30 Things I’ll Miss About Living in Belize

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Seven months.

Time flies when you love where you live. And when you love what you do.

My mission is accomplished and the countdown is on to return home and plan for my next challenge.

I’m enjoying as much as I can, one more time, of the things I love about Belize and living in Belize (and Caye Caulker). Aside from the obvious — all my wonderful friends, old and new — here is a non-exhaustive list of what I will miss:

  1. The Caribbean Sea at my doorstep (literally)
  2. Taking swimming work breaks (write, swim, write… swim!)
  3. Impromptu island hopping to San Pedro
  4. Stew chicken and rice and beans with a splash of Marie Sharpe, and all of the other yummy Belizean food
  5. My adopted nieces and nephews (my friends’ kids) screaming “Lilyyyy”and running to hug me every time they see me
  6. The dukunu man, always greeting me with “my African sister” and slipping an extra dukunu or two in my bag
  7. Hopping on a snorkel trip to the reef, in just a few minutes
  8. Watching and photographing sunsets on Caye Caulker
  9. Enjoying a nice cold Belikin and ceviche on a hot day
  10. Waving and seeing familiar faces every day while walking or running errands
  11. Getting pampered at Purple Passion
  12. Waking up to birds and watching pelicans fly
  13. Sleeping to the sound of swaying palm leaves and coconuts falling
  14. Speaking Kriol (or trying) and Spanish with my friends
  15. Hopping around the country in less than a day when I need a break or feel like waterfalls, rivers and hikes
  16. The blue hues all around me and that cool Caribbean breeze
  17. Bashing it up Belizean style
  18. Being asked “You da Belize?” every week
  19. Sitting on the dock and watching the stars
  20. Going for my immigration stamp runs to San Pedro (yes, even that!)
  21. Flying Tropic Air and losing myself in the aerial views (thanks for the special discount, Tropic!)
  22. Getting my bottle of fresh-squeezed orange or watermelon juice (US$2.50)
  23. Hearing Garifuna drumming and dancing punta
  24. Riding my bike seaside and walking on the beach
  25. Wearing flip flops almost every day
  26. Sunday Funday gatherings with friends (my family away from home)
  27. Listening to locals chatting on the occasional bus ride
  28. Spotting wildlife almost every week
  29. Cooling off in the sea and being joined by a stingray or two
  30. Stopping by my favorite roadside vendors for a boxed lunch or late night snack
I could go on! I love Belize… it’s going to be really, really hard to leave this time around! But it won’t be for too long.


I’m super grateful for yet another amazing long-term experience here.


A massive thanks to all who helped and assisted me along the way while researching and writing my first edition of Moon Belize.

Lebawit Lily Girma

Lebawit Lily Girma is an award-winning travel journalist, photographer, and guidebook author specializing in the Caribbean region. Her work has been published in major travel publications, including CNN, AFAR, Delta Sky, Lonely Planet, Shermans Travel, and BBC, among others. A self-professed "culture-holic," Lily left her native Ethiopia at age one, fast developing a passion for the expat Caribbean life. In 2008, she ditched her US corporate law career for the road and created Sunshine and Stilettos—a travel photography blog showcasing authentic ways to experience the Caribbean, through culture and nature. Lily has since partnered with Caribbean tourism boards and travel brands on major content projects. She also authors print guidebooks on three destinations, including Belize, the Dominican Republic, and Jamaica. Read more on her site, LebawitGirma.com

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  1. Dorian Nunez 10 April, 2013 at 3:16 PM #

    We are going to miss you very, very, very, much Lily! Please come back soon.

  2. Cammy 10 April, 2013 at 3:44 PM #

    Lily, I do wish you the very best in what is to come next for you, even if its more traveling and writing may you get to enjoy the fruits of your labor. You are very dear to us and I know Caye Caulker will miss such a familiar face as well.

    It is never farewell but until next time 🙂 Return to us soon…

  3. Armando Ramirez 10 April, 2013 at 3:53 PM #

    I am glad Belize has made such an impression on you. Thanks for sharing all the good with the world!!!

  4. Joanna 10 April, 2013 at 5:57 PM #

    You’ll just have to go bash it up Belizean style wherever your next step takes you. The cool thing is that you were able to experience a whole lot of Belize. We will miss your smile, until next time.

  5. Lebawit Lily Girma 10 April, 2013 at 6:11 PM #

    OK, I think I’m going to cry now!! And I haven’t even left yet. 🙂

    I am going to really miss each and every one of you– Dorian, Cammy (thanks for your sweet message), JO and everyone. Belize is fabulous but it’s even more so thanks to you all. THANK YOU for being my family away from home and also for helping me with all of my crazy itinerary logistics (JO, you most of all).

    And yes, what a cool experience to see all of Belize for a second time, and in such depth.

    As Cammy says, it’s not goodbye, it’s LATA… 😉

    Much Love!

  6. JoAnna 10 April, 2013 at 6:21 PM #

    Congratulations Lily! Best of luck to you, wherever your next adventure takes you!

  7. Lee Vanderwalker 10 April, 2013 at 9:04 PM #

    We will miss you Lily, it was great talking with you. Best of luck in your NEXT adventure!

  8. Diana 10 April, 2013 at 9:39 PM #

    Thank you for showing Belize to us! Through your lens and your writing I have now added Belize to my bucket list!

  9. Rebecca 11 April, 2013 at 11:22 AM #

    And we never even got to meet! Good luck with everything!

  10. Larry Waight 11 April, 2013 at 11:45 AM #

    We will miss you Lily! Hope you come back to Belize soon.


  11. Stacy Badillo 11 April, 2013 at 12:53 PM #

    Words will never explain how you became part of our family! Best of luck with whatever the universe throws at you.

  12. Lebawit Lily Girma 11 April, 2013 at 1:20 PM #

    Armando — it was my pleasure! You have a beautiful country.

    JoAnna — thank you! Hope we cross paths again this year.

    Lee — Thanks! It was great chatting with you too and I’ll surely miss seeing you and Emmanuel, and relaxing at your cafe, too!

    Diana — Thanks for following and I can’t wait till you visit Belize one day.

    Rebecca — Ha! Next trip, if you have time for me 😉 Thanks and best of luck to you too!

    Larry — Thanks, keep up the great work! I will miss all of you my Cayo friends as well! Hope to be back soon, God willing.

    Stace — Aw, no words indeed. Thank you for adopting me:). I love you all and will miss you and Gina and the kids and your mom! Keep up the great work and we see each other again soon.

  13. Rob Benner 12 April, 2013 at 7:31 AM #

    Your list really captured so many of the gems found here in Belize. As someone who lives here, I was reminded of how much I take for granted sometimes.
    Congratulations on the completion of your book–can’t wait to get a copy. It was interesting being exposed to more of this amazing country through your writings and photos.
    Best wishes on your future assignments. Sounds like Belize will forever be calling you to come “home”.
    Rob in Caye Caulker

  14. Lebawit Lily Girma 12 April, 2013 at 12:54 PM #

    Hi Rob, it really is easy to take it all for granted! I plan to make the most of my remaining days here. Thanks very much for your kind wishes and will keep you posted on publication. I’m in the final revision process now! Hard to believe it’s been almost a year of my life, but it’s been the best year ever. It does seem that Belize will always be calling me back…:) All the best to you also and hopefully our paths will cross on my return to Belize!

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