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Follow Your Dream

8 Sep

As threatened, I mean promised, it’s time for one of those infrequent stories at RoatanVortex.com—my inspiration is two-fold:

1) I’m submitting an application to an accredited University Creative Writing Course and need to tell them what I’ve been up to for the past five years. So found myself hanging out on the website to refresh my memory.

2) While subliminally spending time on the Island I noticed the “visit counter” was at 504,129 hits and counting… holy crap!!!

Now, as we all know, these high-tech (free) website hit-o-meters are extremely accurate—within a few thousand or so. But what caught my attention and inspired the “holy crap” was the fact that RoatanVortex.com exceeded HALF A MILLION views and I missed it. Not only that, more importantly, people are still searching out “Paradise.” That makes me smile.

I remember, what seems like a life-time ago, when an avid diver just returned from a vacation, came into my office (yes, in those days I had a real job and office) and talked fondly of his time spent on Roatan. I had never heard of the tiny island in the Caribbean Sea off the coast of Honduras before. From that moment, in 2004 (the year) I was enthralled, obsessed, mesmerized by Roatan; I had to know everything about it—was determined to move there—and the day came when I did.

For close to five years I lived on Roatan. Met people I would have otherwise never come to know. Lived a life including sandy beaches, tropical warmth—all year round, exotic landscape, an appreciation for simplistic day to day living, and learned more about what really matters in life than if I had not taken the leap; was inspired to give more than I thought I was capable of, and in return received more than I could have ever imagined possible.

Now, you may be saying to yourself, “Yah sure, but you left Roatan.”

Yes I did.

It was time for me to move on. That doesn’t mean I’m done living the life I once thought I could only dream of. I am a vagabond, a free-spirit by nature. I know that and look forward to my next adventure which will have me spending the winter in British Columbia, Canada. In the spring, perhaps: Spain or England, maybe Portugal, how about Thailand—I don’t know; maybe I’ll stay in BC for a while.

The difficult thing about moving on to follow my dream—my life path, is to lose contact with acquired family, friends, and foes. That’s right, even the foes, come on, we’ve all got them—they add a certain spice that only a foe can provide. And although I may never see any of them again, to have never known them would be worse.

If Roatan is calling you… GO FOR IT!

Embrace the journey into the unknown, leave your comfort-zone of sameness—let yourself experience all it has to offer. You may decide to stay for a day, maybe a week or two, a year, or even a lifetime. Whatever time frame it turns out to be is irrelevant—when the Roatan Vortex pulls you in—resistance is futile!

Okay, I stole… I mean, borrowed that line from the Borg… fits well don’t you think?

Thanks for continuing to check out RoatanVortex.com I’ll let you know when the “hit-o-meter” counter reaches another milestone. And if you’d like to read a few of my favourite Roatan Vortex stories without wading through them all here (more than 100) visit “Roatan Vortex Classics” at CastleMuse.com

Castle Muse on Survivor

13 Feb

The popular ‘reality’ TV series Survivor depicts contestants hanging out in the jungle and on a beach enduring the heat and humidity, getting by with limited resources (stuff), and vying for position in a tribe. Although it may never qualify to become a series on TV my ‘reality’ couldn’t be more opposite. Here’s what I’m doing now that I’ve chosen to vote myself off the Island of Roatan.

Lack of moisture in the air and keeping all the windows closed to hold in the heat don’t sit well with me; nor does readopting old, hard to break habits. Implementing and/or installing the following have helped immensely.

Environment /Physical
Portable steamer – You know, the kind you bring out when someone in the house has a stuffy nose and you slather some menthol goop on the vent. Not wanting my home to smell like a box of cough drops I skip that part, but I do have the steamer going all day and all night; whatever room I’m in, so is the steamer; churgling out a warm, humid mist.
Humidifier on the Furnace – that is in addition to (not instead of) the steamer. I haven’t noticed a dramatic result from having this going, but I’m sure if it wasn’t I’d get a static shock when I touched something metal or I’d hear a crackling sound coming from the cat’s fur when I pet her.
Sauna – At least once a day for 30 minutes at a time. This was the most costly (but worthwhile) measure. It takes about the first 15 minutes to get a sweat going while pouring water on the lava rocks and the temperature gage reads close to 120 F. The first time I used the sauna I was disappointed; what the heck good is sitting in an overheated cedar box gonna do me? But, oh my… once I was finished the session, my skin actually felt soft and supple like skin can and should!
Window open, Fan on – That’s right! To ensure a good night sleep I plug in the steamer (of course) at the foot of the bed; open the window—just an inch or so, no I’m not trying to heat the outside; turn on the overhead fan and snuggle down under a heavy comforter. Air circulation, humidity, and warm ahhhh—works for me.

Environment /Emotional
Tropical Plants and fresh cut flowers – Okay, not quite the same as when they grew wild all around me, but waking up to gaze at potted greenery and colourful blooms beats the heck out of glancing at blank corners.
Sunshine – The sun is shining! The sun is shining! I’m not a fan of going out in the cold but do make a point of getting out there on the rare occasions when the sun isn’t hiding behind bleak cloud-cover. Facing the glowing ball of light, my eyes wide open, a silly grin on my face soaking in that natural vitamin D. And even when the sky is grey all curtains and blinds are opened wide from early morning to night encouraging every spec of light to come oooon in!

Diet and Health
Groceries – My favourite place to buy fruits and veggies is at the Asian Market, oh sure, they don’t offer the same vast selection as the large supermarkets do, and an abundance of blemishes and soft spots will be found—but just as I discovered when I lived on Roatan… it’s real food!
Exercise – Not nearly as much as I should, real easy to not bother when every day I’m wearing twenty (okay, I’m exaggerating) layers of clothes and can’t see the jiggly bits.

Attitude – This is by far the hardest to maintain while being the most important. Pretty much every day a stack of flyers (enticing me to buy stuff) can be found jammed in my mailbox. I transfer them to the recycling bin without a glance. I avoid conversations that rate my (or anyone else’s) value based on what my job is, what neighbourhood I live in, or who I associate with. I try to not be late for anything I’ve committed to attend, but don’t book up my schedule just to keep busy.

When I first moved back to Canada, I caught myself flipping through the pages of those flyers pondering purchasing things I in no way needed. I seriously reconsidered that my value was based on external factors; easy enough to happen when taught from an early age these are the things that matter, but I know in my heart-of-hearts Just Being is all that matters. As for keeping busy for the sake of being busy; I may not need to keep room in my day for an impromptu visit to the beach, but I’m not rushing around trying to fill up time just surviving either. A Roatan Vortex state of mind is mine to keep no matter where I am!

Be sure to stop by Castle Muse oh sure, I’m not done building it yet, but worth a peak and while you’re at it how about clicking on the like button at Castle Muse on Facebook staying connected with Roatan Vortex family and friends makes me smile!

:)

Roatan Vortex State of Mind

1 Feb

Okay, so I had said my previous story here at RoatanVortex.com was going to be my last posting, but what can I say… a wave of homesickness washed over me the other day.

It had nothing to do with the fact that the temperature read as a negative number or hearing the sound of tires spinning, outside my home, on the snow, compressed to a layer of hard packed ice on the roadways.

It had nothing to do with getting ready to go out for a while and having to pull on a bulky jacket, scarf, gloves, a toque to swaddle my head, or sitting on the bottom step in the front hall tugging boots over thick socks entombing my protesting toes.

It had nothing to do with moving the portable humidifier from room to room trying to maintain at least a hint of moisture in the air, or the stockpile of lotions and creams stacked on the bathroom counter that I need to slather on dry and chapped skin—in spite of the claims made by the manufactures that if I use their product my skin will never go flaky.

And it had nothing to do with noticing the weak sunlight emitting from the hazy orange ball suspended in the frosty afternoon sky and wondering—what’s that? Or realizing that I am gazing longingly at the potted herb plants on the kitchen counter not because I’m trying to decide what will go best in an omelette but solely because they’re green and alive and… plants.

I was homesick for my Island family and friends!

Since moving back to my hometown in Canada, I’m learning to cope with the conditions that I have no control over; weather, sleeping vegetation and minimal sunlight. And I’m appreciating advantages I haven’t experienced for a few years. I haven’t had to wipe mould off of anything, there is nary a hint of rust on the fridge needing to be hidden with a fresh coat of primer and none of the door knobs have fallen off because the lockset has crumbled away. There is no need to check under my pillow for scorpions, flick gecko poop off the freshly made bed or swat at the sand-flies nibbling on my ankles.

I’ve had the greatest pleasure of my son and grandkids stopping by and together we watch ‘Planet of the Apes’ on Netflix, getting together with my mom to work side by side on the book we are co-authoring, and spending an afternoon with my daughter when she drives down from Hanover and we go for lunch and shopping at the most exclusive boutique—Value Village! And most evening after a delicious home cooked meal, courtesy of my Steven, we snuggle on the sofa (yup, a real one) to watch a few episodes of our favourite HBO series, ‘Mad Men’.

Regardless of all that, I settled into my feeling homesick and longing for Roatan, wrapping it around me like a much needed fleece blanket to ward off the cold, at the same time the Roatan Vortex began pulling at me; warming me from the very core of my being. Now before you get any ideas, no, I’m not moving back to Roatan, but rather, re-embracing what I thought I had to give up. When I made the decision to move back to Canada there were many reasons (and there still are) but I thought I had to completely say goodbye to the Roatan Vortex; it had consumed an extraneous amount of my time when I lived on the Island and became a chore, a job, a, I thought I had to turn it into a business thing.

But, the thing is–the Roatan Vortex was never intended or destined to be any of those things—the Roatan Vortex is a state of mind!

A bunch of years ago I coined a phrase, “the Roatan Vortex—it pulls you in and you’ll never want to leave!” and I’ve come to realize that I don’t have to physically be on the Island to feel and share the positive effects—to stay connected with my Roatan family and friends. Although I won’t be posting stories nearly as often as I used to I still will be occasionally stopping by to say hi and satisfy my craving to blog. Time permitting I will also be re-launching the Roatan Vortex Book with a new look but exactly same content as I originally wrote it, plus additional bonus features! The RV Book will be available at my new website CastleMuse as a FREE downloadable ebook format and the book (paperback) edition will be available on-line to purchase at cost plus (of course) shipping. I also will bring books to the Island and donate them as prizes for various fundraisers—Clinica Esperanza Sundae by the Sea, Familias Saludables Sundays at Bananarama and others.

Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery
If you’re in no hurry and can wait for my re-release of the Roatan Vortex Book… please do. I’ll announce it here at Roatan Vortex.com You may find (what appears to be) the book in its original state available for sale on the Island and floating around cyber-space. Thing is, even though it’s all my content and my name is on it—it’s not the real deal!

Now I’m not asking you to take sides or anything, heck, I’ve got a couple of ‘knock-off’ outfits in my closet, have watched a few illegally copied DVD’s and the sunglasses I bought on the beach may have the ‘Gucci’ logo embossed on the rim… but they sure aren’t ‘Gucci’.

On page 265 of the Tiny Buddha, Simple Wisdom for Life’s Hard Questions—by Lori Deschene, she asked: “What can we control in life?”

My answer: “The absolute only thing we can control in life is how we respond to everything we have no control of.”—@roatanvortex

I’ve got a lot of great things going on in my life that require my full attention right now, and other than the couple of weeks I’m going to spend (with Steven) enjoying the glorious warmth and sunshine on Roatan this month, I plan on taking full advantage of the cold dreary weather to keep me focused on writing content and recording audio books for my new website CastleMuse; that’s where I’m building the foundation for my ‘castle in the air’ while maintaining a Roatan Vortex state of mind.

I had no idea

25 Nov

I had no idea

Where I live, on Roatan, when I open the door to the bedroom there is an ancient termite trail etched into the floor–it’s only a couple of months old, but will be there for evermore. Perhaps scrubbing with a wire brush and a harsh chemical concoction will remove traces of it, but for me, in my minds-eye I will always see it–and that makes me happy–there was a time that I had no idea what a termite trail was, or how it may look.

More than seven years ago I heard the word Roatan, I had no idea what that was, but I was intrigued–why? I don’t know–I just was. Thanks to modern technology, I was able to Google it, which was a challenge in itself since I had no idea how to spell it. When sites started popping up describing an Island, off the coast of Honduras, nestled in the Caribbean Sea–I had found Roatan.

At that time I had a home (in suburbia Ontario, Canada), a loving husband, adult children making their own way, three amazing grandsons, a rewarding career, a two car garage, and a house full of–stuff–what more could I want.

Fast forward a year or so, family and friends had gotten very tired of hearing me talk of this Island I claimed I would be going to live on. My husband gently reminded me, while using a tone suitable for telling a two year old, no matter how hard you wish it–you will never be able to fly. He had no idea why, and tried to keep me grounded, but, he accepted what it meant to me–and encouraged my dream becoming a reality.

A year after that, I lost my beloved husband, his final words to me, “I’ll find a way to get you there.” For the next year I gave no conscious thought to Roatan, or anything for that matter. And then I came back to life and realized Roatan was patiently waiting for me. I quit my job, sold my house and all that stuff, said goodbye to my family and friends, boarded a plane and moved to Roatan.

My first encounter: stepping down a set of stairs that doubled as the door of a prop plane, to be greeted by a wall of humidity beyond anything I had ever experienced before, exiting through the only gate, to an area teeming with taxi drivers vying for my attention, followed by a drive through lush jungle, crowding the only paved road, to a village called West End. Along the way I saw: chickens scratching along the side, stray dogs, entire families on scooters, children walking along the edge of the road (no adults watching over them), land-crabs challenging each and every vehicle, and a man riding a bicycle balancing a propane tank on the handlebars.

My accommodations, at the time, I described as quaint, and now describe as typical. Honduran pine from ceiling to floor, a fan spinning in each room, no glass windows–just screens with wooden slats (that only a few of them will close), tropical print sarongs used as table cloths and wall decorations, a kitchen full of rusty utensils, a can opener that didn’t work, and ants. The bedding smelled musty, air-conditioning cost extra, and the TV worked–but everything was dubbed in Spanish.

I really had no idea why… but I had found… home!

That was almost five years ago. I settled in the community of Sandy Bay, and learned how to battle bats, got used to making the mad dash in the middle of the night to close the wooden slats as a “Nor-Easter” roared in, did the heebee-jeebee dance when a tarantula landed on my head, and marvelled every moment at the hoards of hummingbirds and butterflies greeting me when I sat on the porch.

I eventually found a place to buy coat hangers, and came to know the best place to buy pillows and Nutella was at the hardware store. I sat on a curb (of sorts) handing out melting chocolates to local children while my neighbour and I waited for the guy to take our flat tire, by taxi, to be fixed after we had finished grocery shopping and found the vehicle un-derivable.

Ants, of all sizes and varieties, iguanas, monkey lalas, gecko’s chirping and pooping in my home became my norm, as did mosquitoes, sand fleas, and ticks. I never did get used to and will always check under my pillow when I go to bed–for scorpions!

Power goes out: fill buckets from the soon to be empty pipes, forget about checking Facebook, and go read a book by candlelight.

The ATM’s are empty or broken–no shopping today.

The road is under repair, or there is a marching band blocking the only route–oh well, go hang out on the dock until it passes.

The president has been removed (in his pj’s) all Hondurans cheer, knowing that he was going to set democracy back. Watch in disbelieve as the rest of the world condemns the rightful and just actions of the Honduran Government–Learned that the world media agencies settle for nothing less than sensationalism to broadcast–making it up or abandon the story when there aren’t enough people suffering and dying to boost their ratings.

Felt the full force of a major earthquake (7.3) jarring all inhabitants of Roatan awake in the middle of the night. I watched in horrific fascination as an easel back mirror walked across my loft bedroom, while my few wine glasses smash to the floor in the kitchen below, and I couldn’t walk a straight line to escape my cabana that I was sure would collapse around me.

Spent the day shopping with friends, stepping in deep puddles, finding fresh strawberries at one of the grocery stores–bonus! Only to later wonder if I hadn’t picked through the basket of strawberries perhaps we wouldn’t have been the victims of a head on crash that should have killed us all. Time to put the medical care of Roatan through the paces; broken bones, concussions, black eyes (that would do any boxer proud) torn ligaments, whiplash, and a host of other injuries, all treated with compassion, dedication, and a strong medical knowledge–even when there was no running water in the Emergency Dept. and you had to bring your own sheets to the hospital.

Buy oranges from a street vendor, the ugliest looking fruit I’ve ever seen, cut into one and try a taste… as the perfect orange flavour bursts in my mouth, I now know what an orange should taste like, it may not be pretty, but it is real. Mangoes, bananas, sweet peppers, and carrots, from the fruit and veggie truck, rice & beans with most meals, seafood, fish, chicken, Honduran beef and pork, and coconut milk.

I had no idea that I would learn how to slow down, and enjoy each moment for what it was exactly at that moment. Standing in line for hours to complete the simplest of tasks… oh well… bring a book to read while waiting, or better yet chat with friends also waiting their turn. Have a plan to get things done in the afternoon but abandon that when the call goes out to meet friends at the beach instead.

I had no idea how many lifelong friends I would make on Roatan; we became family. Together we celebrated special occasions and the simple art of getting together–just because. Speed dial on every cell-phone guaranteed no matter what’s needed the entire community would answer the call.

I got involved with various projects and programs: Public Hospital Benefit Concert, Miss Peggy’s, Familia Saludabas, The Roatan Daycare, The French Harbour Public Library, and most recently The Roatan Vortex Breakfast Program; and learned what really matters in life–I had no idea, but quickly discovered they gave me far more than I could ever give them.

On Roatan time stands still, while things change so fast. Five years ago the Roatan Vortex© pulled me in, I had no idea what laid ahead for me, and I thank the Universe every day for the gifts bestowed on me. I discovered a passion for writing, and sharing on Roatan Radio. And the time has come for me to take those passions to a whole new level, I’ve known that for some time now, but have been afraid to move forward and act on it. Then I went to Spain… and while there I found my “Castle in the Air”, nudging me to return home. How could I leave Roatan? How could I consider moving backwards instead of forging forward?

Sitting on the balcony of my hotel room in Malaga Spain, unsure what to do, a book that I had been meaning to read for some time fell out of my suitcase when I reached in for a sweater to ward off the cooling evening. I started to read “The Alchemist” the tale of a young man who embarks on a journey, in a quest to fulfill his destiny. He travels far from home, a specific location etched in his mind where his treasure will be found. Along the route he gathers experiences, makes lifelong friends, assists those he can, and learns from those who know more than he. Only to discover–being willing to take the journey–was the treasure!

I’m not going backwards returning to Ontario. I take great pride in the journey I took to Roatan; all that I’ve learned, all the strength in myself that I could have only found here, the lifelong friends I have made, and knowing that if I choose to come here again I will be welcomed with open arms.

The time has come for me to wind down Roatan Vortex©. Just like so many things that came my way as a direct result of moving to Roatan, I have loved sharing the Roatan I have come to know and love with everyone. But I have put off concentrating on writing memoirs and novels in order to keep up with Roatan Vortex©.

The day I arrived on Roatan almost five years ago I knew no one, DJ Genevieve and Roatan Vortex© were unimaginable dreams. Now, they are a part of my reality, known by many, more than three hundred thousand people have visited the Roatan Vortex© website, and read my stories about life on Roatan at Honduras Weekly, Trip Atlas, The Latin America Travel Blogger E-Book, Hecktic Travels, Tiny Buddha, and others. Even Fodor is including a couple of roatanvortex© quotes in their 2011 Honduras & Bay Islands Gold Guide!

Thursday, December 1, is my going away party, The Roatan Vortex Reversal Party, at Infinity Bay Resort, hosted by Roatan Radio, all are welcome, even Vladislav is stopping by to see me off.

 
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I’m happy, I’m at peace, and feel confident and strong about my decisions. Will there be hurdles, of course! Will I be freezing cold and my feet hurt squishing them in shoes & boots… oh yeah! Will I miss Roatan and everything it has meant to me–with all my heart–but I also know, I’ll be bringing the most important aspects of Roatan with me to Canada.

Listen in here to the final Roatan Vortex Hour Show broadcast live November 12, 2011 on 101.1 FM Roatan Radio.

This story can also be read at Honduras Weekly; retitled, I found Roatan

Spanish Moss and Alligators

14 Oct

I just got back from a whirlwind visit to Brunswick, Georgia (and surrounding area) and Copan Ruinas, Honduras.

My agenda for each location couldn’t have been more different–Georgia was to visit friends I had met on Roatan, and Copan Ruinas to attend the 12th annual Conference on Honduras.

I have a lot to share about both, so to keep it simple, and stay within an acceptable length, I’ll tell you all about the Conference on Honduras in my next posting, this one’s all about Georgia–with a Roatan Vortex spin on things–of course!

I met Tiffany, David, Cortney, and Lizzie, when they came to Roatan for the first time a few months ago. They were sooo Roatan–go with flow, laid back kinda folks–didn’t even flinch at how many mosquitoes there were, or the always sweating, humid conditions typical to Roatan. I now know why, the mosquitoes in Georgia are as plentiful, and each one big enough to carry away a small child. And although it cooled down in the evenings, most days were almost as warm and humid as on Roatan.

When they offered for me to go visit them in Georgia, I jumped at the chance to experience their world. Now, I didn’t know for sure they meant it; it’s not uncommon to invite someone (you hardly know) to your house, fully expecting they won’t take you up on the offer; especially when they live many hundreds of miles away from you. Noooo… I knew they meant it.

So I went to Georgia. I had been there a couple of times before, at the airport in Atlanta; waiting for a connecting flight, or the one night I had to stay at an airport hotel because I missed a connection. I don’t think those times really count! Here was my opportunity to see more, and clarify my geography misconceptions. I’m almost embarrassed to admit that prior to this trip, I had no idea that Georgia was on the US east coast… really! I thought it was landlocked on all sides. I can say almost embarrassed, because a few of my friends thought the same thing.

Before my first visit to Roatan I had no clue where it was either, and even when I found out it was an Island off the coast of Honduras… I still wasn’t sure where it was.

My first full day at their house (which is really cool by the way) in Brunswick, we went to “Coastfest” talk about a crash course in learning about the nature of Coastal Georgia: Turtles, Horseshoe Crabs, the Intercoastal Waterway, salt marshes, and more. My vision of Georgia (in general) had been taken from stereotypical… I’m almost embarrassed again… movies. I mean really, isn’t Georgia all about: Gone with the Wind, Forrest Gump, Deliverance… oh my, My Cousin Vinny, or one of my favourites; Fried Green Tomatoes. While these movies give tidbits of information, they really must be taken for what they are–tidbits nothing more.

Sure, there was the stereotypical Spanish moss hanging on everything, and yup–I saw me some alligators–and they weren’t in a zoo. But there was so much more to Georgia than any movie could have expressed.

If you’re planning a visit to Roatan, you may think you have a good idea of what it will be like here. You’ve seen the pictures of the azure Caribbean Sea (like in the magazines, it really is that beautiful) the underwater shots of the coral and sea creatures, the white sand beaches, and so much more. You’ve read the posting on blogs, and followed stories on the news; but only when you visit will you meet and appreciate the real Roatan–as I’ve come to appreciate the real Georgia.

My friend Tiffany gave me a souvenir to bring back to Roatan. Two things make it extra special–it was handmade by her, and it is both practical and functional on the Island–I use it every day!

Redneck Water Bottle Koozie! Take two standard size drinking glass koozies (preferably ones that have something you like written on them), turn both inside out, fold down the rim of the top one (to display text), cut the bottom off of that one, and then attach it to the bottom one with DUCT TAPE! Gotta love it!

Visit Roatan Vortex on Facebook to see many more pics, and be sure to listen in to The Roatan Vortex Hour, Saturday October 15, on 101.1 FM Roatan Radio.com for the inside scoop on how easy it was to get from one place to the next and back to Roatan again!

 
icon for podpress  Spanish Moss & Alligators: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download

Thank’s for asking

23 Sep

I’m frequently asked for suggestions when visiting Roatan: accommodations, dining, attractions and entertainment. I even get asked about diving and snorkelling, which I’m not too helpful with, since I don’t do either. But, I have many friends on Roatan who do, and will gladly direct visitors to the people who I think can help them the most.

More often than not, I’m also asked—how can we help?

There are many opportunities to participate in helping the people of Roatan—help themselves. It can come in the form of: donating much needed supplies, volunteering your time while you are here, and/or, sharing your expertise: medical, technical, creative—whatever!

Living on Roatan, I’ve had the good fortune to get involved with various initiatives and see firsthand the positive impact they are having:

Roatan Daycare Center
Mission of the Daycare Center.
“Our purpose is to help children of working families learn and thrive, mentally, physically and emotionally.
Our program combines bilingual early education and nurturing childcare, with play, social skills, and a dedication to community. We provide a healthy environment within a safe and comfortable facility. This gives parents the ability to work with peace of mind, knowing their children are receiving the best of care. These parents work full time, as most live near or at the poverty level.”

Familias Saludables
“Familias Saludables is a non-profit, non-denominational organization devoted to fighting the AIDS epidemic on Roatan and the Bay Islands. Our major focus is on reducing the incidence of mother-to-child transmission of the virus both at birth and via breast milk. We run testing clinics for pregnant women, assign trained home visitors for mothers living with HIV/AIDS, provide education to the public, provide palliative training services and, when available, we provide infant formula, medications, and a host of supplies to support families struggling to cope with this disease. All of our services are free of charge and our staff consists solely of volunteers, both local and international.”

Clinica Esperanza
“From the apartment beneath her home – to donated space in the Son Rise Calvary Church in Sandy Bay – Peggy Stranges has given her life to building Clínica Esperanza, otherwise known as “Hospital Ms. Peggy.” Together, with Honduran physician Raymond Cherington, M.D. and Arizona-based physician Patrick Connell, M.D., and through the generous support from Roatán’s community leaders, Ms. Peggy has realized her dream of building a first class freestanding hospital.”

Roatan Vortex Breakfast Program
This one’s brand new, and I am thrilled to share with you! In conjunction with Familias Saludables (couldn’t do it without Val) and Louisa Trundle School—Roatan Vortex has launched a breakfast program for all the students at the school. When they arrive each morning, the first thing they are greeted by is a table (manned by the grade 7 students) where they are offered: a glass of milk, fresh fruit (of the day), and depending on the day: a healthy cookie, or toast with peanut butter, or perhaps a hardboiled egg.

I have so much more I want to too share with you about the program—it warrants a story all its own, and information on how you can participate. That will be coming soon; in the meantime here is a couple of: “Musings from a Breakfast Program.”

Positive reports from parents, teachers, and students. A hug this morning from a little girl who ate three eggs, but I know she doesn’t get food at home. She hugged me, and said, “breakfast was Delicioso!”

Today one of the grade six students had a seizure, and I took her to the hospital (don’t worry she turned out to be okay, she has epilepsy and missed her medication.) At the hospital, the nurse and the doctor asked her three times if she’d eaten breakfast. She kept saying yes, and I then asked why they were asking. They told me that almost every day they get some kid form school that faints from hunger. I was so proud to say our School had a breakfast program.

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There are many other on-going programs on Roatan and the mainland that are worth checking out, but finding them can be a daunting task—that’s where Project Honduras can help you out.

“projecthonduras.com is an alternative concept for development of Honduras based on using information and communications technology (ICT) to identify, mobilize and coordinate all the available human capital in Honduras and around the world. By “human capital”, we mean resources such as time, energy, expertise, experience, talent, and contacts… things that really only gain value when people become personally engaged.”

In addition to on-line support, and information; there is the annual Conference on Honduras:

“For the past eight years, Copán Ruinas has served as the site of an annual pilgrimage by people from all walks of life, various faiths, and different countries. The purpose of the pilgrimage has been to come together as a community to find ways to become more enlightened and learn how to work as One. The ultimate aim has been to better support the poor and underprivileged within Honduran society by empowering them through education, healthcare, and a variety of community building projects. And to do so in a positive spirit of compassion, harmony, and joy.”

Read the full story at Honduras Weekly – Pilgrimage to Copan.

I look forward to attending this year (October 6-8) where I will get the opportunity to meet people I greatly respect, to hear about their programs, and present the Roatan Vortex Breakfast program. I also will be reporting details back to 101.1 FM Roatan Radio;—Bringing Roatan to the World and the World to Roatan.

Perhaps you’re think you can’t offer enough to make a difference? Check out this story about Bennett; a five year old boy, who lives in Canada. He asked his friends coming to his birthday party to not bring presents for him, but for the children at the Roatan Daycare Center.

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And remember… “If you think you’re too small to have an impact, try going to bed with a mosquito.” – Anita Reddick

 
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Lots Going On

15 Jul

I’ve been pretty busy the past while, and most has been very enjoyable, mind you… being busy isn’t a way of life I’m accustom to anymore since making the move to Roatan.

Speaking of moving, recently I’ve done just that. I’m still on Roatan (of course I am) but I’ve changed things up quite a bit—hey a change is good. Mona’s okay with the new digs, settled in fairly quickly, Baby on the other hand is not so sure, he’s trying to decide if he should risk using up one of his nine lives to go exploring.

One of the best things about living on Roatan is meeting new friends, and sharing all Roatan has to offer with them.

We went on a day trip to the east end of the Island, celebrated a marriage vow renewal, let the guys cook dinner, and got donations (from ECR4Kids, distributed by the Roatan Daycare) delivered to the Luisa Trundle School.



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Speaking of the Luisa Trundle School, I’m ecstatic to announce that the Roatan Vortex Breakfast Program was launched this week!


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Celebrating Canada Day, and the wild and wonderful antics of another Sand Road Hockey Tournament added to the fun! Video of Hockey Tourney coming soon.

Once again a great time had by all, with proceeds going to Sol Foundation.

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Somehow I managed to push the right buttons to record my most recent Roatan Vortex Hour on 101.1 FM Roatan Radio.com

 
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And the ultimate spectacular keeping me busy was when my son Jeff, daughter-in-law Jumana, and amazing, super-duper grandsons – Zain, Aaqil, and Kaisan came for a visit!!!


Yah, there has been a lot going on and each warrants a full story here on Roatan Vortex, and time permitting I’ll get them posted. In the meantime you can check out pictures on Roatan Vortex on Facebook.

Take your time… I’m going to go on a little vacation of my own now, I’m off to Canada for a few weeks to visit with family and friends, catch a movie or two with my mom, hang out with my sister, and relax… I admit, I’m a little tired, but I’ll be baaack!

Gone Shopping

27 Jun

I’ve given you some insight on those things you should bring to Roatan and those things you should leave behind. I’ve shared that when the Roatan Vortex pulls you in and you make the move to Roatan you will live quite contently with a whole lot less stuff—your personal worth no longer based on how much you own.

Now, even the Swiss Family Robinson needed a few things when they were shipwrecked on a Tropical Island. But priorities of what they needed evolved based first on availability, then an appreciation of realizing life can actually be better with less stuff cluttering your home and soul.

Okay that sounds kind of sappy, but it’s true!

That aside, four years ago availability was the deciding factor for shopping and I got out of the habit. Now there is much more available on Roatan; from housewares to clothes—but with a Roatan approach. Although I didn’t really need anything, I went on a couple of shopping excursions just to check it out.

Gone Shopping Day 1 – The Mall
That’s right we have a Mall on Roatan. Half the stores are unoccupied but there is a couple of Department Stores (I use that term loosely), a grocery store, a few banks, and all the phone services can be found there too. Oh, and a Wendy’s and an Applebee’s… shudder. I should note here that the majority of staff speak only Spanish and have never been to a North American style store or been employed by one. The cultural differences are vast. While where I’m originally from in Canada, customer service is expected (though not always delivered) on Roatan that’s an unfamiliar concept.

You will however get your own personal shadow. The moment you start perusing the shelves and racks, a clerk will be right behind you. Where you go… they go. I wasn’t comfortable with this the first few times I entered shops. It kind of freaked me out; I would become more preoccupied with ditching my clerk than shopping. One store, I started walking faster and faster around a bank of shelves until I caught up with my shadow… poor girl confused the heck out of her! Now I just accept she will be there and start handing her stuff that I may or may not try on or purchase so she can feel useful.

The other thing you have to get used to is that there will be a security guard at the entrance… just the way they do it here. He will open the door for you—nice, and it’s no big deal. However when you go to exit the store, even though the guard has watched your purchase being rung in and the bag stabled shut, you will have to hand him the receipt so he can mark it with a red slash or punch a hole in it, then he will open the door for you to leave. One store the guard had a pair of scissors and cut the bottom portion of the receipt off… I don’t know why and I didn’t bother to ask.

Gone Shopping Day 2 – Uptown Coxen Hole
My next excursion had me strolling the streets of the largest town on Roatan, Coxen Hole… stop giggling already, it’s named after a famous pirate.

This is where the Municipal office, other government offices, banks, a grocery store, a few restaurants, some souvenir shops, and a multitude of mom & pop and thrift stores can be found, and a Carrion—Roatan Walmart (giggle.)

The first thing you encounter are the taxis. The moment I exited my vehicle (keys still in hand) I was greeted by a barrage of honking horns. It didn’t matter that I was walking the opposite direction of the traffic flow on a one way street and ignored them. Each and every taxi (at least every other moving vehicle I passed) honked, and honked, and honked assuming I wanted a taxi. I’ve got the quick head shake down pretty good now. It doesn’t stop the drivers from honking the first time, but at least they quit after one—sometimes.

My first stop: the Carrion. Yes, the door was opened by a security guard, yes, my shadow appeared immediately. I found a few things to try on, silly me. Sizing here is ah, different. I’m not sure where they bring in clothes from, but even though North American sizes I’m a size 6, on Roatan XXL don’t fit me. But, I held up a sundress and though what the heck, looks like it might!

Draped over my shadow’s arm, we headed for the change room (giggle.) The first dilemma I encountered was that the change room had no hooks, no chair, no shelf, I had to place everything on the floor and there were at least fifty ants scurrying around retrieving crumbs of some sort. My shadow waited patiently outside the door as I brushed ants aside and raised the sundress over my head… ah, no, that’s as far as it got… too small!

I left without buying anything. That’s okay by me… I really don’t need anything anyhow.

My favourite Store

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Did a couple of guest posts this past week:

Dalene and Peter from Hecktic Travel have left Roatan to check out other other locations. “Bye Guy’s it was great to meet you!” Dalene had a little trouble convincing her Uncle Calvin that life as a vagabond can be a good thing. I helped her explain to him the merits of leaving the typical (or expected) behind. Dear Uncle Calvin

“Hey Genevieve, wanna be a DJ?” John asked. Spacial Audio asked me to share my story on how the Roatan Vortex Hour was born, ready about it here: How to Become a Radio DJ on a Tropical Island

Typical Roatan

14 Jun

Typical Roatan

Roatan is… ah… UNIQUE! At least compared to a typical North American lifestyle. Here are a few random pictures and a couple of videos to give you an idea of what I mean:

Emergency Route signs at airport

Roatan Deer

The Roatan Vortex Pulls You in and You Never Want to Leave!

The Junk Drawer

10 Jun

You know—that drawer!

Usually in the kitchen, it’s the catch-all for stuff. It starts out harmless enough, everyone has those things that you want close at hand but don’t want to leave them out cluttering the counter, or chancing them being moved and not at your fingertips when you need them.

For my household it has always included: the scotch-tape (I know that’s a brand name, but if I kept Jello packets in that drawer… I’d call it Jello even if it wasn’t the Jello brand.), kitchen garbage bags, scrap paper, a pen or two, maybe a flashlight, batteries, and matches.

Even on Roatan where stuff isn’t as important to me anymore, I do have a Junk Drawer, and somehow it has managed to get stuffed full of stuff! And now that I have sold the cabana and will be moving on to a new slice of Paradise on the Island (not leaving Roatan) it’s time for me to clean out the Junk Drawer.

So how the heck did this happen? I mean really… what is half this stuff? And why did I keep it?

I’ve got Canadian Tire money for gosh sakes! Probably thought if I hung on to it long enough a Canadian Tire would open on the Island… hahahaha! The plug doesn’t fit any of my drains, the push lights don’t work anymore, and the stack of business cards are useless cause everybody changed their phone numbers. The wine bottle corks??? No idea what I planned on doing with those, besides I’m a boxed wine connoisseur now.

So this is it—time to get rid of some junk!

Oh my, did I mention it’s kind of warm today, and well, friends just posted on Facebook that their heading to the beach… maybe a full Junk Drawer isn’t such a bad thing… I’ll take care of it mañana!

That is, of course, after the Roatan Vortex Hour on 101.1 FM Roatan Radio.com starting at 10 AM (Roatan Time.) Be sure to listen in for tips on making the move to Roatan… you know you wanna!

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