Tiana had some slight suspicions but I called her the day before my arrival and threw her off my scent. She was totally surprised when I showed up...it was perfect! We spent the next few days hanging out in Quetzaltenango (Xela), walking through the town, picking up food for dinner in the markets, drinking "atol" (hot, sweet, corn drink), going on hikes, and just catching up.
At 6:00 am, on the day of her birthday, we hiked up a mountain with Don Carlos, a Mayan spiritual guide. We discovered that morning that based on the day I was born, my Mayan spirit (nahaul) is "Aj" and it was actually that day, Tiana's birthday! A coincidence? I think not! The ceremony was awesome and I could write pages and pages on it. I actually journaled almost every detail of my trip and I'm going to create a book with photos. We ate cheese and crackers and wine, then went to a spa for 3 hours, got ready and went to her friend Willy's opening night of his new restaurant. It was a perfect day and night and I was so happy to be able to celebrate with her.
We spent a few days at Lago Atitlan, which took 3 "chicken buses" and 3.5 hours to get to. The buses are so named because there are often animals accompanying the passengers. We stayed in a really nice hotel the first night and spent the next day taking a boat ride around the lake and visiting 3 different villages. It was awesome! The night before I left we decided to stay in a cheaper hotel...not the best decision! We discovered a huge spider problem and at 2:30-6:00 in the morning, about every 30 minutes, we were abruptly woken up to cackling roosters. If I didn't physically see them in the courtyard, I would have bet my life they were actually in our room! Hahah! It was a great trip and I had sooo much fun...even the roosters just add to the story!
Take a look at a few of may favorite photos from the trip and Tiana's birthday video: