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Looking Back on our Belizean Adventure…

July 31, 2015

As I sit on my porch, surrounded by red oaks rather than coconut palms and blue jays rather than toucans, I can begin to reflect on the entirety of our experience in Belize. While it’s good to return home to missed loved ones, familiar comforts, and long showers, my mind is still filled with images from Belize. I imagine it is much the same for my traveling companions. We were completely immersed in the landscape, culture, and ecosystem of Belize, and disconnected from our everyday world. Coming home is a bit like waking up from a deep sleep.

I think each of us will be rifling through our memories of Belize for a long time, trying to tease out what we’ve learned about ourselves and our world. But a few things stand out in my mind as I begin to gain some perspective on the week.

We were each challenged by our experience in Belize. Though each person came in with a different background and amount of experience, there were new and unfamiliar things for each of us. We learned to tolerate the heat and humidity of the jungle – with very little respite (except the vaguely air conditioned bus!). We overcame fears by facing them head on, because no one wanted to miss an opportunity – touching a snake, tasting a termite, accepting the omnipresence of biting insects, breathing through a snorkel, swimming off a boat far from land.

Doreen touched her first snake, a coffee snake, on a hike through the Jaguar Preserve.

Doreen touched her first snake, a coffee snake, on a hike through the Jaguar Preserve.

We allowed ourselves the freedom of being present in each moment and immersing our senses in the surroundings. We saw the colorful plumage of tropical birds each morning on our bird walks. We heard the overwhelmingly loud notes of cicadas as we sat eating lunch at the Rio Frio cave. We smelled the tantalizing aroma of fresh chocolate as we made chocolate with Julio in Maya Center. We tasted traditional Belizean foods and many new fruits and vegetables at each wonderfully cooked meal. And we felt the rolling of the waves as we snorkeled in the Caribbean Sea (fortunately, with the aid of seasickness medications for a few of us!).

The collared aracari was one of the most spectacular birds we saw.

The collared aracari was one of the most spectacular birds we saw.

Our eyes were opened to a larger world. We experienced the warmth of Belizean culture through our friendships with Sherry and Yolanda, and through the hospitality of the staff at each place we stayed. We walked beneath the dense jungle canopy and saw just a hint of the creatures that live within it. We were touched by the strength and resiliency of the Mayan people who, though forcibly removed from their land for the creation of the Jaguar Preserve, are now its strongest advocates. We explored the stunningly beautiful underwater world along Belize’s reefs and marveled at the biological diversity that thrives on and around the coral.

The squirrelfish is one of many beautiful fish we saw on the reefs.

The squirrelfish is one of many beautiful fish we saw on the reefs.

So we return home… the same, but different. Filled with new ideas and knowledge. Supported by new friends and colleagues. Excited to share what we’ve learned with friends, family, and students. So please bear with us as we readjust, tell our long tales, and knit our Belize experience into the fabric of our lives.

We will leave you with a few more pictures from our adventure…

We had the chance to closely observe a troupe of black howler monkeys at the Community Baboon Sanctuary.

We had the chance to closely observe a troupe of black howler monkeys at the Community Baboon Sanctuary.

This beautifully colored grasshopper was nearly 5 inches long!

This beautifully colored grasshopper was nearly 5 inches long!

We had a close encounter with a jaguar at the Belize Zoo.

We had a close encounter with a jaguar at the Belize Zoo.

We saw this beautiful butterfly roosting on a leaf on one of our night walks.

We saw this beautiful butterfly roosting on a leaf on one of our night walks.

Spider lilies along the Macal River

Spider lilies along the Macal River

Our guide, Nathan, enjoying the Cockscomb Basin Waterfall

Our guide, Nathan, enjoying the Cockscomb Basin Waterfall

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. Karen Davis permalink
    August 1, 2015 5:33 am

    Thanks for sharing your experience and taking us with you. Get some rest!! Thank you again for all you do to share and educate!!

  2. August 2, 2015 5:35 pm

    Beautifully written Melissa!

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