I know I was really slack for the last half of my New York time, sorry!
Each day just seemed to fly by so quickly and before I knew it, it was past midnight and I was worn out from all my activities (think ice-skating, a trip to New Jersey for Cake Boss, and the ball drop in Times Square on New Year’s Eve).
Well, I officially arrived at YW4M Destination Paradise (it is seriously called that, and DP for short) last night.
I had a 6am flight, and so left the hotel just after 1am. The airline’s website told me I had to be at the airport THREE hours before the flight, and then the concierge said it would take an hour to get there via taxi, so I gave myself five hours just to be safe. You’d be proud, Mum!
Well, it turns out that when the taxi drives 80 miles p/h (130km) it is significantly less than an hour. It ALSO turns out that they only open the check-in desk two hours before the first flight of the day, so I basically sat there waiting in an empty airport for four and a half hours. I had a layover in Miami which took a further four hours, and then had to catch a local plane from Belize to San Pedro. From San Pedro, you have to take a ‘water taxi’ (boat) to base, but because the taxis only go every two hours and there were other students coming in the flight 20 minutes after mine, we had to wait with the YW4M leaders for two + half hours before finally arriving here. Combined with the flu that my cousins/winter weather gave me in New York, and only having an orange for dinner and wine on the Miami-Belize flight, it was a long day to say the least.
The best part of yesterday (not including climbing onto the bottom bunk I scored in my room) was walking through immigration at Belize to the baggage carousel, where a local band was set up and playing ‘Three Little Birds’. I literally walked in as they sang ‘Don’t worry about a thing, ‘cos every little thing is gunna be alright’. Thank you Dad for the encouragement, I needed it! 🙂
San Pedro is absolutely gorgeous! I only saw a little of it whilst walking from the little airport to the water taxi, but it is totally charming, like something out of a movie.
The streets are cobblestone, and are so narrow that two normal cars couldn’t fit abreast – instead, everyone drives around golf carts and motorbikes. The buildings are almost all a couple stories high and have balconies like I imagine small European towns might, and fairy lights are strung up across the street to create a kind of rainbow canopy.
The base here is amazing. The people are super friendly [so far!], we are right on the beach, and seem to have a ton of free time: lectures generally run 8am – 1pm, and then we have free time in the afternoons.
I will admit, I am still slightly apprehensive about this whole thing…
I had to read an ‘online handbook’ before coming here, which gave me a few guidelines and what to expect etc. Well, what I learned in particular is that what to expect is a lot more of a stricter lifestyle than I am living!
A few select points that get me are:
- No alcohol whilst I am with YW4M. That means not a single glass of wine, cider on the beach, taste of local beer or anything until late May. I’m not a heavy drinker as it is, but this comes as a bit of a shock to me. I totally get the idea behind it, and why it may be necessary for some, but to get me to sign a statement agreeing to be sent home without any refund if I do consume alcohol (or smoke any tobacco, or take any other drug for that matter) seems a bit too constrictive for my liking… I guess I’ll get used to it?
- So yes, there is a heck of a lot to get used to. Laundry time is set out as two 90 minute slots each week. If I’m late by ten minutes, it’s officially up for grabs for anyone else. Riiiiiiight…
- I have to fill out a journal and hand it in each Monday. The questions are already set out, so it’s not like I’ll be writing down all my deepest darkest secrets, but it’s still a journal, so I’m expecting some pretty personal questions, and that will be weird sharing. But again, I’ll get used to it – also, from what I gather, there’ll be a lot of openness with everyone here and working through past issues etc, so I guess most people will end up knowing me inside and out soon enough.
- If we develop feelings for anyone, we are to put them on hold until after YW4M is complete, which includes not telling the person of interest, but do tell your small group leader to work through it. Yes, I understand the logic behind this also, but again – I had to sign a statement saying I would be sent home if I was to act on anything. I just feel sorry for all the guys who will inevitably fall for me… 😉
- No. Hot. Water.
- Ohhh, I found this one out today at morning tea – no coffee after breakfast. Are you kidding me?!?! This is because in the past, people have broken coffee machines so they simply have a rule that the base urn is only to be used at breakfast. We are going into San Pedro on Monday to pick up anything we might need (such as washing powder, sheets etc) and a percolator and grounds are at the TOP of my list. No coffee? I still can’t wrap my head around it. And I’m already having withdrawals, after my average of five per day over the last two weeks.
- By week 12, I have to have learned all the countries in the world and be able to take a test to name them – the pass mark is 70% or higher in under 30 minutes. Wish me luck with that one! 😦
There is more than the above, but I don’t want to think about it too much or it will kill me! Kidding, I’m kidding.
I’ll keep you updated on how it’s going and how I’m handling the challenges. Hopefully, well.
PS. Change is good, right?