Although some moves make you feel immediately at home in your new surroundings, sometimes it can take a little while to settle into a new place. Inevitably, adjustment times vary based on where you’ve traveled to and from, as well as how complimentary the new place and culture are to your personality.
Luckily sun, sand, and brilliant blue water suit me just fine!
It’s my third month living on Ambergris Caye, a beautiful Belizean island in the Caribbean Sea, and—for me—settling in means learning the lay of the land, making a few new friends, and imparting my own style on the space I inhabit.
Transportation is something that makes me feel immediately at home. I like being able to get around on my own, without relying on rides from outside sources. So, after a day of exploring the small shops of San Pedro’s three-street town on foot, I opted to buy a bicycle before the heat melted me completely.
This immediately opened up whole new areas to me. I was especially able to gain some geographical perspective. I rode south to one end of the island to see the Hol Chan Marine Reserve. I rode north as far as my two legs would take me to check out the more remote beaches.
Knowing where to go to cover all my basic needs set me at ease. Especially determining which grocery stores offer the delicious delicacies from home I like to nostalgically snack on.
So, more directly related to my mission to settle in, I located laundry services, grocery stores, banks, the butcher, the post office, and the police station. I stopped inside each to meet the proprietors and see how things worked. One thing I love about San Pedro is the pleasant nature of its people. Being around people who act so welcoming is certainly a key to feeling at home in a community.
Friends are the second step I take toward settling into a new town. I found out about a few bars that host live music on certain nights of the week and jumped right in. Sometimes I can be shy about speaking to strangers, but I’m good at forcing myself to be friendly when I’m feeling a little lonely.
Once again, everyone was kind and welcoming toward me. People introduced themselves and then offered to introduce me around as well. I made plans to take chocolate classes, go out scuba diving, visit a farmer’s market, and try new bars and restaurants. The community here is small and close knit, and it seems natural for them to recognize and embrace newcomers.
Back at my Grand Baymen Gardens condo, I’ve been adding little touches to the décor each day as well. I want my space to reflect my soul, if only in small ways. Plants were the first thing I knew the place needed, and thankfully, the garden store was kind enough to deliver the trees, flowers, and herbs I chose. Candles were the next thing I felt might brighten the atmosphere, and the stores here have a huge selection to choose from. Incense also helped align the vibes, along with a few colorful sarongs draped as throw blankets or hung as tapestries. Hopefully soon I’ll discover some island art.
Slowly the island life is washing its warm waves right over me, and I’m looking forward to finding more ways to connect myself to this community.
Interested in reading more about how I’m thriving and surviving in San Pedro, Belize? Click here to discover this island along with me.
Check out the links below to see what other adventures I’ve been on lately.