Peder with a D

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Posts Tagged ‘people’

Getting Settled in Belize

Posted by Peder on 13 February 2009

So it’s been a while since I’ve updated here. That’s mostly because writing on this blog requires a constant Internet connection, which I don’t always have down here in Punta Gorda. The exception would be at work, but it’s a little hard to find time for my personal blog when I’m there.

thatchThe other reason is because I’ve been updating to a new blog toy that I have. It allows me to make a post simply by sending an email, which is a lot easier to do whilst at work. I’ve put a few updates there from Belize. I talked about my first days in country, and I purged some pics of jaguars, red-eyed tree frogs and Mayan handicrafts from my office hard drive. They’re such cool pics I had to share. I’ve also taken a bunch of pictures which I posted to Flickr.

Work so far is good. I’ve spent some time writing up project concept sheets – the first step in getting a funding grant – and I’ve set up some online spaces for future broadcast use. We have a new work blog, we’re updating our website, and we have our own Flickr and Twitter accounts.

My Bike

My Bike

Life down here is very different from in the States. I don’t have a warm shower, but I can swim in the ocean whenever I want. I don’t have a car, but it’s easy to get around on bikes. It rains a lot, but it doesn’t snow. Things are a little dingy all over, but the people are really friendly and laid back. This first week has been quite the shock to the system – we’re not in Kansas anymore, Toto – but that’s to be expected. Sometimes I have to remind myself that just because I’ve moved overseas before doesn’t mean this is gonna be easy-peasy. There’s still an adjustment stage that I need to give myself. It’s OK to have culture shock.

My house is good, it’s a little out of town (but still easily bikeable) in a “suburb” called Hopeville. I live at the intersection of Mangrove and Morning Glory Streets. It’s a quiet neighborhood where everyone seems to know everyone else. I like to sit out front after work and read my book waving at everybody so they get used to me being around. Sometimes I wear my hat too cuz it’s even more distinctive. The more people can remember you and even have a little laugh, the better off you are. And that hat is pretty memorable. (Some have said I look a bit like on of the local Mennonites, and that always gets a laugh. they’re a group that has seclude itself from everyone else in a little village a few miles away.) Not that not having problems would even be really possible. My landlord is from a well-known local family and his siblings and parents are scattered around in different houses in the neighborhood. He knows everyone, everyone knows him and when I say I’m living with Mr. Burton (that’s his first name, I’m Mr. Peder) I always get a positive response.

I’ve come to really like how diverse Belize is. There are significant cultural differences among the Mestizo, Kriol, Garifuna, Chinese, Mayan, East Indian and Mennonite communities, but everyone gets along pretty well. Not from the news nor from talking to people have I heard of inter-racial issues. Add to that the influx of tourists and expats from all parts of the globe and you have a model society of people getting along. In a future post I’ll talk more about these ethnic groups, their divisions and their languages.



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