"Keep love in your heart. A life without it is like a sunless garden when all the flowers are dead. The consciousness of loving and being loved brings a warmth and richness to life that nothing else can bring." Oscar Wilde
Firstly Happy New Year to everyone we know and love and even to those people we don't know yet but who we probably would love if we knew you. We should start by warning you that even though we have launched a photography company, this blog is not a showcase for our photos. This is a personal blog about our lives and experiences in Belize and so what you get here are snapshots and photos of our day to day lives in Belize. We may, if we happen to be feeling extremely generous, tease you with a proper photo now and again, but we will be changing the pictures on our website http://www.conchcreative.com/ regularly and hope that you will check in now and then to see what we are up to. We have also created a Facebook site for Conch Creative where we will provide sneak previews of new work before it is put up on our website. If you are a member of Facebook and want to join our page, you can do so here Conch Creative on Facebook.
Now on with our blog. November was a big month for us because we had family come to visit. We were so excited as this is only the second time Colette's family have been to see us in Belize. Colette prepared a huge Thanksgiving feast. There is a saying that 'the proof of the pudding is in the eating', well in this case, the proof of the pudding was in the sleeping because everyone just passed out after the meal, which we think is a good sign.
Oh Rachel. We are almost sorry about posting this picture.
This is Keeva, Colette's brother, after Thanksgiving dinner.
This is Charles, Colette's brother's friend, after Thanksgiving dinner. You getting the gist?
This is Mum and Ray. We were too chicken to publish a picture of them asleep.
This is the whole family post recovery.
The only eating wasn't just done at our house and we all went out for a sushi evening at Hummingbird Sushi Bar. Because Colette's brother is vegan, we had to pick and choose our culinary destinations carefully, but we don't think that her brother Keeva, or his buddy Charles had any problems in the hunger department. In fact, Colette fixed them a vegan meal the night they arrived (oh did we forget to rub it in about Keeva forgetting to renew his passport and turning up days late? That's OK, we've done it now). Our lovely friend Melody joined us and the lucky boys had a wonderful escort after dinner to show them the town. Colette packed them up with leftovers for which they were apparently grateful after rolling in late that night with a huge hunger.
Everyone say 'SUSHI!'
We told you not to use so much hot sauce Keeva.
Mum and Ray both got into the Belizean laid back atmosphere and had a wonderful time. The whole family stayed at Caribbean Villas Resort and loved the rooms and the location as well as the beach bar. The hotel is run by a very hospitable British couple and they made my family feel especially welcome. Shame they couldn't do something about the weather though. It seems like the bad weather started way back then and even now, it is still cold, windy, grey and not very Caribbean like at all. We suppose this is pay off for having a wonderful summer with no hurricanes, but it truly feels like a winter season this year. We've had blankets on the bed and have had to wear socks and coats.
Mum chilling out at Crazy Canucks Beach Bar on Belize time.
What did warm up their trip though was that they arrived in time for San Pedro Township Day, which celebrates San Pedro's declaration as a town. This was a big one - San Pedro Town was officially 25 years old. San Pedro loves parades.
A pick up truck is a perfect ride for San Pedro Princesses.
The little Princesses haven't graduated from a golf cart to a pick up truck yet.
Then, on the 1st of December was World AIDS Day. The San Pedro AIDS Commission organised an education day at the Roman Catholic Primary School on the same day as another parade. We're not exactly sure what this parade was for, but all of the children dressed up and of course were as cute as buttons. Anyway, Colette was there and able to catch some of the activities.
As cute as a bug and as beautiful as a butterfly.
The kids take learning about HIV/AIDS very seriously.
Colette also started her Be Kind Belize humane education lessons in schools again and she kicked off the year with a 'Dog Smart' lesson, teaching the little ones how to be safe around dogs. They had a great time and really enjoyed the colouring books, which had so generously been donated by the Animal Protection League of New Jersey. This is a good time to remind everyone that if you want to help Colette with Be Kind Belize there are a number of ways to do so. If you are in Belize, you can volunteer as a humane educator. If you are not in Belize, you can help by supplying prizes for the children as rewards for demonstrating kind behaviour - or you can order a funky Be Kind Belize T-Shirt, tote bag or even a thong at Be Kind Belize's online shop at Cafe Press. Colette is currently running the full 8 week curriculum in two schools in San Pedro and will hopefully be adding a third later this year. The kids, teachers and schools love it. Colette just wishes she had more volunteers to help teach.
Be Kind Belize makes children smile.
Meanwhile, Conch Creative has been taking off leaving Maya less time to tend our beautiful garden. But the garden continues to grow and supply us with fruit and beautiful flowers. Even in the cool weather we've been having the papayas, bananas, passionfruit and other plants continue to thrive.
This is a banana flower from our garden.
These are bananas growing in our garden. Maya has big bananas.
This is a manzana banana flower in our garden. Manzana means apple in Spanish.
These are manzana bananas. They taste like apples.
These are Maya's papayas.
This is the bud of a passion fruit flower. Can you feel the passion yet?
This is, a passion fruit flower.
This is unsurprisingly a passion fruit.
One of Maya's stunningly huge melons. Watermelon juice - Yum!
These are orchids but we have to wait for the flowers. Hopefully the dog won't eat them this time.
This is an orange hibiscus.
You'll never guess....this is a pink hibiscus.
We did promise a teaser every so often from Conch Creative, so we will finish this blog with a photo from one of our recent shoots. We hope you like it. Even if you don't, we still like you! We send you all our love and kisses and hope that your New Year will bring you everything that you wish for.
Maritza Rivas, Miss Nicaragua and Miss Costa Maya 2009 at the Phoenix for Moondancer