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”

Within And Without: Finding Balance In Work & Life

Kyana on the sea photo by Nophi Mitchell
photo by Nophi Mitchell

One of the reasons I moved to Belize was because I wanted a slower pace. Living in my hometown of New York, where it felt like every minute needed to be scheduled, had worn me out. Between working to pay bills, finding time to spend with the people I love and taking care of my own needs, it all seemed to be one big rush, and never enough time to really enjoy my life. With the rising costs of living in the city – financially and emotionally – I was stretched too thin. Continue reading “Within And Without: Finding Balance In Work & Life”

Up Close From Afar: On Being A Black American Abroad

PETAL team
The team of PETAL (Promoting Empowerment Through Awareness for Lesbian/Bisexual Women)

I recently came across an article on Facebook where the author, a black American woman living abroad, was telling other black Americans to “stay woke” while living in other countries. She insisted that we need to stay involved in American politics by communicating with legislators and absentee voting on state and local levels, among other things. She also spoke about acknowledging our privilege of having the luxury to live abroad, and using that unique position as a way to stay politically active. Continue reading “Up Close From Afar: On Being A Black American Abroad”

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”

Water, Water Everywhere: Yemaya, The Sea & Me

Last night I dreamed of a calm, vast, turquoise sea and the biggest swimming pool I’ve ever seen, deep and sparkling. Water has been all up in my dreams and life lately, presenting itself in my conscious and subconscious spaces. I welcome this reflection of my internal process and the symbolism I’m drawing in – cleansing, renewal, deepening my intuition and connection to spirit. Continue reading “Water, Water Everywhere: Yemaya, The Sea & Me”

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”

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”

Wilderness

One of the things I love about Belize is that just steps away from concrete there is jungle. I live in a small town surrounded by it and don’t have to walk very far to see stretches of land, unmanaged and unmaintained. It’s true that there are more buildings going up, even in the short time that I’ve lived here. And even still, so much of the land in Cayo is lush and green. Continue reading “Wilderness”