On Thinking You’re All Smart and Stuff

Alternate title: How (not) to attend your first village funeral.

As the year progresses and we continue to travel to new places, I really try hard to pay attention and improve my cultural IQ by absorbing things around me. I usually feel super accomplished when I master a handful of new cultural nuances. For example, in Cambodia the symbol for marriage is placing two thumbs next to each other out in front.  Two people married.

When we’re walking the streets and people come up to us with a thousand questions in Khmer, if nothing else I can easily answer that Jeff and I are married by holding my two thumbs up together. Everyone then says, “Ohhhhh!” holding their own thumbs up to represent our marriage. (Don’t get me started on the symbols for, “Are you having a baby? No? You just like to eat a lot of rice? Oh.”) Conversely, the symbol for separation or divorce or even just to communicate that Jeff is going to Phnom Penh in an hour and I’m staying here, would be me holding two thumbs up next to each other, then drawing one thumb away in the direction of Phnom Penh. We also learned that a giant tent in the middle of the road means a wedding. Easy. I’m totally upping my Cambodian IQ, here.

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It would make sense, then, if we were walking through the neighborhood and saw a giant tent in the middle of the road plus a group of people preparing a feast, that we might stop, hold our two thumbs together and say, “Wedding?!” with the excitement and joy of effective communication.

We did this. Proudly. (We are clever, you know.)

Imagine our surprise when they all looked at each other with confusion, looked back at our smiling faces, looked back at each other and then said, “No! Died!”

Oh.

Note to self: tents in roads can also mean funerals.

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I Am (Father’s Day Edition!)

I Am my dad’s namesake. I am college-educated, a direct result of the Indiana State Police construction zones and Mike’s Car Wash—his 2nd and 3rd jobs when I was in college. I am a game of basketball in the driveway every evening that one summer between 7th and 8th after he got home from work so I could make the school team, and I am Pistol Pete, basketball between each step the entire length of the driveway.

I Am the opposite of rib-eye sandwiches from the State Fair and some kind of seafood soup that stinks up the whole house. I am not mayo and pickle and peanut butter all in the same sandwich. I am not the Super Delicious Chinese Buffet any chance I get. But I am a big Christmas eve breakfast, my dad’s BBQ ribs and burgers on the grill, and a poolside cooler full of snacks and wine. I am a Colts party black & stormy, a glass of apothic red or chilled white, always welcome for dinner.

I Am my dad’s backyard—both Pinesprings and Birdkey—chasing my nieces and ol’ Lily dog with bubbles. I am around his dinner table and lounging on his couch for Colts parties. I am a Belize vacation, cannonballs at Cahal Pech, a sea breeze and musical chairs at Captain Morgans, a Belikin at Old Belize, snorkeling and pool-floating, all on the house. By “the house” I mean, my dad. I am a summer evening Indianapolis Indian’s game and the mouse roller coaster at Old Indiana Fun Park.  I am moon-dancing with my dad the night before my wedding on a beach in Destin as he choreographed the next days “moves” including a section he referred to as “the hip-hop” J

I Am “Oh fooey!” And “Gee-miny cricket!” And “What a bozo!” And “You know what assuming does?” I am “10% in the bank and 10% to the church and the rest to spend.” I am “Hey-lo little girl! So what else is going on?”

Cannonballs at Cahal Pech
Cannonballs at Cahal Pech
Belikins at Old Belize
Belikins at Old Belize
Hot Dog at Indians Game
Hot Dog at Indians Game
Wedding Dance Rehearsing
Wedding Dance Rehearsing
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Wedding Dance Rehearsing

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So. Who are you?

Late for 2010. Early for 2011.

**We realize this never made it out to some of you. We don’t know why. It’s okay to put 200 stamped letters in your mailbox with the little flag up, right? I don’t really know about mail etiquette. But here is. A little holiday update. You’re drooling. I know.

Happy Holidays! Jeff and I want to take this opportunity during the season of Thanksgiving to express our sincerest gratitude for all who have planned, helped, participated, and celebrated the last 6 months with us. We were blessed with a spectacular oil-free wedding in Destin, FL and a gorgeous rain-free reception in Beloit, WI and were able to visit with many of you during those gatherings- although not for as long or intently as we’d have liked!

We also want to give an update on the life and times of the brand new Hartmans, including our relocation to a new city and new jobs- which we request as justification for how late (or how not at all) this thanksgiving has arrived in your mailbox! Please?

Following our honeymoon in Breckenridge, Colorado, Jeff returned “home” for the first time to Indianapolis, where Brooke had moved three months earlier to begin as a Social Worker at a downtown hospital in the Emergency Department.  Prior to the wedding, Jeff accepted a unique position as Physical Therapist in the same Emergency Department and began on August 2nd. We have been working across the hall from each other for about three months now, and the Social Work department has seen a sharp increase in printing activity, as the printer is located in the PT office.

In addition, Jeff continues to work part-time as the Stateside Director of Operations for Hillside Healthcare International in Belize, and Brooke works part-time as a Behavior Consultant for developmentally disabled adults through the waiver program and a therapist for emotionally impaired kids through a state grant.  Jeff would like you to know, he is not one of Brooke’s clients.

Jeff also continues to mourn the loss of Madison, but we’ve added the Big Ten Network to the cable line-up and he’s discovered an iphone app (yes, Jeff has an iphone!) that allows him to tune-in to the Madison radio talk shows. As we embrace our first winter in Indianapolis, Jeff asks things like: does water freeze here? And Brooke is rolling around in winter coats and boots she hasn’t had use for the last few falls in New Orleans or Belize. Somehow we’ll adjust.

Until this week, we’ve been living downtown Indianapolis on the Canal, but we close on our first home together in the Arts & Design District (spoken with an English Accent) in Carmel, a suburb north of Indy. We put those qualifiers on the Carmel home for the local friends who are standing by with Carmel jokes. We will be in Old Carmel, two blocks off Main Street, and we bought the house from the friend who set us up in the first place!  Given that she introduced us and sold us our first home, we are considering an advanced order for kids. Kidding.

As we reflect on this past summer, we want to thank you (yes, you) for making 2010 the best year ever. Thank you for the gifts, cards, fellowship, prayer and celebration!  Please accept this thanks, albeit a couple of months late, as sincere and heartfelt.

We did.

Welp. I’m back on the writing train, because every 5 days I think: Oh! I need to tell the internet that. No really, I do. I’m just that kind of person.

For starters, I got engaged.
Then, I got married.
Next I hiked to the top of a mountain.

The engagement was not a fee-for-service arrangement, which shocked my brothers, I think. It was totally voluntary on his part, and dreamy. This from our wedding site:

We met. We fell in love. We’re getting married.

More?

Okay, we were introduced by mutual friends and our work in Belize in the spring of 2008. We spent a few months sending e-mails like: Hello. How are you? The weather’s great! before Brooke left for graduate school in New Orleans and Jeff continued life and work in Madison.

We stayed in touch throughout the fall and discovered we would both be in Belize at the same time that November. Of course we would try and meet up! Unfortunately our plans were interrupted by country-wide flooding and busy schedules. We were 90 miles apart in the same foreign country working on two different projects with the friends who had first put us in touch, and still couldn’t meet.

Three weeks later, we met for the first time under the silver ball at Millenium Park in Chicago. It was December 20, 2008, and it was snowing.

We spent the next year jet-setting between New Orleans and Madison, Destin and Indianapolis, Las Vegas and Belize, and finished the year back in Chicago on the 96th floor of the Hancock building. Overlooking the city we’d first explored the year before and the adventures 2009 had brought us, Jeff proposed and Brooke accepted.

It was December 20, 2009, and it was snowing.

The real story is this: Jeff said, “Will you marry me?” and I said, “Wait! You have to put it on my finger.” So he put the ring- which was from Tiffany and engraved with I love you– on my finger and asked again. Of course I said Yes! But he likes to tell people he had to ask twice.  What I remember most is that we sealed the deal over guac. What a story.

What I find hard to believe is that for 29 years, I didn’t have a fiance. And for 29 years, there has not been an oil spill in Destin.  But then I get engaged and plan a wedding in Destin on the beach.  A month later? The gulf is filled with 200 million gallons of oil.

Life’s like that, I guess.

Prior to the wedding, our families spent an entire week together at the beach house sharing meals and stories and sunscreen. To my knowledge, no one peed her pants laughing, which tends to runs on my side of the family. Whew.

The wedding was held on a private (oil free!) beach accessed by a spectacular 50-foot dock, lined with little flicker candles, at sunset. Perfection. I floated right down that long, plenty-of-time-to-turn-around aisle toward a handsome groom in a cream-colored suit without a second thought. Well. I did wonder if the flower in my hair was falling out, since it took a glue gun, wire cutters and a thousand bobby pins to secure in the first place. And the reception was held at the beach house, on the other side of that same aisle, with bistro and twinkle lights strung over tables and balconies.

It was an Olympic wedding. Literally. Our pastor, my friend Kim Black from grad school (go ahead, google her), was a gold medalist in the 2000 Olympics and brought her medal to our Olympic wedding to share. I held it. You want to touch me? 

Of course we plan to renew vows every 4 years.

For candid pics of the ceremony, click here
For  professional ceremony/portrait/reception pics, click here
For getting ready pics, click here
For reception pics, click here
For wedding week pics with the fams, click here

2008, we did the best we could.


January
Moved to Belize. *Carry-on bag wouldn’t fit in the overhead compartment. Attendant made me take out bulge on top, which happened to be a Ziploc gallon-sized bag of underwear. Held underwear on lap for duration of the flight.

Lived on an Iguana reserve. Learned how to do laundry with a hose. Experienced Belizean wedding and funeral in the same week. Set out to teach everything I knew about conflict resolution, drugs, and AIDS. Learned everything I know about love. Got accepted into grad school.

February Caught a parasite, hiked to the top of a ruin, swam in a cave, experienced my first Belizean election and confirmation. Fought a piñata. Lost.

March Overcame fear of spiders. Discovered a new love for choco-bananas. Played with a monkey. Met real Guatemalan Indians in Guatemala. Bought skirt from them. Watched the Ruta Maya river race. Said goodbye to the Caribbean. Understood that life would never be the same.

April Got a niece! Heart opened a little wider. Fell in love with her.
Turned 27. Panicked. Cut my own bangs.

May Got another step-family. Danced! Celebrated! Laughed!
First laid eyes on my new city, New Orleans. Stabbed my foot with a parking lot spike.

June Went back to work at Boys and Girls Club. Happy to find that I still loved the kids. Got shingles. Thought I was dying.

July Sold everything I owned on Craigslist. Moved out of Fort Wayne (ten years!) Received Carrie Bradshaw as a parting gift.

August Moved to New Orleans. Found the two-story target, which I had previously thought was an urban legend. Took a family vacation to Destin. Came back. Became acquainted with city life. Loved it. Went to Tulane for student orientation after a month of waiting. Got evacuated for Gustav at lunch.

September Stayed evacuated for two and a half weeks. Went back to school. Dropped ten pounds for lack of friends.

October Made friends! Gained ten pounds. Heard that Taylor Fort Wayne would be closing. Felt orphaned. Dressed up like a ninja and fought pirates on Jackson square.

November Watched history unfold in the TSSW building with snacks and wine. Found out Bry and Jess are pregnant again. Went to Belize. Delivered school supplies. Painted a cafeteria. Provided flood relief with two armed guards on the Guatemalan border. Became acquainted with Big Mac and Quarter Pounder, the tarantulas. Realized I had not overcome fear of spiders. Had the sweetest reunions I could ever imagine at San Marcos School.

Learned that a plan is usually unfolding around me even when I am not still or patient enough to see it. Discovered that if I feel lost even for a second, all I have to do is ask for help. Understood the beauty in a prayer that goes, “Hi God, I’m an idiot and I don’t trust myself. Could you make this one clear for me?” Trusted completely. Found out I am purposed. Convinced Tulane I am purposed. Doing last semester internship in Belize!

December Wrote a thousand papers. Failed a final. Got all A’s!
Watched snow fall in New Orleans. Saw Lily take her first 3 steps.
Went to Chicago. Smile.

Nobody worry. I know First Aid.

Dear six readers, I try to keep this space creative.
I don’t live in Belize anymore, though, I’m not traveling in Europe or responding to hurricanes, and I won’t be in NOLA until August. Right now I am doing things like working, and attending parents weddings and stepping on parking lot spikes and getting soaked in downpours and flash-floods. So those things, for now, are the spirit of this space. Sorry.

NOLA
Where to even begin…
We made this death-defying trip in 3 days, leaving at midnight after my dad’s wedding on Friday and returning at midnight on Monday. We saw my dorm, worked our way around the city, visited the uptown campus, took pictures of streetcars, walked the Riverwalk, took a spin on the Free Ferry, toured the French Quarter, painted for peace, drove down Magazine & St. Charles street, ate beignets and chickory coffee, stuffed our faces with Jambalaya, shrimp and dollar Daiquiris, walked Bourbon street, listened to some Jazz, found a “place” and, most importantly, found the two-story target and snuck into the Marriott rooftop pool.

On the first day, I flipped out and wanted to go home. This is what I do—it happened in Belize and it happened in Europe. I just need a warm-up act before the real thing, and then I’m fine. These were my issues: a free clinic is outside my dorm, which is connected to the Tulane Hospital. Imagine the demographic that hangs out on the street corner. Second, me as a minority. I just had never really considered it. (Yes, ethnocentric. I’m sorry). Third, where I will live is in the exact middle of the dot on the map that says New Orleans. There is no escape. I live downtown, downtown, New Orleans. I felt so small, and the city felt impossibly large. Also, the temperature was in the lower thousands. But I’m okay with that—I like it hot.

In the end, I embraced the joys of living one block from Canal Street, four blocks from the Riverwalk, one block over and four blocks up from the French Quarter and the realization that there are no open container laws. Once I figured it all out, it didn’t seem so huge, and the dorm felt sort of cozy. I fell in love with the uptown campus, located the Social Work building and found some apartments for next June.

I am ready. I am optimistic. I am braced for Hurricane season—and crossing my fingers for both my beloved Belize and my new home in NOLA. (God please let the school still be there in August…) The next hurdle is getting the school to excuse me for two weeks in November to check in on my little Belizey with CFI.

Apartamento

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They look good in this hallway, I think they should stay…

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View from window- Tulane Hospital & Skybridge

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Terrace

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Uptown Campus

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Canal Street

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Jackson Square

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Delicious Eats

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French Quarter- Painting for Peace

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Riverwalk & Ferry

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I have to mention one more thing.
On our last night in NOLA, you know those little parking lot spikes that stick up so people can’t back up or go out the wrong entrance? I tripped on one. I couldn’t even look at it for a sec, because I was sure my toe was crooked or hanging off—but then it started bleeding profusely, and I started secretly flipping out inside, and it wasn’t until I sat down with some helpful passersby that I remembered I don’t even have insurance and couldn’t even get stitches.

My nice friends poured bottled water all over my foot and the helpful passersby, who happened to be a trainer, splinted my foot with Kleenex and rubber bands—straight out of his wife’s hair. Then we hobbled across the street to Walgreen’s to buy some first aid supplies—antiseptic, Band-Aids and gauze—and a slider sandal (they only had Youth size L) and walked off without my Credit Card, which I had to cancel the next day. If you know me, you’re rolling your eyes by now, because this sort of thing is always happening to me.

My stupid toe is broken and needed about 3 stitches and a splint. But no insurance means it only got gauze, Band-Aids and Neosporin. The experience wouldn’t be complete without a picture sequence.

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The blasted spikes

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(Look away)

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Nobody worry. I know first aid.

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Dad’s Wedding
Boogie Oogie Oogie! This is one of the best weddings I’ve been a part of. Lot’s of dancing and delicious drinks. My dad is happy, and so are we.

Link to wedding pictures: here

SATC
Loved it. Title aside, the heart of this story has always been friendship, and the heart of the movie is forgiveness. More than sex or shoes, these ladies put each other first. Episodes like the one where Miranda’s mom dies and Carrie jumps into the aisle with her and Samantha mouths “I’m sorry” or the one after Carrie’s birthday mess where Charlotte says, “What if we were each other’s soul mates? Then men could just be these great guys to have fun with” have me cross-legged on the couch up to my neck in Kleenex.
In this movie, they take care of each other. It’s beautiful. That’s all I’m gonna say.

(That, and I braved a downpour and flash-flood to be a part of this movie on opening night.)

That’s all and good night.

Got Carrots?

Imagine yourself driving along—its sleeting and snowy out—you pull up to a stop light, turn to your left and see a convertible full of rabbits. You try to look away, but they just keep honking and yelling things like, “Happy Easter!” and “Got Carrots?” and “What’s up doc?”

Can you picture it? Here, let me help.
The one yelling “Got Carrots?” was me— the cute one in the back.

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The other bunnies were Denise (founder of CFI) and Becky (our Belize Team 14 leader), both long-time friends of the family, and Lisa’s daughter, MacKenzie, also a good friend of the family who I happen to be staying with for the weekend.

Denise has been dressing up in rabbit suits and driving around the city in a rented convertible, hand-delivering Easter treats to friends, family and strangers for 20 years. I’m not sure how I got roped into it this year.

I mean—I’m not sure how I got to be blessed with this fantastic, unique Easter experience.

Step One: Bunny Prep

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Umm. Does this outfit make my tail look fat?

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Step Two: Car Prep

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Step Three: Dunkin Donuts

(It’s important to start the day off right.)

(Oh, and its even MORE important to NOT spill your entire cup of coffee down your right bunny leg and into the tub of eggs. I’m sure you guys already knew that.)

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Step Four: The Open Road

We drove out of Dunkin Donuts armed with signs, candy, eggs, toys, stuffed animals and donut holes, and we made it as far as 10th & Emerson before we were followed into the Dairy Queen parking lot for a picture with some lady’s son.

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We made a few house calls to friends (Ashley & Pulfers: hay-ay!)

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At about noon (sorry, I have to mention it), Denise looked at a girl in shorts and said, in all seriousness—That girl is wearing shorts and a T-shirt in winter. Is she crazy?

We had to remind her that she was the one dressed like a bunny in a convertible with the top down in the snow, and also she was honking and yelling. We had a nice laugh.

Kenzie and I (frozen in the back seat) “hopped” out just in time for the afternoon matinee of College Road Trip—I think Raven and I could be good friends, just like I think Jennifer Garner and me and Sarah Jessica Parker and me, oh, and Sandra Bullock and me could be—and then we spent the rest of the afternoon with Sprink-a-docious and BabyGap at the Fashion Mall.

Here are my most recent purchases for Baby Lily.
(Note: I am the coolest aunt ever)

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Other weekend happenings of note. We made Easter cookies. They were cookie-licious.

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I also dragged Sprinky and Kenzie to the Black & White store, tried on the dresses and settled on the black one for my dad’s wedding. I had a private goodbye with the white one and promised to come back for it when I was older, financially secure, and could assure it a good life. Boo.

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Anyway, Happy Easter!

Week Eleven: Home

I’ve been asking myself all week why we put ourselves through the pain and agony of good relationships. I mean, there are always goodbyes. I knew that going into this. I just didn’t remember it being this hard. Or depressing.

I’m home.
Ahem. I mean, I’m home!

Timeline:
School dismissed on Thursday for a two-week Easter Break.
Antonia left on Friday to present her Thesis in Canada.
Frances and Inez left on Saturday to spend Easter in Gualtemala.
The Cabbs leave next week for Houston.

After a long delay in Miami and an unexpected (but provisional) overnight in Chicago, I arrived in Indianapolis on Friday safe, sound & exhausted.

The first thing I did when I got home: put on my skinny jeans.
They fit!
(One more amoeba, and I think I could enter the world of singe-digit sizes. Note for next time. Two amoebas- good. THREE amoebas, size 8.)

My arrival was two weeks earlier than planned, so I surprised my family at my sister-in-law’s baby shower on Saturday. Here is documentation of the magical moment.

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This is my grandma. After the picture was taken, she cried and stroked my face through the entire prayer, and then she had to sit down. Sprinky not only laughed at her, but laughed at her DURING the prayer. Then I laughed at Sprinky laughing at her, and, well, you know how laughing and praying goes…

Lisa & McKenzie were at the airport to pick me up, along with my dad and his fiancé—wiggedy-what? Rewind. Fiancé. Yes, my dad is getting MARRIED. He met someone while I was in Belize, and she happens to be just perfect for him.

Upon further investigation, I am happy to report: I approve (and not just because she reads my blog or drove me to Martinsville today to pick up my car). She maintained a perfectly respectable distance while I bawled my eyes out and made a fool of myself in the middle of the airport, then offered a sympathetic hug for the entire situation: the crying, the never-having-met, the jet lag, the Chicago ordeal and arrivals in general, because, as it happens, she is a nurse and makes several medical mission trips a year for weeks and months at a time. She understood.

Besides, she loves my dad. He loves her. I’m cool with it. The only question is which dress I should wear in the wedding. He told me I could pick anything, which was thrilling for me. I am stuck between these two dresses. Your vote would help.

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Moving on.

I was able to attend the CFI board meeting on Friday night and surprised half the board members, which was fun. I fully intended to speak words of wisdom about the trip, but every time it was my turn, I just started crying. I guess that’s just how “goodbyes” followed by “hellos” are— our absolute lowest and highest moments all in the same breath.

Considering the debriefing period of the next few weeks and my transition back to Fort Wayne, I feel sort of stuck in Week Eleven and truly believe I could be happy living Week Eleven in the comfy bed at my dad’s house for the rest of my life.

After all, I have Trix & internet.

But, alas. I don’t know how to thank all of you for supporting this adventure, which turned out to be the most fun, challenging and meaningful time of my life, and for walking alongside me in the last 6 months. Your contributions, comments, cards, packages, emails and phone calls have been essential to this season of my life, and the lives of countless kids and families in Belize.

From the deepest part of my heart, thank you.

Many people have asked what’s next. I’ve been wondering that too.
I’ll be in Indianapolis for the next few weeks, and back to Fort Wayne in April for the summer. I just accepted the scholarship to Tulane ($9000!) and am working on finding housing for August.

Many people have asked how I’m doing. I’ve been wondering that too.
Let me put it this way. I burst into tears today at a traffic cop who told me to stop. I’m not sure what that means.

But I do know that I miss my Belize family (more than words) and I hate the weather here. I love driving, and I love the mall. I love Starbucks and I love bug-free sleeping.

I miss eating fresh oranges and walking from store to store with Inez looking for flour or choco-bananas. I miss the teachers and the pace of life there. I miss having a purpose.

But CFI has done a great job of providing a period of debriefing, lots of opportunities for me to “unload” and relax, and have helped in every possible, thoughtful way with re-entry. What they don’t know is that someone in Fort Wayne will have to debrief me from Lisa and Denise in a few weeks. I feel like a suction cup that just can’t let go, like I’ll die when I’m not somehow connected to CFI or Belize…

I am looking forward to meeting Lily (my niece) any day now and looking forward to time with friends in the Fort.

Other than that, I’m still working things out. Just know that if we run into each other and I burst into tears, its not you.

Here are some other pictures of the shower and the first time I got to feel Lily kick! (Note, in the shower pics, my awesomely awesome skirt from Guatemala)

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The afterparty

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Also, here are some answers from the report I sent back to CFI during my last week of service. They are the same questions many of you have been asking and might be of interest, especially to those who supported:

Regarding the purpose of the mission, what was the most rewarding part of the experience?

The most rewarding part was watching the kids become excited and participate with enthusiasm on a daily basis, their ongoing retention and application of concepts, and, ultimately, the increase in knowledge as reflected during post-test activities. (And I’m talking about little things here, like how they were able to give the definitions of empathy, toxic, abstinence—words they didn’t know before I came; the ability to list 5 different ways to say ‘no’, for example, or 3 ways they can calm down during an argument and then apply it all in role-play situations.)

Regarding the purpose of the mission, what was the most challenging part of the experience?

The most challenging part was adapting the program to fit different age groups and grades within one classroom, or within one session. For example, in any given class, you might have a kid who is 8 and also a kid who is 12. It was hard to figure out how to organize the sessions.

What was the greatest reward personally and overall?

The greatest reward personally and over all has been the relationships built with the students, with the Flowers and Cabb families and the slow inclusion of me into daily village life—that I can walk down the street now and almost everyone runs to the door yells, “Hi Miss Brooke!” instead of “gringa!”

What was the most challenging aspect personally and overall?

The most challenging aspects personally and overall have been bugs, sickness, dealing with water & electric outages, the laundry routine—general aspects of day-to-day life. I had more than a few showdowns with giant spiders, ants, no water when I really want to brush my teeth, etc. The illnesses were challenging, but manageable.

Knowing CFI is educationally focused, what do you see to be the most critical need at Santa Familia School and at San Marcos School?

The most critical need at Santa Familia: ink for the printer, internet at school, art supplies and art lesson ideas for each age group, PE equipment and outdoor PE activity ideas for each age group.
San Marcos: water system, art supplies & activities, David insists he needs an SUV. Exciting sidenote, San Marcos village was in the process of getting electricity the week I left. The poles were up along the main road and all the kids were asking me about TV with glowing eyes.

Was there anything regarding the purpose of the mission that you felt you were not able to achieve? If so, what?

I was not able to complete the second week of programming for 2 classes at Santa Familia school due to illness.

What did you miss most?

Tall nonfat sugar free Caramel Macciato
Oh, and friends and fam, of course.

Would you consider doing this again?

Absolutely. This was one of the best experiences of my life.
I wish I could do it again right now. Hopefully, November…

We are having a celebration on March 30th (and no, I did not throw my own welcome home party- it was thrown for me) but please come if you are in town. I would love to celebrate and share pictures and stories with you who have been so supportive during this time. Besides, it’s a great excuse to get together!

(Email me for directions.)