Sondra created quite the "scenery" as a little crowd drew on the street. She had arrived from Belize City on the Trickster barge, and was carried from the pier to the gallery on a trailer pulled by a golf cart. Important things were happening, such excitement. She was uncrated, de-doored and lifted up the stairs one grueling step at a time. 3 men including a tourist from Denmark, and an hour and a half later she was standing re-doored and all shiny. And I hugged her like she was a tree. I love you Sondra, I said to myself. Its o.k. to love an appliance.
I had remembered everything... that is, except to measure the width on the verandah door. Snap snap went the pinch bar and tap tap from a hammer popped off the moulding, and she slipped right thru. Lovely. Shirlene poses next to Sondra. "She's pretty noh tru miss Lee, and so BIG."
Where is Old Delia? Old Delia has been relegated to a corner because of her bad ways. Old Delia doesn't like to work, is constantly hot, spoils things and has had many many many many repairmen inside of her. So, unplugged she stands in the corner waiting waiting waiting for the repairman to come to the caye. With Sondra so pretty and cold and big and new, things will never be the same for Old Delia.
I was two years in Mexico. Two years, wow. Seems like yesterday I closed my store on Caye Caulker and was moving over the border from Belize into Chetumal during the rains of November 2008 which washed away the Northern Highway, like a refugee. Err... I mean, full time artist.
The first few months were exceptionally difficult, not speaking Spanish, and on my own most of the time. Then came the Spanish Teacher with his dry sense of humor chiding me "Miss Lee Ann you are scaring the people again." and "You have to deal with these people and their attitudes with your elbows out, Miss Lee Ann stick your elbows out and establish your space." and my favorite thing he ever said was "Mexicans (read: Catholics) love an apology, so start any sentence with an apology for your bad Spanish." The tutoring always started with a 1/2 hour psychiatric counseling session and ended 2 hours later with my promises to study. I am a terrible student.
Friends were few and far between. In Chetumal there really isn't an expat community, not one that I could find anyhow. Where were all the white people hiding? After two years my neighbors went from fear of the apocolypse to a grudging admiration for the white lady who could now speak her crap Spanish (after the apology) to buy a coke light at the corner store.
I would be exaggerating if I said I did not make ANY friends at all. I was accustomed to meeting new, interesting people every
day on Caye Caulker. After a couple of months I met a couple of cool Belizean ladies living in Chetumal, an American retired real estate agent (soon to move to Corozal) and an American lady living in Corozal who had loads of tips and tricks for traversing the border, essential info for me moving to and fro as I was. And that was it. Four ladies in two years. I found myself going to Chedraui and walking around with my shopping cart looking to bump into English speakers. That worked, but mostly I was beggining to be the weird American lady. As if...
And then came the dengue fever. 14 days sick with it, 10 days on my own, too sick to get out of bed, too sick to go to the doctor, high fever, rash, swelling, constant nose bleed. Trying to stay asleep as much as I could until it passed, IF it would pass. And then not feeling better after it passed, exhaustion, I found out that I had developed a heart problem, an arrhythmia, or irregular heartbeat. The depression that followed, made me realize that I NEVER wanted to be in that predicament again. I began to wonder if I needed to be on an antidepressant. But Ifelt like my depression was the situation, and I was the ony one that could change the situation. Alone in a foreign country, few friends, no one checking on me. Isolation. And while the isolation was good for me to be able to create new things, to have the mental space. I can't handle continual isolation. Who can? Ask someone coming out of solitary confinement.
So, I packed it in, and packed it up. Carload by carload and boatload I moved back to Caye Caulker, and still have some belongings in Mexico strewn across the city with friends. The last time I moved I said "I will never own this much junk again." and here I was, packing up boxes of all my "good stuff." I had decided to reopen my store in the Alamina Beach House apartment, which is located above the Sports Bar (next to the Police Station) It is the same property where my store was before, just in a different location in the building.
I got a lot of encouragement from my artist friends and other gallery owners in Belize to reopen. A good friend in San Pedro talked at length with me and told me some of her back story, which I didn't know. It was a story about having to pull herself up out of the toilet over and over, and reinvent herself, and to isolate the people that are making you crazy.
The biggest gift came early though. I am going to be 50 on November 25 (yes I am a turkey baby) and a friend here on Caye Caulker loaned me her handyman for 2-1/2 days as an early birthday present. So, Lenny painted and hammered and painted and hammered. Thank you Doris. This same friend also came over nearly every day to make sure that I had changed out of my PJs, taken a shower, combed my hair and made progress. She doesn't know that I know what she did, so don't tell her that I know she was checking up on me, but friends like that I am grateful for.
The first couple of weeks back on Caye Caulker, people who had heard of my demise, were surprised and pleased to see me. I simply told them "I am hard to kill." and wiggled my eyebrows, and then did the crazy eyes thing I am so good at.
Two years in Mexico made me realize that I need my people, even if the people on Caye Caulker are nosey and interfering. As I put on my old tear up clothes with 1/2 the fringe missing, nobody looked at me sideways.
So I got Shirlene to come back to work for me again. We are like Thelma & Louise, except we aren't going to commit suicide at the end of the movie.
I have very few regrets in life, and I don't regret closing the old store in 2008 and moving to Chetumal. It was an essential part of the journey.
But it appears that you CAN go home.
If you're confused about where I am, follow the pink.
I recently referred to someone as a "douche bag." Not to their face of course, because then I couldn't have the satisfaction of having a passive aggressive rant behind their back. The name fits. This person is irresponsible, a jerk, selfish, and in general a jerk. Whopsydaisy, I used the word jerk twice. Now, I know what a douche bag is in real life. Its a very clever invention for cleaning your tarantula. But the use of it to describe a person and their behavior, where did that come from? Any of you experts on word or phrase origin, feel free to pipe up. I found this interesting urban dictionary entry: meaning of douche bag
Written by Regina Brett, 90 years old, of the Plain Dealer, Cleveland, Ohio. To celebrate growing older, she wrote the 45 lessons life 1. Life isn't fair, but it's still good. 2. When in doubt, just take the next small step. 3. Life is too short to waste time hating anyone. 4. Your job won't take care of you when you are sick. Your friends and parents will. Stay in touch. 5. Pay off your credit cards every month. 6. You don't have to win every argument. Agree to disagree. 7. Cry with someone. It's more healing than crying alone. 8. It's OK to get angry with God. He can take it. 9. Save for retirement starting with your first paycheck. 10. When it comes to chocolate, resistance is futile. 11. Make peace with your past so it won't screw up the present. 12. It's OK to let your children see you cry. 13. Don't compare your life to others. You have no idea what their journey is all about. 14. If a relationship has to be a secret, you shouldn't be in it. 15. Everything can change in the blink of an eye. But don't worry; God never blinks. 16.. Take a deep breath. It calms the mind. 17. Get rid of anything that isn't useful, beautiful or joyful. 18. Whatever doesn't kill you really does make you stronger. 19. It's never too late to have a happy childhood. But the second one is up to you and no one else. 20. When it comes to going after what you love in life, don't take no for an answer. 21. Burn the candles, use the nice sheets, wear the fancy lingerie. Don't save it for a special occasion. Today is special. 22. Over prepare, then go with the flow. 23. Be eccentric now. Don't wait for old age to wear purple. 24. The most important sex organ is the brain. 25. No one is in charge of your happiness but you. 26. Frame every so-called disaster with these words 'In five years, will this matter?' 27. Always choose life. 28. Forgive everyone everything. 29. What other people think of you is none of your business. 30. Time heals almost everything. Give time, time. 31. However good or bad a situation is, it will change. 32. Don't take yourself so seriously. No one else does. 33. Believe in miracles. 34. God loves you because of who God is, not because of anything you did or didn't do. 35. Don't audit life. Show up and make the most of it now. 36. Growing old beats the alternative -- dying young. 37. Your children get only one childhood. 38. All that truly matters in the end is that you loved. 39. Get outside every day. Miracles are waiting everywhere. 40. If we all threw our problems in a pile and saw everyone else's, we'd grab ours back. 41. Envy is a waste of time. You already have all you need. 42. The best is yet to come... 43. No matter how you feel, get up, dress up and show up. 44. Yield. 45. Life isn't tied with a bow, but it's still a gift."
I'll add one more that is mine.... 46. Always be prepared. Stop slobbing around in your nightgown. Get up, take your shower, brush your teeth, comb your hair, and put on clean clothes.
I knew if I looked hard enough, I would catch someone being naughty. And I did. They were a huddle of little ole Muslem ladies over to the side passing a ciggy amongst them. It was WARM that day (more than 90) and the poor ole gals had to stay covered up in their hajib, head covering and long polyester long sleeved gowns. I personally was sweating like a pig in my tank top, cargo shorts and flip flops at the Arab festival in Dearborn. An interesting event to people watch. Every type, shape, size, and ethnicity from men and women in traditional garb, to more modern interpretations of the Koran to out and out carival ho's. (Ya know every carnival hasta have its ho's).
Is it is safe to say that "Only in America" can you see an old Muslem women smoking a ciggy in public?
I made all my connections like clockwork, which is a rare event. Leaving the house in Chetumal, Mexico at 10:30 p.m. headed for the bus station, I caught a cab right away. Arriving at the terminal not even 15 minutes later, I bought a ticket for the executive class, midnight bus to Cancun. No stops in between, it was a straight shot up the highway to Cancun and I arrived at the downtown bus terminal at 5:20 a.m., just in time to get the 5:30 shuttle to the airport, a 45 minute ride.
So I am at the airport in Cancun, too early to check into my Spirit Airlines cheapo flight to Detroit. I am prepared though with my book and turkey bagel sandwich brought from home and Starbucks is right there beconing me. I have my laptop case and a regular size suitcase, and the place is deserted except for me and the Starbucks lady. I wheel my suitcase over to a nearby table and go to the counter to order a coffee to sip while I eat my bagel brought from home. I don't pay airport prices if I can help it. I would rather bring a sandwich from home than order some expensive piece of nothing.
As I turn and walk back to my table, I see her coming towards me totally dolled up at 6:15 a.m. We are the only two in sight. I don't believe in dolling things up just to get on an airplane with people I will never see again. I am not here to impress anyone, I am just getting from Point A to Point B. I am wearing my Mexican Frida dress and just want to be cool and comfortable in the 103 degree heat. Miss Purple Glitter Eyeshadow with her bling bling shirt and high heels and her enormous suitcase wheel up to the Starbucks counter and order a fancy expensive coffee drink. I am not really paying attention because it is all about the turkey bagel sandwich with dijon mustard now and the John Grisham novel for the next hour. But I do turn my head as she bulldozes her way through the tables and chairs to get to the couches with her coffee and enormous suitcase talking on her blackberry. I watch her as she plops down and starts screaming into the blackberry "WHAT THE FOK! SO YOU ARE FOKING NOT GOING TO FOKING PICK ME UP FROM THE FOKING AIRPORT??!!!! WELL FOK YOU! and then she whips her blackberry, which then becomes a crackberry, across the room and it lands at my feet. What am I supposed to do now, kick it back at her and yell "YOU'RE IT!" I should have just minded my own business because while I was enjoying the SCENERY, the tomato from my turkey bagel sandwich was slowly sliding out the bottom and rolling down the front of my white Frida Dress.
I am trying to clean up the buffet I have created down the front of me and the crackberry phone is still on. I can hear him, the nameless faceless man "Babe... babe... babey... you know I love you... babe... babe... answer me."
The phone went quiet for a few moments and I thought he had hung up and I hear again "Baaaaabbbbbeeeeeeyyyyyy!" loud and clear like its coming from the airport announcement speakers.
Eventually she retreived her phone, not one glance in my direction, nonplussed. I buried myself in my book and didn't even glance up when the newly arrived athlete decided to do olympic stretches at the table next to me. By that time I had pushed my Permanent Ignore button.
Most of the trip was uneventful. I had my aswers practiced and ready in my head when going thru immigration on entering the U.S. at Detroit Metro. The waitress, oops I mean stewardess passing out the immigration forms made it very clear that if you made a mistake on your form you were NOT going to get a new one. The mistake I made was in the writing of my residence. I do not live in the U.S., and realized this slip up before landing. I physically live in Mexico more than in Belize right now, so I put a slash mark after U.S.A. and wrote Mexico, then realized that I don't have residency in Mexico, I am on a 6 month multiple entry visa, which I had to turn in at the airport since it was going to expire while I was gone. My real residency is Belize, so I put a slash mark after Mexico and wrote Belize.
Trouble brewing, and I felt it. No time to make up a story. The immigration lady officer wasn't too interested, glancing up and down at the salad bar buffet imprinted on my Frida dress. However, the customs agent was absurdely curious. A young guy, tall and probably in his late 20s or early 30s commented on the USA/Mexico/Belize residency and asked me the trick questions. Customs Officer: "How long have you been out of the country?" Me:long pause.."Its been 10 months since I left" Customs Officer: "What were you doing while you were out of the country?" Me: long pause... "Well, I'm a painter and a photographer." Customs Officer: "So, what were you doing while you were out of the country?" Me: "Painting pictures and taking photographs." Customs Officer: "So did you just go down there and hook up with someone?" (I am thinking... what does this have to do with smuggling flora and fauna?) Me: "Well, my husband is Belizean, we have been married for 4 years, so I guess the answer is yes." Customs Officer: (with a funny look on his face) You can pass... Me: "Huh?" I am mentally preparing for the "Search" Customs Officer: Its o.k. you can go As I am walking away... I start to wonder... was he flirting with me? And I sigh, well that is just magical thinking. I decide that next time I am just going to tell them I am a missionary.
I wheel into the arrivals area and Supergirl is waiting for me with the big ole Lincoln at the curb, and the first words out of her mouth aren't "Hi Mom, nice to see you, been a long time, what presents did you bring for me?" But rather..... Supergirl: That outfit is screaming "STRIPSEARCH"(as she looks up and down the salad buffet Frida dress) Me: Must be the crotchless panties. Supergirl: Gross Me: You started it...
I don't actively shoot. I don't walk around with my camera looking for things to photograph. Most of my shots happen when I am supposed to be doing something else, like looking at the bride and groom riding their bikes down the beach, jumping off a pier or walking towards me. For me, my pictures just happen, they aren't planned or sought after.
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"My fiance doesn't like his picture taken, so we don't want too many posed photos." Annie told me in the email just prior to arriving for their wedding.
"Not too surprising, most men don't like have their pictures taken." I thought to myself.
We met the night before the ceremony and I could see how shy he was and how outgoing she was. "No problem." I told them, "I hardly ever even look at the groom, it's all about the bride." And it IS all about the bride.
The day of the ceremony, we met at 3 p.m., the ceremony was to be at 5 p.m., a bit late for Caye Caulker.
"Want a beer?" the groom asked me as I arrived to start the beach portraits. His nervousness made me nervous so I accepted. Annie was doing her hair and putting on her makeup, I got busy photographing the dress. Setting up that shot takes time and is harder than it looks, being an interior shot with low light and I hate to use a flash, so I just shoot and shoot and shoot and sooner or later something is bound to turn out right.
I tried to not use runon sentences, I didn't want to spook the groom, so Annie and I just went about our business of the taking-of-the-photos for Mom and Grandma and Auntie and Friends.
She and I went out to the beach to give him space to get ready and relax and calm himself. I don't believe he was nervous about getting married, no not at all. He was nervous about me. I assured him I only take thinner, younger pictures and we headed down the beach to my favorite coconut trees and Tia Ilna's rickity bench. I consciously have to slow myself down, it helps in the end result. I have to remind myself it is not a race. More is not better, it is just more, as I mentally worked through my shot list.
After an hour we swang back by the hotel and picked up the groom and slowly made our way down the beach. Before leaving the pool area, several onlookers offered shote of tequilla, and being the very observant photographer that I am, I was able to photograph what I call "Tequilla Face," the UGH!
"Plenty of time, plenty of time, no rush, go slow." I kept telling myself as I suggested that we stop at Popeyes on the beach for another beer. A couple of Cuban guys have taken over the bar and restaurant, and were excited when Mr. Ku, the minister also stopped in to chat with us and drink a juice. The Cuban guys mistakenly thought that we were going to have the ceremony there.
"Sorry, sorry, next time, next time" I said as we ambled down. "We cook a pig for you next time and make big party." "O.K., no problem" I said over my shoulder as we continued ambling down the beach.
I hadn'tnoticed it until then.... the groom had relaxed into the momenet.
The ceremony was at the end of Tropical Paradise's dock. I have timed the wonderful Mr. Ku, our marriage minister for Caye Caulker. It is typically a 6 minute ceremony, but 30 minutes later, we were still listening. The wedding party was the bride, groom, minister, photographer, and Sally the Wedding Planner and Scott, her boyfriend as wittnesses.
The bride and groom had a lot to say to each other. They told what they liked and loved about each other. They had a lot of promises to each other. But they were good promises about how they were going to treat each other and what they expected from the realtionship. I learned a lot about them and their relationship during the ceremony.
In this job you meet people and spend a couple of hours with them and it is all surface stuff, and make nicey nicey. But this shy man revealed whole other levels, and I was honored to have been a wittness to it.
Let's Dance! A late night rainy night wedding reception at Habaneros on Caye Caulker. The guests made an impromptu dance floor from one side of the verandah. Life is an experiment, and this was shot in night portrait mode, (whatever that means) on my new Canon 40D. Fortunately, I did not catch anyone's panties (in case you are wondering) as I stood outside the verandah rail and shot from the floor up.
"Let's Dance" by David Bowie Let's dance put on your red shoes and dance the blues Let's dance to the song they're playin' on the radio Let's sway while color lights up your face Let's sway sway through the crowd to an empty space If you say run, I'll run with you If you say hide, we'll hide Because my love for you Would break my heart in two If you should fall Into my arms And tremble like a flower Let's dance for fear your grace should fall Let's dance for fear tonight is all Let's sway you could look into my eyes Let's sway under the moonlight, this serious moonlight If you say run, I'll run with you If you say hide, we'll hide Because my love for you Would break my heart in two If you should fall Into my arms And tremble like a flower Let's dance put on your red shoes and dance the blues Let's dance to the song they're playin' on the radio Let's sway you could look into my eyes Let's sway under the moonlight, this serious moonlight
I was asked to participate by a board member, at the 11th hour at an exhibition of women artists in Belize. I found out about it less than a week before the opening, and rushed to create a lovely piece titled: Three Women, Inspiration, The Idea, Creative. I wish I could say that the exhibition at the Bliss Institute went well, but after driving 3 hours with my very irritable husband, and then listening to speeches from women about how we shouldnt apologize for who we are, and how women in general are under represented and especially in Belize it is a mans society running the art world, I found that my painting, which I had painted specially for this exhibition and sent 2 days before the show opened, had not been displayed, but had been thrown into a storage closet. I hadnt even received a courtesy email telling me, and there was no excuse, since it was easy to find in the packet of information I sent along with the painting. I was told this by a very smug Bill Skinner. There was plenty of floor space, and they couldn't drag out an easel?????
So I sent my very irritable husband to the storage room with the very smug Bill Skinner to get the painting and I got back into the car and drove 3 hours in the night back home. Not exactly a good day. ´
So, I was schooled:I thought things would change with the new administration. With the last government, the art scene was run by men, and it showed. I had hope for this new administration, but now I am as confused as with them as I am by Obama's rhetoric. You can give speeches on women's rights and how we are underrepresented, but if those same people are disrespecting you and schooling you, teaching you a lesson, they are no better than the last. They schooled me and taught me that: YOU ARE NOT IMPORTANT YOUR WORK MEANS NOTHING YOU ARE NOT A PART OF OUR SCENE
So, Dear ones, I don't need anyone to school me, I already feel shitty enough about myself as it is, you don't need to add to the anger and hurt. I lost a day that could have been spent creating beautiful things in my studio. I lost money on gas and expenses to attend, freight charges to send the painting via airplane. But you schooled me, and that is the important thing. THANK YOU.
Photo was added on March 12, 2010. Thank you Natalie for sending it.
I came across a website that I hadnt looked at in years. I used to go to this site every day to see how I felt. It was a little bit of an obsession. And even though it wasnt 100% correct I found the advice always nurturing and uplifting.
So today, I was reminded of it and I went to look up the free card of the day, and it was a telling one...
This has been said again and again, down through the ages. All the religious people have been saying this: "We come alone into this world, we go alone." All togetherness is illusory. The very idea of togetherness arises because we are alone, and the aloneness hurts. We want to drown our aloneness in relationship.... That's why we become so much involved in love. Try to see the point. Ordinarily you think you have fallen in love with a woman or with a man because she is beautiful, he is beautiful. That is not the truth. The truth is just the opposite: you have fallen in love because you cannot be alone. You were going to fall. You were going to avoid yourself somehow or other. And there are people who don't fall in love with women or men--then they fall in love with money. They start moving into money or into a power trip, they become politicians. That too is avoiding your aloneness. If you watch man, if you watch yourself deeply, you will be surprised--all your activities can be reduced to one single source. The source is that you are afraid of your aloneness. Everything else is just an excuse. The real cause is that you find yourself very alone. Osho Take it Easy, Volume 2 Chapter 1
Commentary: Some enchanted evening you're going to meet your soulmate, the perfect person who will meet all your needs and fulfill all your dreams. Right? Wrong! This fantasy that songwriters and poets are so fond of perpetuating has its roots in memories of the womb, where we were so secure and "at one" with our mothers; it's no wonder we have hankered to return to that place all our lives. But, to put it quite brutally, it is a childish dream. And it's amazing we hang on to it so stubbornly in the face of reality. Nobody, whether it's your current mate or some dreamed-of partner in the future, has any obligation to deliver your happiness on a platter--nor could they even if they wanted to. Real love comes not from trying to solve our neediness by depending on another, but by developing our own inner richness and maturity. Then we have so much love to give that we naturally draw lovers towards us.
In the past 2 years, sometimes I would wake up in the middle of the night and think, where am I and what am I doing here? But now I am o.k. with being alone, it has taken me time to get to this place, but now that I realize I am here, it is fine.
I have passed a milestone. This morning I successfully talked and cried my way out of a Mexican traffic ticket. Going the wrong direction on a one way street. I said these magic words -Lo siento, mea culpa, mea culpa. (I am sorry, my fault, my fault) accompanied by a bucket of tears and the bewildered Mexican police officer let me go with a warning. Hmm... I will have to remember that, say you are sorry and cry...
I was desperate. That is what it usually takes for me to submit myself to helplessness and drilling into my skull.
I found them on the internet and since my phone spanish isnt as good as my in person spanish, (because you cant see my hand gestures over the phone) I grabbed a cab and tried for a walk in. The receptionist put me out of my language misery when I said in Espanole, --Soy tengo dolor aqui - me have pain here - (pointing to my mouth), and answered me in English telling me that the dentist can see me in a few minutes.
She took me into a thoroughly modern and hygenic office with a TV mounted on the wall and the Dentist, speaking perfect English (although the word for ouch is the same in almost every language) took an X-ray and gave me an estimate and set up an appointment for the next day. I And (drumroll please) the cost of a root canal on a bicuspid, a stainless steel post driven into my skull to hold it in place, and a porcelain crown was 4,000 pesos, and at an exchange rate of 12.5 to the dollar it was $320 U.S. I have the temporary on right now and the permanent will be installed next week. The temporary looks so good that I am half tempted to not come back, but since I have paid in advance, I will. I promise.
Having the stainless steel peg put in was pretty intense, but I will just blame it on menopause. Two doctors did that part, and the other doctor was young and female and did a lot of cooing to soothe me as she held my head in a neck lock. (just kidding folks, she did the suctioning). My favorite part was when she said --Mrs. Lee Ann, I give you all of my kindness, it ok to cry you can cry it o.k. you cry now-- Awe shucks that was the nicest thing anyone had said to me all day, in fact all week. She then complimented me, and at this stage in the game, it sounded pretty good when she said -for a woman your age you have more teeth in your mouth than the average.-
Before I left, I asked the dentist if they ever did gold front teeth anymore, and he gave a deep sigh and said, -alas, no, gold is too expensive, and these days and no one likes to see shine in the front anymore.-
I was on a nearly empty first flight out of Detroit Metro airport headed for Cancun Mexico and then ultimately for Belize. I figured (correctly) that they would not put that big plane in the air if they thought it would crash.
I was a tier 2 supplier for GM and had to file a Y2K plan months in advance. My plan was this: I plan on turning the clock back one year on all my computer equipment, then unplugging everything. And as it turned out, Y2K was a non-issue.
10 years ago would I have figured that I would be in this place at this time, doing this thing? I came to Belize initially on an exploratory mission. I had checked out other places, and they didn't fit. I knew I wanted out of the rat race, and out of corporate America. I was in the publishing business and subject to crazy deadlines, technology glitches, and other people's bad planning. It nearly wrecked me. So that was the year I decided to bail. Back and forth I went, working on plans & contacts.
I get asked this questions all the time: "Did you come down here on vacation and stay?" And the answer is no, it was part of a 3 year plan to exit. When my youngest daughter went into high school, the light bulb went on over my head and I realized that I didn't HAVE to do this forever and forever. I needed to do something for myself, I had been working since I was 12 years old, first job was in the family business, then for the U.S. government, then for a big university, then a corporate publisher, and then for myself (the worst torture ever imaginable).
10 years ago, I was the typical idealist. I got down here and flopped around for a while, a fish out of water. I made some mistakes and nearly got swindled in a land deal, but somehow some way I was saved by the strangest twist of events. It took a full year to acclimatize myself and not break a sweat at the thought of moving my limbs. On Caye Caulker there are signs saying "Go Slow" and you think that it is referring to the speed of golf carts. Well, really it is the speed for walking. If you walk slow you sweat less.
So this morning, the first morning of 2010, its a little rainy and cool, but living in Belize is still better than having to get a real job.
So, the question I pose is where were you and what were you doing on Y2K?
I was a woman on the verge of a nervous breakdown before I retired at the age of 40 and moved to Belize (12 years ago). I live 20 miles offshore on a teensy weensy tiny island called Caye Caulker, where I have an art gallery featuring my art, silk scarves, jewelery and local Belizean artists. Now, I'm a woman living in the moment accepting all the gifts that the universe has to offer.