Saturday, October 3, 2015

Soon Come

My co-workers are awesome people. They're all very brave. They've said goodbye to family, friends, stepped out of their comfort zones, and moved far away to be here. Many accepted their job without knowing a soul on the island, arriving with no car, no home, and no support system - simply a 5 night hotel voucher at Sunshine Suites. My co-workers come in many colours - they come from all over the world! - Jamaica, Barbados, Ireland, England, Mexico, Canada, and the US. They all come with varying religious beliefs, political views, morals and values. They embrace adventure and excitement. They reminisce about their "old" life and support each other through bouts of homesickness.

In one year of working in my office, I've learned about Georgi-Ann's family time - stargazing in their oceanfront backyard in Barbados. I've learned that Stephanie's grandparents immigrated to Jamaica from India. I've learned that Monty misses combining Milo on his family farm in Colorado. I've learned that Joan thinks the world of her two sons and really misses her son who is still living the UK. I've learned all about the "rules" of dating Caribbean men from Denise (FYI: complicated. Think I'll stick with my Canadian boy). We've celebrated successful weeks overlooking the sea, sipping a cocktail at Friday happy hour. We've lamented over tough case conferences with chocolates on our office couch at coffee break. We've all introduced our family and friends to each other when they come on island to visit. These are the people who helped me create my "worry box" when they saw that I was stressed out about my surgeries. (A worry box is little red box where I can store my worries, by the way - I'm pretty sure it's a psych tool used when working children with anxiety disorders, but whatevs. It works!). This is a unique workplace. Something happens when you bring together such a diverse group of people who all moved away and made so many sacrifices to be where they are - you become attached. Fast.

This week was tough. We said farewell - good luck - bon voyage to one of our best, Stephanie. Stephanie is an Educational Psychologist and has been here for 2 years. She decided to move on to her next adventure and do her Post-doc in Minneapolis this Fall (I know, I warned her…It's chilly. Well,  let's be honest, Minneapolis is almost Saskatchewan cold!)  Stephanie hails from Jamaica and is smart, witty, hard-working, and thoughtful. She's very beautiful and we lovingly refer to her as "Jamaican Barbie." Stephanie taught me that "buddy" means "penis" in Jamaican (The horror of realizing that I've been calling my  students "buddy" for 8 months - remember when I introduced "buddy week"?? - "Hey kids, grab your buddy and bring him to speech today!" ACK!!!). Stephanie taught me that "Soon come" means, "be back soon" (or..."I'm skipping out of work early and I will not see you again today," depending on who is saying it. Haha),  and she taught me that Jamaican Bulla (ginger flavoured heavy carb) settles any stomach.

I've only known Stephanie for a year, yet she was such an integral part of my recovery this summer. When I was at my lowest, feeling sick, useless and sorry for myself, she sent a package containing all my favourite Caribbean treats, along with a note telling me how much I was missed at the office and encouraging me to hurry up and get well because they needed me back! It completely lifted my spirits and pushed me to keep going, at a time I wasn't sure I even wanted to.  It reminded me that I would and could actually get through this. Thanks, buddy friend. That was awesome. It's super cool when someone whom you've just recently met "gets" you and impacts your life in such a short period of time. I'm a firm believer that people come in and out of your life at specific times for a reason. Stephanie was one of my "people."

So although one of the perks of working and living here is meeting so many interesting, diverse people, the downside is all the goodbyes. Cayman is a transient location. People are constantly coming in and heading out. I went to buy a "farewell, good luck" card from the card shop today and they were completely sold out. Coincidence? Most employees here are on 2 year work permits. Upon meeting someone, the conversation typically goes like this, "How long have you been here? So when are you leaving?"

Evan and I discussed this oddity:

"Ev, it's so weird, people are always asking, 'How long will you stay? When are you moving on?"

"It's just like hockey life,  'When are you moving on? Where will you go next?"

Wow. It is. It bears an uncanny resemblance to my previous life as a "hockey wife." Obviously I'm attracted to this transient lifestyle for some reason. I guess I'm drawn to the excitement - the highs and lows of trying something brand new - meeting and learning from such diverse, interesting, adventurous people and then saying goodbye - well goodbye for now anyway. Good luck, Steph. Buy a toque and some Sorels, buddy. Soon come.

Since this pic was taken, we lost Kevin, Raven, and Steph. We miss you guys!!

My birthday

Steph always looks much more poised in pics than me. Perhaps it's because she's sober. 

1 comment:

  1. Hello! I just stumbled across your blog and I was wondering if you would mind me picking your brain on the cayman islands? :) If that's ok you can reach me at
    Thank you!