I wrote this short piece in San Pedro, Belize, preparing for my return to the States after almost three months in country. It was an emotional departure, unlike any I’d experienced, ever. In my heart was a void in the shape of Ambergris Caye and its people with whom I’d fallen in love. For everything I feel, to the extent possible, I use words. Here are a few words regarding this particular day’s emotions.
It’s flip flops and potholes and roads with no names…It’s stopping to chat with the same people you pass walking home everyday. It’s your favorite fruit stand, your favorite pupusas, and knowing the best place for pineapple smoothies. It’s befriending those two sweet dogs that know your routine, and that you’ll order scrambled eggs for them, too. It’s a shift in normalcy, when where you are now feels like home, when you realize the reason you’re here has nothing to do with the reason you THOUGHT you were here, when you don’t miss driving, or dishwashers, or uninterrupted Wi-Fi. It’s hugs from the shop owner when you stop in for her bread pudding. It’s everyone waving at everyone as they pass, and being drawn lovingly into a community that, a few months ago, was foreign.
It’s banter with the guy selling fresh coconut juice on the beach, his skin long weathered by thousands of sunrises, his laugh so genuine you can’t help but walk away better for each time you see him. It’s a heavy sadness that, too soon, the banter, the welcoming hugs, the sense of normalcy will end. It’s all of the people, the experiences, the moments that now live in your heart…and the passport filled with stamps, visas and ink that you’ll one day look back upon, perusing pages, silently recalling the richness gained, for there are no words to accurately recount how significantly and beautifully your life was altered by flip flops and potholes.