10 July 2013

Belize So Far

First, you should know that my sunburn is amazingly better. Essential oils work miracles, people. Use them.

That said, last weekend we went up to Caye Caulker. It's an island off the coast of Belize. They have a series of keys (cayes) there. There were beaches and places to swim, but they weren't in the same place unfortunately. However, we didn't really have much beach time anyway. 

Saturday most of us went on a snorkeling tour. I felt like I was in Finding Nemo. It was fantastic. I saw manatees kiss and nuzzle (probably the most adorable thing I've ever seen); swam with schools of fish and was amazed at their ability to move as one entity; was about one foot away from five-foot-long sharks who were being fed by our guide (maybe I yelped when I got too close and it freaked me out a bit....); and became buddies with a sea turtle I lovingly named Marvin (seriously, he was adorable). Oh and we got to swim through the reef too. It made me really want to go to the Great Barrier Reef. It was an incredible experience.

The weekend before last, we were able to go to Guatemala and visit Tikal, one of the ancient Mayan cities (also where they filmed some of Star Wars, COOL). It was incredible. We also went zip-lining. Though I'd never been zip-lining before, I was pretty sure it was a more sketchy experience than what I would have experienced in the US.

Things back in San Ignacio have been going well. I've been teaching ESL to three women at one of the local nonprofit organizations we've been helping with. These women are so eager to learn and come ready and prepared for class. Were that all students had the same attitude, including me. I also helped to put on a community movie night last week. We partnered with another volunteer organization and the city center to put it on. We started too punctually, which was a bit frustrating for me after such careful planning and instructing everyone to start the movie a half hour late. Oh well, they learned for themselves and will start the next movie late. (Yes, everything here in Belize runs about a half hour to an hour late. It takes some adjusting.)

I think one of the things that has been the best for me here has been the opportunity to go out with Hermana Reyes, one of the missionaries here. It was fun to do missionary work in that way again. It was also crazy the contrast between being a missionary here and being a missionary in Portugal. People are actually nice to the missionaries here. Mind blowing. They smile and wave at the missionaries. They listen politely. They let you into their homes. The investigators they are working with are actually progressing and want to know if the gospel is true. It was so interesting to see. Hermana Reyes was also so lovely to work with. I wish that I could maintain my cool like she does. She was a great example for me.

In all Belize has proven to be both difficult and beneficial at once. I've made some really good friends here, but mostly it has shown me just how happy I am in my regular life doing my everyday thing. It's been a good time to take space and reflect on what is the most important for me. I feel like I have come to better understand where I want my life to go. I feel like I've also come closer to my Savior through the things I've gone through here. And I wouldn't trade that for the world.

No photos for now. They take WAY too long to upload here. The Internet is super spotty as it is. Check Facebook for some photos that have been posted.