Well, my time is up. I’m heading out of Belize in the very near future for a couple months in Toronto and then setting my sails towards Buenos Aires. I wanted this post to be about the one main lesson I’ve learned and taken away from living here: there are two sides to every coin.
I know, I know…hardly revolutionary. Bear with me here.
The only other time I’ve been able to concretely recognize this lesson has been in my relationships. I’ve always known that I need a deep, passionate, connection with my significant other. I recognize that I crave someone who is opinionated and fierce and doesn’t back down from me. I want the kind of connection where you can’t take your eyes or mind or hands off of the other person. Unfortunately, with that comes a price, and (in my experience) this includes equally passionate fights over, occasionally, trivial things. It includes hard-headedness when sometimes a softer touch is required, and stubbornness for no particular reason at all. It means that when I could opt for someone who will be consistent, routine, and perhaps a tad boring, I instead will end up pacing around my condo, just short of breathing fire, because goddamn it he is just so aggravating.
And Belize is the same. Sort of.
It still amazes me that I can be excited to leave a place so utterly beautiful. I know I’ll miss it. I’ll miss walking down the beach and having the breeze play with my hair. That sea breeze; there’s nothing quite like it, is there? I love taking off my sandals as I’m walking home from dinner in a dress just to feel the sand, still hot from the day, on my toes. I love the hoards of extremely friendly, goofy stray dogs that often decide to run along side me while I’m jogging, tongues flapping in the wind. I love how I’ve adjusted to the relaxed local attitude, where everything can simply be dealt with, “Manana, manana,” (tomorrow, tomorrow) instead of today.
But, then there’s the less shiny side of the coin. On this side, virtually everything you purchase here has a lifetime of, oh, about 2 days, before it cracks/breaks/snaps/chips/expires/dies. When you need something urgently repaired or dealt with, your concern is met with a very unconcerned local. “Manana! Manana.”
Here, the friendships, while fun, generally operate in a you-scratch-my-back-and-maybe-if-I-get-around-to-it-I’ll-scratch-yours? kind of way. The expats are all, without exception, running from something. You name it: legal, financial, matrimonial. For whatever reason, Belize seems to be a magnet for men and women who don’t want anything to ever be asked of them again.
The general lack of ambition and level of intoxication of the population here makes me walk around in a dreamy, sleepy state. I feel like the days just meld one into another, and if you’re not careful, time seems to slip you by at an alarming pace. But you know what? I am so relieved that I discovered this about myself at my young age. I find that universally, when I tell people about where I’m living and what I do with my time, they all moan with jealously, “Oh God that sounds amazing. I wish I could find the time to do that.” And they’re right; it does sound amazing. Ultimately, though, I need a bit more. While I don’t want to partake in the rat-race any longer, I do crave a level of passion and ambition that simply will never exist here.
That, and: I miss sushi. God do I ever miss sushi.
So it’s time to leave. I have no regrets. I’ve learned so much about myself and had so many experiences. I went on a spear fishing trip that ended in roasting our catch over a hand-made fire to end my stay in Belize properly. It was amazing, exhausting, and delicious. Much like everything else here.
The fruits of our labor: