Got an email about our neighborhood parade, and I’m really sad to miss it this year – but I think we’ll dress up in red white and blue and march around the jungle in solidarity.
Sunrise here is about 5:30am (2 hour time difference from EST right now) Today I slept in a bit because it is so foggy/misty. I can’t even see the mountains across the river, and even the howlers and bird sounds are subdued. The sun is just starting to burn through, and behind is a bright blue sky.
We have a couple of days we don’t need to drive anywhere and we can just sit and enjoy the last few days of M being here. I started knitting socks last night. This attempt has started much better than my last!
Today I’ll take the compost down to the upper milpa (farm/garden) and maybe visit the lower milpa to get some avocados that are ready for picking. The workers are going to start building a seed house so we can get some new veggies going. BT has made me a sourdough starter that’s almost ready, and then I’m going to get a lesson on baking with it. I’m already wishing we could just stay here all fall and see everything unfold.
We’re going in to town today. Since we don’t have a car this summer, we’re bumming rides with BT when he heads in, and trying to plan ahead for our food and supplies. We get to learn a lot about living here, talking with BT and doing errands for the community. I really like feeling like a bigger part of BIB as I learn more about how it all works, and the things to come.
We’ve stopped at the woodworker’s place so BT can work things out with him. BIB will help stock his shop and keep tools, etc. running so that he will be available for building as more houses get started. His ‘shop’ is sort of like a lean-to, with a couple of old tarps for a roof, and a lot of older woodworking equipment underneath, along with beautiful pieces of wood lined up.
After the woodworkers, we plan to check out a couple of vehicles for sale, and then will have time to pick up a few things we need in town and grab a bite to eat.
There are certain challenges with establishing a new community – basically a new little village – here in Belize. The main folks are in Canada right now, and BT is in charge, but often things need approval through a chain of command (and money) that can seem slow to our fast-paced, always connected ways. Good learning all the way around, and we’re thrilled that L & M have left BIB in such capable hands as BT’s.
After looking at the two vehicles, I had a longing for a vehicle of our own. We will need to save up and have one soon, for sure by next summer. Maybe the community will have a couple of shared vehicles that we could use – a group purchase of some sort. I’ll ponder on how that might work – after I look at the birds awhile.
(and Happy Canada Day to all my Canadian friends!)
Well yesterday ended up being an interesting day and a learning experience. The guys showed up to work @7:30 or so and brought F’s daughter J with them. We met her on our first trip here. It was nice to see her, she is pretty, kind and smart and just a bit younger than T.
E. began asking M to give him things and M felt pretty uncomfortable with him. I went down to work on a client’s site and later J came down and chatted with me. Then M & LT came down. They locked our important stuff in drawers first. When we went back a few hours later, someone of the workers had taken several beers and some rum and coke from the cabin. The things they built after that were put together badly. M had to confront them and try to use his Spanish to convey that it was not cool. Pretty stressful.
Later we talked with BT about the best way to handle it all, given that we still have anther day of work to do. We got a game plan in place. It’s all part of the learning process, and no great harm done in the long run.
Later at night BT and his friend M came by to get a tool and had a beer with us, which was a really nice end to a tense day.
I slept pretty well with a dream that I went to work at a corporate job to make some money but it was no fun at all.
This morning came with a beautiful sunrise but is mostly cloudy now at about 8am. We’ll have the workers finish building the stuff down at the big house, and can do some internet while there. (including getting this blog posted). I’m hoping for a pretty relaxing day after that – may even start knitting my socks or do yoga!
Things that would help other people: There is a lot of setup that you just can’t plan ahead for. Our most stressful piece has been the need to make several trips to various stores and our lack of transportation other than having BT give us a ride (and advice). It’s making us all a little nuts because we didn’t have it adequately planned ahead of time and weren’t clear with everyone on our needs and what was available. Now that we have most everything we need, it seems a lot less stressful.
We stocked up on food yesterday and so can lay low and just enjoy ourselves for awhile E & F will be building us a few things – shelves for bathroom and our electronics, a place to hang clothes and a bench for our back/front porch. It’s nice to have the work for them and is pretty inexpensive overall.
I plan to read, explore the gardens a bit and just chill out. Then earn some money.
We’re really settling in now and finding our pace. Can’t believe M is leaving on Thursday, that will be another whole adjustment. More motivation to get back here for good. Today we go into town – paycheck day for the crew plus some shopping for groceries til Tuesday.
We made a pot of beans yesterday and I added veggies to make a soup with the broth. BT, LT and M went swimming yesterday, but I took the chance for some time alone. I really do feel at home here, and I’m excited for the possibilities of what the community can be. I hope that we, as one of the first families, can be a strong guiding force for helping BIB stay true to its mission. I know there will be hard times and frustrating times, but I love it here and the natural beauty needs to be preserved. We need to avoid having a subdivision of McMansions at all costs.
Sometimes things just take longer or are more complicated here. We’ve been dealing with lots of typical stuff the past few days – the truck had suspension issues, the big generator at Toucan had motor issues, the internet got slowed down, gas and diesel mixed up in the cans, etc. Everything takes a little longer to fix or gets a little worse, but it feels ok to be dealing with all that. Reading my friend’s blog the past two years about her life in Haiti has helped prepare me mentally I think.
We had a HUGE storm Monday night – lots of thunder and lightning and downpour. Our house felt safe & strong, but I still felt a little anxious.
I’ve really been enjoying setting up the house and it’s really so comfortable to live in, too. BT is very helpful in getting the lay of the land and being acclimated to life in Belize.
Planned to head to Spanish Lookout early yesterday, but BT didn’t get rolling til @1pm. There’s always more to do around here. We were able to get most of the things on our long list. Had a quick dinner and drank a beer and talked while it rained.
This morning I woke up while all the guys were sleeping, but the power was out – the batteries got too low for some reason. I didn’t want to wake BT so I headed to the cabin to unpack stuff. It is so beautiful and peaceful here at the cabin. There’s a mist hanging low in the mountains across the valley as the sun is starting to burn through the clouds. A myriad of birds are singing. Settling in here and waiting now for power/people/water to finish up. Still working on slowing down.
We did some work online – got a print order going with a little help from my sister in the states. We rode into Benque with Big T. and walked around while he did some business. We walked all over town then sat in a park by the town hall. A man came out of the town hall to chat with us. Turns out he is a Peace Corps volunteer from Miami here to help Benque with economic development and tourism promotion. We talked with him for awhile, went back to his office, and got on the mailing list and exchanged emails, etc. He hopes to get local people involved to keep initiatives going after he leaves. Big T. (BT) called to pick us up after our urban development meeting. We drove to San Ignacio and he dropped us at Sweet Tings. We looked around a bit, then walked down into town. We got burritos at Minchy’s (good + cheap) and walked down to Courts where we bought a mattress. There was only one so it was almost refreshing – one store & one mattress!
After that we wandered from store to store looking at stuff. It was hot so we found an Italian who made and sold handmade gelato at a little station on the street. It was delicious, and the guy was interesting and talkative.
Right now we are sitting in a bar full of various expats and tourists having a beer and waiting for BT and trying to deal with a bored 10 year old.
Still trying to detox from the internet/constant connection…
Our cabin is finished and we’re planning to spend the summer in Belize – or at least six weeks of it. I’m journaling the experiences, and will type them in here as time and bandwidth permit. We head to Belize June 20th, returning August 2!
So tired when we arrived yesterday. During the night the wind picked up, then thunder crashed so loud echoing through the hills so it sounded like they were sliding down. Woke up to pouring rain that slowed down and finally stopped around noon. M’s busy talking with Big T. Little T’s reading. I’m restless today, trying to settle into the pace and feeling stumbly. I know that soon I’ll feel more peaceful and at ease. Today I feel better than yesterday. It’s coming.
Here’s where we are heading – we love it without even seeing it in person. We’ve enjoyed corresponding with some of our future friends and neighbors, and can’t wait to visit in September!
And here is what we will leave behind – I’m sure the new family who moves here in a few years will LOVE our great neighborhood, we have the best friends and neighbors here, and have had a lot of fun and great memories made!