Friday, May 14, 2010

A trip to remember...Belize

Let me tell you a story...
A long, long time 2002, I met this man.
We hit it off and had the best time together.
I met all his friends, he met all of mine, he met my family, I met his son. We went on trips together, fun things like Mobile, AL, beaches, Gaitlinburg, TN, Louisville, KY, Indianapolis, IN, Atlanta, GA, and everywhere in between. Over time, this man became my best friend, my confidant, my advisor.
In 2006, we were surprised to find out that this little bundle was on the way. We were completely unprepared for the changes this little man brought to our life. We learned to depend on each other even more for everyday things. I told a friend of mine recently that true love, is not flowers and candlelight. Its taking care of a sick child, mopping up vomit at 3am, and holding each other when you are both exhausted and sleep deprived, and comforting each other even as you try to comfort your little one.
I have said it before, I will say it again I am sure. We do things backwards here. Christmas of 2008 arrived, and tucked under the tree was this little gem... No diamond??? No. This man of mine knows that my absolute favorite gemstone is the garnet. So when he couldn't find a ring that he liked, he went to a local jeweler and had this lovely ring custom made for me. When we broke the news to family and friends, the reaction was pretty much the same. "Wow, that's great!" and "Its about time!" (I and friends can get away with that blunt honesty.)

So you realize that once you actually get engaged, its time to start thinking of WHERE and WHEN. Well...since we met in October, I thought we could just get married on our anniversary. That man looked at me and asked why I wanted to wait so long. ARE YOU KIDDING ME!?!?!? It takes you 6 yrs to propose and you want to know why I am waiting??? Men...I just don't understand the thought process.

So we decided the beach, then we decided Las Vegas. And I started pricing both trips. Where could we have a fantastic vacation, and a beautiful wedding? Our family and friends loved the Vegas idea, and told him so. Then he started freaking out...How many people are you inviting??? I told him that the guest list was under 20 people, but if our other friends wanted to come see us get hitched while taking a vacation of their own, then the more the merrier! He stressed about this a bit. And when I started talking money, he looked at me and said that we could leave the country and have a tropical wedding for less than that. This was when he brought up Belize.
I had never heard of Belize. No idea where it was located, what was there, what the culture was, what language they spoke. So I started researching...and found out that Belize was JUST what we were looking for. Belize is a super small country in Central America. The language is English (although the locals also speak a form of creole) and they accept US dollars along with Belizian Dollars. The exchange rate is roughly $2 BZE = $1 US.
As far as things to do....pretty much everything you could think of. They have the longest barrier reef in this hemisphere, home to the Great Blue Hole, with hundreds of islands, snorkel and dive locations. Hundreds of ancient Maya sites both excavated and jungle-covered, and a lush tropical rain forest. 
So we started looking into the When....and we discovered if we traveled at the beginning of May, we would save bunches of money since that was when the dry season started, but everything would still be pretty lush. So we watched plane prices, and when the tickets that were $800 each in January became $350 in March, we JUMPED on them like crazy people.
Using the Internet, we also booked our beachfront cabana at Xaman Ek and wedding services thru Belize Weddings and of course we had to have a photographer, so we chose the lovely and talented Jen Sharp.
It might sound odd...but we decided to take this journey alone. There was a waiting period to obtain the wedding license, so we had the honeymoon all week, and got married on Friday, May 22nd. Instead of drama, and stress, and coordinating friends and family for activities, we decided to be a little selfish. It worked out perfectly. Our family wasn't hurt, they were just happy that we finally made everything all nice and legal.  A few friends were a little hurt that they were not included, but I think overall, they understood our reasoning.
Let me tell you about our amazing week in Belize.
We kayaked to the reef (which is only about a mile from shore) and snorkeled. (yes...I did not apply enough sun screen and I got COOKED on our first day there...ugh)

Then we arranged to get scuba certified. We dove Monday, Wednesday, and Friday (yes...the morning we got married, we spent an hour or so at the bottom of the ocean. It was so beautiful). I was terrified, but it was the most breathtaking thing ever. The colors of the things you see underwater are unreal. I cannot wait to get all that gear strapped back on and to dive again. I am told that Belize spoiled us, that the visibility is so perfect and the water so warm that we will be disappointed anywhere else we go...I sure hope that is not the case!
On Thursday we traveled inland to Lamanai, a Mayan temple. It was a 26 mile trip up-river where we saw all kinds of creatures. Manatee's, bats the size of a quarter, turtles, and even dolphins. There were several ruins that we were able to climb and explore, but the High Temple proved to be too much for me. Randy made it to the top, while I was entertained by some feuding Toucans and Howler Monkeys.

In the evenings, we took a boat ride from our resort to San Pedro, the main town on Ambergris Caye. Every restaurant we ate at was fantastic, the gift shops were fun to explore and there were street vendors where we purchased plenty of souvenirs for those we left at home. The main way to get around on Ambergris Caye is by boat, or golf cart. We mostly walked, and on most corners there were these great little "You are Here" signs that showed where everything you could possibly imagine was located in town. We found the post office, grocery stores, ATM was so great!
The on Friday...we were married. The pastor was this delightful woman, Susannah Flores. I cannot imagine a more lovely ceremony. It was simple and heartfelt. There were happy tears. I whispered my vows. Randy held my hand throughout the entire ceremony. We promised to make a home together, to celebrate life's joys together, to be committed to one another, to help each other to achieve our goals, to be our best friends, and to live life to the fullest with each other until the end of our days.

Sunrise the morning we left. This was the view from my doorway. The only quiet moment I had all day. We rushed packing (how is it that your suitcase is never big enough on your way home?) We made our way thru security (where they confiscated my conch shell that Randy got me at the bottom of the ocean....we are so going back so he can get me another) we hopped a plane from Belize City to Atlanta via Charlotte. And then we drove home from Atlanta to Montgomery. We got home, slept like the dead, and Sunday morning we rushed to my parents house to pick up our sweet little boy who had been basking in the attentions of his beloved grandparents for the 8 days we were gone.
I cannot tell you how much we missed that sweet boy. I know he was safe and content and loved with my parents, but we had never been separated that long. we come to our one year anniversary, I want to tell my husband how much I love him. How happy I am with the life we have together, how much I love our son and this second one who will be arriving in a few short weeks. There is no other place in my life I would rather be. No matter what comes our way, I am confident that we will face it and overcome it.

Now...go tell your sweetie how much you love them today!


Midday Escapades said...

OH wow, what a sweet story! So happy for you as you are so blessed! Happy 1st Anniversary!


joeandbridge said...

Good Afternoon! Happy FF!
Have a Great Weekend!

Bridgette Groschen
Groschen Goblins


I love that picture of the rings on the flowers!

Happy anniversary!

Rachel said...

Happy Anniversary!! That was quite a trip! Belize looks gorgeous!!!

Anne - Mommy Has to Work said...


Thanks for following! Following back..


Angie said...

I love this post! Congrats! said...

I am following you from Friday Follow;-)


Jeanette Huston said...

I am following you from Friday Follow;-)


Jeanette Huston

Ai Mei said...

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-Ai Mei