We made it back to our little slice of paradise about a month ago. August 14th marked our three year anniversary of island living. Typically, I've found the transition from the busy, event-filled Canadian summers to the quiet, slow pace of the Caribbean "Fall" a bit challenging; however, I'm finding that with each year, it gets much easier to adapt to island routine. Adjusting to driving on the left side of the road, dodging chickens on the school yard, and sweating my ass off in 100% humidity is no longer that difficult or strange. You just do it without thinking. On the other hand, there are a few things that I've noticed in the last month that have made me stop and think, "Riiiiight...I am not in Canada anymore."
|My eye candy heading in for a dip in the sea - much warmer than Candle Lake!|
Whoa! We sure dodged a bullet with Hurricane Irma. We watched it carefully as it developed over the Atlantic Ocean and evolved into a massive Category 5 hurricane. Luckily, it passed about 200 miles north of us, ravaging the Eastern Caribbean, Cuba, and parts of Florida in it's path. It's heartbreaking to see the pictures of St. Martin and Barbuda, for example. The devastation is horrifying! I can't imagine seeing your beautiful island in ruins and losing everything you own! But it is important to be prepared so, for that reason, I am becoming hurricane savvy. I've substituted the winter car emergency kit, complete with booster cables and a shovel, for a hurricane kit. I follow the National Hurricane Center's website and watch the direction and speed of tropical depressions forming in the Atlantic. The hurricanes develop to the east of us and move from east to west. Typically these storms make a north turn somewhere along it's route. This is exactly how we escaped Irma. It was heading from east to west and made a north turn toward Florida before it could strike our island. We did experience high winds and huge waves as a result, but nothing destructible. 2017 has been a very busy storm season and I'm presently closely watching 2 more storms brewing to the east of us. We will need to monitor these carefully. What would we do if it looked like we were on the path to take a direct hit of a major hurricane? Um...not so sure on that one. We have plenty of Chef Boyardee, water, and tequila in our hurricane kit, but to be honest, if a massive storm was headed our way, I think that I would try my best to get off the island!
|The purple arrow points to us. Irma decided to take a turn to the north.|
|Thar she blows!|
2) Whining, Daggering, and Singing At the Top of Your Lungs!
I've noticed many interesting differences between the Canadian and the Caribbean culture. One very entertaining difference is the way in which the Caribbean people embrace music and dance. They just go for it! No holds barred! One night a bunch of us girls hit up a club for some 90's dance and drink. Our group of ladies hailed from Canada, the US and the UK. We formed our little dance circle, placed our purses on the floor and danced the night away, with heavy emphasis on upper body movements. You know, "white girl" dancing (can you picture it?) Around midnight, a group of Caribbean partiers entered the dance floor and demonstrated how it's done. All the "daggering," (a dance move that is described by wikipedia as "dry sex") and "whining," which is comprised of hip thrusting and rotating, made our moves look like a school dance on a Full House episode. Wow. Caribbean peeps just know how to use their lower body in a sexy, rhythmic way. My hips can't physically do those things, and for that reason, I will stick to my finger snapping, shoulder shakin' grooving. I just sounded like an 80 year old woman. Ugh.
|White girl dancing: heavy emphasis on the shoulders, arms, and head. Don't forget the hair flip.|
Singing at the top of your lungs also appears to be a cultural difference. Perhaps Canadians feel a bit more self conscious about singing in public? My speech therapy room is next to the school cafeteria, and it's not uncommon to hear the cook belting out the tunes, "Jeeeesussss is inside of meeeee!" No one comments or even bats an eye, as it's just a normal everyday occurrence to hear someone singing loudly in a public place. The other day, I was waiting in line at Paperman's, the "Starbucks" of Cayman. I could have been in any coffee shop in Canada or America, waiting patiently with the other patrons for the Barista to prepare our drinks. When suddenly Taylor Swift's, "Blank Space" came on the radio and the entire coffee shop erupted in song. I looked around suspiciously, wondering if I was part of a flash mob sing-along, but everyone carried on their business, singing, "I've got a blank space, baby...and I'll write your name." I'm not gonna lie, I sang along as well. My voice is not brilliant, by any means, nor was anyone else's in that coffee shop, so I felt no qualms about joining in. I walked out of that coffee shop with a chai tea latte and a smile on my face. Pretty cool.
3) Decisions Decisions
As much as I absolutely love summers at Candle Lake, the one thing that I often feel during our summers is a sense of urgency. Because there are such limited days of hot weather, if a nice day arrives, everyone feels the need to get outside NOW! Get in the boat NOW! Drink some cold wobbly pops! HURRY! Have fun! All the summer excitement is compacted into 2 short months. Also, because we only spend about 2 months a year there, we also feel a sense of urgency to complete renovations and household chores that have been waiting for us all winter (when I say "we," I mean "Evan," of course). It's a little exhausting (watching Evan do so much work). Haha.
Now that Ev and I are back in Never Never Land, adulting has taken a back seat to relaxation time. Although we still have to work five days a week, the sense of urgency for paying bills and completing household chores is just...gone. There is zero sense of urgency to get outside and enjoy the hot weather, as it's hot Every. Single. Day. Don't get me wrong. We are under a lot of stress with regards to my health (the #neverbendingstory continues, unfortunately), as well as worrying about the health of family members. For those reasons we've had to make some difficult decisions recently, which makes the option to chill out and go with the flow that much sweeter (On that note, I must pay the overdue Flow (internet) bill!) It doesn't mean that I don't feel homesick, missing my friends and family back in Canada. I do. A lot. I would give anything to spend a day at Baba's house right now, chatting away and eating her cinnamon buns. But I have settled into the laid back vibe of our little island, and when I am not at work, I'm spending a lot of time resting, rehabbing, and relaxing.
This is an actual conversation that Ev and I had this week regarding an important island decision:
Me: "Where should we go for a drink?"
Ev: "Well I like the drinks in the Marriott lobby."
Me: "But then we can't see the sunset. Maybe we should go to the Marriott beach bar?"
Ev: "But if we drink outside at the beach bar the ice melts and ruins my drink. I don't want a watered down Old Fashioned."
Me: "Yep. And then the condensation drips down your leg. The lobby bar makes sense."
Haha! The struggle is real.
Cheers to cold drinks and singing like no one is watching!
|Hurry! My pina colada is melting!|
|Dundee resumes his beach walk routine|
|The night before Irma passed us - red sky at night, sailor's delight|