Monday, May 6, 2013

Sunday- Sunday proved to be a day full of surprises.  Diane invited me to tag along to Melchor Guatemala to order a specialty cake for her anniversary party later in May.  Exited to travel to another country, get my passport stamped, and help out a friend, I jumped at the opportunity.  We left San Ignacio around 6 that morning and made our way to the border.  At the border I paid my processing fee and leisurely moved through the line.  When the lady reviewed my passport she said that I was late.  A bit confused, I asked her to explain what that meant.  She said that essentially it meant that I was living in Belize illegally.  When visitors come to Belize they get a passport stamp that allows them to be in the country for a month.  Carly and I have been here for a month and four days.  She said that since I was illegal, that she could have me arrested and taken to jail.  Completely freaking out, I looked to Diane with panic evident on my face.  She immediately called her husband, who is a major public figure here in Belize and works very high position in the government.  The not so nice lady told me to stay put and said that ultimately it would be up to her supervisor to decide what to do with me.  Eventually I was transferred to the supervisor's office.  He was very polite and made small conversation with me.  He explained that I was illegal because I had stayed past the time given to visitors without an employment license even though I have a provisional license.  He told me that I could by an extension, which would give me another month to stay in Belize.  I gladly agreed as relief washed over me at the realization that I wasn't going to jail.  He complimented my southern drawl and mentioned that he had previously lived in the United States and particularly favored Americans.  He told us to have a great rest of the day and to enjoy Guatemala.  Once in Guatemala, I was shocked by the difference from Belize.  Guatemala, of course, is primarily Spanish speaking and I only knew the essential words like bano, adios, buenos dias, si, perdon, etc.  Luckily, I had Diane with me who can speak both Spanish and English fluently and can switch back and forth like it is nothing.  We traveled to a couple of cake places and finally found a cake that she fell in love with and cost $300.  Afterwards, we tried some authentic desayuno or breakfast at a local restaurant.  We then went to the market where she bought several items for her girls and I just looked around soaking in the scenery.  We traveled back to Belize in the afternoon.  After all the excitement of the day, Carly and I headed to the river for a relaxing afternoon and then grabbed some pasta at Greedy's.

Monday- Today was our last full day at St. Andrews.  Carly and I were recognized at the assembly this morning and were given gifts from the school.  I got a St. Andrews t-shirt, a Belizian wallet, earrings, and a key chain with the Belizian flag on it.  It was so heart-warming to be recognized by the school, the staff, and the students.  I was also by myself with my students today, which was nice.  I taught scripture, went into more depth with telling time, worked on contractions and words that end in -ss, and taught about fire safety.  At the end of the day, I presented my students with the gifts that I brought for them, which were pennies and stickers. (I had to pack light.)  The students loved them!  They had stickers all over their faces and clothes, which I'm sure their parents appreciated.  After school, some of Carly's students taught us how to do the punta which is a popular dance here in Belize.  It was interesting and challenging to say the least.  After we left school, I went downtown and did a little bit of last minute souvenir shopping.  I have no idea how I'm going to bring this stuff home.  Every time I go out, I find something that I think someone would like. It is a bit of a problem.  Tomorrow I am going to have lunch one last time with my kiddos before we leave and then Carly and I are going to finish up some last minute errands and pack.  Tomorrow I will post my top ten realizations/moments from this experience as my final post.  I can't wait to share!

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