Monday, December 8, 2014

Leapin' Lizards

Whoa, I can't believe that it's December already. With no real change in seasons, time appears seamless here. It feels like there is never a beginning or an end. It was just August, wasn't it? - when suddenly, BAM! Santa's walking around in a Hawaiian shirt and the reggae singer in Camana Bay is singing, "Baby don't worry...about a thing....Santa's little sleigh's gonna come tonight."

I had another visitor on the island! My dad came down for a week - we had a fantastic week! I haven't had a chance to spend a lot of alone time with my dad as an adult and I really enjoyed our time together. I gave him the full island tour - after seeing his terrified reaction to a starfish, I quickly decided that he would not enjoy the stingrays, so we settled for a mudslide at Rum Point instead. We managed to hit up all the hot spots on the island in 5 days, despite the 70km hour winds that blew in for a week. When I was a little girl, I was fortunate enough to be taken on a hot vacation every year. I always remember how much fun my dad was on vacations - hours of being tossed into the pool from his shoulders and exploring the beaches. It was nice to reminisce and relive some of those activities (although, No shoulder stands in the pool) and I feel blessed that my dad was able to experience my new life with me.
Dad likes the local beer!

eeeeks! A terrifying starfish! haha.

Smith's Cove -watching the storm roll in

It's been 4 months since our arrival and I'm starting to feel like I actually live here. I've compiled a list of the top 10 indicators that I am settling in and am on my way to becoming an "islander":

1) I avoid walking under palm trees. Eventually an iguana will fall out of that palm tree. I do not want to be the one to break its fall. I can't even count how many times I've watched an iguana fall out of a palm tree. They're pretty resilient, by the way. (Aside: I saw 2 chickens chase an iguana up a tree this week - non-stop action, people!)

Look up! Look way up - and you'll spot an iguana
2) I make fun of the guy in the rental car who turns his wipers on whenever he intends to make a turn, "Haha! signal light on left buddy!" (I was totally doing the same thing 3 months ago!)

3) I've resigned myself to the fact that I will need to set aside at least 4 hours to pay my bills/pay my car insurance/pick up a prescription, etc. Initially I thought it was outrageous that I had to visit 2 different banks on opposite ends of the island, carrying $1600 CI cash in my wallet from bank to bank in order to simply pay my rent. No there is NOT a more efficient way. This is how it's done. Suck it up, buttercup and take an afternoon off of work...and be prepared to wait in line.

4) I yell at cruise ship tourists (from my car. With the windows closed. Ok, they can't hear me). Don't get me wrong, I am still in awe every time I turn the corner in George Town and spot 3-6 enormous ships floating in the turquoise waters. It amazes me that I live in a place where cruise ships frequent. Awesome! However, when I am running late to the office and a dozen Hawaiian shirt clad tourists (why do they always wear Hawaiian shirts??) are standing, oblivious, in the middle of the road, looking for rum cake, I clench my teeth and mutter, "This isn't a movie set. This is a ROAD. Don't they have roads where you come from? You can't just stand in the middle of a road!"

5) I get excited about a 3 degree change in temperature. Island friends warned me that December would be our "cold" month. December is considered winter here on the island. Last week, I was pleasantly surprised when I stepped out to take Dundee for his morning walk only to discover that the air had changed! For the last week, the temperature has hovered consistently around the 24-27 degree Celsius mark (previously 27-30 degrees). Whoa! Time to get my scarves out! Yes, I do realize that it was about 50-60 degrees colder back home. I lived it for 35 years - the feeling of snot freezing to your face within 3 seconds of walking outside is still fresh in my brain - so I'm NOT complaining at all.  But it is curious to live in a place where such a subtle change signals a change in season - it makes it very difficult to orientate yourself to the time of year. If someone threw an Easter Bunny decoration on their grass, I would totally just assume that's Easter now. It's strange.

I'm legit!  It only took approximately 7.5 hours to get this licence 

6) Traffic lights drive me batty. There are about 4 sets of traffic lights on this island. Traffic around the island is mostly regulated by round-abouts. The round about is brilliant. It's efficient and it keeps things moving (you know, so you can quickly drive to your destination and wait in a line for 4 hours - haha). A traffic light, on the other hand, makes no sense. Why am I waiting? There isn't actually any oncoming traffic, but this light here says I have to wait? Boo Traffic lights - you are not the boss of me!

7) I'm on a first name basis with the parking security man at Owen Roberts International Airport. There are a few options when you are picking up passengers at the airport: a) you can park and pay a shmillion dollars for 5 minutes or b) you can park your car directly in front of the airport and pretend that your passenger will be right out. like NOW. I've been frequenting the airport and Mr. Vern, the parking dude, is on to me. "Miss, you can't wait here." "Mr. Vern, my husband will be right out!" Sometimes I even wave, pretending Evan is walking towards the car, when in reality he's still in customs.

8) I'm becoming accustomed to living with sand. There is constantly sand everywhere! In my bellybutton, in our car, and annoyingly, in our bed. I can wash the sheets doesn't matter. Sandy toes. Sandy hair. Sandy ears. I like to think of it as "bedtime exfoliation."

9) Instead of shovelling snow, we shovel iguana sh*t. For real.  You see: after 1) the iguana falls out of the palm tree, it craps on your car, on your patio, and next to the pool. The iguana smiles mischievously   with a gleam in his beady little eyes as he saunters away from his stinky little package.

10) For as long as I can remember, my go-to response to the question, "How's it going?" or "What's up?" has been, "Just livin' the dream." Even when I was bound to crutches, hobbling down the halls of the hospital, stoned out of my tree, although dripping with sarcasm, I would reply with the same phrase. People's reactions varied. Mostly, if it was the middle of winter, when I commented with, "Just livin' the dream," the response varied from, "As if," "More like a nightmare!" or "some dream." Overall, winter in Saskatchewan just does not promote happiness. My perception is most people suffering through a Saskatchewan winter feel like they are being punished, "Why? Why?" That just sucks. Yesterday, on the other hand, I walked into the gym and the trainer said, "Hey, what's going on?" and I replied, as per usual with, "Just livin' the dream." He stopped what he was doing, smiled, and replied, "We really are, aren't we? Thanks for the reminder." So 4 hour line ups and iguana crap may not be your vision of "livin' the dream," but it's feeling pretty right to me.


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