Motherland, here I come!
This summer, for nine days, I will finally be visiting Belize. I’ve never been in my 18 years and I am ridiculously pumped about this trip. Neither my mom nor my grandma have been back to Belize in 25 years, so they’re pretty excited, too. My entire family is going, including my sister’s girlfriend and our family friend Jasmine. If you are a loyal reader of the blog you will remember that Jasmine was my travel mate on my trip to Europe last summer. I think we’ve unofficially pledged to travel the world together and this is our next journey.
If you’re wondering why this trip holds so much significance to me, let me break it down for you:
I’m Belizean! My grandfather was born and raised in Belize and came to America when he was 32 years old. My grandma was born in Guatemala and moved to Belize when she was 10. Later in life she met my grandpa, they fell in love, she got pregnant, and they moved to the United States, more specifically Brooklyn, New York, in 1968, with my womb-clad uncle in tow. My mom was made, born, and raised in Brooklyn. She first met my father at the Brooklyn-Belizean 1986 version of a kickback when she was 16 and he was 18, FOB (fresh off the boat) from Belize. (My mother, while confirming these ages and dates for me, added, “Yes he was fresh off the boat. Still got saltwatah pan ah.”)
I love my heritage and embrace my Belizean-ness with everything in me.
Now that you understand, here’s some logistical stuff:
Belize is a Caribbean country in Central America, nestled in between Mexico and Guatemala. We are the only country in Central America with English as its official language. Most people speak Belizean Kriol, however, which is a dialect of broken English/Patois. Belize is extremely diverse. There are Asian Belizeans, Afro-Belizeans, Spanish Belizeans, Mayan Belizeans, and German-Mennonite Belizeans. We are home to the second largest coral barrier reef in the world and the giant submarine sinkhole named the Great Blue Hole, pictured in the lead image. (Basically, Belize is the shit and Belizeans are the best. Just sayin’.)
On my trip, I’ll be visiting Belize City, San Pedro, Caye Caulker, and Placencia. The idea of finally seeing Belize with my own eyes and even more, spending another portion of my summer traveling to places I’ve never set foot before is beyond thrilling. I’ll be documenting my trip via Splendidly, Kait of course, but I may also make a short film of my trip. Stay tuned!
Audre Lorde, Black Caribbean womanist and literary powerhouse, wrote this in an essay recounting her visits to Grenada:
“The first time I came to Grenada I came seeking ‘home,’ for this was my mother’s birthplace and she had always defined it so for me. Vivid images remained of what I saw there and of what I knew it could become.” – Grenada Revisited: An Interim Report, 1984
This is a sentiment I’m sure most other Caribbean-American children can relate to. I am going to Belize seeking home, seeking other, and seeking more. And I cannot wait.
Lead Image Credit: chabilmarvillas.com