Boat in Belize

Where I Found Happiness In Belize (It Wasn’t Where You Might Think!)

I admit, I was searching for happiness when I booked my plane ticket to Belize.  You see, I spend most of my time in  Portland, OR where in the winter, the only sun we see is the picture of the one on the Weather Channel.  It was March, and I absolutely couldn’t handle another day of rain.  So, I booked a ticket leaving for Belize three weeks later.  I was feeling blue, and I thought the sun, the sand, and the sea would bring me some much-needed happiness.
Happy Girl Walking
And yes, while the beauty there did make me feel happier, the true joy that I discovered was the people themselves.  The people of Belize had a way of being happy, no matter what they were doing.  If they were working, they were smiling.  It actually felt like no one was having to work  because absolutely everything that they did was done with great  joy.  Even when they were tired, they were still smiling.  I never heard anyone complain.
Coconut Water Seller in Belize
I also noticed that the people of Belize had a strong sense of pride for whatever it was they were doing.  From the Guatemalan woman who stood over a steaming hot griddle in temperatures that were already steamy.  Sweat was pouring from her face, but a huge smile was also there showing her excitement to be sharing her culture.  Even though she didn’t speak English, I was still able to communicate my excitement to her.  She even let me make my own pupusa, wanting to pass on the knowledge of her skills.  She handed me a plate so artfully beautiful, it’s heat burning my fingers, it’s spice burning my lips as I realized that part of why it was so delicious was that she had involved me in the process, captured my loyalty, and bestowed on me the real true gift that food is supposed to give.
Pupusa maker in Belize
Then, there was the guy who was sweeping the street outside of his shop even though it was made of dirt, something most people would have considered hopeless.  Not only that, he had gotten a little imaginative and had created a speed bump from the dirt, which he made me jump over when I got to it.  (Oh, and don’t even get me started on the sense of humor they all have).  Or I could talk about the guys at my hotel who dug up sand out of the ocean to cover up the sea grass on the beach.  I even commented that it seemed like a hard job, and they just shrugged their shoulders and gave me a smile.
Street sweeper in Belize
One thing I especially loved  was that everyone was always singing. Especially in traffic.  Which consisted of a line of golf carts meandering down the road.  I never heard a single horn honk.  I remember the man, peddling his bike down the cobblestone streets, a guitar on his back.  The woman on the balcony, her child in her arms, singing her softly to sleep.  My own heart sang as I absorbed the cheerfulness around me. 
Ambergris Caye blanket seller walking on the beach
I realized that while the ocean, the sand, and the sun are things that make me feel happy, that the real happiness came from inside of me.  It was giving someone a smile as I walked down the road, meeting someone’s eye who seemed like they could use some understanding, singing in the post office line, and splashing  in the puddles when it rained.
Val with friends in Belize

You may also like my post on Belizian Food!