The Stories I Could Tell

It was Sunday morning again. Our stuff was packed and, it was time go home. After indulging in Caroline’s cooking one last time, we made one last sweep around the house to make such we didn’t forget anything and then we started to say our goodbyes to Caroline, James, and Mr. Panton before departing for the airport.

The airborne trip was not exciting now that the trip over. Ahead was the 3 hour flight from Belize City to Atlanta’s international airport, and the tedious custom’s inspections. We still have some time to kill before our connecting flight to Louisville. And I still needed a nap when we finally arrived to our destination.

But before that nap, we had a welcoming committee to greet. Friends and families alike waited for us at the gate. After the much-anticipated hug from Mom, I began shaking hands with the family members of my Belize crew and exchanging contact info so we can meet again in the near future. When the pleasantries were done and my bags were collected, my parents were eager to hear about my trip. You see, it was an agreement between my parents and me that we would retain radio silence while I was abroad so I could focus on making memories. On our way home we stopped a restaurant for some milkshakes while I showed my family the photos I took in Belize, showing what I did, who was who, and what I accomplished with my new friends. As much as I explained each event in detail and though I had pictures to illustrate the events, my previous statement still stands: “You NEED to be here to know what it is like!”

The restful evening ended with me passing out my gifts to my family and a glowing feeling that I have accomplished a major goal in my life and done something worthwhile with my life.

My time in Belize and the plane ride home was not the last time I ever saw the Belize crew. A couple of weeks later after we had a chance to settle down, it was decided that we would hold a Belize crew reunion, a chance to reconnect with our new friends and revel in our accomplishments in Belize. To celebrate the occasion, I began working on a scrapbooking project as a party favor. Getting the supplies I needed was no problem. There was a hobby supply store close by my house. During my trip, I had taken plenty of photos with my phone’s camera but they alone could not capture everything that we have seen and done. I decided that the book would be even better if everyone had a contribution. My friends had already loaded their own photos on Facebook to share with their own circle of friends; all I had to do was ask for their permission to use them and print them.

With all of the photos gathered, I began to place them into chorological order. Though it was my first time engaging in such a project, I was having fun. It was fun rooting through all the pictures, reliving each frame, then placing them into a collage that told our story more clearly than words alone. After a few days of organizing, raiding the scrapbooking aisle, labeling, and placing humorous stickers, the project was done. And soon after, the party came as well.

It was great to see everyone again. The party took place a few weeks after we returned home and the crew had already started to go back to their normal routine. School, jobs, social life. But despite the short time that we have been apart, it was great to see everyone again. As the party started to roll, I revealed my party favors; a bowl of chocolate chip cheese dip with Teddy Grahams and my scrapbook of our time in Belize.

Everyone at the party was excited to see my book. The crew took glee as they rooted through the pages and relived each moment as if it were yesterday. Family members and friends who weren’t on the trip enjoyed the book, as well. For them, I had some explaining to do and retold our story page by page. Having a photo album on your phone is convenient, but there is something special when your memories are preserved in a collage you can share with your friends.

All too soon, it was getting late and I had work in the morning. I said my goodbyes and one last hug all around before I had to return to my own life. But before I left the Belize crew vows to meet again one day.

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