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Expats in Belize - Meet the Experts
William Hofman: Belize Shuttle Service
Sunday, 29 March 2009 00:00

Belize shuttleWho are you and where are you coming from?

My name is William Hofman, born in Holland but since 1997 live in Belize.

What is your activity right now?

I have worked here for many years in many different jobs from independent handyman, waiter, bartender, internet manager, bar owner and at the moment have a business as a independent shuttle driver. Providing dependable, safe and comfortable transportation mainly to and from the Belize International Airport, Municipal Airport, Water-taxi and many more destinations within Belize.

Tell us why you choose to move to Belize?

All of us go sooner or later thru all the stages in life, from playing with toys, to dating, marriage, kids and so forth but at one stage in my life was wondering if what I was doing for the last years, working in a plant, was all in my life. Doubts came up about what I wanted in my life and how to get it, wanting to leave but promotions, a new relationship, etc etc... always kept me back from initiating the move. Visited Belize twice in 1993/94 and knew about the "roughness" and beauty of the country, the easier way to conduct business and the mellow "demeanor" of the people. Well in 1997 finally the famous straw that broke the camels back happened, I had to go to 5 funerals in 2 months where the youngest was 52 and the oldest one was 63, sitting there at the age of 30 I thought that it was time, I was old enough to know something and young enough to start over, AND SO I DID.

How long have you been in Belize?

All together its now been 9 years and still loving it.

What do you miss the most, if anything?

Some of the food that was available in Holland and the chocolate.

Did Belize brings you any surprises? Which ones?

The biggest surprise was that now in the years that I have spend here I did learn more how to survive anywhere in the world, then I ever did in Holland, the language and the diversity in the people. How much I felt eventually a stranger in my birth country and the pride I felt knowing that I was a Belizean first and Dutch second. Receiving the nationality in 2000 and not wanting to go back but feeling at home here.

Any advices to give to the readers?

Whatever your reasons might be to read my story and how much it hits or misses, Belize is a special country with a lot of things that are worth experiencing and to learn, but also a country where you will have to keep your eyes open and keep your common sens going, as everywhere there are hidden "dangers/things that you didn't thought would be important", that can ruin a otherwise good experience.

Do you have something else to share with us?

Well, you can visit my website and contact me by clicking here

 

Want also to share your Belizean experience?

 
Jana: English-German translator
Thursday, 05 March 2009 00:00

JanaWho are you and where are you coming from?

I am Jana and I am from Munich in Germany.

What is your activity right now?

I work as an English-German translator with clients all over the world via the Internet.

Tell us why you choose to move to Belize?

It is a LOT warmer than Germany, they speak English here, I wanted to experience a different lifestyle and I needed to get out of the rat race that is taking place in Germany before I get too old and too set in my ways to be able to move.

How long have you been in Belize?

Since 2001.

What do you miss the most, if anything?

Good movie theaters, book stores (although Amazon.com is great for getting new books here fast and not too expensive), my friends and family (sometimes), good cheese and meat, ok, really good restaurants for that matter.

Did Belize brings you any surprises? Which ones?

The slow pace here in the country. Although I had expected the laid-back life-style, I never expected it to be THAT laid-back and it took a while to get used to it. I was positively surprised when I noticed people standing in long queues at banks or other places without complaining, just chatting.

Any advices to give to the readers?

If you plan on living in Belize, stay here for a while in a rental, get to know the people and see if you can handle the completely different way of living, shops with less variety than you are used to, etc. Then buy. Take your time, take lots of time to find the right spot so you can be happy for a long time. Pick a qualified and knowledgeable real estate agent. Talk to people who made the change. Belize is great, but you need to check it out first. A short holiday is very different from actually living here. The people here a wonderful and warm and friendly and usually a pleasure to be around.

Do you have something else to share with us?

Some experiences and fun stories from a farm in Western Belize in Central America, by two gringas at "Whistling Ducks Farm Belize"

 

Want also to share your Belizean experience?

 
Sheree and Aki Fukai
Thursday, 05 March 2009 00:00

Who are you and where are you coming from?

Sheree & Aki Fukai moved here from Chicagoland area.

What is your activity right now?

We are retired (that's what they call it when you no longer get paid to work) We moved here to do humanitarian work. We are Rotarian's, we are involved with Cornerstone Foundation (an NGO in San Ignacio) we are active in our church St. Andrews and we volunteer (work without pay) in the field of education.

Tell us why you choose to move to Belize?

Belize at first glance is paradise. The weather is wonderful, the land is beautiful rich and green, the people are warm and friendly, the sky at night is crystal clear and you will see stars as you have never seen them before,the exchange rate is easy 1 U.S. Dollar = 2 Belize Dollars and they drive on the same side of the road as in the U.S. All these things are true but when you look further you see a very young country struggling to become a developing nation. If you are not ready for golf and shuffle board and you would like to give back some of the knowledge and time you have been blessed with then Belize is for you. Our life here is full and we feel we are making a difference.

How long have you been in Belize?

Almost 3 years.

What do you miss the most, if anything?

Book Stores and occasionally fast food places.

Did Belize brings you any surprises? Which ones?

Every day is a surprise and I am still amazed at the things I learn. Most surprises are cultural and I am still learning. But on a whole people in Belize wake up in the morning and breath, and laugh and love and grieve like everyone else on the planet. I sometimes get frustrated with the government and lack of resources.

Any advices to give to the readers?

Belize is a wonderful place, but be careful. The safeguards that you take for granted from the country you come from probably are not in place. Be careful in buying property, deal with a reputable firm. Land in Belize is often thought to belong to one person and reality belongs to someone else. Do not assume that you understand the system. I am not sure that even the Belizean's understand the system. If you are thinking of moving here spend some time, perhaps rent make sure you love it as much as we do. Leave your main source of money where ever you come from and transfer what you need to live on. But mainly open yourself up to enjoy!

Do you have something else you would like to share with us?

Belize is not an Island!! We have mountains and pine trees. In the west the land is rolling and lush.

 

Want also to share your Belizean experience?

 
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