Saturday, October 7, 2017

Can't Belize it's the FinalEE

Get it? Get it? I cannot Belize (believe) it is the finalEE (portmanteau of "final" and "EE" to spell "finale"; "EE" is the acronym of Earth Expeditions). Okay, okay. I tried too hard.

You guys right now. Meme credit.
I really need to start blogging more consistently. I keep saying this. In fact, I mentioned it in my entry about my Baja Earth Expeditions almost a year ago. Heh.

This year has been weird and confusing. I left my awesome job in Langkawi and moved back to the Klang Valley to be closer to my girlfriend, family, and Tiny and started working for a place I thought would kick-start my career in Malaysia at after graduating and moving back to Malaysia about five years ago. The last couple of months in Langkawi drained my usual motivation and passion I have in life. I do not know why, maybe it is the packing, maybe it is the uncertainty feeling you get after making a major life decision... Whatever it is, I have become lazy and pessimistic. I was not even looking forward for my last ever EE in July. No more close-to-ideal job, no more clear roads (traffic in the Klang Valley is legendary), no more cheap booze, and how can Belize EE top last year's super amazing, mind-blowing Baja EE!

I shall dedicate some time in writing about my entire Belize journey in detail in the months to come but the conclusion is that my field trip to Belize was very uplifting, eventful, and memorable. All that negativity that defined me since the beginning of the year started to melt away at the "beginning" of the course when I met a couple of my classmates in Dallas Fort Worth airport  waiting for our flight to Philip S.W. Goldson International Airport, Belize. I knew from then on that it was going to be a fulfilling time in Belize. And it actually turned out to be so!

There are plenty of things to write about my Belize EE; the wonderful classmates and field partners, the uniqueness of Belize Zoo, me being introduced to yet another natural habitat called the "tropical pine savanna", the diversity of peoples in Belize, the community-based initiative to conserve riparian forests and "baboons" and my foster family, the Mayan ruins and culture, Baird's tapir shit, Vermilion flycatcher and other beautiful birds and wildlife, amazing Belizean food, and the coconut-falling-but-it-missed incident. I am tearing up recapping the trip.

There are two significant and memorable incidences during this EE: looking at extensive seagrass meadows for the first time in my life and snorkelling outside of a massive barrier reef. These moments left me dumbfounded in awe.

I want to respectfully and responsibly lay on the seagrass and just enjoy the blueness of Earth.

In both situations I felt peace. I can truly admit that all the worries I had of uncertainties, sadness from the dying of an artist who is part of my biggest musical inspiration, tiredness, regretfulness, all disappeared during these incidents. The blades of seagrass stood still, sometimes waving to the gentle currents. I wow-ed countless of times underwater in the presence of the magnificent spur and groove formations of the largest barrier reef of the western hemisphere, formations shaped from the movement of water for thousands of years. It is akin to a patient artist sculpturing his/her very own Le Penseur. All I want to do is just float in the water, be still, and enjoy these natural phenomena.

Me trying to be part of something great.
Many of the past EE participants will mention that these field trips will help you discover yourself. I believe I have finally discovered myself or refueled the passion in me, experiences that are so relevant to me for this current period of my life. It is moments like being inches away from the blades of the seagrass and floating over a barrier reef that make me want to be a better environmental steward and inspire the people around me to care for the natural environment that also keeps us as a species alive! I am also reminded how important and valuable the people are in saving the things I love. They are after all part of the things I love.

The next few months after the publishing of this entry will resonate with what I have learned, felt, wanted during my final EE. I have revert to my former self of being afraid and excited at the same time, a feeling that I know has brought out the best of me in the past.

I am missing the cultural and natural heritage of Belize, Chester Bennington, and my classmates, instructors, and field partners.

Till we meet again, friends!