In Corozal, Belize, we stroll around the town’s Central Park on a Saturday evening in early December, awaiting the lighting of the Christmas tree. During this annual event, some wear Santa hats, vendors have lots of treats to taste, and camaraderie abounds. Stores even help shoppers enjoy spending their money by playing favorite holiday tunes… and songs are sung… like the favorite “Walking in a Winter Wonderland”…
Sleigh bells ring, are you listening?
In the lane snow is glistening…
…He sings a love song as we go along
walking in a winter wonderland…
Not in sunny Belize!
Those of us who ran away from snow-prone regions have smiles on our faces as we join in to sing.
I know people who love seeing snow fall and get a kick out of shoveling it up. Others find bliss coasting down a snow-covered mountain on a pair of skis while humming “Jingle Bells.”
As for me, from my front porch, I like watching the landscape guy gathering up the fallen, ripened branches of palm trees that dot my view of Corozal Bay.
The Christmas holiday season is here, and what a great time to celebrate… a magical and wonderful feeling permeates the air. Folks seem friendlier and smiles are everywhere.
People show their generosity by giving presents. These and other experiences fill our hearts with joy—an uplifting feeling like none other.
Just as gifts vary in shape and size, finding joy takes different forms.
Some find joy visiting family and friends during this special season, traveling by car, plane, train, bus, or whatever, as well as risk all types of weather conditions, just to enjoy their loved ones’ company. Here, expats and locals alike hop on one of Belize’s domestic airlines to get from one plush area to another… for the sake of sharing blissful moments with people they care for.
It’s quite a unique experience to run your toes through the sandy shorelines of Ambergris Caye, Caye Caulker, or any other islands in Belize, especially on a warm, bright sunny day in a so-called “winter month.” To avoid the cold, people from all over the world fly in or drive to Belize to have tropical adventures in this English-speaking Central American country. Some come for the snorkeling, scuba diving, or zip-lining; others to relax in a hammock… whatever brings new feelings of joy.
This feeling of exuberance is everywhere, encouraging all kinds of creativity. Schoolchildren in Corozal made a Christmas tree out of glass Sprite bottles. Books made up a snowman at the Corozal library. Just about every business seems to outdo one another’s Christmas decorations.
The Town Council building across from the Central Park plays holiday music over loudspeakers. Many of us sing along as we go about our day. At a certain point, groups of people will walk through town singing carols and holding candles. The first time I saw it, I was filled with unspeakable joy… words couldn’t adequately describe the scene. What a beautiful gift it was.
In this day and age of social media, millions experience joy by interacting via email, Twitter, WhatsApp, Facebook, Skype, etc. I remember when using a camera to take someone’s picture meant taking the film to a store to develop and processing it, enduring a waiting period of several days. What a gift to see the finished product… a roll of film that had captured special moments worth remembering. How times have changed—for the better—in this arena…
When a family member from the States called me recently to tell me that she and a much younger relative had put up and decorated their Christmas tree, my first response was to ask her to send me a picture. Within seconds I was looking at it. They decorated the tree delightfully and it looked beautiful. Because I had just finished decorating my own tabletop tree with flashing lights, I took a video of it from my cell phone while singing a few bars of a popular Christmas tune. I then sent it Stateside, and my family met my tree with jubilant shouts.
I knew that retiring to Belize would sometimes include bouts of homesickness. I also knew that I wouldn’t be able to jet to the States every time I wanted to be near loved ones. But, fortunately, the low cost of living here has allowed me to stretch my dollars to make annual visits and get some real hugs.
When I can’t make the trip, I interact with young family members via a cell, tablet, or laptop screen. This helps them to remember who I am and I get to watch them grow. Hugging my laptop during a FaceTime chat will suffice until my next visit.
My video gift from Belize brought a lot of joy to my loved ones far away. The gift of living in Belize continues to bring constant joy to me.
And I don’t have to go far to get it. I just keep finding it in Belize.
Come and find your gifts of joy in Belize.