So I was fortunate enough to go to Belize for One Library at a time. Go check it out… now… no really – www.onelibraryatatime.org It is a truly amazing organization that I am honored to be a part of. I am finishing these blogs from home, so as I write this trip is already complete and I am already feeling a desperate need to schedule another library trip… so lets get fund raising!! This trip was a partnered operation. Meredith College planned a service trip to Belize and took on many different projects – the library being one of them. So One Library at a Time partnered to oversee the library part of their trip and they decided to send me all the way from Germany (believe it or not, my ticket from Germany was actually cheaper than everyone who went from the states). So here is how I got my Belizian adventure started!
So I finished up my last minute packing on Friday (May 15) evening and then got Bravo packed up to go to the kennel, Nicole’s Kleintierresidenz. I was so nervous about about leaving him, but he actually did really well and I think he actually might have had a good time! You can see a (very) short snip-it of his room in my storie from that day.
So Bravo was well taken care of! He had his own room, with a mattress, a window, and a heater if it was cold. They also took him on three walks a day, and he got to play in the yard with his new puppy friends! See look how happy!!
(photo credit to Nicole’s Kleintierresidenz, the best place to leave your furry family members when you cant take them with you)
After dropping the pointer pup off I went back home, packed up the car and laid down for a quick 3 hour nap. I had to wake up at 0200 to hop in the car and get to driving. I left earlier than necessary because I wanted to leave time for traffic and also I knew I was leaving in the middle of the night and wanted to be safe on time if I needed to stop for a nap. I did get sleepy, but I made it to the airport safe and sound with loads of time to spare! I went ahead and checked my bag, got through security and sat down for a pricey McDonalds coffee before heading on to the terminal for boarding. Frankfurt Airport proved to be really nice and easy to navigate. I was worried about flying out of here solo after a long drive and little sleep, but I think it was probably the easiest airport I went through this trip.
I flew with American Air… which is NOT my favorite, but they did get me there without delay. I pretty much slept 90% of the 10 hour flight to Dallas though.
I landed in Dallas for a pretty lengthy 8.5 hour layover. Fortunately I got to go hang in the USO, so I got to camp out in a nice lounge chair and work on my laptop the whole time. They also fed me and sent me on my way with a box of girl scout cookies! So a HUGE shout out to the Dallas USO! From there I had to go back through security – which ended up being the least stressful security experience I have every had. So much so I actually made a point to thank them and let them know! Carry on security is actually, by far, the most stressful part of air travel for me. I take a LOT of electronics with me for filming and such and so my carry on is basically ALL electronics, liquids, and important documents. So at SOME airports I literally have to completely unpack everything (which takes around 5 or 6 trays plus my backpack and small bag). So then once I am on the other side my stuff is taking up the entire conveyor belt and it takes a decent amount of time to get it all re packed. So then everyone elses stuff gets backed up and the huge line of people are all staring daggers at me because I am causing the jam. So I end up just cramming stuff everywhere and waddling away with my stuff in my arms to then sit on the floor, dump everything back out and organize and make sure I didn’t loose anything in the fuss. But at Dallas they have huge tables you can carry your stuff over to and take you time getting reorganized. They even helped me carry all my trays over. I am sure other airports have these too, but I have never had the luck of flying through those. So thanks again Dallas!
So after my 8.5 hours in Dallas I headed on to Miami – which is now officially my LEAST favorite airport. I actually kind of hate Miami now, haha. I landed at around 2330 I think and the skyrail was broken so I had to walk the length of the D wing. I landed in the middle and my next flight was at the far end and just as I arrived on foot at the end… it changed…. to the opposite far end. So by the time I reached D1 I was not to thrilled and also exhausted. So I plugged in my power strip to charge ALL my stuff, spread out my cover up on the floor, pulled my hood up over my face, curled up and went to sleep (I had an almost 11 hour layover here). When I woke up the next morning I walked back to Einstains Bagels and got a breakfast and coffee and walked back. I ended up going back to sleep for a while and woke up to a full waiting area. So I went and had a little bird bath in the sink, freshened up, and went back out to look for a large group of collage girls I have never met. A lot of the Meredith girls were on the same flight through Miami. I got lucky and found them on first try!
So this marked the last flight of the journey! And it was only about a 2 hour trek. So once we landed in Belize we all collected our luggage and then headed to the cafe, Global Spice Bistro, in the airport to hang out, have a meal, and wait for the rest of the flights to come in with the rest of the group. It was pretty amazing to sit in the Bistro and have an amazing, authentic Belizian meal while we watched the planes landing right outside. There was even an open air “waving deck” you could wave to your loved ones and watch them take off and land. I went for the fish and chips special and was not disappointed! It was a perfect way to begin the trip.
From there we met our drivers for the first time and loaded up into the vans to head to Belmapan where the first group would be staying at the KenMar’s B&B. It was such a lovely place, and I know the girls who stayed there really enjoyed it. We let them get settled in while we went out and did some shopping. I was super excited to find out they had Fresca – although it was not the same. The Fresca I fell in love with in Panama was bottled in the reused glass bottles in Mexico, while the Belize version is bottled locally in plastic bottles and tastes a bit different. But we enjoyed our little mini exploration and came back in time to walk across the street to the Bull Frog Inn for dinner! I forgot to take a photo because I was so sleepy and so hungry I just gobbled it down. But I had the tacos, and they were fantastic!
From there half of our group stayed behind at KenMar’s B&B and the rest of us trekked on another hour to arrive tired and ready for a good sleep to The Aguada Hotel in Santa Elena. I think I speak for most of us, that despite some problems with water that were truly out of the hotels hands, it was an amazing stay! I got to know the staff well, and truly felt like I was leaving my Belize family when I departed to go home. The rooms are spacious, clean, and cool (which in that heat is important) and the food was to die for. The laundry ladies worked hard to make sure we had fresh linens everyday! Liz and the other girls that run the front desk are the sweetest and took such good care of us. Martha and Carmen know how to cook to make your belly happy! They also proved to have some great stories that made for wonderful conversation! I already miss them all! I was usually passing out by night time because the time change was 8 hours for me, but I hear William was the best night time conversationalist. And, I am not remembering names, but the grounds keepers also rank high on my list as they let me help feed the turtles, and cut a fresh coconut out of the tree and prepped it for me to drink with my breakfast one morning. Not to mention all the iguanas!
So this is beginning to get lengthy already so I am going to end here and write more tomorrow about our first day at the school. You can already see a post about the library work over at One Library at a Time.
Also, I am posting photos here as I get them edited… there is nothing there as I type, but I will be adding stuff shortly from the first day or two.
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