Saturday, November 27, 2004

Attract what you want in life

During our time in Belize, we've been through quite a few "rough patches". We were hit by lighting, ran out of money for a while, been through floods, broken roofs, untold amounts of power cuts & other inconveniences. So many times I have thought of packing it all in & returning to Western civilization. But you know what? Because of Andy, I have learned the value of sticking to your guns and finishing what you've started (I have always walked away from things, the minute they became a bit unpleasant). So, it's mainly because of Andy that we're still here.

And I am so happy that we are! Life is becoming more wonderful here by the day. Yesterday evening we enjoyed another "magical moment". As we were having our family dinner, we were being serenaded by some of the most beautiful voices ever. What happened was that some of the wedding guests, most of which are professional musicians, were rehearsing their harmonies by the side of the pool. Oh, it was incredible. They were singing a "barber shop" version of that Beatles song "When I'm 64" (I think that's what it's called). What a great way to have your dinner.

It feels like the things we'd been missing here for so long are now simply coming to us, instead of us having to chase them somewhere else. Things like good yoga teachers, live music and a variety of interesting people to talk to. They all come to us now. And if that isn't total luxury, I don't know what is.

Friday, November 26, 2004


There's a wedding at Banana Bank Lodge, so we are pretty busy right now. Good thing that Karen is here to help us with the bar. We've been doing poolside yoga every morning since she arrived (this was day 3 & I'm in agony). This morning we actually did the yoga session at the Birding Tower overlooking the lagoon with some wedding guests. They loved it! Karen is such a brilliant teacher. It looks like the class tomorrow will be quite full, as all the wedding guests are talking about it.

We are moving more and more into the whole yoga/retreat direction with our resort the Belize Jungle Dome . And having Karen, our yoga teacher, here full-time is just perfect . Actually, have a look at our retreat web page. We are planning to add more about the yoga soon and to set some dates for specific yoga retreats. Wow, how lucky am I? To have all this right on my doorstep?

Thursday, November 25, 2004

Life in the Belizean "fast lane"

Life has been speeding up lately. So much so that I am about 10 steps behind on myself. So...let's see what news I should be sharing with you.
  1. We took Tella (our cleaning lady/nanny) and her daughter Jessica to Hopkins. Neither of them had ever seen the sea. They were in absolute hysterics, battling with the waves & tasting the salty water. We were literally crying with laughter, it was magical.
  2. Karen our yoga teacher from Canada has arrived! And she is brilliant! Not only as a teacher, but as a person as well. I am so happy, because (let's face it) we didn't really know each other before she arrived. We only met once & only for about 5 minutes. Lucky enough, for all of us, we all get on well. She will be living with us for an indefinite time. She has a one-year ticket, so we'll see how it goes.
  3. Yesterday I received a great phone call. I was basically told that I can put a list together of goods for the local primary school & a list for the Children in Need Center (for children with disabilities) that will be build soon in Belize City. As groups of doctors traveling to Belize from the States, have offered to bring goods for me on a regular basis. I was also told that there is an organization that brings container loads of medical supplies for children in Belize & that they can help us with the more specific requirements for the Children in Need Center.
  4. Florian, our carpenter, is leaving us today. He's slowly going to make his way back to Germany. All his work is done here & it means that we are now ready for the high season. So...bring it on!

Oh, and there's more. But we'll get to that all some other day. And I'll write some stuff about the Garifuna as well soon.

Tella, Jessica and Lucas. Having fun in the sea.

Monday, November 22, 2004

Back from Hopkins

We've just had the most wonderful time in Hopkins, a small Garifuna fishing village that is steeped in tradition. I have so much to tell you, but can't be bothered to write. Maybe tomorrow? Got to go and veg out on the sofa now, been shuffeling furniture around since we got back home this afternoon. Will write tomorrow....I think...

Garifunna's settlers day celebrations

Saturday, November 20, 2004

Our neighbour's kitty-cat "Tika".

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

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Taking the washing back from the river

Still no running water in the village...

It seems that I've hit a brick wall in the fight for water for Young Bank Village. Nothing can move forward until the water company does a survey & lets us know how much it costs to lay the pipes in the village. They have all the necessary paperwork, but are dragging their heels. I have no idea why & they seem to dodge my calls.

Spoke to a gentleman yesterday, who tried to get the water issue resolved in the beginning of the year & was given the okay by the finance minister to go ahead with it all. The only thing that was needed was this same survey. And that's where the brick wall was and obviously still is. This man got so fed up that he build his own system (he has a large house in the village) and is providing free water to some of the families there already. He has spend $22,000 of his own money on this.

As I was talking to him, I got the feeling that there is a lot more going on with this politically. And politics in this country are a mess right now, with one scandal after another. Not something I would like to get too involved in to be honest.

I'll recommend that the villagers themselves are going to put pressure on the water company. Maybe they should just take turns and camp out on the steps of the office buildings, until someone listens to them.

I'll just let them get on with it for now and see how it turns out.

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Oh, those veejaying days...

A sweet MTV memory

I was on stage in front of thousands of people, doing the warm-up for the MTV Europe Music Awards in the "Ahoy Stadium" in Rotterdam. I can't remember anymore what year it was. As usual, my family were out in the crowd somewhere. I dragged my family along everywhere back then.

My mum and my cousin were sitting somewhere high on top in the arena, on the right-hand side of the stage, in between all the stars (apparently, in between Bon Jovi & U2) and my sister & her boyfriend were out in the crowd in front of the stage (in with "the normal people")

So there I was, chatting to the crowd and trying to get everybody hyped up for the show, when suddenly, down in the arena I saw someone making the shape of a heart on top of her head with her arms (This is a silly way in which we greet eacother in our family). It turned out to be my sister Miriam! I had managed to spot her in this sea of people. So I shouted out "Look, it's my sister". That same moment I caught, out of the corner of my eye, someone in between all the stars get up and place her arms on top of her head in the shape of a heart too. It was my mum! It was such a magical moment. I introduced the whole audience to my mum and my sister. Not very professional, I know. And I'm sure that the audience couldn't care less. But for me, it's one of my dearest moments of my whole MTV career.

Isn't that funny? I've met the biggest stars in the world & my dearest MTV memory simply involves my own family. Guess that shows you what actually matters most in life.

Nice to meet you too.

Elephants in Belize

The circus is in town and all the animals are roaming around freely in a field behind the market. We decided to say "Hi" to one of the elephants. Can you believe that they're just roaming around like that, with no one keeping an eye on them? A bit scary actually. I mean, animals will always be unpredictable, no matter how well trained they are. Still, this elephant was ever so polite and even shook my hand. So cute!

Monday, November 15, 2004

Long live the long-distance sisters!

Haven't felt much like writing in these last few days. So what's happened here? Oh, not much really. Got a bit of food poisoning the other day & we've just found out that someone we knew quite well and liked ("isn't he just a lovely man? He's so humble") is actually an American convict. He apparently has scammed US investors out of millions of dollars & has been hiding out in Belize for the last few years. I tell you...people are just full of surprises.

Oh, and God bless the internet! As I had a a lovely MSN messenger chat with my two sisters last night. I was chatting with my sister Miriam in Aruba (on her day off), when we suddenly were joined by our little sister Iris who's on holiday in Thailand. Iris was about to get ready to meet the hill tribes on her jungle adventure. How cool is that? Isn't the internet just the most magical thing in the world? Distances just evaporate's incredible!

My dad, Iris & Miriam

Friday, November 12, 2004

Garden in bloom

I'll be my own censor

Right, I've decided to take my two earlier postings from today off the blog as they were just full of "he said, she said" hearsay & I've decided that I do not want to dwell on any of that nonsense any longer. So off they go...I'm deleting them. It's onwards & upwards from here. I'm going to go back to "looking at the beautiful things in life" & I hope that you're all having a nice evening. Talk to you tomorrow!

Thursday, November 11, 2004

Say cheese!

Jimmy & Nicki

Lucas and Robbie. getting to know eachother...

Our child-friendly resort

Yesterday was a day filled with children. They were everywhere and pretty much trashed our house. But we don't care, as long as they keep Lucas occupied. That's the thing once you become a parent...if your child is happy, you are happy. If you're child is unhappy, your life is hell. So parents want nothing more than to keep their children entertained.

We pride ourselves on being a child-friendly resort, with our big pool, a variety of animals or of course tons of other children to play with. Yesterday, a couple arrived with their two-year-old boy Robbie. They were quite surprised as to how child-friendly we actually were. We all spend the evening in the bar, surrounded by toys, bags of crisps, two manic toddlers and Barney on the television (both the boys are obsessed with Barney and danced along to the songs). It was a wonderful evening. Today we've offered to baby-sit Robbie, whilst his mum and dad go horse riding. So I better get mentally prepared again for lots of high energy action around the house later.

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

A bit of a fright!

Great, I nearly stepped on a Tarantula this morning. It was crawling around our front room, but I didn't notice at first as I thought it was one of Lucas' toys. How creepy! Anyway, Andy (still half asleep in his boxer shorts) caught it with a colander and threw it outside. I checked it a little later and saw it edging back towards our house again, so I went out & threw a pan over its head (waiting for Andy to get up & deal with it later). But guess what Andy did? Instead of taking it away from our house, he brought it back in and put it on our dining room table to take pictures of it. He really isn't right in the head. I might as well be living with that bloody crocodile hunter. Anyway, Andy thinks that I'm the crazy one for telling him to be careful all the time.

Still, these Tarantulas can shoot poisonous little "darts" of their back. You can see these things sitting on their back, they're like little red spikes. But lucky enough, the Tarantulas here are generally too dopey to do anything. I know this guy who had tried to get bit by a Tarantula once (in the name of science), but he couldn't get the Tarantula to do it, no matter how hard he tried. It's just that laid back attitude that's part of Belize. It's obviously even part of the Tarantulas lifestyle. Still, they are very creepy, aren't they?

Just like that "Crocodile Hunter" guy

Monday, November 08, 2004

A little later on monday.....

Actually, it's hot again now. I've taken the jumper and fluffy slippers off, as it's 27 degrees Celcius. Guess it's just the mornings that are lovely and chilly. Oh well....

Wooly jumpers in Belize.

You can feel that winter is coming, as it's getting lovely and "cold", even in Belize. I just checked the thermometer and it's 20 degrees Celsius, apparently. I'm absolutely loving it. I'm wearing a wooly jumper, jeans and fluffy slippers. Isn't funny how 20 degrees Celsius feels cold to me now? Anyway, it's quite weird that I've ended up living in a hot country, as I'm not a hot weather person at all. Of all the seasons, summer was always my least favorite. Isn't that odd? I don't know why exactly. I guess it's because summer time has always felt too distracting to me. I always feel like I can't get anything done when it's too hot.

But anyway, Belize's winters are really lovely. They're like perfect spring day, repeated every day for 3 months. With blue skies, a light breeze and mild temperatures. I guess that's why most tourists chose to come to Belize in the winter. We are getting booked up rather quickly now. Oh, for those of you who haven't seen our resorts website yet, go to and check it out. And if you want to come this winter, you better hurry up and book your room. See you soon?

Friday, November 05, 2004

singing surgeons

People often ask me what the healthcare system is like in Belize. Well, I have to say that I have nothing but good experiences. I mean, some hospitals are lacking in equipment and for certain treatments you'll have to leave the country and go to Mexico or Guatemala. But the good thing here is that you get so much personal attention. Back in London, I often felt that doctors just didn't have the time to listen. Here doctors will easily spend an hour with you in a consultation. Often they start the "session" by introducing themselves in the most elaborate way; they'll tell you where they're from, where they studied, etc. All very nice. And if they don't know what's wrong with you, they'll call in their collegues to help with the assesment. This personal attention is more assuring to me than any piece of equipment can ever be.

Belmopan hospital, where I gave birth to Lucas, is one of the smallest and most basic hospitals in Belize (at least, from the ones I've seen). At this hospital you have to bring your own pillow cases, sheets, toilet paper, etc. Still, Lucas' birth was an absolutely perfect experience. Again, because of the personal care I received from Dr. Raju (he's a hero in our family). Anyway, I won't go into that whole story.

What's much funnier is what happened to me in La Loma Luz hospital in San Ignacio. It's a 7th day Adventist or Baptist hospital, I believe (not sure what the difference is between the two). Anyway, I had an operation there about 5 months ago and had to spend the night there as well. We paid an extra $45 and booked a private room with AC, television and two beds (so Andy could stay in the other bed).

Anyway, the next morning we woke up as all the hospital staff crowded into our room with a guitar and started singing to us. It was the most bizare thing I have ever experienced. Here was my surgeon from the day before standing in front of me with a huge grin on his face, singing "Every day with Jesus is better than the day before". After about 3 songs (beautifully sung, I have to say) they all bowed their heads and thanked the Lord for a succesful operation. Isn't that just the sweetest?

Andy and I exchanged many surprised glances at eachother throughout the whole thing, but both thouroughly enjoyed it. It was just another one of those strange Belize moments.

Thursday, November 04, 2004

What's this "ball foot" that you're talking about?

There is this journalist who's coming over soon and she wants me to show her some of the more colorful characters of Belize. Well, one person that she will have to meet is Walter Friesen. He is the spiritual leader of the Mennonite society in Barton Creek. We once bought a horse of him, which really was quite an experience.

After galloping round the fields and doing a little bit of bartering we decided to buy the horse. "So, will you take him or do you want us to bring him to to you?" Walter Friesen asked. We didn't have a trailer with us, so of course we answered "Well, it would be best if you could bring him". See, Barton Creek is quite a long way from Belmopan. It's about an hours drive. So how could we take him back without a trailer?

Anyway, it wasn't until we got back home that it dawned on us that Walter wouldn't have a trailer either. The Mennonites don't use cars, they have no electricity, no telephone and of course they wouldn't have trailers. How dumb of us to not even think of that. How on earth would he get this horse to us?

On the agreed morning, Walter did show up with the horse. His son was on the horse's back and Walter had walked next to the horse all the way! We couldn't believe it. That must had taken him hours.

Anyway, he and his son were as stunned as we were. They looked at our house and couldn't believe their eyes. Here was this huge round house and there were only two people living in it! (Lucas wasn't born yet)

Walter asked how it was possible that young people like us could afford a house like this. Andy tried to explain that he used to be a professional footballer and made a lot of money with that. "What is this ball foot that you are talking about?" Walter asked. Andy tried to explain again, but Walter really wasn't getting it. "You kicked a ball and was given lots of money for that?" It totally baffled him. "We don't have games in our community" He said.

In the meantime, his son was frozen on the spot, staring at our big-screen TV. It turned out that this boy (17 years old) had never set foot outside of their small community yet. We invited him to sit down on the sofa and then noticed that he was acting kind of strange. He was moving his body from side to side with this weird grin on his face. Walter explained that he had never sat on soft furnishing before. "We don't have that in our community either" he said.

Wow, how different lifestyles can be. Andy drove them back (Mennonites are allowed to get lifts from others, they just aren't allowed to drive themselves) and they talked some more about "Ball foot".

I'm looking forward to visiting Walter and his family again. Who knows, they may have started to play ball foot themselves?

Monday, November 01, 2004's not a wedding.

Happy Berdy

Sugar rush & wedding dresses...

So, off we went to the zoo. The idea was to take 4 children only, but ended up with 8 anyway (I told you everybody wanted to go). Anyway, it was great fun. Some of the girls were so excited, they showed up in what can only be described as little wedding dresses. Totally surreal. Especially seeing them all sit in the back of the pickup. Oh, and one other thing that I totally enjoyed yesterday...the spelling on the birthday cake. I've never seen "Happy birthday" spelled that way before. I love it. By the way, the cake tasted great, but what a sugar rush! Wow, I felt shaky and dizzy and Lucas become more defiant than I've ever seen him. I tell you...sugar is bloody dangerous stuff. Talking of which, can you believe that the local people actually give coca cola to infants? It completely baffles me. Little kids drink tons of coke, they drink coffee in the mornings and eat sweets throughout the day. So how is it possible that they are so calm most of the time? I just don't get it.