’t grow up in their same situation.