Hello everyone! It's my fifth day in Belize working with HELP International and I'm finally feeling settled into everything. The adjustment to living in Belize was no big deal. It's so much like living in Brazil with some things about living in Portugal. So nothing's really been new for me, except that there are refried beans at EVERY meal. So I'm eating refried beans for the first time in my life. They aren't as bad as I thought they would be. (That's right, guys, with all of my years of loving Mexican food, I have refused to try refried beans. They just look like fecal matter. Why would I want to ingest that?)
The thing that has been the biggest adjustment is living in a tiny apartment with eight people I just met. That was a bit of a struggle for me. There is never an alone moment. But I've adjusted to that and we're all getting to know each other and bond. Everyone is really great in the group. There are nine of us in total for this "wave" (month). Seven girls and two boys. (We all feel so bad for the boys, especially when we make them watch The Bachelorette with us. [And we have a TV here? What? I have never had a TV since moving away from home. It's weird.])
I am sleeping in the room that has the bathroom in it. The sink is outside of the toilet/bathtub area, so there are constantly people milling in and out of my "bedroom" area. It's kind of nice to have people around all the time, but to be able to do stuff on my own at the same time. It's not as restricting as having a companion was on my mission.
There are ants all over the place here. On the counters, in the bathtub, in my bed. Fortunately they're small and they're not all over. Just random ants here and there, but trying to completely eradicate them is futile.
On Saturday we went to Xunantunich, Mayan ruins that were HUGE! (Pictures are forthcoming. I forgot my camera, so I'm depending on others' photos of the trip.) It was really fun to climb up to the top of the structure (a Mayan temple type thing) and look out over the whole area. We're planning a trip to Tikal while we're here and also to ATM caves where there are more Mayan ruins. This is the place to see all things Mayan. So rad.
Yesterday we started our volunteer work with HELP International. We do a lot of work with a women's shelter here and I passed out flyers to promote their free computer classes and a clothing sale they're doing. We also looked into opening up a bike rental shop, so I went around to Department of Labor and the Town Council (Town Hall) to look into it. I was shocked at how nice everyone was and how quickly we were helped. That was not what I had expected. But, seriously, everyone is super nice here. They're happy to help you and answer any questions you have.
I expected to be in a small town in the middle of nowhere, which I am. But there's a surprising number of tourists that stay here in San Ignacio because of the architectural draws of the Mayan ruins. There are also a lot of ex patriots here. It's weird. But everyone speaks English, so I guess it wouldn't be a bad place for an American to relocate to.
We're in the middle of a tropical depression here, so it's been raining like crazy. It's been a welcome reprieve from the suffocating heat. My hair is, of course, crazy curly and I wear scarves in my hair almost every day to cover up the wreath of frizz I have framing my face.
That's all I've got for now. I'll send more updates and photos soon.