Greetings, ladies and gents, and a splendid Tuesday to you all!
Just finished reading Water for Elephants, which was clearly good because I read it quickly and avidly, and am now at my computer supposedly working. Because the desktop I’m using is quite slow, I can only do so much multi-tasking before I am forced to choose one activity and stick with it. This is frustrating, but maybe it’s a sign that I need to leave my American-ness at the doorstep and slow down!
Anyway, I thought I’d take a break from the tasks at hand to share some unusual quirks about Belize. I originally called this entry “Weird Stuff About Belize,” but then I realized that it might only seem weird because I’m not used to it. As I’ve been planning cultural reflections for our participants, I’ve been forced to think more deeply about not only how I perceive Belizean culture, but also how Belizean culture perceives me! And I’m pretty sure they have many reasons to consider me a nutter. So, without further ado, a brief list of reasons why Belizeans probably think I’m nuts, and a complementary list of why I think they are! 🙂
WHY BELIZEANS THINK I AM STRANGE
I am probably the whitest thing they’ve ever seen short of Caspar the Friendly Ghost.
I talk and walk way faster than any native Belizean.
On days when Belizeans think it’s “cool,” I think it’s HOT! They say that I am “afraid of the sun” and that “it’s just sunburn.” Tell me that when my back looks like a molting lobster.
The idea of slaughtering a chicken is foreign and amusing and highly intriguing to me. To most people here, it’s about as exciting as dirt.
I love personality assessments, icebreaker games, and hypothetical questions, all of which are unfamiliar to most of the people here.
Noemi tells me that I “seem a lot younger than my actual age.” I am taking this to mean not that I am immature (entirely) but that I am perceived as younger because most Belizean 26-year-olds are married with children. Oops…
I wear what Olivia calls a “weird looking hat.” She is referring to the awesome piece of straw head fashion that I bought from the GAP and that protects my skin from the wild and unpredictable sun.
WHY I THINK BELIZEANS ARE STRANGE
If you pass a Belizean in the evening, they say “goodnight” to mean hello. This will never not feel weird to me.
The roosters here crow whenever they feel like. This seems to fit beautifully into the Belizean views on time…which are as follows: Do it when you feel like it. Be late if you want to. Time waits for every man.
Bathing suits (or “bath suits” as they call them) are not at all common here (here being BY THE OCEAN). People just walk right into the water fully clothed and then come home and change. And when they see a crazy tourist in a bathing suit, it probably looks to them like a person swimming in her underclothes.
Everyone here refers to the refrigerator as the “refridge”–not the “fridge,” mind you, but the “refridge.”
Cheese is sold in balls wrapped in saran wrap that look suspiciously like playdoh.
It is not uncommon for people to use instant chicken broth (the type that you dissolve in hot water in the states) as a condiment to sprinkle on top of their food.
If you don’t tie up your hammock when it’s not in use, you could very easily be the victim of a Mayan curse.
Rice and beans! Beans and rice! NOT the same thing. One is rice mixed with beans in the pot, and the other is rice distinctly separate from the beans. I’d tell you which is which, but I still don’t know.
They don’t tell knock-knock jokes. I was trying to tell Noemi my favorite knock-knock joke (interrupting starfish, anyone?), and she didn’t know what to say when I said “knock knock.” This was hysterical in itself, but also a shock to discover that knock-knock jokes are not a worldwide phenomenon.
And, for you who have patiently waited, some photos of recent staff and intern fun…