I’ve been meaning to write a little summary of our first month in Belize, but hadn’t gotten around to it yet. So I’m basically going to cheat and reprint the email that I just sent to family and friends along those same lines…

Today we’re having a three-day weekend. Another perk of working overseas is that we get local holidays off as well. So this month we had Labor Day off, as well as Belizean Independence Day. And Monday is going to be a holiday due to a state funeral they’re having for “The Father of Belize.” His name was George Price, and he was the first prime minister after the country gained independence from the British. Not bad for a guy with only a high school education. He was 92 when he died, so it sounds like he lived a long and productive life.

Belizean Independence Day was interesting. They supposedly had fireworks at midnight, but we didn’t hear anything. So we must have been sleeping soundly. The next day they had a parade that went around the tiny ring road in Belmopan. We only saw it because we were trying to get out of town and had to access the ring road to do it. So we didn’t see much. But there were people lining the streets on both sides all the way around.

Our priority that day was getting to the Ka’ana Boutique Resort for lunch. Our car arrived about three weeks after we did, and we’d made one attempt to actually leave town since then. But we only made it about two-thirds of the way to our destination because the road was blocked by a river. There was a bridge, but it was about three feet below the surface. So we were excited to try and get out and about again.

The Ka’ana Resort is about 45 minutes west of Belmopan toward the Guatemala Border and had been recommended by a coworker. And we were not disappointed! The fact that we actually got there made the trip a success. But the resort was lovely with manicured grounds and a few bungalows behind the central building. The main building housed a restaurant and a bar. We were there for the restaurant and were the only people in there for most of the meal. They had air conditioning, which is always a plus, since it was super toasty outside, white walls with Caribbean art and high ceilings with rotating fans.  N. had the Chicken Caesar Salad, and I ordered the Beef Tenderloin Medallions. It was so good. And it was nice to treat ourselves to something fancier than the average fare in Belmopan, which is somewhat limited. The baby chilled in his stroller most of the time snacking on small pieces of our delicious meal, but he got a little fussy toward the end. So we walked him around the grounds, found a lovely fountain and decent-sized iguana running across the lawn, then packed up and drove home.

We were hoping to spend this weekend unpacking our HHE (household effects), which is the main shipment of all of our stuff from Colorado. Our air shipment arrived around the same time as our car but we have a 600-lb cap on that one. So it was mostly baby supplies and clothes. The HHE will basically be everything else that we own. So we’ll finally be able to transform our cavernous government house into something resembling a family home. The shipment was originally going to be here two weeks ago, but apparently it didn’t make the boat. It arrived in country on Tuesday, but Wednesday was a holiday, and on Friday it was still in Belize City. So hopefully it will be delivered on Tuesday, since Monday is another holiday.

But the highlight of our time here so far has been the Newcomers’ Welcome Party at the Ambassador’s Residence on Friday night. It’s hard to believe we’ve been here for a month already, which makes us senior among some of the newer folks. It was a warm tropical evening, and the event was held on their patio with soft outdoor lights and ‘50s rock music in the background. Everyone seemed to be relaxed and in a good mood. And we just hired a part-time nanny who agreed to stay late, so N and I got to attend the party without a toddler in tow. We missed him, of course. But it was wonderful to be able to socialize and visit with everyone and not have to retire half way through the night. There were about 45 people all together. And it was the Ambassador’s birthday, so they brought him out a cake, and the older kids that were in attendance sang to him and helped him blow out his candles. Our Ambassador is an absolutely wonderful human being. He and his wife are both intelligent and warm and very down to earth. We were encouraged to bring a side item or dessert. So N made a Chocolate Truffle Pie with Butter Cookie Crust that was simply awesome. He got compliments from the Ambassador and the DCM (Deputy Chief of Mission), which was pretty cool.

So we seem to be settling in to our first post. And we’re looking forward to getting to know people better and getting out into the countryside more.