Leaving Belize

It is with a heavy heart that I write this blog to everyone who has followed my personal journey since moving to Belize, and especially to all of the many clients that allowed me to help them through their three phases of relocation here.

I always tried to make my blogs are transparent as possible, but honestly, who wants to read about someone who is always ill. And the reality of it is, I have been ill since the second day I arrived in Belize.  On day two I developed the beginning of my psoriasis issue, I presume from the humidity, which my California body wasn’t prepared for.

Several months later that was followed by double ear infections, which have been recurring almost without fail every four to six months.  Then I got psoriasis of the scalp, which involves have disgusting scabs on your head and losing hair.

As if that wasn’t enough for one person to endure, I also have painful abscesses under my arms, and have spent the last several days in and out of the hospital having them drained.  Then there’s the mystery upper abdomen pain that no one can diagnose, even with an ultra sound.

Frankly folks, I’m sick and tired of being sick and tired. I’ve spent thousands of dollars on doctors, medicines, herbs, lotions, potions, special diets and cleanses, all to no avail.  It’s clear to me my immune system is shot, and for some reason here in the tropics, I cannot strengthen it and get better.

Therefore, I have made the very hard decision that I am going to return to the States, where I had none of these issues at all, and see if I can reset my body and get better.

What this means is that I will no longer be offering relocation consulting services.  It also means I had to let go of Red Roof Property Management.  But as luck would have it, my ex-husband, Dale Hiebing, recently moved from Ambergris Caye to San Ignacio.  When I told him I was leaving, he was very excited about taking Red Roof over.

He and I started our real estate investing career together in 1998, so he understands property management as well as I do. And, he is bringing Nige’s brother, Jovan, on board with him to run the office. Jovan recently graduated from college on the island with an AA in Business Admin.

There is some icing on the cake in this story. After over two years of dating, Nige and I got engaged recently.  We will be getting married in Belize before we head back to the States, so that his family may attend, something that was important to both of us. And, I got a great surprise when my sister told me she’s coming too!

I’m so thankful for so much of what has happened to me in Belize. I started two successful and profitable businesses met the love of my life and have made some wonderful friends. No, my plans didn’t work out exactly as I had envisioned, but that’s life. So I’ll be moving onward and upward. I’ve always landed on my feet, and I’m sure I will do the same back in the States.

I have nothing bad to say about Belize, and I’m not leaving because of anything that Belize did to me.  It is a wonderful country with beautiful people, and Nige and I will be back visiting often, I’m sure.  But you only get one life, and health is everything, so I must do what I feel is best for me now.  Thanks for coming along on my journey and being so actively involved in my life. It has been a pleasure getting to know you all.

Sharon

LIVING IN BELIZE – “Santa Elena, Belize House for Rent on the River with a Pool – Rare!!” 2/4/13

Red Roof Property Management is really excited about our newest listing.  It is the first time we have ever had a long-term home for rent with a pool!  Believe it or not, they are quite rare here in the Cayo District.

This home also has the bonus of being on the Macal River, where you can watching the La Ruta Maya Canoe races, or just relax in the amazing gardens, which have all kinds of fruit trees, like banana, cherry, dwarf peach, golden plum, avocado, limes, and plantains!

The best part is you won’t have to worry about any of the maintenance, since a pool man and gardener will take care of everything for you.

The home itself is a 3 bedroom, 2 bath fully furnished place.  The kitchen has tons of cabinets and the living room a comfy sofa and tv.

The master suite has a king size bed, ceiling fan, wardrobe, a nice large bathroom with shower and American style washer and dryer. There’s even a cool native mural on the wall!

The second bedroom has an a/c unit in it, and the third can be used as an office or multi-purpose room.

Santa Elena is San Ignacio’s sister city, so this house is located maybe five minutes from the bridge where you can quickly be at the produce market, bank, one of the many restaurants, or bars.

It is being offered for $800 USD, which includes your electric, water, yard and pool maintenance.  Also, the owner is leaving her Smart “Dongle” wifi internet flash drive and cell phone for the new tenants – you just add your gigs or credit.

For more details, visit our website: 

http://belizehouserentals.redroofpropertymanagement.com/available-santa-elena-belize-house-rental-furnished-showcase-yard-with-pool/

LIVING IN BELIZE – “San Ignacio Tropical Themed Home Available Again” 1/25/13

So our Tropical Themed Home in San Ignacio is going to be available for rent again beginning on April 1, 2013.  Of all the homes we have, this one generates a lot of inquiries, even when it’s not available.  You may recall, these owners are snow birds, only living in Belize six months out of the year.  This time around, they are willing to consider either a six month lease or a nine month lease.

Fenced & gated Tropic Themed Home

The home has wonderful gardens, full of Caribbean fauna, and lovely wall murals.  There’s also a roof top deck with incredible views of San Ignacio, complete with a screened-in enclosure and hammocks for relaxing.

One of the garden murals

The interior has an open concept living room and kitchen, which comes fully equipped.

Living room sitting area

Living room w/ large TV

Adorable, fully stocked kitchen

There are two bedrooms. The master has a/c, a tv, ceiling fan, and an ensuite bath.

Master Suite w/ A/C

Master vanity area

Master Shower w/ hot water

The guest room has two double beds that can be made into a king, as well as two wardrobes. There is also a separate guest bath and laundry room with a washing machine.

Guest Bedroom

Guest bath vanity area

Guest bathroom

The house will be offered for $600 USD, and you can find more details here:

http://belizehouserentals.redroofpropertymanagement.com/san-ignacio-belize-house-for-rent-furnished-tropic-themed/

LIVING IN BELIZE – “New Remodeled Rental Home in San Ignacio Area” 1/21/13

Red Roof Property Management is pleased to announce a new listing in the village of Esperanza, which is a ½ mile outside of Santa Elena in the San Ignacio area.  The home sits on a 1/3 of an acre, which provides for ample parking!  The property is completely gated and fenced, and the home itself has a great deck on two sides.

Completely remodeled home

Large yard and deck to relax on

Another deck view

The home is very secure, with both security bars on the windows and a unique roll up door for the lovely French doors leading into the main living area of the house.

Security bars and roll up door

Lovely french doors

The open concept floor plan allows for the living room, dining room and brand new kitchen to have ease of access to each other.  The home is semi-furnished right now, but could be completely furnished for an increase in the rental rate.

Open concept living area

Living room

Dining room

Kitchen with new oak cabinets and tile countertops

Breakfast bar with stools

Entertainment center

There are three bedrooms, although one could be used as an office, since it has a convenient private office.  The other two bedrooms, on the opposite side of the house, have a/c in one and a ceiling fan in the other.  The bathroom has a shower/tub combo with hot water.

Bedroom or office w/ private entrance

Front of house with private entrance for an office

Bedroom 1 with a/c

Bedroom 2 with ceiling fan

Bathroom with shower/tub combo

The home is available now for a monthly rent of $550 USD, and the owner prefers a one-year lease.  For more details, please visit our website:

http://belizehouserentals.redroofpropertymanagement.com/available-belize-house-for-rent-san-ignacio-area-semi-furnished/

LIVING IN BELIZE – “New Coffee House in San Ignacio – L.S. Cafe” 1/11/13

Recently while having my oil changed on my Geo Tracker, Debbie, the mechanic’s wife, asked me if I’d seen the coffee shop that had just opened up on the double road (Joseph Andrews Drive) next door to the key duplication shop. She was just raving about how cute it was, so I decided to stop in on my way to my pedicure yesterday and check it out.

L.S. Café is in a very nice spot, away from the hustle and bustle of downtown, where the only other coffee shop I know of ((Espresso) is located.  Right away, I was pleased with their menu selection and prices too!

There is a very cozy and inspired decorating theme at L.S.Cafe, compared to a lot of places that don’t even attempt to offer a nice décor for their patrons. The lights above the seating area actually change colors – it’s quite fun!

And, most importantly for me, if I am to spend any time at a coffee shop, it has to have a bathroom, which L.S. Café does.

The owner, Jim, greeted me and was exceedingly friendly.  He is originally from Taiwan, but has been in Belize for 17 years. Given that he is only 31 years old, I joked he is more Belizean than Taiwanese, and he agreed with me.  He came here originally to attend university, and hasn’t left since.

His dad owns a fabulous bakery around the corner, so they sell some of their baked goods as well. 

One thing I really appreciated about Jim was his customer service. He made sure to ask how sweet I wanted my Café Mocha (which was delicious, by the way) – light, medium, or heavy.  And when the girl at a shop next door came in to order, he told her he’d bring it on over to her when it was ready. And because it was my first time there, he gave me a $.50 discount on my mocha – nice!

I think this place is an easy place to get in and out of, with ample parking, for your morning cup of Joe, without having to deal with the downtown traffic. Or it could make a great meeting spot.  If you want to check it out, here are their hours, which Jim may be tweaking in the near future.

Do you love coffee, or are you more of a tea person?

LIVING IN BELIZE – “Red Roof Property Management is a Tropic Air Agent” 1/8/13

Some of you may or may not know that Tropic Air opened a new landing strip in San Ignacio on December 10, 2012.  This is a much needed hub, as formerly the closest one was in Belmopan, a 35-40 minute drive away. 

Large well marked signs lead you to the turn off to the landing strip on the Benque Highway in San Ignacio

The dirt road to the San Ignacio Airport

Since we have a lot of vacation rentals, I have been offering our guests the option of flying from either the Belize City International Airport, Belize City Municipal, or the Ambergris Caye/San Pedro airport to San Ignacio now (the only routes they are offering, for the time being).

Turn left here please

The airport is right across the way from the turn to a popular Cayo lodge

Tropic Air saw me mentioning them on Facebook and let us know we could become agents for them, which is a great customer service tool for us. All guests need to do is let us know their travel dates, number of people in the party, and their arrival and departure locations, and we can set up everything in advance for them. When they check in for the flight, they can pay at that time.

The Tropic Air office

Parking for at least a few cars!

Our vacation rental guests aren’t the only ones we can help. In fact, if you want to fly anywhere in the country via Tropic Air, we can help you too.  I’m sure some of my Wealth Ship Relocation clients will be using this option now as well, since a lot of times their itinerary is tight and flying saves a bunch of time.

The waiting area

Tropic Air agents waiting to help you

This is just one more way Red Roof has of making people’s visit to Belize easier and more convenient.  Hope we can help you one day in the near future!

LIVING IN BELIZE – “Happy New Year & Christmas Eve Party Pics” 1/7/13

Happy New Year everybody!  After a much needed break, I will be attempting to get back to some sort of semblance of normalcy and begin to blog again.  The good news is, both of my businesses are doing great – like really great!  Which means I’m busier and busier all the time.

The bad news is I find myself not having time to do all the things I like to every day.  So, you may notice that my blogs aren’t as regular as they used to be, but when time permits, I will definitely be writing and catching you up on all the happenings in my life, my companies, and the Cayo area.

Today, I thought it would be fun to share with you some photos from Nige’s birthday bash on Christmas Eve, when we gave the presents my grandsons bought for his cousins to everyone (blog post here).  There were an awful lot of smiles to go around that night, and it really warmed my heart. And the party was a major success!

The couch full of presents before the kids tore into it

Jared just loved his new bike!!

Jody and his dad playing with his new truck

Jaeda thanking me for her pretty sandals and princess set

Aunt Noemi looks at the baby’s new clothes

Jace and his hat and shoes

Nige’s birthday present-some “imported” alcohol from Guatemala

Nige’s birthday cake (that’s supposed to be a basketball)

Everyone singing Happy Birthday to Nige

Did you do anything fun over the holiday, or did you take a break as well?

 

LIVING IN BELIZE – “Christmas Presents for Belizean Children” 12/22/12

As some of you may not know, I’m a grandma. I have two wonderful grandsons, Domenick (10) and Callum (6) that live in Houston, Texas with my step-daughter, Tara.  This year I asked them what they wanted for Christmas, and they told me they really didn’t need much. I said, “Wow, you guys must be spoiled. Do you know how many children in Belize would kill to have someone buy them Christmas presents?”

Without any prompting from their mom or me, the boys decided together that they wanted me to take the money I was going to spend on them, and spend it on buying gifts for some Belizean children.  I don’t think I’ve ever been more proud of them.  Since Nige has lots of cousins whose parents don’t have enough money to buy their kids any presents at Christmas time, we decided to spend it on them.  Since I promised my grandsons pictures of the gifts, I thought I’d blog about it so you all could see what Christmas gift options are in Belize.

First, little three year old Jared will be getting this bike, his dream gift (I can’t wait to see the look on his face).  It cost $130 bze ($65 usd), but we have to take it to the gas station and get the tires filled with air still.

We also got him a little pack of dinosaurs, just so he’d have one more present to open ($2.95 bze/$1.48 usd).

Next there’s Jaeda (or Nena as we call her).  She’s a little princess, so we got her this Beauty Set ($21.95 bze/$10.98 usd) and a pair of pretty black sandals (not pictured), or slippers as they are called in Belize ($20 bze/$10 usd).

The older boys, Jaylan and Jace, really needed shoes too, so we got them these tennis shoes ($40 and 30 bze respectively/$20 and $15 usd). Although, in Belize, they drop the word shoe and just call them tennis.  Also pictured is a cute pair of infant sandals for the baby, Janae ($20 bze/$10 usd).

Speaking of the baby, she’s only six months old, but growing quite quickly, so we got here two cute 12 month outfits ($30 bze each/$15 usd). I love buying baby clothes!

Back to the older boys, we also got them so cool baseball hats ($25 bze/$12.50 usd).

And some slippers as well ($15 bze each/$7.50 usd).

Last, for Nige’s other cousin, not quite three years old yet, we got him a very sturdy, metal Tonka Dump Truck ($80 bze/$40 usd). He shouldn’t be able to break this any time soon!

While shopping, we also bought one boy and one girl present to put in the Salvation Army donation bin.  All in all, I’m very happy with the results of our shopping trip, and I can’t wait to give the presents to the kids.  Tara will be reading this email to my grandsons Christmas morning, and I think they got the best present of all – getting to experience the gift of giving!! Thank you boys!!

 

LIVING IN BELIZE – “Spanish Lookout Sign, Diamond Realty New Location & Overview of Cayo Welcome Center” 12/13/12

Yesterday I had to make a quick shopping trip to Spanish Lookout, a Mennonite community about 20 minutes outside of San Ignacio, and noticed a nice, new sign they have greeting people that wasn’t there the last time I was here (notice it says Welcome in German too?).

Later that day, we headed over to the new Cayo Welcome Center in downtown San Ignacio.

We were there for Diamond Realty’s Grand Opening party for their new location.  Previously they were pretty much hidden away on one of the back streets behind the main street, Burns Avenue. Now they’ll be quite visible in this prime location, across from the market and bus station.

Inside their new offices, they had a fabulous mural painted by a very well-known local artist, Jose Landero, which depicts the country of Belize – very relevant for a real estate firm.

After mingling and drinking a couple of Belikins, we took a quick tour around the rest of the Welcome Center area.  The Old French Bakery has moved and is now the New French Bakery. One day I will stop in and see how their coffee is and report back.

Down the ways from there we spotted a new Thai Restaurant called Bamboo – yum!! Will definitely be giving that a go soon.

The Welcome Center is comprised of lots of little “house” type structures that vendors and businesses can rent. So far no one is really open yet.

There’s also a huge stage/amphitheater in the middle of the complex.

Unfortunately, however, they only installed one row of benches, so at big events I suppose they will use rental chairs – seems like a bit of a waste of money and a missed opportunity, honestly, to not construct more built in seating.

We also saw this odd statue. I “think” it is a toucan being birthed out of an egg.

In any case, enjoyed my day out and wanted to share what I found. Do you like checking out new areas?

LIVING IN BELIZE – “Holiday Break” 12/7/12

Just wanted to let all of my loyal readers know that Ms. Wealth Ships will be taking a much needed blogging hiatus over the holiday season.  As you know, I have been dealing with some health issues, and I really need to focus on getting better as soon as possible, which means reducing my stress levels.

Not that my blogging is “stressful,” by any means. I quite enjoy writing and sharing with all of you, and especially love the interaction through the comments you leave. However, it is one area that I can easily free up some time so I can take a little break.

Plus, most people cut back on their work load over the holidays anyway, as it is a time for socializing, family gatherings, and relaxing a bit.  I probably won’t stop blogging all together – you’ll hear from me intermittently as I do fun things or have something I need to say.  It just won’t be as regular as you’re used to.

So thanks for understanding, and I will resume my normal schedule come the first of the year. Happy Holidays to all of you!