Thursday, April 19, 2012

FAQ's I get about moving to Belize

1. Are you crazy? - Maybe a little.

2. Why Belize? - Why not Belize? It's beautiful, I speak the language, people are friendly, the cost of living is cheaper, eating here is healthier, fresh air, sunshine, Caribbean Sea.... come on, why NOT Belize?

3. You live on an island? - I did, for the first 9 months. San Pedro on Ambergris Caye.
Now I live in the jungle, but, eventually, I'm going to try to work out spending 3-4 days on the island to work, and 3-4 days back home in the jungle.

4. Do you miss anything from back home? - Other than friends, family, beer options, and Philly cheesesteaks, not really. I don't miss Walmart or Target or malls. Definitely don't miss traffic and the cost of any car repairs. I didn't eat any fast food when I lived in the States (other than a Chik-Fil-A chocolate milkshake *yum*) so I don't miss McDonald's or Burger King or Taco Bell. I might miss Dunkin Donuts coffee.... but I still get good coffee here.

5. So, you just showed up in Belize and got a job? No. For the first month I just hung out. When it was time to get a job, I needed to buy a work permit. If you search online about how to get one of those here, it looks complicated (
Luckily, the guy I was going to be working for just told me to give him some money, I went and got my picture taken, and I had my permit 6 hours later and worked that night. I definitely overpaid, but it was worth not having to wait up to 3 months to get it. - Side note - the work permit is only valid for one year and mine runs out in June, BUT, I get to apply for my residency on May1st and once that's approved, I can work again.

6. What kind of work did you find? Same stuff I did in PA, bartending and massage.

7. What are the people like? It's pretty hard to generalize the people here since there are so many different cultures - Garifuna, Maya, Kriol, Mestizo, Mennonites, Chinese, Lebanese, - but they're all nice. Everyone says hello (unless they're working, for some reason. Customer service is not big here) Something else I've noticed - almost everyone, once they consider you a friend, will invite you to come see the village that they're from and meet their mother.

8. What do you do all day? When I lived in San Pedro I slept a lot, napped in the sunshine alot, watched tv, wandered around the beach, and worked. Here in the jungle, I read and write, go on lots of errand runs to town (Dangriga, 40 minutes east) and try to stay out of everyone's why while they're working on the house. I admit that I get bored up here, but once my Jeep gets shipped down and I can go out and explore when I want to, it'll be cool. And I'll look for an island job again in a few months, that'll keep me busy.

9. What did you do with all your stuff when you moved? I obviously tried to sell as much as I could, and I gave away a buttload of other things. I still have a storage unit, but I have no idea what's in it and that's awesome - it means I don't miss any of it and can go empty it out when I'm back next month. I just want some books and some sentimental knick-knacks, but the rest will get donated or yard sale-d.

10. What did you bring with you when you moved? I brought too many clothes, too many lotions, soaps, hair products, and not enough books. I'm pretty sure that's it, other than cash and my debit card.

11. Do you think you'll ever move back? Right now I have no desire to live in the States again, but who knows what'll happen down the line. I'm open to everything.

12. So is life, like, magically perfect in Belize? Of course not. Your own personal problems will follow you wherever you go, and every country, Im sure, has it's issues. Crime here is bad - my apartment in San Pedro was robbed while I was sleeping, for example. Walking around by yourself at night isn't safe in San Pedro, I know plenty of people who have been mugged on the way back to their hotel or home. On the mainland there are armed home invasions, burglary, murder, machete attacks, cops that will extort you... Even though I live up on a hill, away from everyone, I still lock my doors at night and have ordered myself a pair of guard dogs.

13. Do you still talk to people from home much? Not really. If it wasn't for facebook I don't think I would've heard from anyone other than my parents this entire year.

14. Did you save up a lot of money before you moved? Hahahaaa. I tried. I had $10,000 in my bank account and then, 2 months before I moved, I went and got myself a DUI. That cost me almost $5,000. Then my work permit was $2,500. Take a guess how much I have left!

I think that's most of the - if you have any other questions, just ask :)


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