Feed The Need For Personal Space
Wendy Auxillou

I spent the major part of last week and this week overseeing a few renovations to an apartment my family and I will be moving to, hopefully this weekend. Thankfully, my best friend owns the property and she has allowed me pretty much free rein to renovate as I see fit. Even with all the new touches and upgrades inside the apartment, however, the best and most attractive feature of what will soon be our new home is really not located indoors - but instead -- outdoors. It is the incredible amount of available yard space surrounding the apartment. There is ample space for a volleyball net for my middle daughter, another great spot inside the fenced yard so my four-year-old son can help to wash the car, and for my eldest teenager who is raging to get her driver's license, even enough space to practice her driving and parallell parking skills safely. We are all counting down the days until we move, as just the idea of plenty of wonderful and fabulous outdoor space has increased our quality of life (and the smiles on all of our faces) exponentially.
We currently live in a compact rental apartment on Barrack Road. Although this apartment has served us well, and our landlord has accommodated all our little eccentricities fabulously, in the end, because the apartment borders the property lines, we pretty much all live indoors most of the time. There just is not enough yard space for the kids to be able to play outside any at all. When everyone is sleeping the small space is excellent, but having even two family members awake at any given moment has meant that one person is inadvertently invading the private space of another somehow, either with the television or the music being too loud, or there being too many toys on the floor, or any such similar atrocity. Since I also run an at-home office from this very location, for my very active four-year-old son, this has pretty much meant that for the past year his play time has been mostly restricted. Previous to him being moved to Belize City for educational reasons, he was a barefoot and carefree Caye Caulker island child with an entire island village as his playground. My heart has bled deeply this past year for this exceptionally loving and incredibly sweet child who has worked daily to adapt to the shrinkage and invasion to HIS play area.
There is no doubt in my mind that a cramped space loaded with many bodies of varied personalities and different schedules can quickly and easily become a hotbed of disagreement and discourse. Even violence. If you are nursing a pounding headache, even something as non-intrusive as the sound of a television on low volume going all day could easily convert you into a raging lunatic. Picture then, the situation that many of our poorer Belize City dwellers face - eight, nine, maybe even ten people living under the same roof -- children screaming while breadwinners try to sleep in preparation for the next work day. Surely even under the best of circumstances it is not easy. No solitude or personal space to rest or replenish a weary body and a weary mind. Stress.
On a drive to Chetumal over the weekend, I was amazed all over again at one of the wonders of Belize living -- miles and miles of wide open spaces. It is the main ingredient that assures an excellent quality of life in this great country.
What if we could arrange for all the City people living under cramped circumstances to move out into the country instead? A hammock under a mango tree is excellent personal space.
Questions or comments: Please e-mail me at [email protected] Thanks for reading.

Wendy Auxillou
Auxillou Beach Suites
Caye Caulker, Belize