Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Trip Back to Arkansas, Maria Paula's Citizenship, Culture Shock, and Enjoying Being Home

Sorry about the absence of posts on the blog!  It has been a crazy month!  My wife, Maria Paula, received her US Citizenship and I traveled back to Arkansas to attend the ceremony.  She will then be able to travel back with me to Belize and spend some time on MokaKat!
The ceremony was held on February 14th, Valentine's Day, a good day to receive your US Citizenship!  We traveled down to Ft. Smith from Bella Vista to attend the ceremony.  It was a great success, and once she had her certificate, it was off to the post office to apply for a passport!  She was now a Gringa-Colombian!  We were also fortunate enough to meet my oldest son, Dustin, for lunch, while we were in Ft. Smith.
Swearing In

Dale and Maria Paula

Maria Paula with the Director
While I was home, I also went into work at Walmart to make sure they hadn't forgotten about me!  Of course there was many changes since I had been there, but I was able to meet with my new VP.  I was able to see many of my teammates, and it was good to be involved at work, at least for a few minutes.  Walmart has been an excellent company to work for, and this year will be my 30th year!  It still will be hard to leave the cruising life and go back to work, but one day I can retire, cruising fulltime!
Arkansas has had a hard winter, with most of US in the same condition.  I was lucky when I arrived that there was a week of mild weather.  Maria Paula, Pepper (our Miniature Schnauzer) were able to stay overnight at our lake cabin on Beaver Lake.  We enjoyed hiking and eating a large steak cooked on the grill!
Maria Paula at the Cabin 

Pepper ready for the hike!  Let's go!!!!

Dock by Cabin

Mountain climbing Schnauzer

We call this the Bear Cave, but there are only bats, no bears.

iPhone Flashlight!

Pepper after crawling under the rocks after something

My oldest son, Dustin, threw this anchor in the tree 15 years ago!

View from the cabin deck

Pepper playing with our neighbor's chocolate lab
We also were able to hike one of the trails in Bella Vista while I was home.  It was a dog friendly trail, so Pepper was able to come!

Beautiful Waterfall
I was also lucky that my youngest son, Blake, come over for a weekend from Western Oklahoma!  It was good to see Blake again!  The last time that I saw him, he was swimming with the sharks in Belize! 
Blake and Dale
Of course, the weather couldn't hold out for the whole time that I was home.  After one really nice week, the temperature dropped to 0 degrees F for two nights, and dropping 6 inches of snow, sleet, and ice.  I was able to keep the wood stove loaded and the house warm!  Pepper and I were able to go out hiking and enjoy the snow.  It was still a major change from being in Belize in 65 to 85 degree weather!  I am ready to go back to MokaKat!!!

I was able to go out to the cabin and cut firewood with my brother Jon.  Maria Paula had burned most of the wood we cut last summer.  I enjoy getting out and cutting wood, and it gave me some time to see my brother too!
Lake View from our Neighbor's Property

My dock is down below
Culture Shock!!
Well, after living the last 6 months on a boat in Belize and Guatemala, it was strange to come back to the land of McDonalds (although I don't eat there), Dr. Pepper, and Walmart stores!  It was super nice to walk into a Walmart SuperCenter and be able to buy almost everything that you want!  In Belize, there are always shortages of certain things, and the prices are almost double that in US.  I also could order online almost any boat part that I needed, without paying huge taxes (of course taxes were going to get paid entering back into Belize). 
In the US, we take for granted the ability to buy anything we want, when we want it.  It is an expectation.  The rest of the world it is different, especially when you are living on a boat with limited land transportation.  In Belize, to go shopping, we take the dinghy to the dinghy dock, haul the foldable two wheeler out, stop in 5 different place to get half what we need, and then haul it all back to the dinghy, wash everything in vinegar water, and stow away!
Water is a different story!  It was super nice to have unlimited water at the house!  I was happy drinking tap water, as it is as clean as any bottled water we buy in Belize.  Also, the unlimited hot water showers were nice to get used to again!  On the boat, we take salt water baths, and rinse off with fresh water.  If we watch our water and collect rain water, we can go over a month or more on our 2 100 gallon tanks.   
Wow, what happened to TV????  I don't have access to TVs in Belize, so we use the internet for news.  I started watching CNN the other morning, and there were more advertisements than news!  It seemed the same for everything channel.  I had to record anything I wanted to watch on the DVR, and watch later, skipping all of the ads!  Really?????  and the ads were all about medical drugs.  I guess we know were the money is, based on the ads on TV!  I guess when I lived in US, I got used to all of the junk, but it seems like such a waste of time now.  I enjoy sitting on the back of the boat, watching the sunset or rise.  I also watch nature happen everyday, whether birds flying, dolphins swimming by, or the group of fish under the boat.  It has been nice to enjoy nature, without all of the commercialism. 
At the end of the three weeks, I was able to visit with many of my friends and co-workers, enjoy being home for a few weeks, cut firewood, order boat parts, and take Pepper on many walks.  I was able to meet with my team at Walmart, reminding that I was still alive!  Maria Paula was able to get her US Passport in record time, and we traveled back to Belize and MokaKat!
Next post:  Maria Paula's Visit on MokaKat!
Happy Sailing from MokaKat!


  1. It sounds like you had a productive trip. Welcome back to Belize!

  2. Congratulations to Maria Paula on becoming a US citizen. It is a very proud moment, I remember mine like it was yesterday. We will be going back to the US this coming Sunday and I'm sure we'll be in for a few surprises as well. It's sad we don't get to see you again and hope you guys will have a fantastic sail on the MokaKat.
    By the way, little Pepper is a little ham, what a cutie. :)