Thursday, April 26, 2012

Ya Betta Belize It


Warning: Photo Overload. 

It took a full day of travel, on three separate plane (the last a somewhat scary twelve-seater pond hopper), but we made it to Placencia in Belize for a wonderful week.  We relaxed and explored and had an amazing time. The staff at the Robert's Grove Inn was exceptional.  It was a beautiful country, with beautiful people. Everyone we met in Belize was gracious.
If you double click on the slideshow (which may appear as a black box), you will get the full album for the day's adventures.

Robert's Grove



Monkey River

Our first excursion was across the lagoon to Monkey River, where our guide Doyle introduced us to the jungle and showed us howler moneys and crockadiles (but, unfortunately, no manatees).  We got home before a quick rain passed through. On our way to dinner we were treated with a rainbow over the sea.




Mayan Ruins and Cave Swimming
On this excursion we caught a glimpse of a different world. Not just the city once inhabited by the ancient Mayans, but the lives led by their descendants.  Simple, and so beautiful.

After one of the best lunches we had during our stay, we were off for an adventure of a different sort - cave swimming (and yes, there were bats). Our guide had an organic farm on the land leading to the cave and was proud of his domain. Along with being a farmer and tour guide, he told us he was also a shaman, and, to Glenn's amusement, he boasted to be the "master of this cave!" 




The Barrier Reef
One of the best days in Belize we spent off the coast on one of the islands scattered along the barrier reef. We snorkeled a bit in the morning, seeing some amazing tropical fish, and spent the afternoon sitting on the white sand beach, amused by sandcrabs and pelicans. On the way back to the mainland, our boat made a stop so we could snorkel with sting rays and sea turtles. Glenn and I were the first of our group to head back to the boat. I passed my camera up and was half way up the ladder when our guide excitedly told me to turn around. One of the turtles had followed Glenn and me back to the boat and had just surfaced (and I didn't have my camera!) 




Red sky in the morning, sailor take warning!
As if the beautiful pink sunrise wasn't enough of an omen, we should have been alerted by the sinus headache that plagued Glenn. Fortunately for us, we had planned to spend Saturday and Sunday resting at the hotel, so we weren't out on a boat when a tropical storm blew in on Saturday. It only lasted about 40 minutes, but it was fairly impressive.  I definitely am glad I was not on a boat. We were just finishing lunch when a cloud appeared on the horizon and the staff ran to clear off the tables on the porch.  The sea, which had been calmly lapping the shore, roared to life. Waves began crashing as winds whipped in and blew over the heavy chairs. We helped the staff lash down the canvas sides of the restaurant, then watched as a few of the men ran out onto pier and jumped into the waves to rescue the furniture that had blown off. Those are dedicated employees!



Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary
Our last full day in Belize we spent at the Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary. While this is a jaguar preserve, we were not lucky enough to see these nocturnal beauties. We did see some lovely birds, and had fun tubing down a river and swimming under a waterfall.  I think we would have preferred, however, if our guide hadn't warned us about the worm that can get under your skin ... ick!


Sunday, April 15, 2012

Happiness

Thanks to my friend Kei Yamamoto for such wonderful photos.



















Our reading:

Glenn and Gretchen asked that I read this on their behalf.
The opening line of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice is the memorable, “It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife.”
The expected translation, of course, is that every woman seeks to marry a well off gentleman.
The reader, however, will soon be faced with a heroine of a contrary nature, one who is willing to defy convention and decline matrimony where it doesn’t suit.  The moral of this story is that a woman who is true to herself may be rewarded by finding her perfect match - Her Darcy. 
Another story that comes to mind is O’Henry’s The Robe of Peace.  It is the tale of a dapper young New Yorker who is known for his exquisite taste in clothing.  This gentlemen went on a tour of Europe and nothing more was heard of him.   Years later, two of his old comrades, themselves traveling on the Continent, detoured to visit a monastery high in the Alps. There, to their surprise, they found their old friend. They were shocked to find him in a coarse robe of brown cloth, yet in a state of “ineffable peace, of rapturous attainment, of perfect and complete happiness.”  They begged him to return to New York with them, but he declined.  He was entirely happy and content. “You see” he told them “At last I have found something that will not bag at the knees”!
An analogy may be made with this story and online dating.
How? Online dating is nothing like being a clothes horse. It is more analogous to job hunting. You send out a hundred resumes, only to get five responses. Four of those propositions are, quite frankly, scary. The fifth is enticing.  Eagerly you go on your interview, to discover, to your chagrin, that the fifth is scary too.  So you go back to the list of job postings and comb through it looking for something that matches up to your criteria. Looking for that perfect match.
And here is our analogy. If you are willing to journey down a different path, and step beyond the boundaries you set for yourself, you may be surprised that what you find suits you more than anything you could have dreamed for yourself. 
Glenn and Gretchen have sought for many years, treading down a few wrong paths in their journey.  But they stayed true to themselves and were rewarded by finding, where it was least expected, their perfect match - that other person who brings them perfect and complete happiness.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Love Song

Did I mention that I'm getting married? It seems a bit sureal. After all these years, I finally met someone I'm completely head-over-heals in love with and I am very excited about sharing my life with Glenn.

While a long time in planning, our wedding will be small and informal. There will be lots of personal touches. I have already shared the stationary and shawl I made for this event. Glenn will be wearing socks made by my mom, who also is working on a bag to hold cards. My sister made my jewlrey. The rings we had hand cast by a jewler in Glenn's home town. And Glenn's contribution? He wrote my wedding march. Yep. I have my own wedding march. It will be played by a brass quintet (3 trombones, a trumpet, and a tuba). It's so exciting!