Affirmative: An LGBT Conference in Belize City

feet in garden by Kyana Brindle

I spent the weekend in Belize City at a 4-day conference held by COC Netherlands for their partnership with LGBT organizations in Belize. COC is working with 16 countries through their newly-initiated PRIDE program (Partnership for Rights, Inclusivity, Diversity and Equality). I was presenting the research I’ve been doing with PETAL over the past few months about lesbian and bisexual women in Belize. The conference was a lot of work and I was very glad to be there. Continue reading “Affirmative: An LGBT Conference in Belize City”

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Beyond Race: On Being Black In Belize

One of the things I love most about Belize is the cultural diversity. I really appreciate living around folks from different ethnic groups – Creole, Garinagu, Maya, Mestizo, Chinese, Indian, and those from nearby Caribbean and Central American countries like Guatemala and Honduras. Being from New York City, where there’s a bit of everyone from around the world, the variety of flavors and accents is comforting. Continue reading “Beyond Race: On Being Black In Belize”

A Necessary Part: On Vulnerability & Learning A New Culture

At the 20-Year Anniversary Party for the Image Factory Art Foundation in Belize City, June 2016

One of the things I love about living in Belize is getting to know and becoming friends with Belizeans. The longer I’ve been here, the more I’ve been spending time with Belizean folks I’ve met socially and professionally. I’ve met some really great people and I’m learning a lot about the culture from them, more so from just getting to know them as opposed to asking them tons of questions (not really my style). Continue reading “A Necessary Part: On Vulnerability & Learning A New Culture”

Choosing Balance: On Time

The way I spend my time here in Belize is incredibly different from when I lived in New York. That mostly has to do with the fact that I don’t have a job. When I moved here, I made the conscious decision to give myself the time I needed to adjust to living in a new place and figure out what I wanted to do. I had no idea what that process would be or how long it would take, and it hasn’t been easy. Continue reading “Choosing Balance: On Time”

The Forest For The Trees: Reflections On Living Abroad

photo by Tanisha Christie 

On Friday, I spent most of the day in Belmopan taking care of business for a volunteer permit. It required a lot of running around – talking with people at the Ministry of Labor, getting photos taken, gathering documents, and sitting in the police station waiting to receive copies of my record – on a 100-degree day. I did all of this with my friend Simone, who is helping me secure a permit with her women’s organization so that I can provide mental health consulting. Continue reading “The Forest For The Trees: Reflections On Living Abroad”

Finding My Tongue: On (Not) Speaking Kriol

Even though I’ve been living in Belize for nine months, I still don’t speak Kriol. Often when I am out and about, buying something or making small talk with folks, people address me in Kriol. Though I understand what they are saying, I don’t respond in Kriol, which then makes them speak to me in carefully enunciated English. I’ve learned not to take it personally, and still like to think that I am not one of “them” – those American expats who come across as an outsider and expect to be catered to. I don’t want to stand out, I want to blend in. Continue reading “Finding My Tongue: On (Not) Speaking Kriol”

A Late Start

Ro’s long-time friend Angela came to visit on Saturday, and we carried on into the week. I’m just now kind of pulling it together. It was totally worth it, though. This was my first time meeting Angela and she’s the homie. We hung out and had brunch at one of my favorite spots, and had dinner on Monday night at a restaurant in Kontiki that I had never been to. Which had delicious frozen margaritas. So, you know. Continue reading “A Late Start”

New & Old Traditions

This is Ro’s and my first Christmas in Belize.

The holiday is widely celebrated here and for weeks I’ve been seeing homes and shops decorated with various Christmas-sy things, which has been amusing and a bit strange, mainly because it’s so hot and sunny and seeing this against the backdrop of palm trees is so different from what I’m used to. Like this tree that went up in the center of town last week: Continue reading “New & Old Traditions”