Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Racing beetles

What do you do for night-time entertainment when in the jungle? Racing beetles, of course. That's what Lucas & his grandpa did last night. Very funny.

Daphne (the cat) has been neutered now. All went well. And one of her kittens has moved in to her new home. So that is one down, two to go (one kitten we'll keep ourselves)

By the way, I never did manage to organize a charity dinner in London. It was all too rushed. Still, Karen's mum has made a donation, John's parents are making a monthly contribution to sponsor 4 brothers, Jay & Jasper (former guests of the Jungle Dome) have sponsored 4 children for the coming school year & Andy and I are donating $2000 US of our own money to the Jaden Foundation too. I'm also still expecting donations from James Hyman and Caroline Prothero, so all in all, we should be okay for the coming school year.

But I also would love to assist the Tumul k'in school. That's the school I wrote about a while back. The school that is helping to preserve the Mayan way of life & is teaching the Mayan kids skills that can help their villages move out of poverty. Skills like organic farming, computer literacy, eco-tourism, marketing and research, food processing, carpentry skills, etc. It's an incredible place & they really deserve all the assistance that they can get.

In September they are planning to accept 20 new students and new dorms are needed to house them all. The school needs $20.000 US for the building of the dorms (this includes furnishing them). So I want to see if I can assist them a little with this.

If any of you reading this want to know more about the Tumul k'in school, let me know. Especially those of you who live in the United States. I mean, you can either give your tax dollars to the IRS at the end of the year or you can give your dollars to non-profit organizations like the Tumul k'in school & know that you are making a real difference in the world (I assume that you all know that charity donations are 100% tax deductible in the US)

I would be happy to assist those of you who want to donate or those of you who want to come to Belize and help in person. There are many great projects to get involved with here.

Oh, and with regards to the Tumul k'in school....there is a Peace Corps Volunteer who lives on site permanently. I am sure that she would be happy to update all those who donate on what progress gets made with their money.

A few more Holland pictures, starting with my dad and his daughters (in our Broadway pose)

Iris & Lucas, outside Iris & Remon's new home.

"And this is my partner, Mr. Balloon head" (poor Andy, Lucas is hiding him behind his balloon). Anyway, this is the Engeln family at my dad's 60th birthday party.

Lucas had incredibly smelly feet in his new trainers and loved chasing everybody with his sweaty socks, shouting "Smell it! Smell it!" Soooo disgusting.

My 2 sisters Miriam & Iris (and me)

Monday, May 30, 2005

Back in Belize

How great to be back home again. There is nothing really like sleeping in your own bed at night, is there? Still, our Europe trip was absolutely brilliant. I couldn't have wished for a better holiday.

Like I said before, it was such fun seeing family & friends again. And it was good to see Lucas bond with all his family as well. That was really important to me. From now on, we'll make sure that we see all the family more often (Andy and I said at the beginning of the year that 2005 was going to be our year of travel & we've done pretty well so far)

Andy's mum & dad have come back with us & will stay here for one month. It's their first time in Belize & I do believe that they like it (obviously, they are British and with the British you never know for sure what they think. They are all so polite, you always have to read between the lines to figure out how they really feel about something). Still they seem very happy, so I assume that they are.

By the way, everyone apart from Karen and me have gone to Caves Branch for a drop-off (some of our guests are doing the black-hole drop) and Lucas has gone with them too, so the house is peaceful and quiet. It's lovely. Maybe I should use this opportunity to curl up in bed with a good book for an hour. Our bedroom is the only room in our part of the house with AC, so that is the best place for me to be anyway. Hmmm, I may just do that......

That's the great thing about being your own boss. If you want to chill out for a bit, you simply do so. Of course, you do what needs to be done work-wise. But you can always squeeze in some lazy-time too. Actually, that's the thing that kind of shocked me when I saw all my friends and family; how hard they all have to work. It's horrible. I have decided that I will never again work for a boss or a company as long as I live (I believe that if you're clever about it, that that is not an un-realistic goal). Obviously, we have our own business and it's running well, so we should be ok with regards to that. I may one day do some theatre work again (which would be for a "boss" too), but it would simply be for fun & not to pay the rent or anything.

Oh, one more thing; later today, I'll be taking Daphne (our cat) to the vet to be neutered. There is no way that we'll let her have another litter. We still have to find homes for the ones we have now. But hopefully we'll find them homes in the coming week. I'll let you know how it went.

Friday, May 20, 2005

Best get a cup of tea and get comfy, this is a long one

Oh, what fun to have the whole family together again. It’s my dad’s 60th birthday soon and all his children have come back home to celebrate with him. There is my older sister Miriam who lives in Aruba, my younger sister Iris (who’s house we’re staying in) & my brothers JP, Vincent and Floris.

I almost forgot how much we laugh when we’re together. Yesterday I skipped rope with my sister Miriam. Only we didn’t have any rope, so we used a garden hose (I accidentally whacked myself in the face with it in the end). We played giant connect 4, the tower of pizza, badminton and an old Dutch game, called “Sjoelbakken”. And my dad and his wife crack me up as usual. They are so silly and forgetful (“I thought you had the keys?”) Hilarious! As a matter a fact, the whole family is dopey. We must have inherited that from my dad. My little sister managed to de-activate her partner’s bankcard yesterday and left her own card & cash in the house by accident. She does that kind of stuff on an almost daily basis. Personally, I’m guilty of dopey-brain activities too and annoy Andy endlessly, even though I think that I have become fairly “with it” these days and only do stupid stuff occasionally.

By the way, Lucas has been amazing this whole trip. He just plots along behind us & falls asleep whenever he needs to, regardless of where we are or what we do. He has napped on several “Starbucks” sofas now, giving me a chance to catch up with loved ones over a “tall Americano”. He never really whines (he just says “Mummy, Lucas too tired” and then falls asleep whilst I carry him) and he seems to have felt at home where ever we’ve stayed (shouting “We’re home!” whenever we enter the house we stay in)

It is so tiring though, all this traveling. That’s why we’re now staying put until we go back to Belize on the 26th. It’s all been a bit too much. Even though you feel like catching up with everybody, it’s simply not possible. You end up spreading yourself too thin. That’s also why we’re planning to do another Europe trip later this year.

Oh…one more thing; my camera works again! I had put in batteries that weren’t powerful enough, apparently (what do you mean, dopey?) And my Ipod works again as well. That was probably acting up because of the heat and humidity in Belize. All equipment seems to act up in Belize. Anyway, I can load up photos again. It’s just sad that I have no pictures of our time in the UK. Oh well…..

Oh, and my night out in London was rather pathetic. I begged my friends to go home at 11 o’clock, as I was knackered. The whole nightlife thing just doesn’t excite me anymore. I also missed Andy and Lucas tremendously when I was in London. After one night I nearly took the train back to Norfolk, but felt like the sad child who wanted to end the sleepover party early. So ended up staying because I didn’t want to admit how pathetic I’ve become. Still, it does proof to me that Andy and Lucas are the people I love spending time with the most and that can’t be bad. Family is just the best thing on earth.

Family reunion (left to right: My dad's wife Ina, Andy, Iris' partner Remon, Iris, Miriam, my dad, Vincent & Floris) The only ones missing in the picture were Lucas, JP & I.

On the train to Hengelo to see the rest of the family (Miriam & Lucas bonded immediately)

Quick pit-stop at my cousin Lida's house in Amsterdam

Crashed at Schiphol Airport

Meeting Miriam at the airport (Left to right: Natalie, Miriam, me, Sarah & Lida)


Meeting Miriam at the airport with my cousins

Saturday, May 14, 2005

Warner Brothers get inspired by our Mayan Adventure trip

Fancy staying at our jungle resort, but don't have any money for a holiday/vacation? Than check out the Scooby Doo "Maya Mayhem" competition and win a free holiday with us! Click here to enter competion webpage. It's a collaboration between the Belize Jungle Dome, Orbitz and Warner Brothers. Good luck!

Oh bloody hell....

Can't believe it. My amazing camera (Fujifilm Finepix S700) has packed up on me just as I want to start taking some pictures of London. I'll have to stop by a photoshop/technology shop on Monday and have it looked at.I hope that I've simply got it on a wrong setting or something. So no pictures to share with you yet......

Thursday, May 12, 2005

London

Oh boy, I just realized that I'm quite a bit behind on my blogging. We flew out to the UK on the 6th of May and have been staying at Andy's parents in Norfolk (did I mention at any point that we were going on a Europe trip?)

Anyway, we're having a brilliant time. It's been a bit chilly here to say the least, but I prefer it to the extreme heat that we've been having in Belize recently. We've had to buy jackets, jumpers, etc. to keep warm. Lucas looks well cute in his hooded tops and baggy pants.

Andy and Lucas are still with the grandparents in Norfolk and I made my way down to London yesterday to hang out with my mates, do some un-interrupted shopping (something a mother rarely gets to do) & to go out for a little jump-around. Still, I'm not sure if I'll manage to stay up that late tonight. We are meant to go out clubbing, but I get tired at about 10 o'clock these days, so I'm a tat worried about having to stay up past my bedtime.

Anyhow, we're planning to leave the house at 6.30 already for dinner. That way I won't sink into Tania comfy sofa & refuse to leave to go clubbing. Hopefully the plan will work and we'll have good dance at Gilly's boyfriend's clubnight.

Oh, something else....I met up with James Hyman today (my old Partyzone producer). He hasn't changed a bit. Still as quirky, weird and wonderful as ever. I love that guy. He dragged me along to Record & Tape Exchange and got me a ton of DVD's. So sweet! And he's just finished doing the soundtrack for a new Guy Ritchie movie. He's doing good. Big up to you, James!

Now, I have decided that London life is definitely not for me anymore. It's too hectic and smoggy. But catching up with old friends is just marvelous. I feel blessed to have such lovely and loyal friends.

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Pleasant afternoon.

I'm sitting on the back of John's cool-looking (but rather pathetic performing) yellow Landrover. Apparently he nearly crashed it into our fence as he parked it, because the brakes are going. God knows when this Jeep will be functioning properly again. It's just one thing after another. A bit like our Jeep really. That's always at the mechanics too.

Anyway, it's a pleasant afternoon. The Banana Bank football team are practicing on the field outside our house and Lucas is playing with all the local kids.

Oh, Jaime made it into the States, by the way. That was such a drama. His smugglers were keeping him hostage or something and were demanding more money. All quite crazy. Anyway, I am now spending lots of time taking and sending pictures of Jaime's kids (Jimmy, Nicki, Emelda & Henry). Jaime also sent a picture back for them of him sitting on a Harley Davidson. I think he really misses them and I think it's starting to dawn on him that he will not see his family for many, many years. The whole thing is quite heart-breaking. His kids miss him so much and seem rather confused about the whole deal. I guess this is the kind of stuff that happens in divorces too.

Our kittens are now 4 weeks and doing great. Daphne is such a wonderful mum. We've found homes for 2 kittens already and will probably keep one ourselves.

Wow, my bum cheeks are "falling asleep". I need to get up and move around.

Adios amigos!

Our kittens