My memories of Belize are still so vivid, even though it’s been almost fifteen years since my visit.
I remember the boarding school we lived at, and the huge river that ran behind it. The boys had tied a long rope to a tree on the bank, and we would swing high above the river and shriek as we fell while the boys cheered for us in Creole. I remember the girls in the orphanage and the games they taught us, and how they were so fascinated about singing “white” instead of “brown” when we skipped around a circle to “Sugar in the Plum”.
I remember a giant field of tiny plants with two leaves that, when touched, would curl together the way hands do when they’re cradling a chin. I would run across the field on my way to milk the cows, and if I turned around quickly I could see a path of tiny footprints, and then slowly, one by one, the leaves would unfold and the prints would disappear.
But what I remember the most about Belize is singing – we spent a lot of time driving to and from the orphanages, camps and shelters in a giant caravan of pick-up trucks, and we loved to sing to pass the time.
Practically every trip, the girls would break into a heartfelt rendition of “(Everything I Do) I Do It For You” by Brian Adams. Sometimes, if we were on our way to a church, we would sing “Losing My Religion” softly and break into dorky “we’re SO bad” giggles. And I still laugh when I think about the day in San Pedro when we snorkeled in the Caribbean, and as we were sunbathing on the roof of a glass-bottomed boat, my brother and Kennis beat-boxed while David rapped DJ E-Z Rock’s “It Takes Two”, and then broke out into the chorus with Bee Gee-worthy falsetto.
But my warmest, fuzziest memory of Belize is the night that we stayed out later than usual – I remember lying in a pile of blankets in the bed of a pick-up truck on the way home from the refugee camp, and I was staring up at the sky. I had never seen that many stars in my life, and I could barely breathe because it was so beautiful.
Eventually my eyes grew tired from picking out the constellations, and my eyelids started to grow heavy. And just then, Kennis decided to test out the brand new bass in his voice by singing “Ring of Fire”. And for the first time on any of our trips, it was completely quiet except for Kennis and the road, and it was dark except for the stars, and that was the most peaceful feeling I’ve ever had in my entire life.
Thus began my love affair with Johnny Cash.
If you’ve never heard his cover of Soundgarden’s “Rusty Cage”, go look for it. I taped it off of the radio ten years ago and I still have it. It’s unbelievable.
TSGoC and I are about to go see “Walk the Line”, and I’m feeling slightly suspicious and overprotective, but I’m sure the film will do Johnny and June justice.
If it does, then I’ll be able to rest easy, at least until “The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe” comes out. My feelings for the Chronicles of Narnia are practically visceral (or rather, almost as strong as Jen’s), and I really hope it lives up to my imagination. We’ll see.
The Detroit Booty has thankfully been replaced with some Parisian House. Also, Pazu the cat has a human face, and he kind of freaks me out. He looks like Marlon Brando in “Apocalypse Now”. But Mishy-Gan is fantastic and there are plenty more stories to tell, although most of them will probably not be told here. Later!