@theotherginger Thanks for your concern, guys. I have found some great resources, luckily.
@mammamia Good on you for making use of your experience. Didn't you fear reprisals like Stella's mother?
I guess I'm speaking more from the perspective of someone diagnosed with PTSD as result of my religion (and, yes, exorcisms, as well as psychiatric abuse.)
@anderin I really dug that line too.
I left a Christian cult as a teenager, and suffered the consequences. It's a different experience, but I have read yours with that particular kind of interest. Thanks for writing all this!
What's got to be particularly galling about what you're describing about Scientology is how so many of the technologies actually seem to reflect various forms of therapy, with lots of NLP thrown in. There probably IS lots of value in the technologies, but how the hell do you get ACTUAL therapy to deal with the unhelpful controlling voices in your head when you come from something like that?
Ex-Christians seeking therapy just have to deal with their therapists trying to convert them back, which is bad enough. I dunno how an ex-Scientologist could even get through the waiting room.
@swirrlygrrl Ain't that the troof.
@realtalk Oh perfect! That makes a huge difference.
My original reason for picking MAYAB is because they're the school that's supposed to have connections to the local hospitals, so if you want to do medical volunteering through them, you can. Just in case you get over there!
@BoatGirl Just learn how to check for signs of bedbugs before you move in! Other than that, hostels are awesome.
@realtalk Awesome! I'm sacred to say anything in case you're already paid in full, but from everything I heard about Xela: it's a dump. The ONE good thing about is that you'll meet fewer tourists so you can work on your Spanish harder. But the fact is, you'll find people you can speak English with anywhere and people you can homestay with anywhere.
I strongly recommend getting to San Pedro as soon as possible. I think it's even cheaper than Xela, actually, or exactly the same, and it's incredibly beautiful and fun and friendly and weird and sweet. Everyone who had been through Xela and come to San Pedro was like, "OMG I've finally come home!" And then they didn't leave.
If you get to San Pedro, ask for Juan Marcos at Escuela MAYAB. It looks not as nice as the main one, but Juan Marcos is known as one of the best teachers in town, and having tried several--and referred him to several friends who had also tried several--consensus is that this is accurate. Tell him Christy from New York sent you.
Be careful with your homestays tho. If you get a dumpy one, ask to change. Some people will feed you well, others won't. Also, I ate the cut-up fruit and got E.coli. Everyone who goes to Guatemala gets something. If you have a problem, go to the local doctor. A checkup and all the antibiotics you need will cost you $20USD. You'll be fine.
@harebell I love it so much I'm on the verge of deleting all my comments. COOL KIDS ONLY. (J/K good luck and enjoy wherever you end up!)
@harebell Are you checking Fly.com? I don't know where you're coming from, but if flying into Guatemala City is prohibitive, check Cancun. It's the sneaky way in, because Cancun is so touristy and they make the fares super cheap to get people there. Then you take a miserable 20 hour bus trip to Atitlan (or break it up by stopping off at the Mayan ruins at Tikal, the most famous ones), and everything will become wonderful wonderful wonderful.
I've never seen tickets from North America to South America that were cheaper than North America to Central America.
P.S. Oh, and Belize is super touristy and very English-speaking. Also very very expensive. Most people I met found it kind of useless, unless they were traveling with their mothers or something.