Saturday, April 24, 2010

we interrupt our regularly scheduled programming...

to bring you this terribly depressing post. but it's 2:30ish am, no one else is up & tears are threatening to overtake me so what to do but share with the internetz!

leaving AGAIN. sucks. made so much worse by the anticipated absence of my friend. the military said it was their time to go so they did. and i got left behind. and i have SO much to be thankful for but sometimes in the midsts of grief and anger, it is so hard to remember. i left a sister behind, in a country where she is alone and sometimes happy. but i fear the loneliness weighs on her. and i am sad. i am leaving my family behind-blood and not. and new lives are forming while others are slowly coming to a close. and while i am overjoyed to see my husband and my kiddos, 5 faces that i have grown to love will be missing from the scenery. and the beginning of another period of loneliness threatens to eat me alive.

i know this is what we have to do. i know this is what God has put before us. but my human self is oh so doubtful of the plans He has for us. my heart aches. and the tears have begun to spill.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

belize! - day four

so thursday. thursday wasn't much exciting. the usual feed birds, feed us, internet, feed us, feed birds, internet, dinner, internet, coladas, canasta routine. **i forgot about frappes! 2 different flavors of ice cream, frozen coffee, chocolate syrup, sprinkles, whipped cream. not much sleep for the night due to caffeine overload. but oh so good!** friday will be much better...ATM Caves is on the calendar! so instead i'll just expound on belize itself.

it's gorgeous here. and wide open. i've already said it once but this is just such a welcome change from crushed in korea of the gray/yellow/green skies depending upon what crap is in the air that day. so much space to raise children & let them run. as a child, i grew up in the country with plenty of room for running. and oh did i hate it. we were too far out from everything & it was miserable. but i see the logic of it now. perhaps at some point i'll have a yard for running. although by that point i don't think i'll have any little enough to enjoy it.

it is dirty here. in the towns. people are litter bugs & there is dust & dirt everywhere. probably wouldn't work for my family of allergy fiends. claritin has worked for me while i've been here but my allergies are basic compared to 1 and littlest. mold & mildew flourish in this tropical atmosphere.

the heat is cloying and oppressive. humidity sits on us like heavy blankets. air conditioning is essentially unheard of. although the atm chamber at the bank has AC. you also have to slide your card to get in. i guess they don't want to pass out AC for free. i've been sweating since i got here. i'm growing accustomed to sweat running down my back & my front. and i seriously appreciate the shower at the end of the day. and cold water splashed on my face in the interim. nothing beats it.

bugs bite frequently. deet is nasty stuff but keeps the ticks & squitoes away. there's a strange bite on my foot-right in the perfect position to be irritated by my tennis & hiking shoes. finally got smart enough to put coconut oil on it last night & the itchiness has subsided immensely. haven't spotted any ticks on my self yet but sister has found a few. no clue if there is lyme disease carried around here or not. probably, as everything else seems to be.

there is poverty here. education is privatized & very expensive, which i gather leaves quite a few people out in the cold. reasonably certain the 2 night-time security guards here cannot read. it's sad, really. but it is a developing country so perhaps at some point things will be better & there will be more hope.

there is a mishmash of people here. many of the groceries are chinese. there was honey at the market with a german's name on it as the bottler. many american ex-pats everywhere. and the belizeans are black and brown. mayan ancestry shows in high cheekbones & foreheads. mennonites & amish walk the streets in long sleeves, long pants, straw hats. the only woman i've seen had on long sleeves & a black bonnet. i didn't see her lower half but i assume it was clad in a skirt.

when we entertained the idea of south korea, people said "why korea?" and i got quite a few "why belize?" when i entertained the idea of vacation. people should stop asking why & just do what they can do. once in a lifetime opportunities should not be passed up. fear should not keep people chained to their couches, cowering from what the world holds. americans in particular seem to stay walled in by fear and trepidation. been there, was that. it took me (thirty-something) years to venture out of my bubble. don't wait too has a habit of passing us by.

Monday, April 19, 2010

belize! - day three

so...wednesday. things are possibly starting to run together due to 1-the lack of watch or cell phone with the time on it & 2-the nightly pina colada ritual. i figure i'll be back to the real world soon enough & will have enough time checking then that i shouldn't worry about it right now. so long as the birdies get fed at 8 & 3, we're good.

wake up, feed the birds (what time?...just making sure you're paying attention). head off to the market & post office. things are SO inexpensive here! we got what would probably have been about $60 worth of produce in the US or the commissary for about $15. amazing. fruit & veggies for the birdies. we then hauled it all home & made parrot salad. it involved large knives & cutting boards & a steamer. easy, mind-numbing work. chop, chop, chop. gracie took some pictures. that alleviated some of the numbness. for about 20 seconds. then back to work.

wednesday was also mouse cage cleaning day. (i think that actually happened BEFORE marketing. but like i said, it's all running together.) it is usually mondays but since SOMEONE had the audacity to disrupt the schedule with an airport arrival on monday, mouse cleaning got moved to wednesday. know how you move mice from cage to cage without getting bit? pick them up by their tails! there's a fantastic picture on facebook with me in my mask. CASA has its own mouse colony for when there are raptors in residence-no running off to the pet store or field here! just head for the mouse room! there are about 10 grown or juvenile mice & then about 10 babies of 2 different litters so varying ages. mice-meh. can't get real excited about them.

then it was lunch time & then a little later feed the birds (again) time & then we got to jump in the (air-conditioned HALLELUJAH!) peregrine fund truck to see some orange-breasted falcons. took a LONNNNNNNG ride on bumpy roads to a mountain. found what may have been some slash & burn farming right near where we parked the truck. that was quite mood-dampening. then followed long-legged & fast-walking yeray UP the mountain to a sink hole void of falcons. continued (puff, puff, gasp, wheeze) following him to another hole with a female on a nest with 3 eggs. he had a fancy-schmancy scope he let us look through. it's so amazing to me that these birds nest on the walls of cliffs. she was a pretty thing & we saw her move around a bit which was interesting. the going back down was much easier than going back up. natalie, of the not-as-long-fast-legs led the way. i was in the middle & felt as if i were going to be run over at any minute. we all made it back down safely & got back on the crazy bumpy road back home.

ate serendib for dinner...sri lankan food in belize? of course! i mean, i had to go to korea to try indian & thai, why not come to belize for sri lankan? it was pretty good. nice & spicy. didn't care much for the dessert-wattalapan, i think. it was advertised as coconut custard but seemed more like pumpkin pie. pumpkin, in my book, is nasty. no thanks. i tried to like it but just couldn't.

after sri lankan, headed back home for more canasta & coladas. we were hoping for tamarind daiquiris but there seemed to be a shortage of tamarind juice that night, so we stuck with old faithful. and it was just fine.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

belize! - day two

really it's 6. i just can't get caught up!

so tuesday.... tuesday is birdie cage scrubbing day. i don't guess there's much that can be said to glamour that up. soap & water & scrub brushes & brooms. guess a working vacation can't be all vacation.

tuesday afternoon was a birdie surgery. a cattle egret (korea friends, think of the white birds we see all over the rice paddies) had come in - a week or so before i did - with an injured wing & some of that foam stuff you spray to fill in holes in your house all over his feet. natalie managed to get the foam off with tweezers, scissors & lots of patience but his wing still needed some attention. the veterinarian they use was coming out to the clinic to try to pin the wing. unfortunately, once he was sedated, they could feel around & find that the injury was much more serious than they thought and the decision was made to go ahead & put him down. it was kind of sad.

i did not even try to observe the surgery as i did not want to fall out on the floor & be in the way. so i spent the afternoon reading/sleeping in the hammock until it was time to feed the birds. i had agreed to do it in case the surgery wasn't over when it came time for feeding. everyone got food & clean water.

once natalie was done, we went into town for some pina colada supplies (that damn song has been in my head ALL.FREAKIN.WEEK.). and came back here for pina coladas & canasta. yeray, who works for the peregrine fund (click it to read about it) documenting orange breasted falcons in central america, joined us for coladas & canasta. he invited us to go hiking with him on wednesday to hopefully see a falcon or two and possibly some eggs. with that in mind, we went on to bed with plans to hop out of bed in the morning so we could get all of our work done in order to be able to play in the afternoon!

Friday, April 16, 2010

belize! - day one

it's thursday...i've been here 3 1/2 days. i can't figure out if it seems like more or less than that! and i've not been blogging like i meant to so i have to hurry up & catch up before more adventures happen!

the country is beautiful. so much more wide-open than korea with its buildings stuck on every spare patch of land that doesn't have a rice paddy. and so green! even in the dry season, it is green. again-better than korea that is still struggling to wake up from the cold cold winter.

so, monday. i got a wake-up knock at 4am. needed to be at the airport at 5:30 and with the unpredictability of dorchester rd. traffic, we wanted to leave 45 minutes early. we left 40 minutes early. good enough. the atm was uncooperative so that took a few minutes. and we finally made it to the airport. and i had checked in online & the curbside guy was fantastically high spirited for 5:30 am...sang me the "brandy" song as he tagged my bags. flight was early getting into atlanta & i had plenty of time to make my connection. flight into belize was about 3 1/2 hours & the water coming in was SO green. this internet here is awful so i'm not even going to try to upload pics. check my facebook-there are plenty there! upon arrival, customs was easy & she gave me a break on the duties for the donated supplies i was delivering. and then i got outside & natalie was nowhere to be found! so i sat. in my jeans in belize. whoo hot. and a taxi driver used his phone to call my sister who was running late! sheesh. what is new? there was a mixup on the pickup so she was late. but then she was there. it was a bit of a drive. i fell asleep.

upon arrival, it was about birdie lunch/dinner time. so we fed them. they get birdie salad, except for the egret who was in residence at the time. more about that & the birdie salad later. we then went fishing, belize/staples style. belize style means using a wine bottle with a hole punched in the bottom & filled with cat food/parrot food & then sunk in the river (we also used lines with small hooks baited with masa). staples style means we had no patience and didn't catch any fish. oh well. the water was nice.

on the way back, we decided to put gas in the truck. only 1 gallon, since everyone uses it. but we were going to use it that evening so we figured we'd put a gallon. $10 belize. exchange is 2-1. yeah, that's expensive! they have full service gas stations here. so we stayed in our truck & told the guy what we wanted. and then when he was done, the truck wouldn't start! agh! we waited a few minutes. it still wouldn't start. so we got a push out from the pump so we wouldn't disturb business. and then we walked home. and then that evening, we walked back out again. all the way to san ignacio. where we had some drinks & met an ice cream guy who makes guiness ice cream? perhaps we will see him at the market saturday. and then we walked all the way home because the taxis wanted $7 belize to take us home & sorry dude but we're on a budget! and then we fell down in our beds with mosquito nets so we could get up & feed birdies on tuesday.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010


6 errands run today.
40 kazillion strands of hair cut off my head.
1 airport shuttle ticket purchased.
1 monkey wrench in the machinery.
30 minutes of insanity stuck in a car with a bored 3 year old.
2 dishes for MOPS tomorrow not yet even started.
3 more days worth of school lessons.
4 more days til i fly.

still 2 cold feet.