back from the bze!

sipping on a guinness and eating chinese takout; watching the newest season of Orange is the New Black on netflix.  yep, i am definitely back in the States.

my first study abroad was the biggest adventure i’ve had in my life so far.  it was my first time traveling outside of the U.S. [other than my 30 minutes off of the dock in Cozumel, where we stopped on our honeymoon cruise a couple of years ago], and i am proud that Belize gave my passport its first stamps.

we were only there for 10 days, but it felt like a month.  our days were jam-packed with intense activity: hiking through the rainforest, climbing the Mayan ruins, snorkeling the coral reef.  it was that one scary adventure alone that everyone needs to take in their lifetime, and i am so glad that i did it!  i grew less scared every day i was there.  i went from panicking about malaria and scorpions to helping capture a tarantula for one of our projects and trekking through the rainforest on our night hike.  we tubed through the river next to camp to have some respite from the heat, and practically lived in the water on the second half of our trip, when we moved from the rainforest to the reef.

the things i missed about the U.S.A.:
–air conditioning
–air conditioning
–air conditioning!

haha..seriously, though, the heat was intense there!  especially without a breeze.  but i am glad we went without; as my brother said of a trip he went on last summer, sometimes it’s good to go without for a while.
the other things i missed:
–my wife!
–our two crazy “kids” [dogs]
–our home, and the comfort of privacy
–a good night’s sleep
–a lack of bugs being EVERYWHERE
–being clean and smelling good

that about sums it up.  other than missing my wife, it was hard to be hot, stinky, and sweaty 24/7..especially when you are in close quarters with other people that somehow didn’t smell half as bad [or sweat half as much] as i did.

the things i miss about Belize:
–the lack of cars and traffic everywhere
–our awesome guides and hosts at camp
–peace and quiet without the rush
–amazing, healthy food prepared for us at every meal
–the beauty of the rainforest and the reef
–the conservation efforts
–the awareness of life, nature, mother earth
–not worrying about petty things that don’t really matter

we got back just before midnight on saturday, and yesterday i felt a bit of culture shock.  being in belize made me acutely aware of how wasteful we are here in the states.  i used to feel good for recycling and not littering, for shopping at thrift stores half the time, for turning the A/C up when i leave the house.  now i feel like an asshole.  i knew before that the U.S. is all about consuming, but i didn’t realize the magnitude of it.  belize is a country with less money but more beauty and genuine happiness than i have witnessed and experienced here. 

yesterday we got lunch downtown, and while i claimed that i didn’t want the typical “beans and rice” meals that i’d been eating for the past ten days, we ended up going to- surprise, surprise- red mesa cantina, a mexican restaurant!  i asked to sit outside, which is surprising, because i ALWAYS want to sit inside in the A/C.  i kept getting distracted with the cars and the noise and the people and the busy-ness of it all..after a couple of drinks and some food, though, i settled down. 

i came home and turned the A/C up to 77..crazy, because the highest i like it during the day is usually 74.  today it is on 78 degrees, and i am trying to limit my use of electronics [i realize the hypocrisy of saying that while i’m typing on my laptop, yes].  i am also using the “if it’s yellow, let it mellow” habit..i guess using a compost toilet every day for almost two weeks will do that to ya!

i know that chances are, soon i will stop being so aware of my wastefulness..but i am hoping to continue to conserve, to continue to care, to continue to make progress in the small steps i can take to save the world.  writing is my biggest passion, and my only constant, but i am considering the possibility of working in conservation. 

time will tell.  in the meantime, i’m going to continue washing my deet-filled, smelly-ass rainforest clothes; drink my delicious beer; reminisce about everything i saw.  more updates soon.


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