I am home from my first trip to the USA since well…all of this began. A trip from Belize to Barrington, Rhode Island where my brother and his family live – and then onto Ridgewood, NJ where I grew up.
Part one of my trip was great…busy. Three boys aged 8, 11 and 13. Playing baseball on their All-Star teams. (I watched my oldest nephew Nate and his team clinch the state championships) We went to the beach…we watched the Olympics and played round after round of Monopoly and ate lots of pizza. Fun times in the backyard.
Then onward to start the process of emptying my mom’s house that my parents bought 50 years ago. My mom is living at a Senior Living spot and isn’t doing great. I’ll leave it at that. It was a decidedly less fun trip – depressing, emotional and just incredibly draining.
Photo on me and my brother in strange outfits
Each night, I could hardly keep my eyes open past 8pm…taking pictures and writing were the last things on my mind. So…here’s a download of thoughts, snapshots, travel info…a patchwork on my last few weeks!
I am SOOO happy to be home in Belize. Five Things. The “I’m Home” version.
This is based on a few locations (the US is a huge and varied place) and I’m making some generalizations…just a warning 🙂
Big General Things that Struck Me about the USA
- Everything is very clean – streets, stores, highways, clean.
- Malls (or the two I went to) are incredibly depressing/dying. Stores are moving within stores (consolidating) At least 1/3 of storefronts in the mall have been closed (and maybe 1/2 of the food court?) – department stores like Macy’s seem to be on their last gasp? Thank goodness Target is still thriving!
- Food that I REALLY enjoyed: Eating at Shack Shack…dang they make a great burger and shake and…eating cherries. Sooo good. I always thought I’d miss a particular restaurant or dish but it’s the produce section at Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods that really gets my adrenaline pumping. Artichokes? Peaches! White nectarines..oh my!
- Masking is a Mixed Bag – Rhode Island has gone maskless for the most part – older people indoors, still masking and children under 13, still masking inside. NJ was about 50/50 inside. More signs suggesting masks.
Easy Entry into Belize
My flights to the US were PACKED. Belize’s international airport was packed. The planes were packed and O’Hare Airport in Chicago was JAMMED. I had 3 hours between my flights – I was traveling from Belize to Chicago – Chicago to Providence, RI – and I barely made it. 90-minute line to get thru customs. And then a BUS to a new terminal. O’Hare is…excuse my language…an absolute shit-show. Hardly any signage…people shouting at you where to go. Ugh! I hope they are in the top line of this new infrastructure bill. This airport is OLD SCHOOL. And not in a fun way.
On the way home, I snagged a direct flight from Newark Airport in NJ to BZE. It appears to be running on weekends only – Friday, Saturday, Sunday – and it is a dream. 9am departure from Newark (no 6am flights here!) and you arrive in Belize before noon.
My flight was about 1/3 full and primarily Belizeans returning home after a summer visit to the USA. We arrived early – they first check your vaccination card or negative test results – and then you go right thru. Easy.
NOTE: As of tomorrow, August 9th, vaccination cards are no longer excepted for entry to Belize. You need to present a NEGATIVE TEST within 96 hours of your flight.
For the full list of regulations for traveling to Belize, see the BTB website.
Things I’m SO happy to be back for:
Rice and beans from Briana’s Deli – CHECK
My seedlings and new trees at the camp
MY DOGS – check, check, check.
I’m just SOOOO happy to be home.
I Got A New Camera!
My new camera arrived via Amazon while I was in Rhode Island. I didn’t get too much time to test her out but so far, so good. This is her.
Just some additional thoughts:
DuoLingo App on my phone: My sister-in-law mentioned that she was using this during the pandemic to get better at Spanish. So I thought I’d give it a try because though I have lived in Belize for over 14 years full time, my Spanish is…non-existent. I know more vocabulary words but I can’t speak it AT ALL. Or understand people speaking it.
Yes – most Belizeans speak Spanish and English and Creole/Kriol – but they also switch easily between the three. So that when people speak to me, they just swap right over to English.
This app is easy, fun, FREE, and well now I know that: Yo soy una mujer. 🙂
I’m only 8 days in!
Watching Movies on The Plane: Why is it that movies you watch on a plane seem much better than if you watched them at home? Perhaps because you are trapped and desperate for entertainment? That being said, I LOVED the movie I watched but… A Star is Born is NOT a great movie to watch on a plane when you are feeling emotional.
Thankfully I had no seatmates so no one but the flight attendant was there to see me cry. OH BRADLEY COOPER! Now I NEED to watch the Kris Kristofferson version! Did you know that he was a Rhodes Scholar!
Belikin Has Two Stores at the International Airport
One, the standard Belikin store with t-shirts and merch and beer on tap. The other one, new. Sandfly. I had to go ask what it was…they need a sign at their main store telling people to visit the other. Dedicated to Lighthouse and LandShark and the new Craft beer…
I didn’t see anyone in there during my hour wait.
Does anyone want to try Mamey flavored beer?
Thanks for sticking with me thru this jumble of a blog! I still feel like I could sleep for about 45 hours. What the heck…it’s the weekend!