It’s been a few days since I’ve returned from my study abroad trip in Belize, and I don’t think the extent of the things I experienced has quite caught up with me yet. Though I was only in the country for around a month, the range of things I saw and felt seemed to far exceed what I may perceive in several months at home or at school. Each morning I would swim with new species of ocean creatures, floating over colorful reefs that extended far into the ocean’s abyss. Through the many local people I met, I was able to see the world through a unique cultural and linguistic lens. Every meal offered a new recipe or food for me to try, many of which I still crave here in the states. I walked through the ruins of great Mayan cities and swam in the clear, blue waters of the lush rainforests. I made so many new friends, learned so much about tropical conservation, and went to bed each night exhausted, but completely content. It all went by far too quickly.

It’s not easy to shift from this fast-paced lifestyle to a quiet one overnight. I live in a rural community, where the people, places, and food I encounter on a daily basis remain relatively consistent. There seems to be a slower lull to life here, one that I found excruciatingly frustrating when I got home. A piece of me still sought the quick rhythm of my recent travels and all the experiences that came with it. But after a few days, my frustration began to die down. I realize that while the face-paced moments of life are necessary, so are the slow. There is no better setting than here to reflect and process as I am now; to truly appreciate everything I was able to do. So while I do not think that I have truly processed my experience yet, I believe that by the end of this summer I will. I am glad to have this quiet lull before I return to school in August.