This past summer, as I anxiously awaited this trip to Belize, I worked an absurd amount of hours to help pay for the trip.... I'm talking 80+ hours a week... every week in a nursing home! (For the record, it was totally worth it, I'm having the time of my life here in Belize). All of my coworkers knew that I was taking this trip and some are just amazed that I travel as much as I do, but in my world, especially at school, its a normal thing to do. Most of my friends travel on either spring break or j-term trips. Its just what we do. One of my coworkers, Ben, has traveled to Belize before on a cruise and didn't have the best experience so he was shocked to hear how excited I was to come to a country that I love but he didn't understand. He told me that in the few short hours he spent here wasn't exactly in the best or touristy areas of Belize City and felt rather unsafe. I decided to change his mind right then and there and told him all these wonderful stories about the people from my previous trip and showed pictures of what he was missing.
I have been thinking about Ben recently here, especially while we have a chance to leave the campgrounds we call home, glad that I am not experiencing Belize as a typical tourist. We have been given the unique opportunity to experience Belize and the culture in a way thats not possible through AAA. Most tourists wouldn't be able to go to multiple schools and interrupt class to set up computers, Wifi access, and play with the adorable little children, go for a run with a friend and instead end up carrying a wheel-barrel full of red rocks for two ladies, visit an orphanage and all the beautiful kiddos, join in a soccer game with the high-school boys, grab some sticks and jump into playing drums with some kids in the street, and befriending the cutest little girl in the world, Shadi. These are the moments that you can't plan or buy. Definitely loving the memories and friends being made this time around.