Monday, June 18, 2012
In the Airport
We are on our way! Our dear friend Daune drove us here a bit ago. We sailed through the check-in process and security. The plane is due to take off just a few minutes into tomorrow. We are going to Belize. I am in awe of the fact that I get to say that.
After months of planning and reading and deciding - every conversation since Christmas has been Belize related in some way - in just a few hours all our imaginings will become reality.
This morning I found myself wondering why I ever thought Belize was such a great idea. The weather report shows nothing but rain for the foreseeable future. We started taking our anti-malaria pills yesterday - big honkin' things with all kinds of warnings to go with. I packed insect repellant, sunscreen and three different medications for the stomach bugs we're hoping with some fervor to avoid.
Then Walt reminded me that if we had stayed with our original plan to celebrate 25 years of marriage and (for me) 60 years on the planet in Hawaii, I would be feeling like something was missing. And he was right.
One thing about living as long as I have is that I've had some experience with the difference between expectations and reality. With all of our reading and internet searching, we've developed some pretty strong pictures of what to expect in Belize. I anticipate (in addition to a lot of rain) a multitude of birds, gorgeous and mysterious Mayan ruins, a whole new shade of water blue to add to my life list. I hope that magic will happen, that Walt and I will grow closer, that I still have the capacity to view an adventure like this through eyes of wonder - no matter how many mosquitoes there are.
I know that the reality will be different in ways I can't possibly anticipate. And that's the joy of this thing called travel. The lack of control. The blasting out of comfort and routine. An experience of the world as a place of be savored, treasured, marveled at. Surprise at every turn.
One to the things I'm looking forward to the most is that I'm going to see toucans. My first awareness of these birds with impossibly large bills is from childhood cereal boxes. For a long time I don't think I even considered that there was a real bird that looked like that flying around the world somewhere. My ten year old self is very excited to meet that reality.
It's almost 10:30 P.M., but this gate is buzzing. A large group of high school kids just swarmed in, accompanied by a tired looking teacher who warned them to find seats quietly so they didn't bother the people around them. They're chattering quietly around us, most plugged into electronic devices of some sort. It's a lovely energy.
I'm up way past my bedtime. A bedtime that won't be happening tonight unless I can doze on the three hour flight to Houston. There we'll have breakfast and explore during a three hour layover. Then we'll catch a two and half hour final flight to Belize City, and arrive around 10:30 tomorrow morning. I'll sleep well tomorrow night for sure.
It feels weird to be writing this and not ending with a life lesson of some sort. It also feels pretty wonderful to just be here and to be open to whatever comes along and to be able to share all of that with you and my future self - the one who will return home in sixteen days different in some way than the me writing this now.