I wrote this a few weeks ago in response to an Uncommon "prompted." Uncommon is another listserve email and I highly recommend it. Google uncommon in common and you should find it.
On June the 11th, my boyfriend and I were offered jobs in Belize. The catch....they needed us there on July 10th.
We had 29 days to divest ourselves of our home and a very large portion of our stuff and things. We never really considered ourselves particularly acquisitive or consumerist but my 37 years and his 42 years of accumulation added up rapidly.
As we had only a general idea of where we would be living when we arrived in a country we had never before visited, we didn't really know what we would need. But we did know that customs duty would have to be paid on anything we brought. So things had to go. The furniture was returned to my great-grandmother's country home for the most part or sold. The bulk of our clothes went to the goodwill (I wasn't going to need my "lawyer clothes" thank goodness). Our crystal, silver, china and art were parceled out among our closest friends so that they might have the enjoyment of it rather than it sitting in a box in a storage unit. In the end, we managed to reduce three thousand square feet (plus an attic & a basement) of goods and chattels to 149 boxes....many of them quite small boxes. We were proud.
I will admit that I cried over the books, all of the books, so many old friends.
In the course of that same 29 days, my boyfriend became my fiancé and then my husband.
So, we have been in Belize for 40 days and married for 50. Both of these things have required major adjustments. This isn't the first time I have lived abroad but it is the first time I left the States with no intention of returning. It's a different state of mind entirely. There is no concept of if this doesn't work out we can just ditch and go back. Marriage, it turns out, is much the same state of mind.
We have been told that we are amazing, and adventurous, and just plain crazy. We are all of those things. And we are more, we are growing and adapting and, mostly, we are just damn lucky.
That's our story to date....I would love to hear about the time any of you completely left your comfort zone and any advice you might have on transitioning from the first world to the third world.
Have a lovely day.
Maya Beach, Belize