“The human heart feels things the eyes cannot see, and knows what the mind cannot understand,” said Robert Valett.
For me, this is so true.
I may not be able to describe the wonderful experiences I have, these days, but I can surely give a name to the place where they happen: Belize, the Central American country known by its people as “The Jewel.”
If I had heard this term when I first arrived in Belize two years ago, I wouldn’t have understood what it meant.
And a few experiences led me to think that maybe this country earned a name it wasn’t entitled to… maybe it’s not such a gem of a place to be, after all.
No, this country doesn’t glisten all of the time… what place does? And we know that, even if it did, all that glitters is not gold. Even a diamond has rough edges.
But the longer I live here, and the more people I meet here from all over the world, and the more multi-culturalism I experience… the more I can see and feel the sparkles that make Belize shine.
In my pursuit for the finest living on a single senior’s modest income, I wanted to find a peaceful lifestyle in a beautiful place with warm weather and palm trees swaying in the breeze. I also wanted to have the option of living in a mountainous terrain, plush with greenery.
Being near a large body of water is dear to my heart… and not just for the sandy beaches—although Belize has more than its fair share of them. I want to be able to see waves in constant motion and to see how the seaside sparkles when the sun reflects off of it at any time of day.
And, because no man or woman should be an island, I like to be in an area where I can meet new people and where it’s easy to turn strangers into friends. Others like a more isolated lifestyle.
Fortunately, all of this can be found in Belize.
I have learned to be flexible about my expectations in some areas… There are foods I’ve had to learn to live without—Utz potato chips and chocolate Tastykakes were a couple of my particular favorites before moving down here.
What was I to do? These had been important items in my life before my move to Belize!
Luckily, my son remembers me sending him care packages when he was serving in the military overseas. Now, he sends me care packages periodically with my beloved snacks. It’s a big deal at the local post office when I receive one of these gifts. I open the box while still there and share goodies with whomever is around, sharing the wealth as the jewel of Belize shares hers.
And I’ve learned to accept others and their reasons for getting away from their home towns, whether permanently or just for a while. Travel is such a valuable education and a way to be exposed to new and exciting adventures. Enjoying all of these things helps me to appreciate life more fully, even during the times when I cannot explain how or why.
Belize It Or Not…
At the turn of the 21st century, the tallest building in Belize was still a Mayan-built edifice.
The Canaa temple stands among the complex of temples at Caracol, western Belize, in the foothills of the Maya Mountains. It was built by the Mayans around 1,000 A.D. and stands at 143 feet tall (43.5 meters).
Its windows were built to align with the sun on solstice and equinox days, and from the top it gives magnificent views of the Chiquibul Forest Reserve National Park.
Just recently, a lady and her husband arrived in Corozal and rented a place down the road from where I live. They are retired but determined to maintain a full and adventurous life. They are giving themselves a few months to try out this part of the country to see if it fits the lifestyle they are looking for. The wife is a real go-getter!
Someone had recommended she seek me out because I live nearby and had been helpful to other newbies in the past. What a wonderful encounter this was. It wasn’t long before we realized how much we have in common. We are both from big cities in the United States, retired from rewarding jobs in the social services arena, don’t enjoy cooking, and love the pool. Before long, we were swimming and doing water aerobics in a nearby pool with a waterfall!
It was during this time of being a personal guide to this lady that I was reminded of some of the reasons why the ambiance of Belize is so hard to describe.
For instance, my heart is opened time and time again by the friendliness of the locals and the hospitality of the many expats to a total stranger. My newfound friend already feels relaxed in her new home away from home—and her knees are breathing a sigh of relief being away from the cold.
Not long ago, I was wondering if the novelty of living in Belize was beginning to wear off.
However, since having an opportunity to personally show someone the sights, the sounds, and the delicious smells of local foods, I know that I want to continue to enjoy the uniqueness that Belize has to offer. I just may not be able to adequately describe it to someone who isn’t here… You have to experience it for yourself—then let’s see how easy it is for you to describe this Jewel known as Belize!