Iguazú Falls, Argentina, 2011 ‘It was a moment of grace and gratitude’ Lizeth Gutierrez
By Clay Eals
Nothing has quite filled the senses of 31-year-old Lizeth Gutierrez as being drenched by legendary Iguazú Falls on the border of Argentina and Brazil.
“The waterfalls go for miles, and you feel the breeze, the intensity of the water and the green of the forest,” she says. “There’s just an electrifying energy.”
The feeling also was deeply meaningful. “It made me feel more appreciative,” says the American studies professor and middle-school administrator from Kenmore, who grew up in the Latino neighborhood of Boyle Heights in east L.A., where her family “didn’t really take vacations” other than rare drives to the Santa Monica beach.
Lizeth’s excursion to Iguazú Falls came 10 years ago while she was a Grinnell College merit-scholarship student. From Grinnell, she joined a five-month study-abroad program based in Buenos Aires. There, she and friends booked several vacations, including to the falls.
“To be in this place with an abundance of beauty was breathtaking,” she says. “I felt, ‘Wow, this is accessible to me, too, an inner-city girl.’ It was a moment of grace and gratitude.”
She would love to return with her daughter, Isabella, now 2, and retrace her steps:
“Those trips introduced me to a whole different world, and I was able to dream bigger because of that. I want my daughter to know that she can dream big, that the world is hers. Oftentimes such trips allow us to get outside of our bubble, and I would love for her to experience some of that magic for herself.”
Here is a video interview of Lizeth Gutierrez, along with 10 photos from her vacations in 2011 in Argentina.