Last night I went to see a Wake game with some friends. Emily drove me to the game and on the way there I told her about my plan to get a tattoo.
I’ve wanted a tattoo for a long time. Specifically, I want a small cross on the inside of my left wrist. Truthfully, I know I’ll never get it. Not because of the reasons I’ve heard from everyone else: you’ll look trashy, you’ll get tired of it, you’ll wish you hadn’t done it. But because I hate needles more than anything else in the world and would never subject myself to them if it could be avoided.
However, I had mentioned my desire for the tattoo one day at lunch just before Christmas to my family. There were some strong feelings voiced against it. On Christmas morning, one of my gifts was actually addressed to “our tattoo free daughter.”
So, as I told Emily all of this, my dad called. I told him that I was telling Emily about the tattoo I was going to get. He told me to put Emily on the phone. I didn’t hear what he said, but Emily said that some words like “disowned” and “out of the will” got thrown around a lot. Apparently, he’s against it. Specifically he told me that if I got a tattoo I was no longer invited on the family ski trip.
It’s too bad because getting a tattoo was going to go on my list of things to do in 2009 between “learning to scuba dive” and “creating my own website,” but it looks like it will have to wait another few years. At least until I can afford my own ski trips.
Last night I went to see a Wake game with some friends. Emily drove me to the game and on the way there I told her about my plan to get a tattoo.
- Me: I accidentally made two completely different sets of plans for tonight. I'm supposed to be watching a basketball game in Winston-Salem while simultaneously hanging out and going shopping Charlotte.
- Everett: I don't think we're far enough along in the cloning process to help you on this one. Maybe with a little more stem cell research... guess that's one more thing you can thank George Bush for.
- Me: Yeah, I totally blame the president for this one.
- Everett: You should. Your clones could have had you covered if it weren't for him.
I have a hard time determining how to end emails, letters, and notes. There are so many options, but I usually stick to one of the following four: “Love,” “Much Love,” “Best,” and some form of “x”s with the occasional “o” mixed in.
But seriously, every single time I pause to think about it.
Now, obviously most of my professional emails tend to stick to “Best” and if I’m feeling a little more casual, they go the “Thanks” route. Those aren’t that hard to decide.
It’s the personal ones where I get thrown off. Does signing “love” mean you love someone? Is signing “much love” more or less casual than the simple “love”? And what about those freaking “x”s and “o”s? Now that can get really complicated.
With my closest friends I’m all over the place. They could just as easily expect an email with like 14 “x”s as one with a “much love” spelled in all caps. With my family I tend to stick to “love.” But then I get confused.
I fear that “xoxo” sounds trite coming from me. Except when I’m imitating Gossip Girl and sign it “xoxo, S” In that case, I have never sounded more cool. And multiple “x”s goes down the European route, which, if done with the wrong people, again looks like I’m trying too hard.
It’s tricky. So I just ask that you don’t judge me.
I’ve been meaning to get a new phone for months. Verizon’s stupid two-year contract thing was up and it has been time for my to trade in and “upgrade,” as they say, for awhile. However, I haven’t had the chance to go until today.
Truth be told, I probably had the chance before now, but avoided it because Verizon stores might be my least favorite places on earth. And the one in Shelby is specifically what I would consider a portal into hell. So, I avoided it. But today it was dreary, I hadn’t left my house in 72 hours, and I decided it was probably time to venture over to Verizon.
I knew the exact phone I wanted so I thought this process should be relatively painless. That was before I met Natalie.
Ho. Lee. Crap.
Natalie was the salesperson assigned to me via Verizon’s annoying system of signing in when you arrive and being given a salesperson when they become available. She walked over to me, announced that her birthday had been last night, and that she was really hungover. I said Happy Birthday, that I could understand that, and that I would try to make this simple.
What I didn’t know then was that not only was Natalie hung over, but she was also high on what I can only assume was some seriously good cocaine. For the next hour and a half I waited while she literally struggled through every single part of the purchase. It was unbelievable. Really. I’ve never seen anything like it. I’ve also never been so tempted to murder someone.
Her co-workers tried to help her. I tried to help her. I think a stray dog wandered in off the street and tried to help her. But nothing could work. She was absolutely, 100% lost. It was like asking a bookshelf to upgrade my phone. (I used an inanimate object for comparison there, because I am certain that any member of the animal kingdom could have done a better job than her.) At one point, I actually considered leaning over the counter and slapping her to see if that would help.
Finally, one of her co-workers came over, whispered to her that her nose was all red and she needed to go take care of that (ie wipe that white powder off of there too) and began to help me. By this point, every employee there could see that I had developed the patience of Mother Teresa. (Obviously they didn’t know about my plan to flee to Mexico once I crammed my phone down her throat in a fit of rage.) And so, I got my new phone for free. Pretty sweet since it was supposed to be 80 bucks. The new girl muttered something about an “instant rebate” and just quickly handed me the phone.
“Sorry, Natalie has a virus,” she said.
“Uh huh,” I nodded. “And Robert Downey Jr had a cold.”
- This morning I read an opinion article written by Karl Rove in the Wall Street Journal about a competition he and President Bush have had for the last several years to out read each other in books. Rove has won every year, but both he and Bush have read a heck of a lot of books. While I do respect anyone who does that much reading, I was actually bothered by the article because in my opinion, if you're the president of the United States, then maybe you should put off the fun reading (ie Michael Crighton) for a few (8) years and stick to reading strictly reports, summaries, newspapers, magazines and every other form of information on current events that you can find. I voiced this opinion to my mom who immediately disagreed with me (this could possibly be out of habit of disagreeing with me on everything political). Then I said something to Everett and my dad, who both leaned a little more my direction. So, at lunch, I brought up again.
- Me to my mom: They agreed with me about Bush needing to read less beach reading as president.
- My mom: No one ever said that about Clinton and he supposedly read all the time.
- My Dad: Clinton was doing plenty of other things all the time too.
- My Mom: Like 20 year olds.
- My Dad: Was she really 20?
- Everett: She might have been 20, but she was a big girl.
- My Dad: She wasn't that big.
- Everett: She was a porker!
- My Mom: Regardless, it's not like he was reading international reports while that was going on.
- Everett: You never know. People need different environments to read. Maybe he was reading reports while she was twirking it. There's some guy whose claim to fame is that he was on the phone with Clinton while she was—
- My Mom: Ok, we get the point.
- Everett: Yeah, the point is, until your presidency is over, you shouldn't read fun books and you shouldn't screw porkers. I think I have said enough.
- My Mom: Yes, you definitely have.
- The beauty of this conversation is that I just threw in the idea, sat back, and enjoyed.
There is absolutely no point in this post except that I got an iPod touch for christmas and wanted to post from it.
Now I’m a blogger posting from a small mobile device using wifi. This all feels so very 21st century of me.
I get sick a lot. See the like 400 previous entries about this problem. Yesterday, as I was sitting at my desk, wondering what the deal was with the slight headache and dull pain in my muscles I was feeling was, it occurred to me that I was getting sick again. Of course. I really wasn’t even a little bit surprised. Truth be told, I was just surprised it hadn’t happened earlier than yesterday after a week of little sleep.
Unfortunately, in my mind, as soon as I started to get sick this time, I decided that probably I caught some terrible Belizian disease that will inevitably leave me crippled, infertile, and possibly dead by the time it has run its course. At least, that’s where my feverish mind wandered in the wee hours of this morning as I tossed and turned in bed.
Around 6 a.m. I rolled over, picked my laptop off the floor where I like to keep it next to my bed (you know, because it’s too hard to return it to the desk at the end of the evening) and Googled “headache, fever, sore throat, Belize.” Yes, that’s right. I’m a complete hypochondriac.
Discouraged by the lack of exotic diseases popping up on my screen I moved at a sluggish pace to my bathroom for my thermoneter, certain it would read 103 degrees, thereby validating my fears. It registered 98.9. Not exactly life threatening yet.
So, I decided to come to work (since I’m taking off the next three days and all of last week, it kind of seemed like the right thing to do). Now, I just have to not think about the deadly mosquito bite from last week that I can only assume has left me with a fatal strain of malaria.
Well, I’m back in the United States. And as always that has it’s benefits. Namely, I brushed my hair this morning for the first time since Thursday. However, I’ve decided to move to Belize.
I mentioned this to my mom and brother on the phone tonight. That convo went something like this:
Me: “Did I mention that I’m moving to Belize?”
My mom: “You say that about every place you go as soon as you get back.”
Everett: “You won’t do it.”
Me: “Yes, I will.”
My mom: “It’s kind of a stupid thing to do.”
Everett: “Don’t worry about it being stupid or not. She won’t do it.”
My mom: “Oh I believe she’d do it. Stupid or not.”
Me: “Well, thanks for for all the votes of confidence.”
Chances are I won’t move to Belize. Rosie wouldn’t fit in there very well. And there is no Chick-fil-A there. But you know, a girl can dream.
- Laura: Pay attention to me. Quit reading your book. Let's talk.
- Me: Ok, what do you want to talk about?
- Laura: I don't know.
- Long pause.
- Laura: If you were a dog, what kind of dog do you think you would be? And don't say a dachshund!
- Me: Maybe a golden retriever?
- Laura: No, I don't think so. Why would you think that?
- Me: Because I look like one.
- Laura: No you don't.
- Me: I look more like a golden retriever than any other kind of dog.
- Laura: Ok, what would I be?
- Me: A Chihuahua.
- Laura: Yeah. So what would you be if it wasn't about the way you looked, but about how you acted?
- Me: Um. Maybe a black lab?
- Laura: (Laughs hysterically for several moments.) No. No, you're wrong. I bet Everett would have a lot of good reasons that wasn't the case.
- Me: Fine. What would I be?
- Laura: A shihtzu. Definitely a shihtzu.
Well, I’m not leaving Belize. Ever.
This wasn’t all that easy of a decision, but it wasn’t all that hard either. Frankly, life is just better here. It’s warm, sunny, everyone is nice, and things just seem more simple. So, sorry Rosie, but I think you’re going to love permanent life on the farm with your grandparents and your lover Isaac.
After going to bed at 8 last night (that’s right. the second time in a week my bedtime has been in the single digits.) Laura and I awoke early. We had to find a new hotel as ours was fully booked for the night so we wandered around until we found a vacancy. Then, we headed to a place on the island called “The Split” where we had heard everyone congregated to spend their days.
Appropriately enough considering the season, our golf cart driver (there are no cars on Caye Caulker) to get us there was named Jesus. He talked about the island as we went and then dropped us next to a bar blaring reggae at 10 a.m. We were among the earlier patrons of the split, but as we stretched out in the sun on a random strip of what looked like an old pier, more people gathered and by 11 I’d noticed that most people in the bar area were drinking and smoking pot. Just another Saturday morning in the islands apparently.
We spent most of it in the sun and, as anyone who knows me might imagine, I am now ridiculously sunburned. (Not all that surprising as I had spent the last three days in caves. I was starting to look like one of white cave dwellling those fish with no eyes.) Then we settled in beachside where I had a lobster burger and pina colada (see why I’m not coming home?) and now are enjoying the shade for a few minutes before heading back to the split.
On a totally separate note, I’ve become obsessed with learning how to speak Creole and the only way that will ever happen is if I live in a place where it is spoken. So, my permanent move here is inevitable I’m afraid.
Ok, back to the beach. I think it’s time for a margarita.
We’ve made it to the islands. Finally.
Today feels like the longest day of my life thus far and it’s not even 6 p.m. yet. Partially this is due to the fact that I got about an hour of sleep last night after a late evening in San Ignacio. I find that when I am very tired, I think that just about everything is hysterically funny. So, in my mind, Laura has become the world’s top comedian today. She has made me double over with laughter so many times today that my stomach literally hurts. At one point, on a hike through the jungle earlier today, I had to stop because I couldn’t breathe and tears were streaming down my face. Our guide looked at me like I was a crazy person, and frankly, I kind of felt like one.
We spent the middle portion of the day tubing through caves in the jungle with our guide, Israel. It was fun, but, it was also two hours in cold water in the dark. To me that kind of sounds like a bizarre form of torture. From the caves, we had another authentic Belizian lunch and then hit the road to Belize City to catch the water taxi out to Caye Caulker, where we are now.
Caye Caulker is totally different from any place I’ve ever been. It’s basically 99% backpackers and consists of small sandy streets, cute brightly colored shops, and about a gazillion bars advertising Happy Hours. I like it a lot.
Ok, I’d write more, but I’m now having to write from an internet cafe and it tends to get costly. And also, I feel like my blog entries are ending up a bit on the boring side due to the fact that whenever I write them I’m exhausted and I spend all of my days speaking in the most simple form of English possible in order to be understood so that it is those broken short sentences that are filling my head at this point.
I plan on sleeping about 100 hours tonight so hopefully this means that tomorrow will be filled with witty stories and grammar beyond that of a 4th grader.
Today we met Wilbert. Laura and I have been waiting for this moment since our first day in Belize when our driver Alexie told us that his friend Wilbert worked at the resort where we are currently staying. As it turns out, he’s just as awesome as everyone had been telling us he was.
Wilbert took us to see some Mayan ruins, then he took us across the border to a small town in Guatamala, and then he took us to some caves in the jungle with another guy named William.
The ruins were pretty remarkable—to this day they’re still the second tallest man made structure in Belize at 130 feet. Unfortunately, some cruise ship had dumped about 100 passengers there for the morning so the experience didn’t feel particularly authentic.
Guatamala on the other hand was totally authentic. We pulled into town and Wilbert explained that the best reason to come to Guatamala is to drink beer because in Belize, there is only Belizian beer, but in Gautamala there are hundreds of kinds. So, we pulled over, got three Guatamalan beers and then drove around town and stopped to shop.
Then we went to the jungle where the mother of the guide fixed us rice and beans and chicken for lunch. Now, it’s pretty much impossible to describe William, our guide. I took some videos of him I’m hoping to post later. He was easily one of the strangest people I’ve ever met, but I did like him. And I’m pretty sure he’s madly in love with Laura. He taught me some Creole, which I’m desperate to learn and Laura some Spanish, which she’s determined to pick up. Then he took us into the caves which he actually discovered himself on his family’s farm.
After traveling to the bottom of the caves, and playing a short game of hide and seek in the dark, we returned to daylight and hiked back down with Wilbert giving me Creole lessons and William trying to talk Laura into being his wife.
So now we’re back at the resort and planning to head into the town close by for the night. It’s “Thirsty Thursdays” at Firewater in San Ignacio. That sounds exciting right?
I’m not feeling particularly creative right now so there’s a good chance this entry is going to struggle a lot. Actually, I’m feeling quite lazy. Downright sloth-ish.
After much too little sleep last night Laura and I departed at 8 this morning to the “ATM” caves. There is a Spanish name and ATM are the initials, but I can’t even begin to spell out the actual name here. Anyway, so the trip there involved about 45 minutes on asphalt and another 45 on the world’s bumpiest road (which included two river crossings in a truck I was very grateful was 4-wheel-drive). Finally, we arrived.
When we got to the bottom of the trail towards the caves Laura had what can only be described as a slight panic attack. She had begun to act progressively more nervous and paranoid as we drove there and by the time we arrived, I think she had it in her head that they had actually driven there with the intention of killing us. Then they started pulling machetes and ropes out of the back of the truck, at which point I had to tell Laura to calm it down. Of course, I did this in a whisper as I didn’t want our two guides to know that she thought they were murderers.
The trail to the caves was about a 45 minute hike through the jungle and across a few rivers. We paused for a packed lunch outside of the caves and then swam in. Yes, you read that correctly. You actually have to swim into the caves. And the water is not exactly warm. Or shallow. Or clear to the bottom. But it was amazing.
We wore helmets and head lamps and spent about three hours making our way through the caves. At times the water was so deep that we swam and at time we could walk and climb through small crevices, along waterfalls, and often into massive rooms you wouldn’t believe existed just beneath the earth.
The cave had been used by Mayans hundreds of years ago and there are still perfectly preserved artifacts and even human remains. Several human remains. It was actually the first time I’d seen such remains outside of a museum. It was a little creepy to think about because apparently the remains are probably from people who were sacrificed. Which is weird.
It was nice to see sunlight again once we were back out and the hike back went quickly as it had turned into a nice afternoon in the jungle—not the gloomy, foggy morning that had Laura certain we were going to be chopped up with machetes.
Tonight, we’d been sitting at dinner for about an hour with several of the people from the resort when one of the guys suddenly leans across the table and says to me, “Did you go to Auburn?”
I obviously shook my head no that I did not. “Why do you ask that?”
“Well, I googled you before I came and saw that some girls named Crosland went to Auburn,” he said. “Do you have a little dog who chases rabbits in your yard?”
“Oh my gosh,” Laura yelped. And practically fell out of her seat. “I CANNOT WAIT to tell Everett this This is why you don’t post videos of your dog on the internet!”
“Yes, I saw the videos. I feel like I know you very well because I have seen your bed. I like the white shutter thing on the back of it,” he said.
I laughed harder. “This has never happened to me before. I can’t believe that you saw those videos before you met me.”
“Oh yeah,” he said. “I probably would have cancelled tonight, but I knew I wanted to meet the girl with the dog who chases rabbits.”
So there. As it turns out, Rosie is beneficial for both my personal and professional life. Obviously.
So. Today has been easily one of the strangest of my life. It’s 3:47 here in Belize and I really can’t even describe the last six hours. There are no words. As we sat having chocolate martinis with a man I can only describe as one of the most unusual people I’ve ever met several minutes ago, Laura turned to me and said “No one will ever believe this. The only thing I can compare this to is when we got the spa treatments from prostitutes in Vietnam.”
She’s right. That may be the only thing that has ever happened to me that is more weird than today. I’ll write more later once I can figure out a way to describe this.
So you know how sometimes you want to just enjoy a nice little drink after dinner on a Monday night at the bar at a resort in the middle of the Central American jungle? But then, while you’re having said drink, in walks the British ex-pat owner of the resort and his son, a sailor home from his job in the States for Christmas. And, after you’ve talked to them for a while, and teased the three bartenders (all who admit to having common law marriages with the mothers of their children because “who wants to get stuck in real marriage?”), another pair walks in. And this pair is two men from Lithuania named Darius and Marius. And while Darius can barely speak English, Marius is a famous photographer who twenty seconds after meeting you and your friend offers to “have sex with you free of charge.”
You both decline, obviously. And then Marius goes on to explain that in Lithuania there are so many women that they pay men for sex. You tell Marius he’s a liar. He tells you that you look Lithuanian. Then, another pair walks in. This one is Lucy, a British girl of 30 living in Mexico who has traveled to Belize for the week and is staying with Robert, the very much older, grey haired man who accompanies her and who is staying at the resort to teach the owner to fly an ultra light.
Then, it comes up that it is Darius’ birthday and while Darius speaks no English, everyone gathers around to sing happy birthday and give him a cake. He looks semi-grateful and semi-confused. He never eats a bite of the cake. While you talk to a 20-year-old girl from Ohio who has suddenly come from nowhere, your friend goes behind the bar and turns the music from quiet reggae to blasting Mims, “This is Why I’m Hot.” The owner though insists she turn it down, which she does. But she stays on that side of the bar for the next three hours.
Eventually the bar closes down, as they tend to do. But not before the bartenders have given out ridiculous amounts of free drinks. And not before Marius has made it clear that he is the sketchiest person from all of Eastern Europe. But then, you and your friend somehow end up hanging out in the staff’s quarters and then in the owner’s house until sometime around 3 a.m. And coming a little too close for comfort to being eaten by a German shepherd on your return to your room.
So, you know how that happens sometimes?
The sun is slowly setting in Belize. The sky is turning pink while colorful wild birds chirp from leafy palm trees overhead. I smell sweet peppers roasting in the kitchen from the porch of our thatch-roof hut. And I hear the faint sound of the reggae music some of the workers play as they rake the grass. I also hear Laura moaning from her hammock about how it feels as if someone just punched her for hours in the bum.
You see, today we went horseback riding. This was after a three-mile hike around the property this morning. And, while my shoulders were a little sore after the canoe trip yesterday and my thighs were burning a bit on the walk this morning, nothing can possible compare to the feeling I have in my arse right now. Like seriously, if you told me that I hadn’t actually gone horseback riding, but rather had just bent over and let someone beat the heck out of it for the last three hours, I might actually believe you right now.
You know how in the States if you go trail riding it means a nice and steady walk in a line of horses for about an hour? That’s not how it is here in Belize. It’s much, much, much more fun. Because here in Belize, trail riding actually involves mostly trotting and quite a bit of galloping (“hauling assing”-Laura). We went on the trip with our guide, Robert, and two other guests, a father/daughter pair. The father’s horse, Destiny, looked like it was about 95 and barely crept along the trail. The daughter’s horse stuck close to Destiny. Laura’s horse, Salsa was spunky and funny—kind of like Laura. And my horse… well… my horse was a total maniac.
His name was Lionheart and a little ways into the ride Robert explained that Lionheart was still young and that he liked to be the leader. That might explain why whenever we would get to a stretch of galloping, Lionheart would blatantly ignore all of my demands to slow down and take off ahead of every other horse including Robert’s horse, Freedom. I would cling to him for dear life, yelling “whoa” and all the while thinking that this horse reminded me an awful lot of a dachshund I know.
By the end, Lionheart and I had established a bit of a relationship. Robert said that Lionheart “suited me.” And, because I tend to gravitate towards totally disrespectful animals and people, I guess that’s true.
After dismounting and walking back to the lodge, Laura and I decided it was time for a well-deserved margarita. As we drank, the bartender came over to talk. Somehow we started talking about drugs and I asked, very innocently, if marijuana was illegal here. He said that while it was, that he would be happy to get us some. I don’t really know how a casual afternoon margarita turned into a drug offer. But, because I don’t want to be thrown into the Belizian prison (which, incidentally was ranked among the top worst prisons in the world recently), I think we’ll be passing on the grass tonight.
Ok, now I’m going to shower. It’s been way too long since that happened
“So today I was telling my masseuse about protons and neutrons and electrons and about how electricity works. And then she started talking about God and I told her that I don’t believe in a human God. I told her that I believe in an electricity God. One that is in our heads and in our bodies by pulses of electricity. And it’s all about electricity. He’s not some kind of human. He’s the electricity God.” -the 10-year-old-ish kid sitting at the table next to us at dinner. This, people, is why you teach your children about God. Because otherwise kids come up with their own stuff. And really, no one wants the kid talking in all seriousness about the “electricity God.”
(It’s worth noting that he finished this entire spiel and Laura’s only reaction was “Wait. Did he just say that he has a masseuse?”)