Today we had to go renew our passports for the 3rd time. I can’t believe we’ve been in Belize for 3 months already! The guy at the immigration office asked us how we like it here. I said “It’s beautiful. I love it!” He asked me what makes it so beautiful. I said “I love the weather and the water.” I explained that where I’m from back in the states I was cold all the time and I hate being cold, but here it’s constantly warm and beautiful. He asked, “Don’t you have heaters and things like that?” I said “yeah, but…” and he said “It’s not the same huh?” I replied, “No, it’s not. I like doing things outdoors and being able to enjoy it without it taking an hour to warm up.” He sort of laughed and reminded us that after 6 months the fee to renew goes up $100 BZE instead of the $50 we’ve been paying. He handed us our papers and we walked down to the Treasury Office to go pay. After we paid the fee, we were given a receipt that we then had to show them back at the immigration office before they would stamp our passports for another month. The two offices are not part of the same building. In fact, they aren’t even close to each other. It was a really warm day today too, so we counted that walk back and forth across town as the cardio part of our workout for today. While walking to the Treasury office I was thinking about everything I read before coming to Belize, in regards to how business runs here, and those things were true. I then compared it to how it is back in the states. Although the U.S. has a lot of conveniences like certain services that work together are placed in the same building; I also realized I didn’t care for that convenience, because back in the states there are usually long lines. Even though they have several people open to help, the lines still usually move pretty slow. I read things are slow going here in Belize, but the lines are so much shorter. You usually only have one, maybe two people in front of you; if any at all. I also don’t think they go any slower here than they do back in the states. Not in the government sector anyway.
Stray dogs are a problem here Corozal. Many of the dogs have mange and are very emaciated. Apparently the health department and the police department teamed up to do something about this, because it is a health issue. So yesterday we heard an announcement come from a bull horn on a truck, and it was a warning for people to keep their pets inside to avoid accidental eradication. I wondered how they would go about getting rid of these dogs; hoping they would humanely euthanize them, but realizing we are not in the states. I’m sure they don’t do things like that here. Then this morning, as we were leaving to go work out, we noticed a trail of blood crossing our gate and leading around the corner. My first thought was the eradication of stray dogs. I asked some of the ladies from church today if they knew what they do to get rid of the dogs. They said the dogs are poisoned. I can’t help but feel so bad for these dogs. I feel bad for them starving and full of mange, and I understand it’s not much of a life; but to have such a horrible end to an already miserable life! It’s so sad.
I haven’t posted in a while because we’ve been busy with Easter and making plans to go down to the Placencia area next month. We’re hoping to live there for at least a month to have time to check everything out. We also want to take a trip out to snorkel with the Whale Sharks. They are in the area right now and I would absolutely love to swim with the Whale Sharks! The place we found to live, is in Maya Beach. It’s a few miles north of Placencia and it looks like a nice place, but the lease agreement they want us to sign is ridiculous! They are actually asking us to sign away certain rights; which is illegal for them to do…and yes I looked it up in the Belize laws. I’m not going by what I’m used to back in the states. We emailed them with our concerns, and God willing they will rectify the situation and we will move in next month. If God chooses to close this door, then we must keep looking, ‘cause we already put in our 30 day notice here. I know it will all work out for the best though! Oh, and I’ve been wanting so badly to start working out again. There happens to be a gym across the street from us, on the opposite end of the block. How convenient is that! So we signed up and started working out a couple of days ago. It feels so good to do something positive and healthy for yourself!
I haven’t posted anything in a few days ‘cause I’ve been brainstorming and researching some things. We originally came to Belize wanting to open a restaurant. We were/are open to other ideas, because we knew that having never been to Belize before now, we weren’t sure what to expect. Don’t get me wrong, we did tons of research…online. But much of what we found varied from person to person. We weren’t so naive as to believe online research was enough to equip us with all we needed to know about starting a business in Belize. Now that we are here and have been able to see how things work, and have had the opportunity to ask around, we are much more open to trying a different type of business. Honestly, I see the poor starving dogs here and all I want to do is start a shelter. They don’t really do that kind of thing here. I’m not saying there aren’t dog shelters, I saw a tiny one on Caye Caulker, but there are too many people that are living in poverty for there to even be a concern for animal shelters. Here I am between a rock and hard spot. I want to be of service to the people, but all the needy are in my heart (including animals), and I want my own business too. I figure, God put the desire for us to have our own business for a reason. I’ve wanted to have my own business since I was really young. If He opens the doors for us and blesses this business; which would really be His business not ours anyway, then maybe that would help open the doors for starting a non-profit. Hence all the research; what kind of business do we invest in? There are plenty of restaurants here; they don’t need any more of those. What skills do we have that can best serve this community? A couple of people have told us computers. Great! I enjoy technology, but it’s expensive and the import fees are high. Then there’s my/our passion for photography. We could travel the world and sell the photos of our memories. But the world has plenty of those too! Maybe we could still use it as a write off for our travels and equipment at least right? These are just a couple of examples of what we are thinking of, and researching. Any and all prayers for us are greatly appreciated. I know God will open the right door at the right time. Just wish (and pray) He would tell us what to do now, ‘cause my eyes are going cross-eyed from all the reading :0).
Today we finally went to see some Mayan ruins! We found out that the Copper Horse Inn offers a tour to Lamanai for $65 U.S. per person. They drove us to Orange Walk, which is about an hour drive from Corozal Town. From there we took a tour of the New River and saw Spider Monkeys (see above picture). The guide stopped so we could maybe give the Spider Monkeys a snack. These monkeys are very used to people, and getting snacks from them, so when the boat was close enough one of them just jumped in and walked down the aisle waiting for someone to hand her a snack. The guides usually take bananas, but they forgot them, so he asked if we had cookies or anything to give the monkeys. One guy said he has cookies, and as soon as the monkey heard the zipper to the back-back she went over there to see what he had. I normally don’t agree with feeding wild animals, but I can definitely see why they do it. It made for a really cool experience! Once we got to the Mayan site they fed us lunch before we hiked up to the Mask Temple (see picture below). The High Temple was our next venture. As I’m sure you can tell by the name, this temple is higher and steeper, but once you get to the top…the view is absolutely amazing! I’ve never been that high before (outside an airplane) so I wasn’t sure if I was afraid of heights. I decided to be cautious about it and not look down until I finished climbing to the top. The view was so beautiful and so worth the climb, the fear of heights didn’t even enter my mind. Contrary to what I thought, it was so much easier going down than it was going up. I just stepped sideways the whole way down, and switched sides every 20 steps to get an equal work out on both legs. :0) We also got to see Howler Monkeys, and wow they sound so cool! There were a couple of babies there and they were adorable! The last temple we saw was the Jaguar Temple; we were not allowed to climb that one, but the whole area was really beautiful! I recommend this tour for anyone who hasn’t given it a try. Now I have to talk my husband into taking me to Tikal in Guatemala. It was a Mayan capital and is huge, and from what I hear you can also camp out there and take a sunrise and sunset tour! I can’t wait!
I’ve been hard pressed to find a place to cut my hair since we arrived in Belize. I should’ve had it done back in the states before I came to give me some time, but being the procrastinator that I am…it didn’t happen. So here in Corozal I’ve only seen one place that cuts women’s hair. I went in to check it out, and she was busy. It’s a good sign right? Well apparently she was too busy for me and didn’t seem to care to have my business. She didn’t try making an appointment with me or anything. I’m very weary of having people cut my hair. Only one person has ever cut it the way I like it, but she would cut my hair way too short every time. Why do they do that? Everyone I know has the same problem finding someone that won’t chop their hair off. Anyway, I’d rather have a referral from people I know so I asked some of the people at church, and I had two people tell me of this one located behind the bank. Yesterday was a holiday so I couldn’t go then, but today I stopped by and she was able to cut my hair. She did a great job with the layers, but as most people do, she cut my hair a lot shorter than I would’ve liked. I’m not too sore about this since it’s been about 6 months since I’ve had my hair cut. It feels so much healthier so I’m happy. Maybe next time she won’t feel that she needs to cut so much off. Oh, by the way, it only cost $10 BZ!
So today was one of those days where you experience little inconveniences from living in Belize. We live in an apartment on the 3rd floor. There is no hot water. Now for most people that’s okay, because it’s warm and humid and they usually want to cool off anyway. I, on the other hand, get cold really easy. I figure I can tough it out until we get to a more permanent place though. The next place might have hot water and I won’t have to worry about it. Well I thought having to shower with cold water was my main concern here. Apparently having no water to shower with is a bigger concern. I don’t know what’s going on with the pipes, but our water goes out every so often; usually at night. Today was the first day it went out during the day…well it wasn’t completely out. It’s more like there wasn’t enough water pressure to force water through the shower. We were able to use the faucets in the sinks, but even that was really low compared to normal. My husband had to go talk to the landlord about it. It took a few hours for them to get to it, but thank God I was able to shower today! Otherwise I was going to have to crawl into the kitchen sink and bathe like the good ole’ days when I was just a teeny baby. Then, there’s the internet. I was helping my husband grade papers for the online class he’s teaching, and I was close to ripping my hair out with how ridiculously slow the internet has been these past couple of days. Seriously! Having to pay $100 US for internet that is 53 times slower than it is in the US is no fun at all! So what makes it all worth it? I have a beautiful view of the bay that I get to enjoy from our huge veranda every day! Plus the times, like tonight, where you decide to go out to eat and you meet a nice local who just starts talking to you out of nowhere. They tell you almost their whole life story. It’s so neat to hear about where people have been in life…the people, the weather, the more relaxed lifestyle, and the beautiful and warm ocean here…that’s what makes it worth it.
P.S. This is our view of Corozal Bay from the veranda!
We stopped by to see Chriss about the place to lease/buy. He wasn’t there, so maybe it wasn’t meant to be. We are going to email him with some questions and see what he replies. To get to and from Caye Caulker, we had to take two boat rides. Coming home we took one boat through the Belizean Express, from Caye Caulker to Ambergris Caye. It’s about a 30 minute ride. Once at Ambergris we had to cross to the lagoon side of the island to catch the Thunderbolt. It leaves everyday at 3 pm to come back to Corozal. We had about a 45 minute wait ‘till the boat left. There were a few kids there playing around, and they caught a fish right there! All they had was some fishing line, a hook, and they used bread for bait. They were so excited when they caught it. It was cute. The boat ride was a little worrisome; right away they started having problems with one of the motors. They had three, so we were still okay, but it didn’t sound good. They made a stop about half way to Corozal. I looked out the window and saw no land, so it was a little freaky.The last hour we had to listen to the alarm sounding. It wasn’t too bad though. The engine noise was loud enough to muffle it! :0) It’s about a 2 hour boat ride, so we got home a little after 5 pm. I absolutely love Caye Caulker, but it was nice to be back “home”. I know this isn’t permanent, but it’s the closest thing I have. It’s nice to be able to relax.
other hygiene products (if you have a question about specific items feel free to click on the “Ask Me Anything” link, to the left, and ask away)
deodorant (they have a lot of deodorant here, but it’s the same brands you would find in the states. so if can buy in bulk in the states cheaper, go for it)
spices (if they let you import them, we haven’t had our stuff shipped here yet to tell you if it’s allowed or not. I will update you when we do have our stuff shipped)
I came to Belize under the assumption that I would buy items from the above list locally and just get used to local products. I have yet to see locally made toothpaste, sunblock, conditioner, etc. They also wear American clothing here, and most of their stores carry 2nd hand clothing. I advise you to buy what you want or need of those items in your home country and bring it with you.
After much prayer and research, and of course finally getting the thumbs up from God, we began to plan out everything we needed to do to leave the states and move to Belize. I’ll keep this short by putting it in list form.
started vaccinations (took over a 6 month span)
sold or threw away stuff we didn’t need to take with us
packed things we needed to take (based on recommendations of other expats)
told family and friends of our plans
moved into my mom’s house for a couple months to save more $
The things we researched are:
what to do about jury duty
how to become permanent residents in Belize
how to start a business in Belize
what to take with us and what to leave
places to stay in Belize (location, location, location)
diseases and dangerous animals in Belize
how to buy property…
I may have missed a few details, but if you’re curious about anything because you are considering moving abroad, or you’re just curious, please don’t hesitate to ask me. Tomorrow I will add some things that I found are lacking in Belize. I’ll try to get some prices up for comparison also.
It had been a desire of mine to move to a beautiful, tropical place since I was too young to understand what that meant. I remember watching a news segment, when I was about four years old, about all the tourists in some beautiful location (I don’t remember where), and I told my mom I want to be tourist when I grow up. She laughed and told me it’s not a job people have. Little did she know that travel writing and blogging would indeed be a career for some people. The desire to travel always stayed with me. In fact that desire evolved into a great desire to move to some beautiful tropical place somewhere. I married a man with the same desire. My husband and I have been married for about 3 and 1/2 years now, and we’ve been talking about wanting to move away since we were dating. Once we were married those conversations turned more serious, and thus birthed the plan to move. After about a year and a half of praying, seeking guidance from God in regards to where and when to go, and researching countries and cities to move to, we finally got our answer. Belize was the destination that stood out and really called to us through all of our research. The friendly people, warm climate, great diving, rich culture, and simple way of life in Belize really drew us in. I knew God would not have placed such a strong desire to move to some far off tropical place for no reason. We just had to patiently wait for the right time, and that time is now!