I do not like the rain, or the cold, or the way that Vancouver winters wear away at my soul. One day, I will go to a place that is warm, and tropical, where I can bask in the sun rays and die of malaria. That, you see, is my dream.
It should not surprise you then that, on a particularly cloudy day, I took to the internet and began searching for a tropical paradise to invade and call my own. Google led me, meandering through the history of French Guyana, to a web page describing a little spot in Central America that took my breath away: Guatemala. It had sea turtles and pyramids and lava flows and sacrificial chickens and rain forests and all the other ingredients which make up Paradise. (My paradise, that is, probably not yours.)
I curiously looked up flight costs for a two week trip, and realized that I could afford to go. Really, actually, I could. So I called up my sister and asked her if she wanted to come. She said yes. If she got a summer job (she is only 18 and still lives at home) she could afford to come, too. We planned for her spring break of the next year. She would miss a couple of days of class. I would fly out from Seattle, she would fly out from Detroit. We would meet in Guatemala City. It was all beaches and volcanoes and Mayan ruins from there.
And then, suddenly, just as quickly, my dream was crushed. My mother called me in a huff. Her answer, she said, was No.
Guatemala is too dangerous. Guatemala is not safe for single women. There is crime in Guatemala. I don't understand why you want to go there, anyways.
I was confused. Not want to go to Guatemala? But...did you not hear about the volcanoes and the sea turtles and the sacrificial chickens??
She remained unswayed by my impeccable logic, so my attacks became more personal. Her only travel experience was during the early 1980s. My sister and I had both lived abroad in Asia. I was staying in London for three months during their terrorist attacks and emerged unscathed. I work in Canada's worst neighborhood, and I ride the bus home, alone, in the dark, unchaperoned.
Plus, crime happens everywhere. It is dangerous to be a woman everywhere. The point is to be careful and observant, not fearful and indoors. And as adult women who don't live in a fundamentalist society, my sister and I are allowed to go outside, and to travel, unescorted, without our husband or mother or father's permission, thank you very much, wherever we damn well please.
My mother shut down the conversation with a begrudging 'we'll see.' I suspect that still means 'no.' I have not listened to her since my age reached the double digits, but my sister is a much more obedient daughter. This could be the end of the dream.
I...whatever. I suspect this one will get worse before it gets better.