By Landon Reihs
The whole reflecting on what I’ve done in my daily life has become more of a challenge, but this trip and this group makes it simpler. Even though I’ve known pretty much every CCS student at this school it feels nice when your perspective on certain people can change in both positive and negative ways.
The first few days in Antigua might be the greatest days I’ve had since the pandemic. Because I was in a different environment my mindset and headspace was also changing. In Antigua for me I slept outside the first night with Reed, Bo, and Mahaan like the others have told you all about. What they didn’t tell you about is that Chris and Ali were together in a middle room, Sykes, Bo and Reed were put in the first room which was part kitchen and part bedroom. And Wesley, Jackson and I were in the last room. We didn’t really worry about our rooming situation because we were just drained from plane and car rides, however once we arrived in Antigua everyone’s moods changed instantly. For better and for worse. For this type of post I’m not going to non stop go over everyday but it’s because I could go more in depth and I’d never finish. We did shop and become tourists for some days and I bought some souvenirs and shirts and accessories because I thought about the two times this trip had cancellations due to the virus.
After Antigua we went to what National Geographic calls, “one of the prettiest lakes in the world.” Lake Atitlan. Everything happened at these houses. When I mean these houses I should point out that there was a boy and a girl town around five to ten minutes away from each other. The girls had a more lavish house and more astetich views, we the guys were put in what seemed like a shack by comparison with a big yard, swings and a big trampoline with a whole in the middle. Hammocks in the back and a basketball hoop I remember seeing when I was younger. Best part about the house was it had a few beds and a couch, and bunk beds! Why were the bunk beds important, because it made the trip feel more like home and the uniqueness of summer camp we’ve all experienced when we were younger. Plus the guys were extremely excited to know we had more activities to do especially with the days WiFi was non existent.
Now, the part of the trip I knew was going to happen to me and everyone else for definitely over a year and a half, getting covid. The experience of getting covid and thinking about covid affects me in many ways. My best friends dad died around covid time with many types of diseases affecting him on his death bed, and it didn’t do any good for me because he was my pastor and someone I really trusted and tried mirroring my good decisions around. All my friends partied and made some bad decisions during this pandemic, but for me I really put others priorities first. I realized that if I was the reason my grandparents and others family members were to be stricken with a deadly illness and maybe pass on into the further stages of the afterlife, I would never forgive myself and I would overthink my life, school, and my friends 10 times the amount I already do. So when I was told others were positive and that my friends had went to be tested, and then sitting on the couch with Izzy, Ria, Kendall and Bo and thinking about what’s gonna happen if I had to quarantine, Steve aka Mr. Vivio walks into the room and his exact words were, “Landon, you have been summoned.” I was dying on sleeping bags knowing that that’s how I was going to be told to be tested for this disease I’ve dreaded getting my whole entire life.
I went to Mrs. Valadez and felt a better connection with her since I was surrounded by her and Alter when I had a very rough few days in Lake Atitlan. Unfortunately I was one of the many involved in this trip to contract the disease. I remember shouting and the covid people happy that we had more people, it was a serious matter but we are still teenagers who lacked social interactions with some of our best and closest friends. The covid group talked about WiFi, relationships, school, life and other topics because we were bored and felt like it’s needed to get things off your chest. It was kinda sad and a little depressing seeing our peers on the balcony to our left because most were leaving for preseason soccer and in that moment I was thinking about how Schaefer was gonna have his third preseason in a row be affected my the pandemic.
After I got myself together and thought about spring season and graduation which makes me happier as a seahorse, I thought about all my family, relatives and ancestors went through in the past and thinking about me compared to my grandfather around 15-16 yrs old. All the hardships and struggles they went through and them dealing with everything helps me put into perspective and having realizations I can’t be perfect and I should be content and proud of where I started with social interactions, soccer, friend groups, livelihood, and even just branching out of comfort zones. When I was 3 my 3 friends and I from PreK 3-4, we went to Hailey Point and we played in the mud and dirt and I didn’t go in because I didn’t want to get dirty, like ever as a kid I tried to stay sanitized and never get grubby or icky. Us 4 were inseparable and yeah it was a very small class but we became close and no matter where we’ve been in life we’re still 4 NNK boys traveling different roads to find success and achieve our goals. They all go to Lancaster and I branched outwards to CCS because I always knew being from CA I most likely would be a seahorse and had doubts about it but I wouldn’t change any decision for the world.
Now the part about covid and being stuck behind a fridge for a few days to make sure the non unhealthy group stayed safe. We’d sleep non stop go jump off a tower we had down at the docks. One day Sykes and I were almost getting pushed in by Reed as a joke, then we went in a canoe the locals offered us and we paddled to the tower. Me being El Tigre I jumped off the second and top level nervous.After people got healthy and sailing and soccer girls left that day and the group shrunk immensely. And girl town and boy town merged to covid town in the woods. We watched Disney movies, some horror movies, comedies and YouTube. We all noticed how bad Descendants really is when you’re older. Encanto seemed like a B-TEC Coco and Soul may be the best movie Pixar has released. We had Sykes king of the jungle with his staff and orders, Maggie the servant who was willing to make everyone food and just in general we were all there for each other and we weren’t judging anyone’s past or present life because no matter what we all have dealt with or how perfect anyone’s lives were we all have managed to be stuck in a quarantine bubble in a beautiful location in a foreign country together.
The friendships and relationships I have gained and made stronger won’t leave me when I get back to CCS. I may not rely or emphatically try to be around these people 24/7, but I will respect most if not all of the Guatemala Global ED Trip of 2021-22 school year. The trip had Mr. Alter really showing why our school shows the global Ed trips as a more important and intriguing reason to join CCS because you can’t get this type of experience anywhere else in the states I personally believe. It’s starting to hit me now I have thousands of memories and days I vividly think about at my old middle school and here half way through my junior year I barely have memories that are unique or worth of true meaning to me. Every trimester I think about how different CCS and the students are in the fall, winter and spring seasons. But there’s only limited amounts of thoughts and memories that come back flourishing throughout my night process. To all the teachers, adults and students listening I want you to know that some of what I wrote will probably be in my senior speech, I can be a public speaker if I genuinely feel passionate and intrigued to speak to bigger groups but now I just quietly sit around and do my own thing. The best part of CCS is some think I’m a freshmen and some think I’m a senior. There’s not much of an inbetween for what people think about me at school it seems like. Some know I exist and that I’m around everyday and some don’t, and I’m ok with that. I enjoy each CCS day being a challenge or if people judge me because there’s a quote I remember seeing in quarantine at home a few years back it said, “your haters are always watching you, so give them a show they won’t forget.”