Monday, January 4, 2016

Hell's not so bad!

We finally got a PO Box!

It's in Hell. Literally. One of my pet peeves is the misuse and overuse of the word, "literally;" however, I can literally tell you that our post office box is literally located in Hell.

Our neighbourhood of West Bay has a unique little tourist attraction. It's an area of black limestone formations that resemble upside down stalagmites in a cave. Apparently, someone took a look at this natural wonder and exclaimed, "This must be what hell looks like!" Hence, it was named "Hell," and a little red souvenir shop was erected with a post office next door.

Hell? Do you really think Hell would have palm trees?

An odd little man owns the souvenir shop. He dresses up in a red devil's costume, complete with legit devil's ears, and greets tourists with clever little quips like, "How the hell are you?" He also assists you in mailing a postcard, direct from "Hell." Interestingly, this is actually a tourist attraction. People skip one of the most top rated beaches in the Caribbean to drive to "hell" to meet and acquire a photograph with this odd little man.

See, it's legit. 
I have no idea who these people are but they're having "one hell of a holiday!"
Our new post office...

…is a tourist attraction!

The other day I entered the quiet little souvenir shop in hopes of finding a stamp to mail my letter from "hell." Upon opening the door, a bell chimed, and I heard the odd little man run into a back into a room to quickly don his devil's costume, "It's OK!" I yelled, "I'm not a tourist. I just need a stamp!" Within seconds, out popped Satan himself, "How the hell are you?"

"Haha! It's Ok, I'm not a tourist," I repeated, "I just need a stamp, please."

"Well where the hell are you from?" he responded, obviously ignoring my plea to stop the routine.

"I live down the road. Do you have any stamps?"

"What the hell are you doing here?" He responded.

"I just need a stamp."

This went on a for a while, until he finally agreed to sell me stamp. As I walked out the door, I yelled, "Have one hell of a day!" which definitely resulted in a huge devilish grin. If you can't beat 'em, join 'em, right?

Anyway, although we are officially receiving mail in "Hell," life isn't so bad on the rock these days. Last we chatted, I explained that I was craving a trip off of the island, and was desperately yearning for the hustle and bustle of city life. I got what I asked for. Evan, Evan's mom, Peggy, and I took a quick trip to Orlando. As I sipped my Starbucks (prepared incorrectly, I might add) and watched hundreds of crazy women dig through $5 panty bins at Victoria's Secret, I soon realized that city life is overrated. Navigating the I-4, toll booths, traffic lights, and the right sight of the road were serious stressors that I wasn't prepared for. (FYI: I did actually turn into the left lane once. My mother-in-law calmly informed me that I was on the wrong side of the road. Oops). The stores were crowded, the restaurants were lined up, and the concrete pool in the middle of the interstate was noisy. It was perfect. I probably could have gotten my fill simply by riding the escalator in the Miami airport, but 4 days in Orlando was ideal to remind me of how fricken lucky I am to live in the Cayman Islands.

On that note, I got some great news today! I received a letter informing me that the Cayman Islands Department of Education will be "seeking to renew me for another two year contract." This would allow me to continue with my current position until the end of school year 2018. I totally took for granted how simple it was for me to get employment on the island. To be honest, I was home sick one cold February day in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan, and my TV stopped working. Bored, I navigated the internet and happened upon an job posting for a Speech Therapist in Grand Cayman. Having no idea where Grand Cayman even was located geographically, I applied on a whim. Within months I had the job, we took some serious risks, and we were on our way! Easy peasy. A little bit of luck, fate, and the ability to throw caution to the wind? (Actually, I was TERRIFIED). Who knows. After working here for almost 2 years, it is apparent that the reality of securing a job, let alone a well paying job with amazing benefits, is difficult in Grand Cayman. Unless you have permanent residency or hold Cayman citizenship, your job is never guaranteed. I've watched people come and go (not by choice), simply because they were not renewed or were unable to find a job that was able to support them financially on this expensive island. I've worked hard the last year and half to make myself as indispensable as possible to the education system, and thankfully, they seem to have recognized that. After years of taking for granted that my job would always be there for me, it's interesting to be in a position where you essentially "fight" for your job every 2 years. Keeps you on your toes, and reinforces Trooper's wise words: "We're here for a good time, not a long time…so have a good time... the sun can't shine every day." Ahhh, thank you Trooper... and Power 99 Fm radio for playing the hell (hehe) out of this good 'ol Canadian band during my entire childhood.

 So it looks like we have a 2 year plan. I was pretty nervous about making a whole new plan, and honestly, when I saw the email today with the subject heading, "Contract decision," I pictured Jeff Probst's sober face as he extinguished my tiki torch proclaiming, "The tribe has spoken."

It's all good. Throw me on an escalator with an Earl Grey Latte (1 pump of vanilla syrup) every 4 months or so and I'm happy as an island clam.

Cheers to 2016! Have one hell of a year! hehe.

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