Luckily, this post about our family's Christmas Vacation will be less of a look back on wintry days spent inside with hot drinks (which we are still in the midst of!) and act more as a day dream for summer weather. My husband's parents are Anglican missionaries in Belize, Central America; it is a beautiful coastal country with incredibly warm, balmy weather all year round. The tiny islands called cayes (keys) off the coast are ridiculously peaceful, believe me when I say you will never feel more relaxed in your life than when you are on one of these cayes.
Juan and Maria (my in-laws) live in the Cayo region on Belize where together they head St. Andrews Anglican Church. Bernardo and I got to attend a Belizian wedding, perform readings in the Sunday service and get to know many of the sweet people of Cayo that they serve.
Christmas was a completely new experience for me. Bernardo has celebrated with my side of the family for the past 5 years, this was my first with his. Truthfully, I was worried before the trip about getting homesick for all the fun traditions I associate with our American Christmas, but celebrating with the Marentes' was so very different and special in other ways that there was no comparison. Christmas Eve dinner with at least 15 town members from all over the world who weren't able to be with their own families, children's Christmas pageant at 9:00 pm, fireworks at midnight and presents after that.
Crazy to think that a 10 minutes drive from our parent's house sat the Cahal Pech Mayan Ruins. The elite family who ruled there were alive over 3 thousand years ago!
We visited St. Herman's Blue Hole National Park. the hiking trails made me feel like we were in Jurassic Park and the Blue Hole is an opening to an underground river.
A bunch of stinky boys at the top of a bird watching tower.
As a Christmas present, Juan and Maria took us all to Caye Caulker - a 5 mile long 1 mile wide oasis without cars or sad stray dogs (I struggle with wanting to take care of every stray I lay eyes on in any country making it very difficult in countries with so many pups that need love). The big happy dogs in the picture below all have owners and their own island to rule!
Last but not least of the events of this trip was a trip to the Belize Zoo. This was my 3rd visit throughout my life and it never fails to impress me with its dedication to native species and intimate encounters for guests.
The Tapir is my favorite Belizian species, this is Tambo and I miss his so much!