January 30, 2014

In Search of Another Adventure

We leave for the sake of leaving, without knowing why, we must go.

I don’t remember the exact place that I first heard those words, although I am fairly positive that they are part of the cultural monologue in France. France, Epcot, Disney World…if you would like the exact address.

No one seemed to understand how I felt when I moved back to Oklahoma. After experiencing 6 months of non stop adventure, intense emotions, friendship, heartache, and challenges... I felt like it was obnoxious to talk about everything that I had been through so frequently. As a freshman, I was “supposed” to be wide eyed and na├»ve, anxious to experience college with the same preconceived notions that everyone else was supposed to have. I was supposed to be excited, cheering for our teams, getting homesick during the week, and missing my mom’s food.

That’s what I was supposed to be…and that is what I was not.

I was jaded, cautious of relationships because I had seen too much brokenness in Orlando. I was tired of being underestimated, because I had just proved so much to myself, and no one seemed to recognize how big of a deal it was to me. I was homesick, homesick for long hours at work, fireworks every night, adventures every weekend, and friends behind every door.

When you get caught between who you think you are supposed to be and who you really are, you don’t go anywhere.

You get stuck.

I was stuck for a long time at SNU. Stuck because I let myself be stuck. Stuck because I longed for an adventure that I had already completed and I would never experience again.

Stuck because I thought I longed for more adventures, when in reality, I was longing to go back to the one adventure that proved so much to myself.

You never get that first adventure back.

You can never grasp something that has already been completed.

It has taken me coming to Belize to realize how much I have held on to that defining experience in my life, and how many of us feel the same way, although we pretend that we are alone in our discontent.

We all have that defining adventure. Some people have stories that are more elaborate, but in the end, we all have that one place where we really grew up.

Mine was apartment 1309, my sister’s was Vienna, and for my friends, the locations range from SNU to Swaziland.

The stories are different. The experiences are different. It is so easy to alienate yourself and think that your story is somehow more significant than everybody else’s.

It’s not…and it is. Your story is unique and valuable and precious because it is yours. However, you cannot discount someone else’s story because it is theirs and it is different then yours.

Now that I am here in Belize, I am realizing that the story keeps going. I have known this for a long time, I have embraced new things and I moved on from my past adventure a long time ago. It’s just…once again, I am finding myself in a “Defining Moment” of my life…and I am jumping back three years ago to my first day on the clock at Disney World.

I was scared then… just like I am scared now.

I was not prepared then… just like I am not prepared now.

I was under qualified then … and that hasn’t changed much.

I was expecting big things in Florida … just like I am expecting life-altering things here in Belize.

Belize is the beginning of a new phase. It is slightly intimidating and there is a lot of hard work in front of us, but it is beautiful and fearsome and wonderful to imagine.

We leave for the sake of leaving, without knowing why, we must go.

January 15, 2014

Day in the Life - Belize

It’s raining today, calm and cool drops of water are making one of their last efforts to coat the ground in moisture before the dry season reaches out her bony fingers to grasp Belize. Nestled into the kitchen/dining room nook, we are sipping our blueberry green tea while we accomplish our various tasks. Blake, being much more pious then I, is lost in the works of Isaiah and Joshua. “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” I sip my tea, listening to the rain and feeling the Caribbean Sea breeze move through our abode, writing a meager grocery list.
            The Herskowitz’s have generously stocked our kitchen with the essentials. Every spice imaginable, a few local jams, and some canned goods. It felt like Christmas to go through the cupboards and see what we could add to our list of inventoried items. Sweetened condensed milk, one chocolate bar, and a beautiful jar of peanut butter were all welcome finds. There are windows everywhere in this guest house, including, but not limited to, our entire bedroom. Currently, there are no curtains or blinds either, partially because it would be a shame to cover up the tropical view outside, but also partially because the windows swing inwards like a door, waylaying a few efforts that have been made to install blinds. 
            Today’s events have been casual but interesting. We met the different people who keep Sanctuary (the housing complex, for lack of a better word) that the Herskowitz’s live in, running. There have been around 700 plots of land sold to date, with an estimated 800 more available, while I would guess that there are maybe 25 homes either completed or under construction currently. We explored the Beach Club, a private pool with beach access, a kitchen, and surrounded by “tent hotels” that are almost completed. These tents are not reminiscent of any camping trip I have ever been on, but more like a luxury hotel room with roll up walls. Did I mention that the average number of people who frequent the Beach Club is...well, 0. It's usually empty, a fact that both Blake and I are eagerly willing to change. Everyone we have met thus far has been incredibly friendly and warm, welcoming us to Belize with what appears to be genuine excitement. Last night we were up in the main house eating dinner, when Blake saw what we thought was a large black dog outside down on the patio to our guesthouse. This morning, Victor, the man who takes care of the property, found either jaguar or puma tracks all through the mud and dust. Ironically, we were talking about those big cats at dinner, making remarks like “I doubt we’ll be so lucky as to see a jaguar while we’re here…” Tonight you can rest assured that we’ll be watching through our curtain-less bedroom for any sort of Puma looking peeping Tom (cat).
            It feels strange to be writing this from a foreign country that we will call home for the next few months, mostly because it is so lovely and where we live is so lovely that I rather feel like I am on vacation. Then, I think about our jobs over the next few months and I remember that I am not on vacation but have work to do, and I feel very daunted by the task. Either which way, Belize is lovely and I only have one mosquito bite so far so I have decided that even the mosquitoes are being nice and welcoming and that life is much more agreeable when you have palm trees outside of your window…or, your wall of windows, in this case. Oh, and a crocodile lives in the front pond as well. His name is Crock and he likes to eat frogs.

January 6, 2014

We Were But Youths

We were but youths
Minds being poured
Into the molds of adulthood
Pushed and pulled
Fingers pressed against
Our thoughts
We felt, we feel
A tangible change
We are but youths
Young and impressionable
Thirsting for wisdom
The cup of knowledge
Yet begging
The probing fingers of knowledge
To push gently
For our thoughts are comfortable
In these familiar shells
Our impressionable minds
The cost of growth
Is painful
And we are but youths
Hungry for change
But scared of these searing
Growing pains.


I am watching the last mile through
the sun that falls upon
the face behind these windows
I travel on
but tonight I would not mind
a sunset on the other side
of this road.

Summer Sun

We kiss the grass
 as the sun
Paints our skin
with a summer coat
We love this road upon
  which we dance
Though we cannot dance well
  we think we can
And I imagine
 I might possibly
Love you


Not today
But not too far 
We'll pack these bags
Catch that flight
And disappear 
I'll grab your hand 
Make you dance
With me 
Softened under surf
Will be our floor 
Not today 
But not too far
We will fly 
And never 

Slowly, Softly

and I 
I sat 
For a long while 
Not doing 
Not thinking 
And life 
life moved forward
As she does
but i 
did not 
for fear of losing
this moment

of sitting

(Family. Africa. Circa 1970s.) 

A Dangerous Business - Belize

An illusive word at best. 
We want adventures, but we're prone to exaggerate normal experiences to give the illusion of being adventurers. 
I love my daily excursions, I love the moments when I do something out of the ordinary...but even exciting unique moments do not always classify as adventurous.
Adventures...to me...are when we do something not only exciting, but something difficult. 
When we reach out to grasp something that we are not sure we can reach. 
Travel is adventurous to me, because travel is the unknown.
Travel involves placing your physical self in a world that does not know you and you do not know.
I like snorkeling, skydiving, and adrenaline rushes like the rest of the adventurous crowd (despite a current fear of cliff diving that I am still trying to overcome...), but I am beginning to realize that the biggest adventures are not the adrenaline rushes. 
No, the biggest adventures are the hardest adventures. 
Taking one step further then you have ever taken before.
Going to that one place that you swore you would never go to because it is not safe. 
Being scared, but choosing to be courageous through your fear. 
Oxymoron? Perhaps. 
Adventurous? Completely. 
I am choosing adventure. 
Going one step further then I have yet to go. 
Running hand in hand with my husband to a place that offers a world of unknowns for us. 
Not planning on the unknown, but counting on it. 
We're casting off and sailing into deep waters, expecting a few familiar things and hoping for a multitude of new things. 
Adventure, to me, does not last long. As soon as you become comfortable, as soon as trepidation leaves the picture, then it is time to find new sources of adventure. 
This blog will be our captain's log. 
I anticipate a host of new experiences, an expansion of our minds, and a reckoning with ourselves. 
So...here we go, welcome to my unknown world of what happens next. 

The big question is whether you are going to be able to say a hearty yes to your adventure.
Joseph Campbell