Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Moving to South Korea in ONE week!

In six days we will be in a plane, over the Pacific Ocean, flying to South Korea to live for an entire year. 

I have never been to Korea. 
I have never taught English to anyone, let alone little kids. 
I have never lived abroad, in one place, for more than a month. 
I have never sold (almost) everything I own. 
I have never dwindled my wardrobe down to so few pieces of clothing. 
I've never had less shoes. 
I have never been so scared in all my life.
I've never been so excited in all my life. 

All these things are constantly running through my head. These things, plus things we need to do this week: cancel cell phones, get storage unit, cancel internet service, and see everyone we love one last time--just to name a few. There is no doubt that things are hectic, but I am quite calm at the moment. For one thing, I'm a procrastinator. I would rather relax and enjoy the next couple of days and then frantically do everything on Thursday and Friday. (We're leaving home on Friday to go visit some lovely people in the bay area before we depart.) Also, I don't think it's really hit me all the way yet. It feels weird not having any furniture in the house but I moved so much in college, it feels almost normal to have a half empty house for a week once a year. I was really sad when we sold Spencer's car last week. I definitely thought, "wow, we're really doing this...this is really happening!" However, we still have my car so things feel normal enough.

I think it will really hit me once we land and are in a sea of people who look nothing like us, don't speak our language, and have no problem with invading our personal space. I might freak out a little once that happens, but until then, I am going to try to enjoy every last second in beautiful California by eating as much Mexican food as my body will allow and spending time with all the wonderful people I call my family and friends.

Have you ever moved away from home for an extended period of time? If so, do you have any advice for us??? We would love to hear from you!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Our Raggamuffin Sailboat Adventure in Belize

We pulled into Placencia smelling of fish and rum punch. Looking like lobsters with peeling sunburns up and down our bodies. Dirty, salty, and most definitely needing a shower. But none of that mattered. All we could do was smile and reflect upon what an amazing time we had during the last few days.

Maggie and I had just completed an island hopping adventure called Raggamuffin Tours. It is a three day/two night sailing journey that departs from the island of Caye Caulker and arrives in Placencia, a small peninsula on the southern coast of Belize.

There were 17 people on the boat -- 3 crew members and 14 vacationers. We met some amazing people from all over the world. England, Ireland, Canada, South Africa, and Australia were all represented. As it turned out, we were the only ones from the United States on the ship.

The trip was a non-stop adventure! We sailed the 50 foot boat, the "Ragga Queen", through the clear blue waters of the Caribbean Sea. We anchored several times a day and were able to swim and snorkel some of the best patches of barrier reef in Belize. Having never snorkeled a reef of any kind in my life, I was absolutely amazed at the abundance of colorful tropical fish and plant life around the reef.

Sailing and snorkeling were just the beginning. We also had the opportunity to fish off the back of the boat. Anything we caught would be dinner for that night -- easily the freshest seafood I have ever eaten. Ever.
Another great experience was getting to explore the tiny remote islands off the coast of Belize. Each day we arrived at a different island and camped out for the night. The first island, Rendezvous Caye, was an experience unlike any other we have been through. The island was unbelievably small, probably not much bigger than the size of a basketball court. Just big enough for about 7 tents and a few palm trees. Waking up to the sun rising and the water only 10 feet from where I was sleeping was an image that will forever be engraved in my memory.

The second night was spent on Tobacco Caye. This island was a little larger then the first, and even had a bar serving cold drinks and proper flushing toilets. We were even able to rinse off using their rainwater showers, which felt amazing after two days out at sea. Dinner for the night was fresh caught barracuda and shrimp curry, which was so tasty. To top it off, we learned a few new drinking games using the crew's homemade rum punch, which turned out to be more like rum with a hint of punch.

One thing we didn't expect was how windy it could get on the islands. Once the sun goes down, the wind comes alive! Luckily our tents were staked to the ground and the only casualties during the trip were a broken pair of sunglasses and some gnarly sunburns on our legs and feet. Totally worth it.

Our third and final day had us sailing into Placencia around 4pm. About an hour before we arrived, our ship was greeted by a few surprising friends - three dolphins! They swam right up next to the front of the boat and joined us for a few minutes. It was truly stunning how friendly and interesting these animals can be. They just popped in and out of the water, literally feet from the side of the boat! It was a prefect way to end such a fantastic adventure.

The best part about Raggamuffin was how incredibly laid back everyone was on the boat, the crew included. From the very beginning it was nothing but good vibes, welcoming smiles, and some of the kindest people I have ever met. The boat always had such positive energy. Reggae music pulsed trough the boat's speakers and the crew were always game to share a smile and a story. Everyone on board helped us have an experience that will be remembered for the rest of our lives. Thanks Raggamuffin!

Click here to see the rest of the Raggamuffin photos
Go here for all our honeymoon photos
Check out Raggamuffin Tours website at www.raggamuffintours.com