Sadly, this will be my last piece of writing here. My adventure/journey/life in Belize is over, whatever that may mean. Even now, as I type this on my new BlackBerry while sipping a latte and watching CNN, it all seems like a crazy dream.

I have yet to have any freak-outs or breakdowns, but I have been too busy catching up my life here to really process it all.

To close this out, I will simple say thank you to everyone, both in the USA and in Belize (my two homes). Without all of your love and support these past 25 months would have been impossible. And to those who have read my wandering musings, either faithfully or occasionally, you have my gratitude.

Finally, here is a piece of unsolicited advice: take those risks, live your dreams, and do those things that you have always wanted to do, not just despite the fact that people may think that you are crazy, but perhaps because being the crazy one is just what you need.


How I left Blue Creek

Props go to Michael, Aurelio, and Adriano for making sure that I didn't get stuck in Blue Creek.



Receiving my gift from counterpart at my going away party

Dancing with council member, Manuel

Dancing a marimba dance with my village chairman, Adriano

A 5am self pic with Roseann and JJ

Today was my last day in Blue Creek. I was all packed up, had said goodbye to my friends and colleagues in the village, and was mentally prepared to be on my way home, only one thing separated me from that journey...my old friend and nemesis...the river. For nearly a week straight, the river has been running over, rather than under, the bridge in Blue Creek. At some points people, trucks, and buses have been able to pass and at others we have been left to stare at each other from different banks as people stare at a camp fire when there is nothing else to focus on. Jeff left on Friday morning to take care of some last minute business up in Belize City, my friends left on Saturday morning, and both times the river was low enough for the buses to pass. On Sunday (today), however, the river stubbornly refused to go down quick enough for my arranged ride to get across as some more rain clouds rolled in. I started to panic, thinking that I was going to be stuck in Blue Creek, not get to say goodbye to all of my fellow Toledo Volunteers, and would have to call Peace Corps to order a helicopter to get me out.

My friend Michael stood on the other bank with the vehicle that would be my ticket out of the village. The river was just low enough for people to wade across the bridge through the rushing water, but not low enough for a high-centered truck to go through. I started going slowly through the swift, thigh-deep water and Michael started across his side. I was going to tell him to go on without me, that I would arrange another way out, but when he reached me he said that he refused to leave me there and that he would carry my bags across. I tried to convince him that my huge 55 pound rolling suitcase was a bit much for wading across a slippery flooded bridge, but he seemed determined. He grabbed my massive suitcase and equally heavy backpack and I grabbed my laptop and a few random bags of stuff that I was giving away. We marched down the river, took our shoes off, and began shuttling my parcels across. My counterpart saw the show from the other side and quickly waded in to help, with assistance from the chairman. At one point, four people were carrying my things across a bridge that was flooded nearly to my waist. We made it the other side and I said some quick goodbyes to my friends, and we were off.

The rain is coming down hard now as I sit in Punta Gorda in my air-conditioned hotel room. I imagine that the bridge never did come down all the way. I am sad to be gone, but it is not quit real, not yet.


Farewell Party

And then all of a sudden it hit me. I am leaving Blue Creek. I have known and anticipated for months that I will be returning to the states, and for that I am excited, giddy even, but the whole leaving part was just too difficult to absorb. Then last night I was invited over to my counterpart's house for a last minute "meeting." I knew that they were planning something thanks to the inability of small children to keep a secret, but I wasn't at all prepared for the event.

All of the members of the village council and other families that I have been close with during my time in Blue Creek were there to surprise me with my final Caldo (traditional soup) and hot tortilla dinner, along with my favorite meal, Cohune cabbage which is heart of palm stewed with lots of spices and spooned onto a tortilla. They presented me with a letter of their appreciation and an embroidered version of the Blue Creek Tourism Committee logo. I was nearly in tears as I got up to say my gratitude for the welcome and experience that Blue Creek was able to provide me. Then we enjoyed some rum and Guatemalan beer and I took turns dancing with all the council members and I began to absorb what it means to leave a place that has, for better or worse, truly been a home to me.