Saturday, November 27, 2010

Thanksgiving and 30

For Thanksgiving this year, the Ambassador and Mrs. Thummalapally invited what seemed like every American in Belmopan for dinner at the CMR (Chief of Mission Residence).  They set up a huge tent on their patio and cooked up a wonderful dinner.  We had turkey, ham, mashed potatoes, green been caserole, stuffing, and a few other things I can't remember.  It was quite delicious.
The kids' table.  They all insisted on eating together.
Friday was the Nebraska-Colorado game, and I had to watch the game while also preparing for my friend Aaron's surprise 30th birthday that I was hosting that night.  For the party, I was making homemade jalapeno poppers and fresh guacamole.  This was the first time I had tried either recipe and they were a smashing success (despite the fact that my hands were stinging all night from the peppers).

The party was super hero themed and once again, the residents of Belmopan did not disappoint.  We had tons of great costumes.
The birthday boy is the one with the cape in the middle.

Batman and the Joker - he colored his actual hair for the costume
Despite my late night at the party, I got up this morning to start my certification process for SCUBA diving.  We did our confined dive in the pool.  It was pretty darn awesome, even just as a confined dive in the pool.  When I get back from Dallas (I am going to Dallas next week to watch the Big 12 Championship with my Dad), I will go out and start doing my certification dives.  I will have to do 4 dives, probably over two days.  It will likely take me until after Christmas to finish up certification, but then I will be able to dive almost anywhere.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Day Trip

Belize has a great many things.  A gorgeous reef, amazing people, beautiful oceans, fantastic jungles, awesome ruins and even cave tubing!  What it does not have, however, is a first-run movie theater, fast food, and a shopping mall, and a Sam's Club.  With that in mind, a few friends and I piled into my car on Friday and headed to Mexico.
Friday was the Belizean national holiday of Garifuna Settlement Day.  According to Wikipedia, the Garinagu (singular Garifuna) are descendents of Carib, Arawak, and West Africans.  Belize has a significant number of Garinagu, centered around the area of Dangriga.  There are Garinagu in Belize, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Guatemala.  They are especially known for their music, particularly their drumming.  The most common form is called punta and its modern form is called "punta rock."  Check out this song by Supa G.  (Be sure to watch the whole thing, it's hilarious).

But, rather than enrich ourselves in a unique Belizean cultural event, we went to Mexico to see Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part I.  We left my house around 730.  It is normally about a 3 hour drive to Chetumal and we were making good time until we hit the border.  Normally, cars with diplomatic plates are waived through after showing the diplomatic passport (note: they don't stop every car and only make some go through immigration, so it is not only a diplomat thing).  This time, we got stopped and had to spend a half hour there.  Fortunately, the guy who stopped us jumped us to the front of the queue, which was about 2 hours long.

We missed the 11 am showing we were hoping to go to, so we bought tickets to the 220 showing.  After buying our tickets, we stopped for lunch at Burger King and then went to Sam' Club.  I bought cheeses and salami and some Christmas gifts and decorations.

The movie was awesome, although the subtitles were a bit distracting.  It was totally worth a 7 hour round-trip drive and international border crossing to see the movie.  The best part?  The ticket cost me 35 pesos, a medium popcorn and drink cost me 67 pesos.  At 12 pesos per dollar that amounts to $9 total.

After the movie, we hit the mall and the grocery store.  I stocked up on a few more things I can't find in Belize.  (I find it hilarious that all my friends in Mexico cross into the States to do their shopping and we have to go to Mexico to do ours).  We hit the Corozal free zone and got some alcohol at super cheap prices on our way home.  We got home about 930, 14 hours later.  A very successful road trip.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

My addiction

I am an addict.  They say the first step is admitting that you have a problem.  I have a problem.  I make decisions about my time and about my life based on this addiction.  This addiction has provided me great joy, but also great sorrow.  In order to feed my addiction, I have spent thousands of dollars.  I have avoided the company of others when I need a fix.  My addiction has led me to  miss out on SCUBA diving, snorkeling, hashes, Mayan ruins, caves, and BBQs.  My addiction is Nebraska football.

Honestly, I am really obsessed.  I have managed to watch more games than I ever thought possible this season - all thanks to being in a US time zone and having US television.  Next year, as Nebraska heads to the Big Ten, I am lobbying the local cable company to start carrying the Big Ten Network (I also found that a friend of mine has the network and I will likely be pestering him next year to watch games if I can't get it).

The best news is that I am headed to Dallas to meet my Dad to watch the Big 12 Championship game.  The Huskers (barring a horrible collapse the next two weeks) will be playing in the game for a chance to go to the Fiesta Bowl (unless a miracle happens and they make the National Championship game).  Either way, I actually own tickets to both since the game is in Phoenix where I will spend Christmas and New Years.

So, as much joy and pain the Huskers bring me during the season, nothing will compare to the utter depression that begins every January after they play the last game of the season.

Go Big Red.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Looking in the parental mirror

Like all kids, whenever I was told that I would grow up to be just like my parents, I always laughed it off a bit.  I would be different.  Usually, someone would make this argument when I had an argument with my parents.  During these moments, the last thing I'd want to hear is how I would grow up to be like my father.  I am pretty sure it is every teenager's nightmare to be there parents.

But, here it is - I am my parents.  Clearly, my life is different than my parents.  At 29, I am single, a law school graduate, living in Belize, working for the State Department.  At 29, my parents had two toddlers and worked in their restaurant (my Mom may have been at Ramada by this time, I am not sure).  Neither had ever lived anywhere other than Omaha, Nebraska; they were surrounded by family and life-long friends.  Our lives are clearly different.

But, in so many ways we are the same.  We are all close with our family and talk to our parents almost daily (my Mom's parents had died by the time she was 29, but she talked to her Mom everyday before she died).  We are spontaneous and like to travel.  My parents love to tell the stories about life BC (before children) where they'd drive to Colorado on a whim when they got off their shift on Saturday night (1 am) and didn't have to be back until Monday evening.

I really resemble my parents in our mannerisms.  When my Mom sits in her Lazy-boy, she always has one leg tucked underneath the other.  She will switch legs every 20 minutes or so.  I do the exact same thing (though I don't have to stand up to switch legs as she does).  When my father is relaxing in his chair, he will often throw one of his arms on top of his head, so that his triceps is next to his ear, the crook of the elbow bent with the forearm resting on top and the hand dangling.  I do this constantly.

I tell the same corny jokes I make fun of my father for.  (Side note - when driving around Belize, there are tons of chickens that roam free.  At least once a month, I will approach a chicken that is crossing the road.  I make a joke about "Why did the chicken cross the road?" and I giggle EVERY time.  This joke does not stop being funny.)  I also tend to tell the same stories repeatedly.  The only difference is that I don't get the story wrong.

When I was growing up, my Mom had to leave for work at 630-645 every morning.  Despite this ungodly hour, she would actually get up around 5-530, so she could have her coffee and read the newspaper in the morning.  She loved this time of her day and hated whenever any of us ruined it by being awake.  I always thought she was crazy for wasting so much potential sleep time.  But, if you substitute "cereal" for "coffee" and "internet" for "newspaper", I do the exact same thing.  

With my (lack of ) commute and the time it takes me to get ready for work, I could conceivably get up at 730-740 everyday and still make it to work on time (one of the many reasons my job rocks).  But, I need that time in the morning to orient myself for the day.  If I wake up late, the rest of the day seems off-kilter.  And I think that having someone else around at that time would ruin it.

If I have to grow up to be like someone, I am glad that it can be my parents.

(I am curious how many people will just read the title of this post and think I got a girl pregnant?)

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Red Dress Run

I've mentioned the Hash several times on this blog.  Today was one of the biggest events of the year - the red dress run.  The story of the Red Dress Run comes from a Hash in California (there are Hashes all over the world).  Some hasher invited a woman to join him for the Hash without explaining it to her.  Not knowing that it was a running club, she arrived to the Hash in a red dress.  Not daunted by the constant ridicule from the other Hashers, she went on the run anyway.  The next Hash a few guys wore red dresses to commemorate her zeal and a tradition was born.  Now, Hashes across the world have an annual Red Dress Run - often to raise money for charities.
"Wrong Way" went for the strapless dress

Do you have your tickers?  To the Gun Show - "One Stroke", "Granny Banger", "Wrong Way" and "Visa Molester"

"Lamb Chop" took a different approach to the dress requirement.

Does this dress make me look fat?  "Cockspur Squaw" and "Visa Molester"

The circle of Red Dresses

Monday, November 1, 2010

Some Halloween Photos

My friend Chris who came from Guatemala for the weekend - and brought his pimp suit

A Mexican wrestler and snake charmer

Aaron went as Dr. Who and I went as Aaron

Pringles, anyone?

The (C^3)/2 = Half the Crystal City Crew

Apparently, I am now a pimp and Chris is a skinny Fred Flintstone