Category Archives: not solo

Volunteering in Belize: Holy Cross Anglican School

Banner at Holy Cross School in Belize
Banner at Holy Cross School in Belize

Traveling to Belize again (first time was on a cruise) was super exciting, but volunteering made it totally worthwhile and memorable.

My friend who was born and partially raised in Belize, created a daily itinerary for me and 6 other voyagers a month in advance of our trip. Not only did she schedule days of fellowship, fun and connecting with her family, she made sure to include volunteer work.  This would be my first time volunteering in another country and I was super excited, especially after speaking via email  with Lydia, the school’s volunteer  coordinator, about their needs and her expectation of us during our time there.

 

Me and Lydia
Me and Lydia

 

On the day of our visit, we gathered in the lobby of the hotel we were staying in and met our bus driver who transported us to the school.  Despite my hands being full with donations, my camera and oh yea, my umbrella thanks to the rain (read more about that here), I made it into the office accident free, ha ha.  Lydia warmly greeted us and began to explain the school’s history and concept while guiding us throughout the school.  Once the tour was over, we were able to interact with the children and assist the teachers accordingly. We were warmly greeted with hugs, requests to read books, chats, questions and the children were happy to pose for the camera!

Reading Time
Reading Time

holycross7holycross4

My Hair's Always a Hit!
My Hair’s Always a Hit!

We decided to leave right before school ended to avoid the ‘yay, we’re going home!’ rush and the children were not happy!!! They wanted us to stay and we wanted to stay longer too, but the bus was there to take us back to the hotel.

Honestly, I was not expecting the ‘noooo, please stay longer!!!’ reactions from the children at all. In my mind, I felt that our short amount of time there didn’t make that much of an impact, but it proved quality over quantity can be significantly meaningful. Since that day, I have kept in touch with Lydia because whenever I go back to Belize, I will spend more time at the school with the staff and children, helping out wherever I can. Matter of fact, I am making plans now to revisit. :)

*If you’d like to learn more about Holy Cross Anglican School in San Pedro, Belize, click the link here: http://holycrossbelize.org/  

To see more of the school in action, check out the video below:

 

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Llueve, Llueve Go Away!!! Come Back to Belize Some Other Day!!!

rainyKnowledge trinket for the day: Llueve is rain in Spanish

I knew that ‘rainy season’ in Belize started from June to mid-November,  but all I could focus on was finally revisiting the country that caused me to start pondering about relocating from the U.S. in the future. Plus, I’ve visited other countries during their supposed ‘rainy season’ and the worst that happened was a downpour spurt. Nothing that caused me to seek shelter, at least not for the entire day. Definitely nothing that caused me to reschedule and cancel planned excursions . Based on this history, I just knew Mama Nature would look out for her special one (ME!) and hold back her crocodile tears during my one week stay in San Pedro in June.

She quickly drenched my ego.

*random convo alert*

Mama Nature, I thought we were cool. I recycle (when I remember) and I don’t litter (well, yesterday I didn’t). Doesn’t this count for something? Why did you cry so much during my stay in Belize???

Her response? Silence. Absolute silence. Her actions spoke louder than words by showing me no llueve leniency.

It rained on day one,
It rained on day two.
I had to cancel several excursions,
Oh, Mama Nature, what did I do to you?
-SistaVoyage

So, no, I didn’t explore the Mayan Temples. I didn’t visit the zoo nor Belmopan, the capital of Belize. I didn’t snorkel, scuba, snuba, zip line, kite surf, go cave tubing…

I bet you are wondering, ‘well dang SistaVoyage, what DID you do?’ I am glad you asked.  Although my main plans didn’t go as planned, I did:

Sail the blue Caribbean Sea on a catamaran

sailing
setsail

Eat great grub!
stewchicken

Encounter interesting non-humans
what is thisherelizardMeet good people

Annie from Annie's Pastries in San Pedro
Annie from Annie’s Pastries in San Pedro

fire

Witness the chicken Drop

chickendropchickendrop1

Tour San Pedro and Caye Caulker

sanpedro

Get a great massage at a great deal.

massage copy

Volunteer

holycross

The latter made up for all of plans I had to cancel due to the weather :)

Question: Have you ever had to reschedule or cancel plans for your trip during your visit due to weather? If not for weather, what was the reason? How did you handle the disappointment?


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Enjoy Sweet Parisian Sounds, Just By Walking Around!!!

Hey that rhymed!!! Elementary school paid off after all. :)

So you:

  • Received the approval from your supervisor for that week off from work
  • Decide to take a chance and visit Paris, France (oh man, I am on a roll with the rhyming today)
  • On your ‘must see’ list are the Eiffel Tower (of course), Notre Dame Cathedral,  Moulin Rouge and other attractions, plus that hot club your friends told you to visit because they have the best, live musical performances. Sounds good, right? Cool, until you remember…YOU ONLY HAVE A FRIGGIN WEEK TO DO ALL OF THIS!!!

"Image courtesy of [imagerymajestic] / FreeDigitalPhotos.net".
“Image courtesy of [imagerymajestic] / FreeDigitalPhotos.net”.
  No need for the frustration. You just might get to that local club after all, but if not,you could enjoy the sweet sounds of Paris for free on your way to the Eiffel Tower or wherever you go!!! Grab my hand and walk with me, why doncha?

 


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Le Marché and Le Marais

Translation-The Market and The Marais

Day 6 was my last FULL day in Paris. I call it a full day because I spent it shopping (window) and eating. The actual final day was reserved preparing for the dreaded 8 hour nonstop flight back to the U.S.

Les fruits et Légumes Regarder Magnifique!!!
I headed to do some mild outdoor market shopping with a few of my new family members *smile* that morning. The market just so happened to be conveniently right down the street from the apartment we were staying in. While my original intent and purpose was to shop, I spent most of that time in complete awe from seeing the beautiful selection of fruits and vegetables there!!! I couldn’t believe wasn’t plastic!


We ended our market-ing after about 2 hours and proceeded to the Marais area of Paris. Two options were given- shop or tour the Pompidou Museum. I was ‘museum-ed’ out after the Louvre earlier that week, so I went with the shopping crew. A lady can never get too shopped out, lol.

Walking around, I saw sooo much I wanted to purchase, so I went into a store and made my intentions known to the employees there. What they told me was confusing and upsetting- they would only sell to me if I was a vendor. You say what now? I just didn’t understand what was going on, but later I found out that importers provide a huge bulk of tempting merchandise (that they advertise in their windows, not cool) specifically to other vendors, but not to customers like me. Most of the stores I wanted to shop in were set up this way.  I guess the bright side of this situation was that I ended up saving money in the long run…whatever.
I got a little hungry during my forced window shopping experience and was interested in seeing what was so special about ‘Euro Fried Chicken.’

Honestly, there was nothing special about it at all, but the drink ordered, Tropico, was DELICIOUS!!!

It was there that I got a view of the most attractive man I noticed in Paris. Nothing was said between us but I made sure I caught several glimpses of Monsieur Beau before I left 😉

Where Fashion and Freakiness Connect
Picture this: You are walking in The Marais district, cautiously because you really don’t know where you’re going, but you force yourself to display a confidence like you know everything about the area. You finally see several clothing and souvenir shops that you can enter and then, you see women dressed in black, intimate apparel. You think nothing of it, because hey, Paris is a fashionable city. You notice that these women make some verbal exchanges with men and then they disappear into a building. Still not putting two and two together, you keep’a walking until the synapses in the brain start functioning and the realization kicks in that one could shop AND get sex here. Interesting combo, lol.
Prostitution is legal in Paris and being that the Marais is a high volume area due to the variety of businesses, you see plenty solicitation, albeit respectful. No one propositioned me (is there something wrong with me?) or anyone in my family, but we did encounter a situation that could’ve gone seriously wrong.  A prostitute suddenly ran down the street we were walking on and pushed us out of the way to confront a man and woman in ahead of us. I didn’t know what the argument was about, but I was thinking ‘just pay the woman already.’

How Sweet it is to be Loved by you
and even sweeter to eat you!

We stopped at a crepe stand in the Marais and unlike last time, I got one that contained more than just sugar. I got the real deal- Nutella and banana. That sucker was good!

Working on it
Still working on it

Oh and guess who I saw again? That’s right, Monsieur Beau! I asked him if he would take a picture with me and he was kind enough to do so. This turned out for my good because my claimed photographic memory is actually short lived. Looking at him this picture makes me happy, hee hee.

 


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