A Little Bit of Belize

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I’ve waited two months to write this post because, well, I don’t know. I guess it has taken me that long to process the fact that I live in Belize. I’ve come to this conclusion: I don’t ever want to leave. I think I waited so long to write this post because I wanted to write about some grand epiphany that melted away all of my fears, anxieties, and negative thoughts the moment I stepped off the plane. But that’s not what happened. Moving to another country is a huge adjustment- one that I’ve been dreaming of for years, but was mentally unprepared for.

A couple of months later, I’m sitting here, looking at the sea, and knowing that I couldn’t think of a better place to live.

So what’s life like now, a month and a half since I’ve moved to Ambergris Caye Belize?

What I’ve experienced so far:

Street meat. Meat carts that are set up in the center of town. Reeeeaaally tasty way to end a night of drinking.

Dirt roads: They are working on paving the road here. Until then, it’s a bumpy golf cart ride to town, or a boat taxi.

Making new friends: Since my boyfriend lived here before, he knew some people here who welcomed us, so it hasn’t been lonely at all.

Missing old friends: Okay, calling them old friends is a little melodramatic. I skype with my friends and my mom about once a week. But I’ve really began to miss my having my friends just a car ride away.

Eating lots of lobster. The other day I went to a hole in the wall downtown restaurant that has become our new favorite spot. I ordered a lobster burrito. Out came this monstrosity sporting an entire lobster tail on top. And yes, there was a TON of real lobster meat inside. Not bad for 13 bucks!

Mosquitos Mosquitos Mosquitos. Holy mosqioto- there are a lot of mosquitos here. The first week here, my legs and arms were visibly lumpy from mosquito bites. You couldn’t tell where one bite ended and another began. Now, I hardly notice the bites anymore (but my legs are still covered in battle scars from that first week. Shouldn’t have itched them!)

Being a foreigner: It’s a weird feeling. I’m obviously not from here, and sometimes I feel stared at. It’s different.

Snorkeling & Pica Pica: We went snorkeling on our anniversary, and it was amazing. I got a little Pica Pica (a rash that you get from baby jellyfish) and thought I was dying for about ten minutes. A little vinegar on the rash, and a little vodka in my mouth took away the pain.

More energy, and desire to work: It is crazy how much creative energy I have here! I thought I’d want to go out and do things all the time- but some days I really love sitting at my laptop and working. I’m getting into a really good routine and flow that can only be attributed to the sunlight and heat. I don’t do well in cold, cloudy weather. Does anybody?

A “stray” dog named Sam that lives at our resort comes and sits with us on our porch sometimes. He doesn’t like to be petted (I think he’s had a hard life) but I can tell in his eyes that he’s starting to trust me. He has a girlfriend named Cici who follows him wherever he goes. They’ve accepted our dog Guy into their pack now, and they run around our yard chasing each other, sniffing, peeing, and wagging their tails. It’s the most joyful and adorable thing to watch. There’s a couple across the resort who takes care of Sam officially, but he is entirely an outside dog, free to roam where he pleases, and he likes it that way.

Adjusting to the heat- I wear a hoodie in 70 degree weather now.

Notable Differences from being in the US:

I don’t get Id’d at bars.

The Belize dollar is worth exactly 50%  of a US dollar. Sounds simple enough but it does get confusing sometimes.

The birds here are more colorful than the birds in Ohio.

Time moves slower here. People move slower here. I’m starting to adjust to that and enjoy every moment instead of waiting for the time to pass.

They allow dogs almost everywhere. We can take our dog to our favorite breakfast place right on the beach, and no one bats an eye.

Milk comes in a box, and sits at room temperature on a shelf.

Butter comes in a can.

There is no mail delivery. There is one business in town that sells mailboxes. Import taxes are about 38% so you can imagine we don’t do a lot of online shopping.


 

All in all, it’s been an amazing two months. My plans for the next couple of months in Belize are to get in shape (something I’ve been putting off for way too long), do more snorkeling and take some underwater photos with our sweet new camera, and start learning my way around town so that I can go out on my own. I’ll be sharing more about my new Belizean life here from time to time, I hope you’ll join me on the adventure!

You can also:

 

Follow my Belize adventure on Instagram!

New Beginnings in Belize Part 2: Getting Settled In

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I’ve officially been in Belize for 3 1/2 weeks. I forget what it feels like to be cold. I’ve been doing a lot of running around, getting settled in, and making new friends. Honestly, it has been a little hard to believe that I’m actually living here! I meant to take more pictures, but it seems like every time I see something beautiful my hands are full of groceries or I don’t have my phone with me. Today I plan on taking a walk for the sole purpose of taking pictures.

We’re still at the end of summer rainy season here, so it’s been pretty easy to stay inside and keep on track with my work. I also got a new client this week who I am super excited to work with! There is no lack of inspiration here, no lazy days under a blanket by the fireplace. I am full of energy and I’m surrounded by beauty all the time. I can’t explain what that does for my work ethic and my creativity level. It has been a balance between wanting to go out and explore everything San Pedro has to offer- and wanting to get as much work done as possible. The rain kind of makes that decision for me.

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It hasn’t been without some really fun times so far though. I’ve met some really nice, fun people. Got drunk on the beach. Fell asleep in the sun. Took my dog on his first boat ride, and today we’re heading out to get some snorkeling gear! It’s crazy, but we haven’t even been in the ocean yet!

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Look out for some underwater videos and photos coming soon as we head out to explore the reef! For now, it’s back to work for me! Can’t wait to see how this new client’s branding & website turns out. I’m like, way too excited about work right now- which is never a bad thing!

New Beginnings In Belize Part 1: The Trip

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After a long, stress filled trip, I’m sitting on my couch, the Caribbean in sight outside the window next to me, and I’m happier than I’ve been in a long time.

What I learned:

1. I learned that when traveling with 4 suitcases and a large dog to a foreign country, there is no time for selfies.

2. There is only time for jumping through the hurdles that airline employees set for you, who (I swear to god) make it their mission to fuck up your day. And I’m not talking about TSA or customs- we were in and out of security in two minutes.

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Airport 1: Cleveland

We arrived at the ticket counter, luggage and dog crate in tow. While the woman at the desk glared at us with a subtle smirk that said: “I am going to make you cry today.”

Well, she failed. I stared at her with a stone cold confidence as she tried to tell me that my dog did not have a reservation.

I continued my stony gaze after she found the reservation, and proceeded to tell me that my dog was too large for this plane.

I held my head high as I explained to her (again) that we double- then triple checked that we reserved the right plane for our dog.

I smiled with victory as she got off the phone with the manager, who told her to check our dog with the bags.

Airport 2: Atlanta

Uneventful. We made it to our gate and they started loading passengers immediately. The man at the gate even took the time to let me know that my dog was successfully boarded onto the plane.

Time for a mimosa.

If you’ve never flown first-class before, may I strongly suggest it? Awaiting us in our seats were pillows and blankets. Once we sat down, we were offered mimosas. Like, for free- before the plane took off. Flight attendants are nice to you. Whaaaat?

Things were looking up for this trip, we’d made it through…. or so I thought.

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Airport 3: Belize City

Quite a few people on our flight arrived to find that their luggage was lost. Thankfully, we were not those people. (I really hope they found their luggage, I feel for them!)

Got through customs with no problem, and people were friendly.

Pet inspection with BAHA went great. They didn’t even take him out of the crate. They looked over his paperwork and vaccine records, saw it was all in order, and charged us an import tax. Done and done.

Time to load the next plane to San Pedro. Uh Oh.

5 minutes before boarding, they decide to tell us that the captain did not bring the plane with shelving for dog crates that we reserved. That plane wasn’t going to be available until tomorrow- “But it’s ok, you can just leave the dog here overnight,” they assured us.

And that’s when I lost it.

I actually yelled at someone- and made a scene in public. Fully understanding that the people standing in front of us were just the messengers, and that the person I talked to on the phone (who was conveniently not in the room) was the one who actually screwed up. But I had had it. Enough hurdles, we were 15 minutes away from Sand Pedro, and my dog was going to get there. I ran over to the counter for the only other airline that flies to San Pedro, bought Guy a ticket on their plane, and boarded our original flight.

Once we got to the island, it was obviously time for a drink. No more customs, no more flights, just about 45 minutes to kill before our dog arrived on the other plane. We headed to the bar across the street from the airport and bought a beer- and then another.

My poor scared puppy arrived safely, along with our taxi. We made our way to our new home. Everything since that nightmare of a trip has been a dream!

When I look back at the day, I realized that I made a rookie mistake. Thinking that a trip this complicated would go off without a hitch was my downfall, and when I look back, it really wasn’t that bad. I think the stress and guilt of putting my dog in a crate and having him hauled off to the luggage compartment of an airplane really got to me.

Belize Life So Far

Ah-mazing.

So happy and grateful to be in my new home, sitting next to my dog (who seems to really like it here!).

The contrast between life in Ohio and life in Belize is already pervasive. I have so much energy, yet I’m 100% relaxed. I actually went for a run last night. I haven’t run in 2 years.

I ate fruit. Fruit! (that’s relevant because I’ve been living off of junk food and naps for the past couple months)

I’m not on vacation here. I am ready to work and use my new-found energy to my advantage. I’m ready to start earning, living healthier, and creating with more passion and enthusiasm.

I’m ready to develop some amazing products for you, and work with some amazing new clients.

I’m ready to write.

I’m also ready to snorkel, eat seafood, and walk around barefoot. Stay up late, drink beer, swim, and eat some more seafood.

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Phew. This post was more long winded than I thought. Glad you hung in there.

I can’t wait to share more about life in Belize here on this blog regularly. So many readers have been so supportive and curious, so I figured I would make this a regular thing. Since starting The Blog Loft where I blog about business and blogging, I am thinking about taking this blog back to a more semi-personal place. I want to write about life in Belize and my design work here. I want to see what happens, and go with the flow a little. You can look forward to a site re-design, a new portfolio, and a few new client projects that I’ll be sharing soon on this blog!

At The Blog Loft, you can look forward to more designer and creative interviews, guest posts, and weekly forum chats where we get together and chat on a certain subject! Join us this week!

 

When: Thursday: Oct. 9th at 3:30pm EST 

Where: www.TheBlogLoft.com

Topic: Making Connections

Looking forward to meeting everyone who attends, I hope YOU will be there!