Club Canada hits the peninsula!

Published: February 26th 2009
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When Aly and Zach and I moved to Placencia in November, we were surprised and delighted to find that we were not the only newbies in town! As a matter of fact, quite a collection of young people have moved here recently from Austria, Canada, NY, and England! In particular, we have become good friends with another three-some from Canada, Jodie, Erin, and Brad. They have opened a fantastic restaurant here in town, the Secret Garden, and every time they have a day off we try and snatch them for a boat trip, a beach and lunch date, or Pictionary! Right after New Years, a whirlwind of guys from Team Toronto came to visit, and we had an instant posse to hit the town with us!

Chris and I spent the most time together - we found we shared a love of travel, oceans, and thought provoking discussions! It was awesome acting as a tour guide for our small village, and going on oceanside walks or bike rides and narrating the scenes proved to be very entertaining! Chris is an avid diver, and we tried for 2 consecutive days to try and go out with a company to the coral columns of Glover Reef, but we were thwarted by weather both days. 😞 Instead, we took the kayaks out and around to Placencia Caye, parked the kayaks, and snorkeled the dropoff and gardens right here in our backyard! We saw a school of about 20 large gray angelfish, a large school of jacks, and a fish party of at least 200 french grunts! That Monday, we rented a boat and guide for the day, and had a perfect blue sky to set the fishing and snorkeling scene! This started what has become "the Monday Morning Grind" - later to be conducted on our friend Mac's boat. Each week, the restaurant owner friends of ours and us and whomever happens to be visiting that Monday go out for a day of frolicking on the ocean! Our chefs bring delicious dips and sliders and pates and Team Wisconsin (that's us!) brings the booze! There are hundreds of cayes within an hour of Placencia, and almost all of them have stunning coral, wildlife, and beaches! We were so excited this particular trip to find ourselves back at Moho Caye - the caye that we had visited 4 years ago when we FELL in LOVE with Placencia and Belize! This time it did not disappoint with amazing tall corals, bommies, and lots of fish! The water was so clear that as we were trolling for fish along the dropoff of the cayes, we saw many spotted eagle rays swimming below us as well as a large tarpon and permit! But the best part of the day was when the pod of 5 dolphins decided to swim with our boat and us! They were at the bow of the boat for some time, and then we decided to stop and jump in with our snorkel gear to get a closer look! Although we were never allowed to get to close, it's always amazing to be in the water with them and hear their songs underwater!

The first week of my New Year in Paradise was also the start of board game mania! We started spending more time with another Youth of Placencia crowd, this one made up of really fun artists! It's four girls, all brought together by their love of art, boys, and really cute dresses! 😉 I know, not my typical crowd, but this is not my typical life !! Our first board game night was ladies only, and what an international show of charm and talent it was! We first played Clue, which is a childhood favorite of mine so I was STOKED! Although this new version has hilarious game pieces that look like each of the characters - a great bonus! Next we played CatchPhrase - an electronic version of $20,000 Pyramid - another favorite of mine. Here is where the international boarders started to show themselves! 😊 I think my favorite confusing moment was when an English girl had to give clues to the word "Hootenanny" she could not stop laughing at the hilarity of this word! The second time we met, we played Canadian Cranium and the word puzzles and trivia were almost impossible! Next we played French Canadian Taboo and I got hit with a couple of cards in French until i realized that the opposite sides were in different languages!?!? AAAhhhh!? It was interesting to note that the word puzzles and trivia of Cranium and British Trivia Pursuit were light years more difficult than their American counterparts....

That's been the balance here - sunny days at sea and on the beach, and rainy days of board games! We have been community service maniacs for the last couple weeks - helping rotary build an addition to the school, painting the playground, and tutoring at two different schools! I am now helping 3 boys with math in Seine Bight and Aly and I are both working with 3 students in the village with reading and conversation skills. We also helped plan, cook for, and bartend the volunteer fire department's Flaming Hearts Ball! We spent a week making 50lbs of meatballs, 100lbs of chicken wings, hundreds of cupcakes, salads, cookies, cutting veggies, you name it, we did it! And then spent all day Friday decorating and preparing, and all night serving up cocktails and entertainment! Of course Aly and I were great at that! Next we are working on getting our work permits and trying to figure out the grand plan to help us stay and live here! I am still so surprised and learning every day, and on those sunny days at sea or with my snorkel mask on, I can't imagine being anywhere else! I hope to see lots of you here soon!

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