"Just the two of us...we can make it if we try, just the two of us..." - Bill Withers
Updated: Nov 18, 2021
It's funny because the song that has the honor of being the title of this post is actually not the song I'm playing right now, nor is it the song that has been in my subconscious for over a month now.
It's almost 7:30 PM CST on Tuesday evening (11.16.2021) and I've got my Bose headphones on with one song on replay. One night about a month ago, I starting to sing out loud, "Blackbird singing in the dead of night, take these broken wings and learn to fly. All your life, you were only waiting for this moment to arise. Blackbird singing in the dead of night, take these sunken eyes and learn to see. All your life, you were only waiting for this moment to be FREE, Blackbird fly...Blackbird fly...", and then all of a sudden from the top of the stairs, Daniella comes out screaming, "INTO THE LIGHT OF A DARK BLACK NIGHT!!!". We both started dying laughing.
I was shocked she even knew the song. (Side note: I'd love to give kudos to all her music teachers at PS40 in the East Village, NYC and American Leadership Academy in Gilbert, AZ for introducing kids to really phenomenal music!) That moment made me stop in wonderment as to why this great song was stuck in my head. For sure, it was and still is, a reflection of where we are in our journey. As we near the winter holiday season, Daniella and I are at our 5-month mark here. I say that as if it's some sort of race. But, is it? What are we racing to? What are we racing from? What does winning look like? Is there some greater life purpose for us here in Belize? I wish I had an inkling as to the answers, but in some way I believe that Blackbird was the Universe's answer for me. We worked so hard to get here to experience our freedom from some shackles that we felt were binding us. Shouldn't we finally just be happy that we are happy in the moment? It's not the destination, rather it's the journey, right? I've always been the sort of person that is working so hard towards some destination that I end up losing the enjoying of the journey part. Granted the past two and half years dealing with cancer during COVID, it was one goal after another. That is, until we got to Belize. However, even here, we jumped straight into home ownership, which was new to both of us.
A couple months into our life here, we bought a condo. I don't have the financial means to buy one of the newly built, perfectly furnished ones on the beach, so I had to take a different route. We ended up buying a top condo unit (one of three) in a quiet neighborhood on the lagoon side of the island. The buying and renovating process as a single mom was hard enough. Add doing it in a different country and the challenges become amplified. It was an exhausting, all encompassing, learning process. My little fellow wanderer wholly participated in the entire process from the moment we put the offer in, to deciding what renovations we would do (versus what we could live with) all while ensuring that we don't get sucked into unnecessary materialistic things, as that would be counter to the whole reason we came here. We've now literally spent all of our rainy day pennies. However, every time I have a concern about it, she says to me, "mom, it's like putting your money in the bank!". She's right. At 46 years old and partly due to years of living in Manhattan, it's my only investment. And, I'm very proud I did it on my own without a man, husband, or what have you.
So far in our life abroad, we've very often heard, "wait..., it's just the two of you?". It's a question that was magnified in my own head as we went through this entire condo process and Blackbird was always what I seemed to be humming. My immediate reply to this question is a proud, "yup!". But, while proud, I will never underestimate the difficulty of "just the two of us". To note, my Instagram hashtag of #motherdaughterlifeabroad has fewer than 100 posts. That's probably because we are pioneers in this space. And we are probably pioneers because we thrive out of our comfort zone??? HA! I have no idea! Maybe we are just crazy because it's HARD! It's BRUTALLY HARD on many days!!! There are a lot of sacrifices and challenges, but the rewards far outweigh these challenges, at least in our eyes. As far as my Daniella and I are concerned, we are crazy together, we know we have each other, and we know that, "we can make it if we try, just the two of us..."! <3<3<3
(Here are a couple before and after shots of the kitchen and living room. The pink and white tile was a must-change at least on the inside so we used a laminate tile on top. We also get that we live in the Caribbean, but the sea mural was a little too much for us, so we did an accent wall. My GC joked that the fish look angry because they have to look at the pink and white tile!)
(Here is one side of our huge wraparound veranda--the main reason we chose the smaller unit in this house. I love going out and sitting at that table with my coffee or a glass of wine and writing in my journal while just listening to the many sounds of this unique little island.)