An Unconventional Retirement in Belize
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An Unconventional Retirement in Belize
Who knew that a single mother in Florida, happily raising eight kids (don’t ask — 2 are biological and 6 adopted!) would cheerfully pull up stakes and follow a hunch, a gut feeling, a powerful calling to a new life in a new land. Who could predict this experience would result in a wealth of warm friendships and profound connectedness to a new country and community — and even a thriving business that has set new standards there and won many awards.
My name is Macarena Rose. And this is my true story of a journey begun 6 years ago which continues to develop and unfold. I took a chance on life and most wondrously, that life has proved to be a greatly rewarding transformation on so many levels.
The Pioneering Spirit
How does one get from here to there? I think there are many paths that lead to life changing transitions. This was mine. I know many outwardly crave challenge and excitement in their life and are looking to make changes. But not me! I was a mom in Florida and content with the status quo. My life seemed to already be a daily adventure — I had no idea what was about to take place!
Though now when I reflect I must say I think our pioneering spirit is alive and well and probably lurking just under the surface in most of us. It’s just waiting for the right stimulus package — to ignite and send us off in new directions!
If you’re me, you discover there’s a Caribbean paradise where English is the native language. Where the inhabitants are warmly welcoming. Where the natural beauty of the land and endless scenic views thrill you every day. So do those heavenly beaches and delightful surf. You (me) come to realize you’ve discovered a very special place of delightful escape —-a bit off the beaten track —- which holds the promise of fulfillment.
Blackberry? What blackberry!
Then you learn this magical place is one where you can leave so many of the usual daily stresses of life far behind and live a slower pace. You won’t need your Blackberry!
So you let your imagination soar……and daydream —- of a culturally diverse environment where you can live your life intimately connected to fellow humans. We’ve all fantasized about finding a place with a small town feeling — that’s what you find throughout Belize. And just think — there’s no stress to learn a new language – your native English is their native English!
What a pleasant shock to your system to learn Belize is a country where your monetary resources will be more than enough to let you live in comfort. This in itself is a major revelation in today’s world economy. So you get to leave the stress of not having enough money to exist —- to having more than enough money to live and to ENJOY stress free living! Paradise indeed!
All of this happened to me – because that pioneering call sang out loud and clear. I assure you the enterprising spirit is alive and well. Like me, you may not be fully aware of it — but once it grabs your imagination and propels you into action — you’re a goner! Just like me.
Heeding the call led to my packing up, leaving the United States and relocating to beautiful Belize where I still reside.
Woman Alone, Watch Me Thrive
I was a woman arriving in a Central American country – yet this was not a barrier. Instead, I was welcomed with open arms and able to quickly immerse myself in the local community. One opportunity after another presented itself and I was only too happy to join in with great enthusiasm. Here are some activities as examples and I will tell more about them later.
I have been able to open my own successful real estate company in BelizeÂ Rainforest Realty was awarded the bestÂ Real Estate Agency in all of Belize, by CBS and the New York Times. It is an honor to be considered the Relocation Expert of Belize. I’m also the voice you hear on the cell phone system there. Additionally, it is my pleasure to host a weekly TV show featuring Belizeans and I also greatly enjoy coaching the semi-professional men’s soccer team.
It is very rewarding to be a founding member of the Belize Realtors Association and I recently became its first full term President.
I also serve on the Board of the Winsom Foundation there, an organization with two purposes: to help keep children in school and to let them experience the arts. I am a Board Member of the Belize Humane Society —- Belize Loves Animals. This is very appropriate for a woman who supports 9 dogs!
So you can see I’m busy and participate in many activities! It continues to be breathtakingly rewarding for me — to understand that not only did I change my own life, but in doing so, I can now participate in bringing about change in the lives of others in my community also.
How could I have known all this lay before me — had I not followed my heart to my adopted country of Belize.
The Journey Begins
Now back to that comfortable life in St. Petersburg, Florida where I had lived for half my life. You may well wonder what happened to inspire me to leave and take up residence in Belize. I must say what I have found there is so much more than what I could have ever imagined!
So just how it all begins, how does the transformation take place. In my case, I was offered an opportunity to travel with the Sentient Temple of Florida to San Ignacio, Belize to participate in a healing workshop. It was exciting to anticipate such an interesting trip and I eagerly set off. My teen daughter accompanied me.
The First Visit
After arrival in Belize in April 2003, we settled ourselves into an area called the Cahal Pech Village Resort. I was astounded by the stunning natural beauty all about, the lush mountains, and the friendly Belizeans. I was traveling on a mission of healing…..but oh my, the healing would work in many ways — and on many levels! Thus did my unexpected journey of relocation and change begin.
When I returned to Florida, the trip stayed uppermost in my mind. I could not get away from it; it was always “there”. I could not ignore the exhilarating flow of positive, happy energy racing through my heart and mind. I assumed it resulted from the excellent workshop in Belize….but somehow, I knew that wasn’t it. Slowly I came to understand that this wonderful new found energy came from the experience of being in Belize itself! I had resonated well to everything I found there and I was continuing to resonate to it back in Florida!
The Second Trip
How else can I express it —- I felt the call, the pull, the lure of the land and life in Belize every moment of the day. It entered my dreams — the country was calling me back! The feel of it and the memory of it spoke to me very strongly. Then came the “aha” moment and the course became clear.
Hence, I decided to make a second trip to Belize and see how things went. Six months later in October 2003, a friend and I were on our way there. We traveled throughout the country but found ourselves especially drawn to the San Ignacio area (where I still live) and ended our stay there.
This additional time in Belize was just as special, just as exciting as before and made clear to me how positive my feelings were. Thus, the moment of decision had arrived. it was right there in front of me — a chance to take a chance on life. Watching the intimacy of a local parade, I was taken aback at how real life is in Belize. I knew it was a defining moment, one I would always look back on as the beginning of this very amazing journey.
Belize For Me
Upon returning to Florida, I felt confident and told my children that when the last one graduated, I was moving to Belize. Then came a huge surprise. I was stunned when my daughter Chiara, who was 15 at the time, said she had a “feeling” — that we were meant to move there immediately and not wait. This was the last thing I ever expected to hear from her!
Well, being ever the practical mother and true to form, I asked her to please do research on Belize, to see if anything she uncovered might change her feelings. She did this and remained steadfast in her resolve that we should go to Belize.
That was it for me. I didn’t wait. I sold our family home, packed up our containers and took them to the shipping yard in Florida. With our 2 dogs in tow, we boarded the plane to Belize and have never looked back.
You’re Going To Do WHAT??
Prepare yourself for reactions, both pro and con! Because if you want to start riots and become a controversial figure among family and friends, just announce you are leaving the country! And settling in a new land! With your children and dogs!! Do what I did — add that you’ll be doing it within 60 days!
That certainly gets the conversation going!! Everyone has an opinion to offer you – especially since you are a single mom taking this on. I heard it all — in fact, two close friends invited me over to dinner immediately to try to talk me out of it. They stressed how dangerous it would be, much too far away, and how would my daughter cope. This was typical of what I got from the “con” side. (Later, these same two ladies couldn’t make plans fast enough to come visit!).
The vote of confidence from my birth son was heartwarming. “Mom, do whatever makes you happy”. My other sons, known as the three B’s, were overjoyed and asked to come visit as soon as possible.
The support from my children meant everything and was obviously a huge boost to my resolve.
Interestingly, another friend said it was her dream to be able to throw the hat over that wall and go to where she felt called. I explained that from my viewpoint, the only thing keeping her from doing it was herself — and I was just not going to stand in the way of myself and my dreams!!
Later, she came to visit and understood why I would not want to wait to live my life in Belize. She saw that my life there was truly an intimate experience full of rich connections. Hmmmm – I certainly agreed!
We, the mother and daughter, lived at the Cahal Pech Resort in San Ignacio for awhile, becoming familiar with our new town and the community that would become home. Chiara immediately started school here – can you imagine her reaction to a uniform that went down past her knees. Oh, the changes (and tears) she went through! I wondered if she was wavering…..and already had regrets.
Life is full of surprises, especially when you have teenagers! Her main requirement for happiness, it turned out, was that she had to find Dr. Pepper to drink. (!) So, while I was out getting her lunch at one point, I actually found it. I was then able to work out a deal for the vendor to bring a supply into Belize, special for her. That was it — she was solidly sold on Belize!
Never underestimate the firm determination of a mother!
Indeed, we had been here less than 10 days when Chiara decided, like me, that Belize was home.
Becoming Part of the Community
I’ve been very fortunate in how I quickly became very involved in my new community here. Since coming to Belize, I’ve had the privilege of hosting a weekly TV show which provides biographies of Belizeans lives, belizeteve.com.
Soon I was nick named â€œOPRAH in Belize ! â€œ This is a wonderful opportunity for our locals to get their wisdom and history of Belize known and into the record books. While hosting this TV show, I was then asked to be the voice on the Smart cell phones for automated replies.
I was also asked to be the fitness coach and team medic for the Cayo Avengers semi pro menâ€™s football (soccer) team. This is an interesting aspect of being in Belize, as “football” is the life blood of locals here.
Through this experience, I have had the opportunity to travel and visit all over Belize. It was interesting to see folks reactions to a woman on the field! I am very appreciative for all the support given to me in this role. In addition — and lucky for me — it was like I got to be Mom to a whole team of great guys and also be their number one cheerleader! This has been a greatly rewarding experience.
A New Business
Shortly after settling in, we began our search for a home to buy. This was an eye opener as we were surprised and disappointed with the lackluster quality of salesmanship amongst most of the real estate agencies. In addition, we discovered the agents here were neither licensed nor trained.
That’s when I decided to open up my business, Rainforest Realty. I came to Belize as a Director of my church and a Reiki Master — but the opportunity to start this business presented itself, the timing was right, and I decided to offer my vast experience in real estate to the public. My emphasis was to be total integrity, service and southern charm!
Recognizing I had an uphill battle in this endeavor — not only as a newcomer but a female in a Latin American culture, I knew I needed to approach the “right people” for help and training. I give thanks daily to the Lands Department for their excellent training and support.
Then I was up and running. To this day, I assist the Lands Department in clearing up title work and work with others to help with offshore banking, financing, and incorporation’s. I help just about anyone who walks through the office door with a legitimate issue.
I take great pride in saying that Belize is a truly amazing country where one can move, live your life, and become one with the community.
As Americans moving to Belize, we were always welcomed with inviting arms. With that said, I invite you to come see for yourself WHAT BELIZE IS ALL ABOUT! Do not hesitate to drop into my office and say hello! We here in Belize aim to please!