Thursday, June 28, 2007

This is great news!!!!!!!


Wow, I've just read on the Channel 7 website that the Belize Government is going to start giving free text books to all primary school children! That is fantastic! I'm absolutely delighted. This is what has been needed so badly for so long now. And I guess that means that the job of the Jaden Foundation is going to change quite a bit. A big part of our job used to be the sorting out of school books each year. We used to collect last year's books, see which ones could be re-used, collect all the new book lists (some hand written and barely understandable) & then go up and down the country to all the different book stores in an attempt to buy all the books we needed. It was never a straight forward process & it used to cost us a fair amount of money too.




We can now use the Jaden Foundation funds for school transport, supporting high school students and sponorship for those wanting to attend the private school, BCA.




Here is the news story:





GOB To Offer Free Textbook for Primary School Students


Free textbooks for primary school students - that was the announcement made by Education Minister Francis Fonseca at this morning's PSE Awards Ceremony.




It's been general knowledge to parents and educators for months, but details have been scarce. And in the absence of information, apprehension has developed in some quarters because parents want to know, what will their children be learning and will it be up to standard? But those answers were not forthcoming this morning. Fonseca only made the general announcement that starting in September all primary school students enrolled in public and church run schools will receive free textbooks.



Hon. Francis Fonseca,"The standardized books cover the five core subject areas of mathematics, language arts, science, social studies, and Spanish. The textbook program will provide quality and relevant textbooks free of cost for all children attending primary school. This textbook program takes effect September, 2007. We have consulted widely and deeply and we are doing the right thing for the children of Belize. Yes, there are cynics and those for whom the Ministry of Education can do no right. I urge all our people, but particularly our principals and teachers and parents to embrace this important opportunity for our nation."



After this morning's ceremony, Fonseca declined our request for an interview to elaborate on the program's scarce details. He promised that those questions would be answered next week when he holds a press conference to fully detail the initiative.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Finally...pictures of our new house!

We are still working on the finishing touches to the house like landscaping, paving, hanging up pictures, etc. But apart from that we are done!!!! We never thought this day would actually come ; )

So anyway, this is one of the entrances. It's the one we use when we move between the Dome and the house & as you can see everything is starting to grow up nicely around it.


Our open-plan kitchen. You can't see the breakfast bar in this picture though. I have to say, I really love this kitchen. It's cozy, made of local mahogany (recycled from our old cabinets) and finished with Mexican tiles. By the way, the river views from the window by the sink are amazing. It makes washing up almost fun!

Our Mexican tiles...

The living room, with its bay windows and DVD shelves. As you can see, one of the local boys is in the picture. Our house has become the community's playground, with children running in and out all day.



The living room goes straight into the dining area and to the left of this picture is the breakfast bar and open-plan kitchen.



This is our family deck. It's a great place to hang out with the kids. We spend a lot of time out there. The views are incredible.





Although not as incredible as the views from the deck on the top floor. The top floor is made especially for our friends and family, with its own bathroom and private deck. Our pampered guests will have the best views in the house (yes, that's the river you see there)




That's it so far. I'll post more pictures some other time.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Aha! So you can go fly fishing in Aruba!

Yes, I apparently laughed too soon when I blogged about my brother-in-law's plans to start a fly fishing business on Aruba. I thought that fly fishing wasn't possible there as it would be too windy on the island. It turns out that I was very wrong. Laurenz (My brother-in-law) is out fly fishing all the time & has now set up a free fly fishing service for visitors of the island. Of course, I think he's crazy offering that for free, but there you go...the guy is just obsessed about fishing & wants to get the whole fly fishing industry going on Aruba.

From the website:

Fly Fishing in Aruba for free !

"Welcome to the only web page about fly fishing in Aruba. Check us for all your info on fly fishing in Aruba.

Our big idea is to get more people interested in fly fishing on the beautiful island of Aruba so Me (Laurenz) and Ben started a non profit organization, to offer tourist and locals a chance to experience saltwater fly fishing at no fee.

The goal is to learn, teach and meet people with the same interest.We can take people who contact us on a guided fly fishing tour or help them with anything they need for a non guided fishing day. Learning from different people from different parts of the world will make us better fishermen and more expert on the subject!



For the local training program we are looking for sponsors from abroad. We will take no money, but instead fly fish gear/ leaders, fly’s, fly lines,bag, rods, books and anything we can use for teaching. Donations can also be in the form of sharing expertise or advice. If you have a nice story to share, and you have been to Aruba and did fly fishing, please send us an email at: info@flyfishingaruba.com All stories are very welcome and appreciated.


All stories will be read and if interesting for others, placed on our web page.Thanks for your interest and hopefully see you soon, Laurenz and uncle Ben. "


Well, I wish them luck and of course I'm sure that Lucas will want to join them some time ; )

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Norman Cook & Zoe Ball's fabulous yacht


Wow, Norman Cook (AKA Fatboy Slim) has just sent me through the info on their 'boutique hotel' charter boat. It's called the Barracuda Yacht Charter & it is amazing! What a great idea to offer the boutique hotel experience on a private charter. And of course it gives you lots of bragging rights when you can tell your mates: "Oh yes, we'll be spending a week on Norman and Zoe's yacht".


It holds up to 8 people plus staff and is available in the Mediterranean between the months of May to October. Hmmm...maybe I can persuade them to bring the boat down to Belize from November to April? ; )

My thoughts on the Educo gym

It seems that a fair amount of people come to my blog by Google-ing 'Educo gym' and 'does Educo gym work?'

Well, let me just share my opinion on it then with a list of what I like about the Educo gym system and a list of what I don't like and then you can make up your own mind.

What I like:
  1. It is a fast work-out (2o minutes per session)
  2. You always are accompanied by a personal trainer
  3. It kick-starts you into eating better and exercising with their 12-day program. During these first 12 days you work out every day and you are put on a special diet.
  4. It is a nice looking, fully AC-ed gym (most other gyms I have seen in Belize are not particularly flash and most have no AC!!!!)
  5. They offer personal support, a diet plan and nutritional supplements
  6. I believe that the system works well for those wanting to lose weight and/or adding muscle mass

What I don't like:

  1. Their work-out routine and diet is too rigid.
  2. They offer no real cardio exercises. By doing the resistance training at a fast pace you are told that you are doing a cardio work-out. Personally, am not convinced that resistance training alone can offer this.
  3. The system seems build on a 'one size fits all' policy. In my opinion there should be more variety and people's own input should be encouraged and listened to. Also, not enough attention seems to given to pre-existing conditions and injuries.
  4. Because of the short intense work-out time, there is no warm-up or cool-down period and no stretching. One of the trainers told me that by extending each muscle fully in between each power move you are getting all the stretching you need. Again, I disagree with that statement.

All in all, I'm sure that the system suits some people down to the ground. I'm just not one of those people. I want more variety when working out & less emphasis on all this body building stuff. I have bought dance and yoga DVDs and am working out by myself again here at the Belize Jungle Dome : (

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Aidan can use his water wings and Lucas can ride a bike!



By the way, I'll promise to start writing about other things than just my children again soon. I must sound so boring!

Sunday, June 10, 2007

It's just so easy to love him

I always thought that Lucas was an easy child, until Aidan came along. It's virtually impossible to not like this kid. He is just so happy and easy-going, an absolute delight. Lucas is funny and emotional, but he can also be a complete wind-up.

Aidan on the other hand is totally mellow. When you stick a hat on him, he doesn't try to pull it off, when you want him to swim with water wings he does so. He may protest for a moment, but then he realizes that that's too much work and gives up. Lucas would battle with me constantly about stuff like that, but Aidan just isn't too bothered.

And Aidan loves all the good things in life: music, food and good company. As soon as music starts, his face lits up and he starts dancing. And he'll dance for hours (he's just like his mum ; )
When I look at him, two things go through my head:
  1. I will have so much fun with this boy when he gets older
  2. He will cause me as many sleepless nights as I used to cause my mother (what goes around, comes around)

Yep, He'll most likely become quite a party animal. And he loves to entertain the crowds. He's a hit where ever he goes. Sometimes I feel a bit sorry for Lucas as Aidan seems to get all the attention. Still, it's just what happens with the little ones, isn't it?


By the way, Lucas has learned to ride a bike! I'll post some clips of it later. I am so proud of him!

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Domestic Goddess

Yep, I've been feeling like a super fantastic domestic Goddess. Well, I felt like that yesterday. I enjoyed my mother/chef/cleaner role so much that I couldn't even pull myself away from it to go to the US Ambassador's house, where his wife had invited me for lunch together with the other International Women's Group women. I had really wanted to go to that, but just couldn't get myself into the right state of mind yesterday. I felt like walking around the house on my slippers and with curlers in my hair (I don't use curlers, but you get what I mean, right?) & so I just cooked, cleaned and played with the kids. It was wonderful!

Today I've already fallen out of my domestic role again (it never lasts long) as my patience with the kids was near zero this morning. Thank God we have a babysitter. I told her that I needed to be in the Jungle Dome office this morning and left her in charge of playing with the baby. Lucas won't be back from school until 12 o'clock, so I have a few hours of blogging peace. Maybe my domestic Goddess feeling will return this afternoon, if not then I will just heat up left-overs for dinner and throw all the scattered toys in one big box at the end of the day.


Wednesday, June 06, 2007

No more traveling please!!!!!

Wow, it's nice to be back home. Don't get me wrong, I love traveling and it was great to see my mum and my sister, but I really needed to be back in my own space for a little while.

I remember this 'please bring me home' feeling from my MTV time as well as I was constantly on the road back then, at an average of 2 foreign trip per week for 8 years. Back then I'd often crave to just stay in, curl up on the sofa with my cats (this was obviously pre-motherhood) and watch a movie. That was one of the things that was hard to explain to people who weren't 'in the industry'. If I told someone who was a shop assistant that I had to go to New York the next day and that I just didn't feel like it or that I had begged my boss to send someone else to that festival at Mount Fuji as I had already gone from Japan to LA and back to London and therefor did not know anymore when to sleep, eat or play, they would surely think that I was bragging & so I would only talk of this kind of stuff with those who lived a similar lifestyle.

Anyhow, what I'm trying to say is that it's great to be back home again. In our new home! Yes, it's (pretty much) finished. Even though my washing machine and cooker don't work yet, some sockets give no power, there's a missing moskito screen, the fence around our deck isn't finished and even though I have to go around the house with a fine paint brush to touch up dodgy paint lines, it is all wonderful. I mean, just the fact that I'm able to make breakfast and coffee in my own kitchen is heaven to me!

Oops! Got to go...have to get Lucas ready for school....adios!