Tuesday, August 12, 2014

We made it!!

Ev and I moved quickly, soaking Biloxi, the cat, and Dundee, the dog, down with ice cubes, as they panted, dangerously overheated in their little carry-on boxes.

"Ev, these little guys can't die now! We've worked too damn hard to get them here!" I joked uncomfortably.

It was the last lag of the journey and we were sitting in Miami on Cayman Airways Flight 104, ready to depart for Grand Cayman. The flight was delayed and very little air was being distributed out of the vents. Evan and I were cooking, so we could only imagine how the pets felt under the seats in front of us. These poor animals that had now endured almost 24 hours of travel.
Here we go!

I cannot be contained!

Within an hour we were en route and the little guys had stopped panting and I was enjoying my first Island rum punch. What a challenge it had been to get to this point. We sold our house. I quit my job. Ev is entrusting the business to his staff. We said goodbye to all our buddies and family, and, of course, we paid Fed Ex like a shmillion dollars to almost not deliver our pets' paperwork! (FYI: they failed AGAIN. We got the paperwork Friday night after we forced them to send the driver back. Yes, that same driver that couldn't find our house...again. Ugh) Side Note: Ev says he wants to send some poop to Fed Ex headquarters...but he doesn't want to Fed Ex it because it'll never make it there. Bahahaha!

As we descended onto Grand Cayman, I had this surreal moment as I looked out the window. The island was tiny. It was surrounded by crystal blue waters and white sand beach. Palm trees scattered the island. I'd seen this sight before as we arrived on various tropical vacations...but this was different. Holy Shit! this was our new home. Holy Shit! we will living here. I turned to Ev and said, well, you guessed it, "Holy shit!"

The four of us are presently snuggled up in  this great hotel across from Seven Mile Beach called "Sunshine Suites, " as we wait to find a place to rent. My job will pay for us to stay here for a week, so there's definitely a sense of urgency to find a place as soon as possible. I am relieved to see "familiar" things on the island like banks (LOTs of banks), grocery stores, and movie theatres. I don't feel a sense of culture shock like I did when we travelled to Honduras, for example, which makes me feel more comfortable about living here.

My first morning consisted of orientation with my new job. I wasn't sure what to wear, and most of my clothes were more wrinkled than Mick Jagger from travel, so I selected a casual skirt and sleeveless top, hoping this would make a decent first impression. As I entered the lobby, I was horrified to see a large group of people, donning business suits and high heels. Shit! I stood uncomfortably in the back and contemplated a quick change - damn, I don't even own a business suit. I was relieved when I realized that I was with the wrong group. These peeps were accountants, heading to their firm! Thank goodness I'm NOT an accountant. I silently applauded my career choice as I discovered my group.  My group, on the other hand, was much more laid back in appearance. I knew right away that I was surrounded by awesomeness. There were about 40 of us - teachers, psychologists, occupational therapists, support staff, and 2 speech therapists, including myself. My first impression was 1) these people are super pumped to be here (we've all given up a lot!) 2) These people come from all over the world (my table was represented by Jamaica, Ireland, New York, Dominican Republic, and Canada), and 3) These people are well travelled - everyone actually knew where Saskatchewan was!

Our orientation was quite unlike any other orientation I've ever attended. It kinda reminded me of one of Oprah's "favorite things" episodes at Christmas time. A presenter would walk in and exclaim "Guess what? You all get free phones!" and as they handed out cells, my colleagues were whoo-hooing and cheering. The room was vibrating with excitement all morning. I felt like I was watching a Riders game: I don't really know why I'm so excited, but because everyone else is, I will stand up and cheer as well! haha. We also covered the basics like pay, benefits, etc. Because I am hired by the Government, I'm learning quickly that being a civil servant comes with a lot of perks. We are entitled to free health care with no personal contributions - 100% covered by the government, as well as 12% towards our pension (again, we do not contribute), and probably the biggest advantage is that we are not on working visas. My passport was stamped at customs as a 2 year "resident" and I will have the option to renew this every 2 years. This also entitles Ev to work, if he chooses, on the island. Pretty sweet deal! The island is also tax free - but with our ties to Canada through Ev's business, I will still have to save some money for Revenue Canada. Damn you, Revenue Canada.

After orientation, Ev and I took Dundee across the street to the beach. Dundee loved it! He frolicked in the waves, jumping, laughing with his little pink tongue hanging out....and then...he puked. Damn salt water. Ev and I sipped Crabbies (Yes, they have Crabbies!) and watched the sun go down. Again, surreal moment. This is where I live? This is where I live! Holy shit I can't believe I live here!

Overall, I presently feel really great about this. I'm anxious to get a place to live and a vehicle...I'm a bit apprehensive about finding an apartment in our price range that we will feel comfortable in. Today we start our search.

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