Thursday, November 30, 2006

Learning the lingo

I really have to learn better Spanish. One of our new cleaning/kitchen staff at the Jungle Dome just doesn't understand me. Her English is too poor and so is my Spanish. It's getting quite frustrating. We've been living at the Dome recently and as soon as as any of our clothes are not folded and in the cupboard where they belong, she's grabbed them and will be cleaning them in a bucket full of Clorox. She's already managed to get a cream colored T-shirt of Lucas to be brilliant white (a color I never intended it to be) and my beautiful Karen Millen skirt is not so beautiful anymore since she's had her hands on it. I keep asking her not to touch my washing, but she either just loves washing or she simply doesn't understand me. I think it's the latter as we experience constant misunderstandings.

Anyway, it's just reinforced what I have known for ages; that I need to learn better Spanish. Andy, the kids and I will have to go back to Antigua, Guatemala and do one of those intense Spanish courses one day. I could learn at home with Cd's, online courses, etc. But nothing is better than one on one tuition.

I've had private German tuition before and it really helped a lot. I actually came across the following clip of an old interview of mine the other day and was quite proud as to how good my German had become. Surely, if I can do this in German I can do it in Spanish too?

By the way, I normally place clips on just one of my two blogs, but with this clip I wasn't sure if it belonged on my music blog or my personal blog, so I put it on both : )

Monday, November 27, 2006

I’d like to share one of our many memorable ‘Belize moments’:

Ball foot

A few years ago we bought a lovely Arab/Quarter horse from a man called Walter Friesen, who is the spiritual leader of a strict Mennonite community in Belize.

This Mennonite community is very ‘Little house on the prairie’. They have no electricity, no cars, no telephones & they don’t even have mirrors for everyday use (only small ones that can be used for ‘non-vain purposes’, for instance when something gets stuck in your eye). The Mennonites are very similar to the Amish. I believe they’ve branched off from the same original group and religion. But please don’t hold me to that, as I’m no expert on the matter.

Anyway, as we strolled away from his farm Walter Friesen asked:
“Do you want to take the horse now or shall we bring it in the coming days?”
Obviously, we couldn’t take the horse. We’d come to Barton Creek by car (over an hour’s drive) and had no trailer with us.
“Bring it please,” I answered.
“And just give us a call before you set off”
The moment those words flew out my mouth, I knew I’d said something stupid. “I’m sorry, you don’t have a phone. Do you?”
Walter simply smiled.
“We’ll bring it on Thursday morning”
And that was that, the arrangement was made.

It was only when we got back home that it dawned on me: Mennonites don’t have trailers. Christ, they don’t even have cars.
“Oh shoot!” I cried “How on earth is he going to get this horse to us?”
That hadn’t occurred to Andy yet either
“Hmm, maybe he’ll ride it here? Or maybe he has some kind of Arc and will be floating it downstream?”
“Haha, very funny Andy”
I actually got quite worried for the old man. Surely he wasn’t really going to ride it all this way? Again, if Mennonites had phones, it would have been easy to find out what he had in mind. But as it stood, we just had to wait and see.

Sure enough, late that Thursday morning we heard the sound of hoofs coming towards our house. And there he was, Walter Friesen walking next to our horse and a bewildered Mennonite teenager on the horse’s back. Walter had walked for over 4 hours in the Belizean heat to get to us! And he must surely be in his fifties or sixties, which made it even more astounding. I felt so bad. This poor man had walked all this way, because I (by being so thoughtless) had actually asked him to do so. Dumb, dumb, dumb, Simone!

I tried to invite them in for a drink and some food. But Walter and his son wouldn’t move; they just stared at our house.
“What is this place?” Walter sighed
“A Geodesic Dome,” I answered, “I don’t know if you’ve ever heard of them?”
Walter shook his head. The boy, who turned out to be his 16-year-old son, was trying to keep his head low whilst secretly darting glances up at the Dome’s enormous structure.

I have to admit, our house is unusual even by Western standards and, apart from looking like a big wooden egg in the middle of the jungle, it’s also pretty huge.

“Is this where you live?” Walter gasped
“Yes, it is”
“And how many other people live here?”
“Er…just me and my husband. Just the two of us.” I was a bit embarrassed to admit this. The house could easily accommodate 10 times as many people (that’s why we ended up turning it into a resort)

“Hello Mr. Friesen, how are you? I turned around and saw Andy appearing from his vegetable garden.
“Thanks for bringing the horse. You didn’t walk all this way though, did you?”
“Yes I did, Mr. Hunt. And my boy here rode the horse, which has been a great experience for him as he has never before left our community”
“But tell me, Mr. Hunt, how have you been able to buy a house of this size? It must have been very expensive”
“Well, I used to be a professional football player back in the UK”
“What was that you said? Ball foot? You played ball foot?”
“Football. Soccer.”
Andy scanned Walter Friesen’s face, but there wasn’t a hint of recognition.
“No, never heard of this ball foot. We don’t have games in our community. But people used to pay you money for throwing a ball?”
“Well, for kicking it. Yes they did. They actually paid me a lot of money for it. Footballers earn more money than doctors, teachers or even politicians”
“Well, well, isn’t that strange?” Walter murmured.
“Yes, Mr. Friesen. It sure is”

We later found out that the Barton Creek Mennonites not only are unfamiliar with games, but also with soft furnishing. Walter’s son sat down on our sofa (once we finally got them inside) and acted like someone had thrown him on to a flying carpet, hands levitating in front of him, swaying from left to right and looking both shocked & pleasantly surprised by the experience (we quickly turned off our wide screen television, surely that would have caused the poor boy’s head to explode)

We talked for hours and were once again mesmerized by the cultural diversity of Belize. That such a tiny country can have so many different social groups with such diverse ways of life. And, thinking about the money my husband and I used to earn as an entertainer and as a professional sportsman, it again made us wonder: which society is really the strange one here?

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Snotty noses and sleepless nights

Wow, life just grinds to a halt when you have sick children. Lucas and Aidan have a horrible cold/flu & for the last 5 days or so they've wanted me to hold them almost non-stop. It's so sad to see them like this.

I haven't been able to exercise, blog, play the piano or do anything really. All I've done is nurse my two boys. Lucas seems to be getting a bit better, Aidan is still trying to fight off a bad cold. I hope they're over it soon.

I better go. Duty calls....

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Surprise, surprise!

Hans (my mum's boyfriend) decided to surprise her today. He flew out to Belize from Aruba without telling her. And what a surprise it was!

Both my mum and Hans were shaking, it was so sweet. It's nice to have them here together again.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Off to Chetumal

This weekend should be good fun. My mum, the kids and I are going to Mexico with a friend from Belmopan and her daughter who's in Lucas' class at school. Lucas' teacher and her mum will be in Chetumal too, so we're all trying to meet up there.

I'm looking forward to it.

Adios amigos!

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Andy's quote of the day

"It's great, isn't it?"

"What is?" I asked him


: )

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

One of the many cool stories on Ecorazzi

I just love the Ecorazzi website. It's one of my faves at the moment. This article is a good reason why....

Bling H20 Rewrites The Book On Foolish Celebrity Purchases

Give the world another 50 years, and I can understand a bottle of water costing $40-$50; but now? In what can only be described as a brilliant play on the wallets of the rich and famous, Kevin Boyd has created a bottle of water called Bling H20 (taken from a spring in Tennessee. IN TENNESSEE!) that costs about $36 in the U.S. and $46 in Australia.
From the article, “Mr Boyd, a writer and producer, said he arrived at the inspiration for Bling H2O working on film-studio lots. He said that, in Hollywood, bottled water was a fashion accessory and people chose a brand that reflected their personality. To capitalise on the market, he produced a glass bottle studded with Swarovski crystals, filled it with spring water and encouraged celebrities he knew to drink it.”

Careful celebrities….we’re watching you on this one. Already, it’s been reported that Paris Hilton bought as case of this stuff for $550. Mariah Carey and Shaquille O’Neal have also lapped it up.
What’s next? Pre-packaged ice-cubes made from spring water?

Forced to upgrade

The downside of living in Central America is the humidity and how it messes up all electronic equipment. It's the weirdest thing, one minute something works fine, the next minute it displays some bizarre behaviour (often stuff that's not even listed in the 'trouble shooting' section of the manual) & some days or weeks later it may work fine again.

I don't even want to start listing all the equipment we've lost over the last 5 years. But the latest victim has been my beloved Ipod. It's busted. I've tried everything. And I have little faith in any resurrection. I am absolutely gutted!

So I'll have to invest in a new one, as I just can't live without an Ipod. Nor can my kids for that matter. All their lullabies are in there, so the bedroom is freakily quiet now at bedtime.

The upside is that the new 5th generation Ipods have video too, so I'll end up with something better than I had before.

I'll just have to find someone who can buy it for me and bring it to Belize. Maybe Karen????

Oh, by the way, check out about Ipod flashmobbing on my music blog, it's just the funniest thing ever & something I would have loved to take part in.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Thursday, November 02, 2006

When you listen to the Universe whispering, it doesn't need to start shouting

I hate to say it but I've been taking on too much lately. I feel drained and clumsy & have done so for a while now. It might well be the reason why I crashed the car recently and why I do things like drive to the market with a car full of children when I was meant to drive these kids to school (which is nowhere near the market). I'm constantly losing things, getting annoyed with myself and/or the kids, etc.

I didn't fully realize how much I was doing until I took some 'time out' this morning & started to think things through. This is my recent list:
  1. Raise a 4-year-old and an 8-month-old (including daily school runs)
  2. Prepare the resort for the high season (upgrading the rooms, working on the new menu, bulk shopping, working out new strategies with the staff)
  3. Running two blogs
  4. Building a house (buying materials in different parts of the country, discussing plans with the architect, making decisions on finishings, landscaping, etc.)
  5. Run the Jaden Foundation
  6. Act as the second vice president for the Belmopan International Women's Group (organizing November's day trips)
  7. Aqua-aerobics twice a week
  8. Work out in the gym every day

So, too much. Unless you're wonder woman, which I'm not.

The Universe has been whispering this to me & I've finally decided to listen up. Because, let's face it, if we don't listen to the Universe whispering at us she will start to shout. And the Universe shouting at us is very unpleasant. It's when bad things happen to us. Often these big bad things could have been avoided if only we had learned to listen to the whispers. A good example of that is when you get a cold or the flu, it usually is a whisper to take it easy, to relax. You and your body need a rest. When you ignore this whisper, there's a chance that you will end up with something much more serious further down the line. Get what I mean? So this car crash, me losing my car keys, driving to the wrong place, etc. They are all clear messages: Slow down, focus, you're all over the place. Prioritize.

So anyway, that's what's happening for me right now.

I have therefor decided not to go to aqua-aerobics today and will cancel my gym membership with the Educogym. That gym is too regimented for me right now. You have to stick to a diet, always book sessions ahead of time, work on a schedule, etc. I really can't commit to that.

Instead, I'll just bounce on my mini-trampoline tonight. And the rest of the day I am going to read, watch TV and play with the kids.

My other blog

Make sure you check out my music blog from time to time too. Gracias!

Just a few clips of daily life here...

Look what came flying into our home yesterday. It whizzed passed Aidan's head on his way in. Thank God his beak just missed Aidan's little face. I'm sure he could have done some damage with that.

Just my little boy chilling with me (Andy's in the background discovering toucan poop on the floor).

And the final clip is of Lucas in his new favorite outfit. I don't think he's quite sure yet who he is, superman or tarzan : )