Editor’s Note: Our longtime Belize contributor Marie Peay recently got in touch to notify us of her move from Corozal to Mexico. She tells us…
“I spent two glorious years finding the peace of mind that I had lost growing up in the midst of the stressful big city life in northeastern United States. Belize and its multicultural and slow paced environment allowed me to live a much slower paced and healthier lifestyle. That really worked well for a while.
“But, after some time, I felt the need to see what other scenes surrounded me. And since “You can’t see the picture when you’re in the frame,’ I made what I now know was a wise decision. I decided to step out of the picture I had painted myself into. (I was also beginning to feel a little homesick as I missed some of my favorite stores and dining spots that did not exist where I was living.)
“So, I took the advice of a fellow expat and traveled north of the border to the city of Chetumal, which is the capital of the state of Quintana Roo in Mexico.”
For this issue of In Focus: Belize, Marie recalls the magical charm that first drew her to experience life in Belize…
Dear In Focus: Belize Reader,
Somewhere over the rainbow there’s a lot to enjoy, especially in Belize. You can have fun on the mainland, on the sea, in the sky, or on one of the many nearby islands that the country hosts. And it’s possible to do all this from Corozal, at the northern end of Belize in Central America.
My relocation to this English-speaking country evolved from a weeklong mission trip in the Cayo District in 2013. By 2014, I began expanding it to a two-and-a-half year vacation/retreat experience. For a long time, I hadn’t realized that this was just what I needed.
I was certainly delighted for the change from the big city noises and constant hustle and bustle in the United States. It actually took me a while to convince myself that I was not being lazy and that I deserved to relax in a quiet, peaceful, and beautiful tropical environment on the Caribbean Sea.
I had retired from working many decades, raised my children, and helped to raise others. My life had been full, but, as I got older, it wasn’t as fulfilling as I wanted it to be.
I needed a major change.
I had tried my hand at various part-time jobs where I could provide customer service to the public. However, I found that the public was not always willing to accept services the way they were being offered by the companies I worked for. And I tired of hearing complaints.
Soon after I relocated to Belize, I began being serenaded by the many species of birds found all over the country. It was like sweet music to my ears. While living in the big city, the honks and horns of vehicles on the crowded streets had managed to drown out the melodies of the birds that lived there. I had never been a big Nature enthusiast, but, when in Belize, I began to feel more connected to the nature that was all around me.
The magnificent, varied and colorful plants and trees became a part of my daily scenery. Most wonderfully, I woke up every day excited that I could see the Corozal Bay from every room in my rented apartment.
At times, I felt so connected to this vibrant flow of nature that I felt like I could literally go right across the road and simply walk out on the water with its waves overlapping. Fortunately, I didn’t let my feelings overtake me to try that out. I was just glad the majestic waters were always there.
Other times I wanted to get up and start running as far and as fast as I could until I found something exciting. It was at those times that I knew I needed to “get out of Dodge” and do something vastly different. I was not content to stay in my tranquil world of serenity. I wondered if I had gotten Belized-out.
Then, one day, as I sat in my living room that faces the sea, I experienced something truly magnificent. I was wondering how I could add some spice to my journey. Sure, I enjoyed the social activities celebrating the birthdays of new people in my life as well as catching up with friends at “chat and chew” sessions where a good time is always had by all.
But on this day, while listening to the birds and feeling the breezes from the fronds of the palm trees, I suddenly looked up and saw a beautiful rainbow in the sky. I rushed outside to make sure I was not daydreaming and brought my phone along to capture this spectacular sight. To me, it was a sign that something wonderful would take place for me right here in Belize.
I was so excited. I felt then that I was not, and could never become, Belized-out; that there was still something special on the horizon of what was becoming my new home.
The rainbow seemed to spread over the direction of one of my favorite islands, Ambergris Caye, home to the bustling resort town of San Pedro. I contacted one of Belize’s two domestic airlines and realized that San Pedro is only a 20-minute flight from my local airstrip. I made a reservation to travel there the following week.
I mentioned this to a friend of mine and she wanted to join me. I had traveled to San Pedro before and had always enjoyed it, whether alone or in the company of others. It’s just that kind of place. However, this time, I would act as a guide for my friend. I would show her around the exciting and adventuresome places I enjoy in San Pedro—there would be a lot to choose from.
And discovering and sharing special moments with new friends is just what Belize is all about. Expats frequently share their time and experiences with newcomers to the area. They introduce them to the many gift shops and the Belizean Gallery of Art that is filled with beautiful and exquisite jewelry, paintings, and other fascinating items. They go to restaurants, shoot down zip lines, snorkel, parasail, paraglide, fish, golf, etc.
Belize has a special soul and special souls live there. Somewhere over the rainbow… blue birds fly.
You can, too.