Expat Chit Chat: Frederic and Sylvie in Consejo Shores

Expat Chit-Chat is intended to give you a glimpse into the lives of Belize Expats who have already made the transition to Belize and have wisdom to share to help you make a smoother move to Belize.

This installment will dive into the lives of Frederic and Sylvie who came from France and have settled into Consejo Shores, the oldest and most established Expat seaside community in Northern Belize.

  • NAMES: FREDERIC AND SYLVIE
  • ORIGINAL LOCATION: FRANCE
  • BELIZE LOCATION: CONSEJO SHORES, COROZAL DISTRICT
  • OCCUPATION: NORTHERN BELIZE CONTRACTOR

Q: HOW DID YOU END UP IN BELIZE?

A: Before coming to Belize we were living in the Paris area in France and had a stressful and busy life.

We wanted to change for a more peaceful and less expensive life and started to look for another country to move to.

From the information we gathered, we found out that Belize was one of the best places for expatriation and we decided in 2004 to come here.

After a short stay in Ambergris Caye, we established ourselves in Consejo Shores, the best expat development on the continent at that time.

Q: What else did you enjoy about the area?

We like where we are because it is close to Chetumal in Mexico and it gives us the opportunity to do some shopping and to go to nice restaurants.

Q: Did you have any fears in moving to Belize?

A: We did not have any special fear coming to Belize.

We had already lived abroad and had travelled a lot so we were used to dealing with different cultures.

Q: What is the biggest mistake that you made along the way and how did you rectify it?

A: Our biggest mistake when we arrived here – and the one most expats do – was to listen to everybody we met, which made us make a lot of mistakes.

Our advice to new expats would be: do not listen to everything you are told, whether it comes from local people or from foreigners, but do your own investigations and experience by yourself.

Q: Did anyone help you to make the transition?

A: Nobody helped us in making the transition. We learned everything the hard way, by making our own experiences.

Q: How did your family/friends at “home” react to your move to Belize? How did you handle it?

A: Our family and friends reacted well.

Of course, it was a bit difficult for us to know that we would be far away and would not be able to see them often.

Q: What characteristics do you possess that most helped along the way? How did it help?

A:The characteristics we possess that most helped us are: being independent, smart and resourceful.

Q: What else is important for furture Expats to understand about the process?

A: Expats have to realize that they will not find here what they are used to having in their own country.

This is a country of nature, and expats should stop trying to bring their city habits and requirements.

They should also use common sense and be realistic about their expectations.

Images like this can be found in custom photographic calendars by Frederic. His passion for nature and keen macrophotography skills make his calendars a must-have for anyone who loves nature and Belize. Photos are copyrighted.
to purchase his calendars, visit http://fredericconsejo.net/cal_en.html today

Q: As a Building Contractor, what advice do you have to those looking to build in Belize?

If they plan to build, they should never start a project without a written contract.

That doesn’t mean just a list of materials, but a legal agreement that will specify the 1) scope of work and 2) the payment terms and therefore protect the 2 parties.

Q: From your perspective, how can Targetbelize.com further help the future Expats of Belize?

A: TargetBelize could help the needs of future Belize expats by promoting services that could be useful for them.

For example, one of the most important thing for expats who plan to build in this country is to find a reliable and skilled contractor who will carry out their project and protect their investment.

For more information about this topic, visit the website: www.newbuildingconcept.net.

Editor’s Note: Building in Belize is not the same as building in other established countries where building regulations, real estate standards and building options are plentiful.

Most construction in Belize is done with concrete block due to severe weather concerns, but much inland construction is done by local Mennonites using local wood.

The patented polymer process that Frederic utilizes is quite unique and addresses the insolation concerns of concrete and the pest infestation prevalent with wood homes in Belize.

On his web site, Frederic talks about quality construction and how owners expose themselves to quality problems when they:

  •  select contractors based purely on the cheapest price
  •  choose the cheapest products
  •  specify impossibly short construction project durations

You can read more about choosing quality first here.

Other building services are available from New Building Concept (NBC) such as construction monitoring and property maintenance services.

It is well worth investigating www.newbuildingconcept.net.

You can reach Frederic with your questions by email at info@newbuildingconcept.net

Watch for future posts regarding the different construction options in Belize.

Are you planning to building in Belize? Leave a comment about your search for a builder below.

A Unique Belizean Perspective on Northern Belize

She’s a real trooper.

Linda is strong-minded and persistent. Those are the traits that attracted me to her in the first place.

Our vacation this Christmas took us to Corozal, Belize, on the shores of the Caribbean Sea.

Needless to say, when I told her I that I wanted to investigate the Corozal district of Belize 8 months ago, she shrugged and said, “what do you want to know?”

As a Belizean, Linda spent many weekends with her large family traveling from Orange Walk town and visiting Chetumal, Mexico across the Belizean Border. Her father’s roots from Spain made Chetumal a welcome alternative to Belize City in the South.

But when she moved to the Chicago area in 1981 along with other family members, Linda used her same strong mind and persistence to carve out a long career in dental office management.

She longed for “home” from time to time. The yearly visits to Belize weren’t enough.

When I came into her life, she introduced me to her country. It was a neat vacation spot for me. My job schedule forced me to vacation in the Summer, so it was humid, (in the 90s and 100s) and the rainy season was in full force.  But my love of hot ‘n humid goes back to catching August double-headers in high school. I enjoyed it.

I’ve been to Belize about 6 times, and each time Linda’s family would take me to different parts. I’ve experienced the mountains, caves and jungles in the South, the humid flatlands and farmland in the mid-section and the cool breezes of the touristy Cayes of Ambergris and Placencia Peninsula.

But my time in Corozal District was limited to a 15-mile Caribbean canoe trip with Linda’s brother just north of Copper Bank village on my very first trip to Belize.

Our Plans for Retirement in OrangE Walk Town

Linda owned a lot in Orange Walk and we put a fence on it and came up with a home plan. I was excited about an eventual move to Belize for retirement. Our plan was to build slowly, and avoid debt along the way.

Here is a look at our humble land development project to date:

The past few years have been spent taking a sober look at our finances, exploring possible online business opportunities that would translate to Belize, and reading up on how other Expats have prepared themselves for life abroad.

The more I read, the more excited I grew.  Perhaps that’s because I was usually reading  in the wind-chill of a Chicago winter.

We talked about our plans often and the idea of utilizing Linda’s gifts of cooking and hospitality in a Bed ‘n Breakfast came up quite a bit. We knew that it would need to be in a touristy area.

Maybe Orange Walk would be a good place? The main highway runs through town, plus the Lamanai Mayan Ruin Tours were popular just to the south. Plus, we already owned land there.

I also knew that Corozal was very popular with Expats from Canada and the U.S., so Linda was excited when I asked her if we could explore that area on our most recent trip.

Kicking the Tires in Corozal

So I spent the past 6 months investigating every area of the Corozal District. By the Caribbean Sea. By 4-mile and Progresso Lagoons. And all the way up to the Hondo River that separates Belize from Mexico.  I’ve learned a lot.

But online research can’t compare to kicking the tires, so we spent 10 days this past vacation meandering along many of the trails of Corozal district.

We talked to developers, builders, restaurant owners and current resident Expats. The experience was priceless and this blog is a humble result of our time there.

Here is the view of Corozal Bay from the Bedroom of the seaside home we rented for a week on the south end of Corozal. It’s on a stretch of road known locally at “Gringo Lane” because of all the Expats that reside here.

Our hope is that this blog will help you better understand the possibilities of the Northern part of Belize. We plan to utilize our contacts there to help flesh out this blog for your benefit.

Looking for Your Input

Hopefully, the discussions will be lively and others will be able to fill in pieces of Corozal that we have missed.

If you are already an expert in Belize, please contact us with possible blog ideas and contributions. Please bookmark our blog and come back as much as your curiosity drives you back. We would love to hear your opinions.

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