Saturday, September 27, 2014

Iguanas and roosters and "mom" voice, Oh My!

As I gazed out the window of my treatment room, I took a deep breath and inhaled the scenery: a palm tree swaying in the tropical breeze. A butterfly fluttering through the bright pink flowers. A tiny hummingbird hovering next to my window. A dog sunning himself, stretching on a tree, pulling a 2 foot iguana out of a branch...and...viciously eating the iguana. What? Good Gawd. NO! NO! NO! I had to absolutely look away when I saw a mama hen waddle into the scene of the iguana-cide with her babes. Turn Around! Turn around, mother hen!
Unsuspecting Iguana

The scene from my treatment room window: Sh*t's about to get real

It's been 7 weeks of island life and, occasionally, I actually forget that I'm somewhere "foreign." That is, until I witness lizards falling from trees, dogs hunting iguanas, and trapped roosters (...if I had a dollar for every time a student says, "Ma'am, Ma'am! there's a rooster stuck in the garbage again!")

The roosters looking to dumpster dive in the school

Yep, life on the island isn't all beaches and cocktails...there's some hard realities. You know, the circle of life and so on. Otherwise, I must admit that I'm really feeling like this a fabulous place to call home. Cayman is pretty magical and I'm settling in - and trust me, there have been many moments where I've questioned if I will ever begin to feel like I'm "fitting in." My surroundings are becoming familiar, I have a really great core group of people whom I can now call my friends, the homesickness is beginning to subside, and I feel myself acclimating to "island life." I even found myself muttering in traffic when an inpatient driver honked at my hesitation, "Seriously dude! this island is 22 miles long. I know for a fact that you don't actually have far to travel, so settle down!" (For the record, on Thursdays, I travel the total 22 miles across! Whoa - pack a lunch!)

My new job has probably been one of the most challenging aspects of this move. I went from working with adults with strokes and neurological diseases in a hospital setting to working with 4-8 year old children with speech and language delays. Although I have worked in the school setting before, I was very comfortable and confident working in the hospital with adult patients. Working with children, although less emotionally gruelling than working with hospitalized adults, requires a whole new set of skills and energy. Initially, I would come home exhausted from attempting to "sell" the /sssssss/ sound to a child with zero interest. Now; however, I've gotten to know my schools, the teachers, and the kiddos on my caseload. I see some really awesome children - funny, smart, interesting kids. And how can you not feel the love upon entering the classroom to, "Good morning Ms Kirstie!" followed by the desperate whispers, "Pick me! Pick me! Please pick me Ms Kirstie!" Haha. So, although the job is posing a set of new challenges, overall, I'm enjoying it.  (I did use my "mom" voice this week. I didn't know I even had a "mom" voice:  "ENOUGH! This game is OVER. There will be NO stickers today!" Yikes!)

Evan has been away for 3 weeks now. I miss him so much and I cannot wait to pick him up at the airport tomorrow afternoon. 3 weeks is much too long - reminiscent of our long distance hockey life, which I vowed to never repeat again in our relationship. We've suffered enough! (Try msn messenger chatting on dial-up internet or communicating via pay phones because it's the only way to score a decent international phone rate!) Since my mama left a week ago, I've definitely had some lonely moments, but I also feel independent and capable, which is a good way to feel, especially after 2 years of depending heavily on others with my knee struggles (remember:"who wants to bathe me today?" Yikes!).  This feels good. This is the first time in 7 weeks that I genuinely feel confident about our decision to try out this new and exciting life (prior to now, I was totally faking it. Just sayin')

my morning on the patio - it still blows my mind that I live in a place where cruise ships frequent!

On Thursdays, I drive to the remote east end of the island - it's incredible

Friday happy hour is my favourite hour(s) of the week! Cheers!

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