The Whitmans are coming! The Whitmans are coming!

My beautiful family will be arriving in Punta Gorda tomorrow!  I can’t believe that the day has nearly arrived!  I plan on forcing them to write a guest entry in my blog, so get excited to hear their thoughts on life in Belize!



In the meantime, a few life updates…

– Last night, I led a cultural reflection session for the Metro College Denver nursing students currently here in PG.  I was a little nervous since I hadn’t led a legitimate reflection session since the year before in Peru.  Fortunately, it went alright, though it was a bit difficult to hear everyone because of the loud vehicles that would occasionally drive by, along with the whirring of the fans.  I think that the most valuable part of our discussion came when we talked about how the participants  would bring their experience in PG into their lives at home in the USA.  One woman (Angela–I really like her–super sweet) said that she realized how rich an experience it is to work the land like the people do in the villages outside of PG.  She has six children, and she is going to plant a garden with them when she gets home, and teach them to support themselves, at least in part, with homegrown food.  Another participant, Tiffany, said she’s going to just generally decrease how much “stuff” she buys.  She’s been realizing this week that she has more than she needs, and she’s going to exercise more judgment about her purchases.

The other highlight of the reflection was when Professor Bob, our site visitor, spoke up.  He happened to be returning from somewhere with Nicole when our reflection was going on, and he spoke to us a bit about his views on personal finance.  He just co-wrote a textbook on personal finance with his wife, and it’s being published by McGraw-Hill, so he’s kind of a big deal.  Anyway, Professor Bob made a great point when he said that the way that we spend money and use money is directly relevant to our values.  When we know what we value, we spend our money accordingly.  It was a really interesting concept to think about.  I mean, what did you buy this week?  Whatever is on that list, it reflects what you value, whether it be looking stylish, feeding your family, donating to charity, or something else entirely.  Bob and his wife suggest an 80-10-10 plan for personal finances, in which you save 10%, “live” on 80%, and give away 10%.  I think it’s a beautiful model, though I hope to one day be able to make mine more of a 50-25-25 plan…we’ll see where life takes me.  If all this personal finance and values and such interests you, you should definitely check out Bob’s book, or another book that I find particularly wonderful, The Life You Can Save, by Peter Singer.

– After the reflection, Olivia, a few of the Denver women, and I decided to go for a little evening stroll.  We ended up sitting on a deck by the dock near Bamboo Chicken, where the breeze just felt so incredible.  I wanted to sleep there for the whole night!  I ended up having a really interesting conversation with one of the participants (Julia), whom I’d already bonded with upon her arrival because her shirt said something to do with drinking tea.  🙂  We talked a lot about Julia’s family, and her rather not-so-good relationship with her mom.  It was interesting to hear about some of the difficulties they had, and when I came home, I had an even greater sense of appreciation for my mom, and the relationship that we have.  I think that it’s very easy to take your blessings for granted until you realize that not everyone–or even close to everyone–has them.  So thanks to the beautiful, inimitable Eileen Whitman, for being my mom and my dear, dear friend!

– I’ve been reading the book Fifty Shades of Grey, which I borrowed from one of the lovely interns here in PG, and I am so far rather amused by the book’s entire premise.  For those of you who don’t know, the novel has been a bit of a sensation seller.  Apparently, two days ago it officially beat out Harry Potter as the fastest selling paperback in London (the author is British).  Anyway, the amusing part of all this is that the novel is classified as an “erotic romance,” and it is crazily weird.  Even more crazily weird is that people are just dying to get their hands on it!  My assessment, after about eight chapters, is this: the writing is really not very good.  It’s sort of like reading a Dan Brown novel…you know it’s not good writing, but you can’t put it down because of the story.  The difference: with Dan Brown books, the story is mystery and espionage and murder, and with Fifty Shades of Grey, it’s sex.  I can’t say I’d give it a five-star review overall.  I’d stick with your ever-more-wholesome Jane Austen!

– Today, I went to the market and bought a peach-mango, a special hybrid mango that is grown by this sweet, East Indian man who always sets up his table at the front of the market.  Haley was on a hunt for a good mango this past weekend, and we had a hard time finding any, but the East Indian man said to come back another day and he’d have his special hybrid variety.  I ate it for breakfast this morning, and it was divine.  WOOT.

– Though I’m feeling generally more positive than yesterday, I’m also feeling a tad physically under the weather…just tired and a little belly-achy.  While I’m not plesaed to be feeling this way, I’ve decided to be thankful that I feel this way now and not tomorrow when my family is here!  As Anne of Green Gables reminds us, “…tomorrow is fresh and new with no mistakes in it yet[!]” 

 Till tomorrow, then!


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