Monday, January 31, 2005

My dear friends Tania & Gilly. Thank you for the nice pressies that you gave to Rita to take to Belize for me. I love the tops! And I love you two!

Why walk to yoga when you can be carried?

Yoga class for a two-year-old

The downward dog pose

Lucas is "big boy pants"

Yoga, strikes and loud music

It was so cute to see Lucas doing a little yoga class yesterday. We had walked up to the observation tower with Karen and our newly-arrived guest Rita Daniels (who's great fun, by the way) as they went for their late-afternoon yoga session & Lucas decided to join in for a bit.

It's so funny, Lucas seems to pick different people as his daily favorites & Karen was by far his favorite person yesterday. Because of this, he was terribly upset when we had to leave her and Rita at the observation tower to do their "proper" yoga session. He only stopped crying once I came up with the idea that we could make a nice drawing for Karen for when she got back. Seeing as he's still full of our Miami trip (especially the plane rides), she was given a page full of scribbles that were meant to be a plane. He really is starting to become a little boy now, it's so much fun to watch.

By the way, Belize is still on strike. All the schools are closed indefinatelly, a lot of public services have shut down or are running on minimal output (the electicity gets cut off a lot & water only trickles out the taps for many people) & lots shops have even shut down. Still, it's all being done in a peaceful manner and virtually the whole country supports the protests. And we are lucky, in that our water supply comes from the Banana Bank well and is not effected by anything. Thank God, being without water is just awful.

If you're thinking of coming to Belize, please don't get put off by the protests. You probably won't notice to much of it when you come here as a tourist. Most resorts will have their own power back-ups and their well water. All these protests are just something this country has to go through for a little while.

Anyway, I better go. I have the house to myself for a few hours, I better make the best of it (by playing rediculously loud music and dance around like a fool). Enjoy today!

Saturday, January 29, 2005

Perfect people

Miami is such a weird city. It's just full of these perfect looking people (I assume that many have had a nip and a tuck here and there), who all seem to be wearing designer clothes and expensive handbags. South Beach especially is the place for young, single people. They are all out partying, dating, networking and looking fab.

I often felt like I was looking at my own past there. Seeing these high-flying, trendy 20-somethings, busy with the upkeep of their appearance and hoping to meet a nice guy or girl along the way. I felt a hint of nostalgia but also breathed a huge sigh of relief, as it reminded me how tiring my twenties were. Always trying to make a good impression, wanting to fit in (whilst also trying prove to the world how unique and "individual" I was), absorbed in my career & obsessed with being seen as "fun".

Now, my thirties are tiring too but mainly because I'm running after a two-year-old. I know that I'm not so much "fun" anymore and I definitely don't look as trendy and "with it" as I used to. But I'm so much happier, fulfilled and caring. I like myself so much better now. I'm blessed with a most amazing life partner, a delightful cheeky monkey of a child and a home in paradise. I honestly can't think of anything more fulfilling than that.

So when I saw all these "perfect" looking people, I didn't crumble like I would have done in the past. I just looked at them and smiled. Thankful for having experienced that part of life as well, yet even more thankful for having moved on from that.

Oh...And it's soooo good to be back home again.

"Look mum, a plane" (Lucas on the beach in Miami)

Enjoying the January sun on South Beach

foot prints on the sand

Home again with John

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

We're off again

The political situation in Belize is still a bit of a mess. Almost all the schools, for instance, are still closed. There were protests in Orange Walk yesterday and on Friday there will be protest again in Belmopan. We got stuck in Belmopan the other day when the protests were on, which was quite scary. There were gun shots fired, police in riot gear marching around and stones being thrown. No one got hurt, but it was an unpleasant atmosphere. God knows what's going to happen next. I hope it all stays peaceful.

By the way, the guys brought a Boa over yesterday that had been crawling around the stables. They wanted to show Karen, as she hadn't seen a snake yet since she's been here. It was so funny. Karen was completely freaked out. I kept egging her on, telling her to stop being a baby and touch the snake. She did in the end, but only for a second.

Got to go now, have a plane to catch. We're off to Miami for a few days (I know, we have a hard life ; )

Adios amigos!

Shouldn't you guys be in school?

A freaked out Karen

Little snake charmers

Sunday, January 23, 2005

Big fat blog

Okay, it's official...we're all just a bunch of bloggers here at the Jungle Dome. Andy blogs, Karen blogs & now John blogs too. Does this mean that we all have too much time on our hands? Possibly.

Still, check out John's very funny blog: (note: this is not for people who don't like sarcasm)

Enjoy ; )

doesn't our house look amazing?

Sharane and Karen, the women who will lead the Healing Touch Yoga Retreat

Saturday, January 22, 2005

Retreats and workshops

I never quite realized how many amazing people have made Belize their home. Since we decided to branch out into hosting retreats and workshops at our resort the Belize Jungle Dome, we have started meeting so many incredible healers here. And the funny thing is that I expected to find the teachers and workshop facilitators abroad and that we'd have to bring them down to Belize for a week or so. It's shown me yet again that we often overlook what's right in front of our eyes.

We keep looking elsewhere for whatever we think we want, when all we really need is already right here.

So, with regards to the retreats that we'll be hosting here...John has started planning the construction of our workshop space/yoga deck. It will be build on the river's edge, hidden away from view (tucked between our organic orange grove, the jungle and the river). It's such a peaceful place, perfect for retreats and yoga sessions. It will be build about 10 feet from the ground, with a large thatched roof, little bamboo walls and will be powered by some solar panels. It's not even there yet, but I love it already! It's going to be so great. I hope that many of you will come and see it when it's done.

We are running a Healing Touch Women's Yoga Retreat here from April 22-26. Maybe you'd like to come to that?

Oh, and I have found someone (a wonderful woman, called Mutuka) who, like me, wants to start a 5-rhythms or Biodanza class in Belize. Biodanza is something I discovered in London and miss (apart from my family) more than anything. Biodanza is all about expressing yourself through movement and music. It may look weird to an outsider, but it is one of the most liberating and inspiring things I've ever done in my life (5-rhythms is a different "system", but seems quite similar). Anyway, I hope that at some point we can get this going here. Oh, life just gets greater and greater and greater.........

In Lak'ech, Simone

My your days be blessed : )

Thursday, January 20, 2005

Belize on strike!

It is absolutely mobbed here today. Everywhere I look are children. Basically, what's going on is that almost the whole country is on strike. So there's no school, no busses, no water in many areas, no electricity in other areas, etc. It's quite a crazy situation. Check out this Belize News Link (Especially the Reporter Newspaper article), to learn more. It's all too much for me to get into.

So anyway, all the school kids seem to have decided to gather here. It's all good fun, apart from the fact that they are running around me right now and are fighting over Lucas' toys.

Lucas, by the way, has picked up an awful habit from the Mayan kids.....Chewing gum! Can you believe it? He's only two. It's virtually impossible now to stop him from getting hold of the stuff (he'll even take it right out of other children's mouths if he doesn't get his own). So I tried to come up with a way to at least stop his teeth from falling out by buying sugar free gum. But it's hard to explain to the women here that he should only get one piece (or maximum two) a day as it can work as a laxative when you eat too much. Judging by the amount of time I had to change nappies today, the message is not coming across. I'm going to have to hide the gum now and be the only person in charge of giving him any. Let's see how that goes.

Monday, January 17, 2005

At the the temples of Tulum

Cheeky monkey, throwing sand

Beach bums

Well, I never did manage to post anything from Tulum; I was too busy being a beach bum. And what a great place that is for it. Tulum has some of the most beautiful ones I've ever seen. From little enclaves in between rocks, to long stretched out white sand beaches.

We shared our little enclave with what turned out to be a nudist resort next door. Quite funny, although I wasn't too sure about this lobster-colored chubby guy who's apartment looked out onto the beach and who kept touching himself (his apartment was on top of a cliff and right behind where Lucas was playing, so I kept having to look that way...Very distasteful)

Lucas (of course) loved the sea, the sand and all the kids he met there. He played football for hours on end, climbed the rocks with Andy, build sand castles, danced in the restaurants, etc. All great fun.

Andy and I ate tons of good food, drank lovely Italian wine (A lot of Italians seem to have settled in Tulum for some reason) & enjoyed the stylish resorts and restaurants. There are some backpackers places in Tulum, but the whole place has a touch of flair and class about it. Especially of course the resorts. We never saw any groups of rowdy guys & no one would be hassling you on the beach to try and sell you something. It was all very civilized.

So, a great little break. Although, it was quite a drive & I wouldn't want to do that again too soon with Lucas. It's really a bit much for him (7-hour drive)

Right now, it's good to be back home again. There really is no place like home, is there?

I'll post some pictures later....

Thursday, January 13, 2005


Just a quick posting to hit the road. We're off to Tulum, Mexico for a few days. I may write from there (there seem to be a lot of Internet bars in Tulum). Anyway, I better finish packing...
Adios amigos!

Monday, January 10, 2005

Before we got stuck in a tropical rainstorm....


Sunday, January 09, 2005

Doing the right thing

Our resort is developing nicely, I have to say. Sharane (our massage therapist) came from Cayo yesterday to give two of our guests a massage. They were totally blown away by her! Both of them talked of having a kind of "outer body experience" during the treatment. And they both said that she is the best body worker they have ever come across. Now, these are two people who have traveled the world, spend much time in Thailand, etc. So I'm particularly happy with their comment. Actually, they've left a message on our online guest book.

Karen's yoga classes are also a huge success. Virtually everyone who does a session with her returns (often with friends and family in tow). Other resorts and travel organizations are now trying to swipe her away from us. She's been approached by several already. That just shows how quickly news spreads in Belize.

Oh...did I mention yet that John is back? He's the person who designed our beautiful pool & he lived here with us for a year before. He is just the nicest guy you could ever meet, so we're very happy to have him back. When John left to go back to Scotland a year and a half ago I didn't expect him to ever return, but he obviously missed live in Belize.

I set up a meeting yesterday with the Banana Bank parents to discuss the children's education. Basically, I wanted to make them aware of the fact that most people have been sending donations to the tsunami victims and that this may result in not being able to find sponsors for their children for next year. I told them that we have $3000 of donated money left, which (if we were to hold on to that) would be more than enough to pay for next year's school books. But we are currently using all that money to pay for transport. So basically, we either find cheaper transportation for the remainder of this school year or we continue paying out $200 a week for transport and run the risk of not having enough money left for next year's school books. I wanted the parents to decide themselves on how to proceed.

We came up with the following plans:
  1. The parents will to try to save up little bits of money here and there & I'm going to "be the bank", holding the money for them until the beginning of the following school year. This money will go towards their children's books.
  2. We will contact some local church groups. Many of these have little vans and/or old school busses. Maybe they can provide the children with cheaper transport.

Well...that's enough news for now. Tomorrow I'm off to several local charities to start compiling information for the Charity directory/newsletter. Wish me luck. Adios!

Dancing queens! (having a boogie at the Banana Bank wedding)

Jump up, jump up and get down!

Friday, January 07, 2005


I've just realized (actually, Karen pointed it out to me) that I've been receiving comments on my blog. Thanks for leaving those everybody. I haven't gone through them all yet, but noticed one from Rainie. Please email me Rainie, I'd love to chat. My email address is:

He's out!

Thanks for all the sweet responses. My dad is ok. He has already been released from hospital and simply has to take it easy for a while. It turns out one of his heart valves doesn't shut properly, but that's not related to the accident. He has to try to avoid stress, that's all.

You know, everything just seems a lot worse when you're far away. When I was in hospital this summer, my mum and sister freaked out too & wanted to jump on the next flight out of Aruba. You just feel so helpless being at such a distance. Anyway, all is okay and we'll go to Holland as planned, next May.

Karen did a little speech about yoga yesterday at the International Women's Club. I was so proud of her. She normally hates public speaking, but she did brilliantly!

I also discussed the idea for the Newsletter, it was very well received. It won't be called the "Helping Hand" Newsletter though, as there is an adoption service in Belize called Helping Hands. Also, as the women pointed out to me, it's part directory and part newsletter. So I think I'll call it "Belize Charity and Public Services Directory" (BCPS Directory).

I'll upload some information about it in the next few days, for those who are interested. I want the first one to be ready by March. So I better get cracking! Adios!

she captivated the audience with her quick wit and bendy body ; )

after the International Women's Club in Belize City

Thursday, January 06, 2005

What in the world are we doing here?

Sometimes I wonder whether moving to Belize was such a good idea after all, especially on days like today. I found out today that my dad and half-brother were in a serious car crash on Tuesday (head on collision, their Landrover a write-off)

They are alright, apart from the fact that my dad has broken his breast bone & that his heart rhythm is irregular, so he's in hospital whilst they monitor his heart's condition. I assume that he will be released in a few day, but still....It has completely shaken me. These things make you realize how incredibly far away we are from each other. To not be with someone you love when anything bad happens to them, is just horrible. We should all be there right now.

But also, I want to be there when nothing bad is going on. I just want to see my family more, on the good days and the bad. Lucas is growing up without any of his family around. It just doesn't feel right.

But then, life is so great here apart from that. I don't know....It's all so hard to get my head around.

I may go back to Holland sooner than planned though. We were thinking of going back to Europe in May. Anyway, I'll wait until my dad has spoken to the specialist tomorrow, so we have a better picture of how he is doing. Miriam is planning the same thing. She'll phone him tomorrow and then we will both decide whether or not to catch the next flight out.

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Helping hand newsletter

Slowly easing into 2005. Feels like the engine isn't running properly yet & I'm still trying to get focused & inspired again. But then, the beginning of January always feels like that to me. It's like we're all still flirting with the thought of "getting back to normal", but our hearts aren't in it yet. Oh well....I'll just enjoy this slow start and take in the scenery.

Now, I've been doing some thinking recently about the various charity projects that I've been working on and/or have been planning to start up in 2005. And the reality of it is that the world's focus will be on the countries hit by the tsunami (as it should be) & that Belize will be way down the list of priorities for the coming year(s). Obviously, this will effect all the charity organizations here. There won't be a lot of money coming in and I've been thinking of what to do about that. I've come up with the following idea:

To start up a twice-yearly newsletter, that lists the following:

  1. Which projects the various charity organizations will be working on in the coming months & what type of help is still needed to successfully complete these projects (in the form of materials, expertise, financial support, manpower, etc.)
  2. Volunteering opportunities
  3. Where needy Belizean can turn for specific problems (i.e. which organizations can be approached for sponsorship, where to get legal aid, where report abuse cases, where to get counseling, free HIV testing places, etc. etc.)
  4. A calendar listing the visits of foreign medical teams, information days, etc.

Basically, I want to find a way to start connecting the various organizations better & find a way to do "more with less". We need to build with the bricks that we've got & help each other more, instead of looking abroad for help. And I think that the best way of doing that is through the passing on of information. Right now it's hard to figure out where to go for help or to find out what projects are being set up & what's needed for the successful completion of these projects.

What do you guys think? Sound like a good idea? I'm going to do some research today. I'll keep you posted.....

Our beautiful little man.