I‘m going to try my best to give a quick recap of our past six days but, knowing me, it may get a bit long-winded (sorry). As we had previously planned, last Saturday we headed back to Belize with both of our children in tow. Our goal for the trip was not only to finish putting the house together, but also to acclimate our kids to the area and enjoy some summer vacation time together. With us we brought lots of linens and a strong desire to convince our kids that our new Belizean vacation home is the best place ever! The good news is that the linens are really nice and working out great! 🤦🏼♀️ As for the kids…well, it’s not quite as simple. Since I’m not entirely sure where to begin, I’ll start at the very beginning of our trip.
We flew out of the South Bend Airport around 9:00 am last Saturday but we had a ”short” layover in Chicago before our flight to Belize City. Unfortunately, our connecting flight was delayed repeatedly and we ended up waiting (with our nine and eleven year old children) at the O’Hare airport for nearly eight hours!!!! While this was definitely not an ideal way to start off a month long trip with kids, all of the waiting provided us with plenty of time to research the weather in Belize; sadly, it was also NOT good. While we waited in the airport, Belize was being pummeled by a strong tropical storm that flooded entire low-lying villages and a good portion of the dirt road to our new home In Consejo Shores, too.
After finally making it onboard our flight, we arrived in Belize City well after dark. We were incredibly lucky that the car rental company agreed to stay open late for us. (Shout out to Crystal Auto Rental😉). Given the inclement weather, we didn’t want to risk driving the two hours to our house in the dark. God was definitely watching over us because, by the time we landed, their was a break in the rain. Even still, we ended up getting a hotel room in Belize City for the night.
Bright and early the next morning, we made the two hour drive into Corozal. As soon as I saw the Bay my heart sunk. Due to the flooding of nearby rivers, the once beautiful turquoise waters of the Caribbean Sea had been turned a muddied brown. I didn’t even know that was possible! I’m quickly learning that you can’t fight nature here.
We decided that we all needed some cheering up, so we stopped at a favorite little place that Dan and I discovered last month and celebrated Father’s Day over breakfast. We indulged in the the most delicious homemade fruit smoothies and enormous stuffed fry jacks. Once our bellies were full of tasty fry jacks, we were able to muster the courage to make the drive down the dirt road to our house in Consejo Shores. Needless to say, our kids were less than thrilled with the trip already (except for the fry jacks; they loved the fry jacks). I was secretly holding my breath and hoping that they would love the house, too. I was also hoping that it wasn’t flooded.
Thankfully, we were able to make it down the dirt road and into our neighborhood where, much to our pleasant surprise, we found our home both dry and safe from the storms! I just about broke out in the hallelujah chorus! 🙌While the kids were excited to see the house, they were very disappointed to see that all of the rain had quickly turned the pool green☹️ Dan and I, on the other hand, we’re just so incredibly grateful that the house wasn’t damaged during the storm and there was no major flooding in our area.
With no pool to swim in, the kids turned their attention to the inside of the house, but they were once again a bit disapointed. Our shipments from the US had not yet arrived, so there were no televisions, no sofa, no patio furniture… you get the idea. To make matters worse for the kids, we found out that the bunk beds we ordered were not yet ready, so Dan and Dean have literally been sleeping on mattresses on the floor all week.
While not an ideal situation, the past six days have presented an excellent opportunity for our kids to learn to focus on what they do have, rather than what they don‘t have. As Dan and I work on the house each day, I have watched our children find joy in picking limes off the tree in our yard, riding their new (very basic) bikes around the neighborhood, catching tadpoles in the community pond, and learning how to hang laundry to dry on a clothes line. That being said, our kids are far from perfect, and there have been plenty of arguments, but they have done a remarkable job of adapting to there new environment. More importantly, they have also made some unforgettable memories together and learned some valuable life lessons that I don’t believe they would have experienced at home.
If I’m being honest, this trip has been a good opportunity for Dan and I to become more appreciative as well. With that in mind, rather than go on and on about all of the things that have gone wrong, I want to share with you a short list of all that we have managed to accomplish in only six short days:
1. Bedrooms have been painted twice.
2. Ceilings in hall have first coat
3. Tank/line and fittings installed for the stove and water heater
4. Drove to Orange Walk (1hr away) and finally found some pool chemicals (the kids were even able to swim on Thursday🙌).
5. Hung hammocks and hammock chair.
6. All light fixtures are installed
7. Purchased new sink and toilet for bath #2
8. Bought all dishes, pots pans etc...
9. Bought and installed new washing machine.
10. Hand-scrubbed all of the doors and tile floors throughout the house.
**Most importantly, Ava and Dean met other kids their age and we already had them over for a “play date“ in the pool. **
Additionally, I am very happy to report that the Bay of Corozal is slowing getting back to its beautiful turquoise color. Furthermore, the majority of our large shipment of furniture and home furnishings finally arrived (minus the televisions)! What’s even more exciting is that Dan was able to pick up and put together the completed bunk bed for Ava and Dean! With each day that passes and each item we check off of our “to-do” list, it feels more like a home and less like a construction zone. Perhaps the greatest blessing so far has been watching my kids learn to appreciate something that they have taken for granted their entire lives. To see their excitement over being able to sleep in a bed, off of the floor, is something that I won’t soon forget.
In conclusion, while I’m not certain that our kids will ever “fall in love” with this place, I’m not ready to give up on the possibility just yet…Purchasing and renovating this Belizean home continues to teach us patience, humility, and gratitude. What better education could we possibly hope to provide them?