Retiring in Belize

Blue skies, sea breezes, sunshine and warmth… that’s the best of Belize. The plants and trees grow incredibly year round. There are two seasons, Dry season and rainy season. And they’re not that much different! Of course there are many faces to Belize… The beauty will make you gasp. And the poverty will make you gasp. That’s just the way it is here!

Retire in Corozal BelizeI visited for two weeks and loved it! I had a few more years until retirement, but I was determined to prepare. I put a deposit on a huge old home that is right on Corozal Bay. It has four bedrooms, two bathrooms, kitchen, laundry room, gorgeous old tile and a second story veranda to live for (as opposed to “to die for”). It was mostly furnished, but needed some major changes to make it habitable. There were long term lessors living in the house, but I knew I wouldn’t need it for awhile. I just wanted to be prepared for the time I did retire. The owner agreed that when I was ready, it was mine! I went back to work with the satisfaction of knowing where I would be eventually going.

The process of preparing for the move was daunting! My three children were grown and had homes of their own. They also had lives of their own. I had a four bedroom house chock full of twenty years worth of living! I had to consolidate everything into three suitcases. Not an easy task. Here’s how I went about it.. First, I asked each of my three children to take whatever they wanted. That was quite an eye opener! They didn’t want much at all! No one wanted my parent’s china and crystal. No one wanted the ceramics I had made years before. No one wanted the drop leaf dining room table that I cherished. And you certainly can’t fit a drop leaf table into a suitcase!

After my children took the few things to their homes, I called in nieces and nephews. They took boxes of children’s books for their children and some small end tables and lamps. Not much! Then I asked students at the college where I worked to come and take anything… food, canned and frozen, pots and pans and dishes and silverware. They took OTC medicines and sheets and towels and toothpaste and shampoo. The house still appeared full. I hired two local teenagers to come and move everything from the basement up to the first floor.. and everything from upstairs to the first floor. Then I told them to take whatever they wanted. That took care of a couple of TVs and some games.

I hired my nephew and his girlfriend to take care of the rest. They called in some local charities for some and the rest they bagged and put out to the curb. Whew! I closed my eyes, gritted my teeth, and smiled at my new luggage.

Retire in Corozal BelizeThen disaster struck! I was still working full time in education as an administrator. I had a staff of 120 to keep the 5,000 computers networked and up and running. I was also very stressed. I had decided on a date to retire, six months away. About then, a massive heart attack changed my retirement date and my life in general. So I retired early, endured the operations that saved my life, went to live with my daughter in Michigan, and bided the time the doctor would release me to travel to what I now thought of as “home”… Belize.

The Doctor released me on Feb 5. I arrived in Belize Feb 12, 2013 with three large suitcases that held everything I had decided to keep. I love Belize!

There were three people still living out their leases in the house. When they left I began to breathe! There was so much to do. Even though I rent the house, there were revisions that needed to be made. The kitchen was termite infested. I decided, with permission of the owner, to gut the kitchen to the studs. A water leak also revealed the floor was uneven. Time to get that leveled and re-tiled. I was very fortunate in the fact that the owner was willing to have me pay up front for the renovations, and would reimburse me in lowered rent for a year. Twelve screens needed to be replaced and that took care of mosquito problems. I planted orange trees and plantain trees and fig trees and flowers galore. There was a huge stump in the side yard from an enormous tree that no longer existed. I decided to “orchid-ize” it by covering it with moss and attaching many different types of orchids to the stump. It’s now lovely!

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  1. Wonderful article! This is my dream as well and this has given me some new hope that it can be done and done well. Keep the encouragements coming. I hope to be there by the end of the year. God has Blessed Belize and He has Blessed me to see it.

  2. Mary DesOrmeau

    March 4, 2014 at 8:26 pm

    We had the good fortune to meet Cathie during our recent six-week visit to Belize. She is such a great advocate for Belize and her home is beautiful with a beautiful view of the bay!

  3. Good pictures are easy to take with beauty all around!

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