I've always been an anxious person - even when I was a kid. As a farmer's daughter, I worried about the weather. I obsessively checked the weather channel to determine if there was too much rain, not enough rain, or heaven forbid…hail in the forecast that would decimate my father's crops. In high school, I substituted my water bottle with Mylanta to drink during time outs to settle myself through tense volleyball matches. I spent 7 years "watching" Ev's hockey games from the bathroom stall because my ulcer grew and my heart broke just a little with every goal he let slip by. I've tried various methods to decrease my anxiety: meds, a "worry box" (write down your worries and put them away!), meditation, and yoga, but as I hold my downward facing dog and count to 10, high on Ativan, I worry that I don't have a pen and paper handy to submit my worry in my "worry box." It's complicated.
When making the decision to sell it all and move to Cayman, sight unseen, I was full of worry; however, I really hoped that I would settle into this relaxed, calm island life that's depicted in movies and books…you know, like, "Eat, Pray, Love." Perhaps my heart rate and blood pressure would decrease, my watch would adjust to island time, and Bob Marley would convince my worried little brain that, "Every little thing gonna be all right."
It worked. Well, sorta. There are definitely some things that I no longer worry about. I don't worry about being on time anymore. When something is scheduled for a specific time, It's now apparent to me that the time is more of a guideline than a rule. You know, like "be there for 9…ISH." Got it. I don't worry about dressing appropriately for events anymore or being judged for the way I look because it's completely acceptable to walk my dog in my slippers and show up to a party in a bikini, flip flops, and wet hair. I also don't worry about my face freezing and falling off when I run to my ice box car in the January - Saskatchewan winters are brutal people! So, yes, some of my worries have floated out to sea. Unfortunately, however, I have developed some novel worries that can only manifest from living in this specific environment.
Behold: Top 5 fears of living on an island:
- Fear of Chicken Surprise: Most of the schools on the island are "outdoor" schools, in that you access each classroom from the outside. Each group of 4 classrooms share an outdoor garbage bin. The sight of these garbage bin fills me with anxiety, as the chickens regularly hop in to the bins and chow down on leftover cafeteria food. Nothing is more terrifying than the feathery feeling of chicken wings flapping in your face, as it clucks angrily, escaping the bin with oxtail in it's mouth. One day, I was actually beckoned to chase a chicken out of a urinal in the boys' washroom. At a loss, I threw a pen in the chicken's general direction and yelled, "Go! Go!" (brilliant). As all the children cheered (except for the unfortunate child who peed his pants waiting of the urinal), I knew I that I had reached the pinnacle of my career.
|The chickens look innocent but they're actually tormenting me|
- FOMOOS: That's a fear of missing out on sunsets, by the way. I've always loved sunsets - the sunsets over the ocean as summer approaches are especially breathtaking. I have over 300 shots of the sunset from my patio (who wants to come see my slideshow? Anyone? Anyone?) Nothing produces more anxiety than when I'm trapped indoors during sunset time. What if today's sunset is especially amazing? What if everyone sees the green flash tonight? The anxiety is only heightened when, one hour later, I see multiple Facebook posts commenting on today's fabulous sunset. AAAGGGHHHH!!!!
|Is this the ultimate sunset? What if tomorrow's will be better?|
- Fear of being in a meeting where someone is TMI'ing to the max: I'm not sure if it's a Caribbean thing, if it's the "everyone knows everyone and everything" mentality of the island, or it's simply because I have such a trustworthy face (haha!), but I have been in numerous meetings where people have strayed of topic and revealed waaaay toooo much information. As a Speech Therapist, I do not need to know the size of the placenta or the rate at which you dilated during labor. Keep that sacred info to yourself. Although mildly interesting, It's not important for me to know that you have a side job smuggling soldier crabs in your pants from the sister islands ("They were duct taped to my legs! Now that was a long flight!") It's also not vital that you tell me about the goat's head that you travel with for good luck. Interesting... yes! Vital…no.
- Fear of losing something: Nothing lasts too long on this island. Bananas go brown within a day, internet connections come and go, visitors are packing up to depart when it feels like they just arrived, and new friends leave island as contracts expire and new adventures begin. I found myself saying, "Never get too attached." But you know what? That's BS. Screw it - get attached. Put that Mr. Yoshida's sauce on your beef, chicken and ice-cream before it's discontinued. Use that internet as hard as you can before your connection is lost. And when you find those people with whom you share a connection with, confide in them, show them your true self and express to them how much they mean to you. Don't hold back. It's those special connections that you make along the way that comprise your journey.
|If I hold my laptop at a height of 6 feet 7 inches and tilt it at a 28 degree angle, I can occasionally access the internet from work|
- Fear of being the only worrier on the island: Am I the only one on this island who worries? When my passport went MIA at the airport because the staff accidentally returned my passport to the wrong passenger, to my surprise, no one appeared worried. Even as they announced overhead, "Does anyone in the airport have Kirsten LIndsay's passport?" no one appeared particularly worried. No worries. When only one person showed up to work at a blood lab to register 30 fasting (read: cranky) patients at 7:30am, no one worried. In fact, the one employee, completely nonplussed by the situation, stopped mid-service to occasionally check the diamond appliqués on her new nails. No worries. When a school of 600 students ran out of paper on a Monday morning and I resorted to writing notes home to parents on paper towels, no one worried. No worries. See what I mean? Now I'm worried because I seem to the only one who is worried! Please worry with me! AGGGHHHH.
In other news, Ev and I spent his birthday weekend in Florida! We had a really great weekend together. We rented a vehicle in Miami and drove to Orlando. I miss a good road trip that lasts longer than 45 minutes. Back in our heyday (haha), Ev and I used to drive all over North America for hockey. We're pretty good at road tripping. We decided to spend Ev's birthday at Epcot, which was the perfect choice! I've done Epcot as a kid, so I knew Ev would appreciate the World Showcase, which allows you to wander through different "countries," sampling worldly food and drink. Given the fact that walking is mucho challenging for me at the moment (Never take for granted the ability to walk without pain, friends), we could only walk a short distance before I required a little sit down. This worked out because we were able to stop at every country, down a wobbly pop, and move on. Beer in Germany! Margaritas in Mexico! Prosecco in Italy! What a cultural experience! (haha). Needless to say, by the time we reached the last stop, ironically Canada, we were feeling just FINE. The highlight of the day, I must say, was Ev's "Happy Birthday Evan" pin. Those Disney employees must get special points for every birthday wish they holler because everyone, from the maintenance man to Alice in Wonderland, was shouting across the street, "Happy Birthday Evan!" Initially, introverted Ev was a little taken aback, but I could see as the day went on that he was beginning to enjoy this special attention. At one point, a waiter in "Italy" brought us our wine and as he left Ev commented, "What the hell? He forgot to wish me a happy birthday!" Haha. What a guy! He makes me laugh.
|Wine goggles - not to be confused with "beer goggles"|
|Welcome to Italy!|
|Welcome to Morocco! (we have a drink, it just didn't make the photo)|
|This Canada Sign his actually holding me up|
|That's right: He's wearing a shirt that says, "I'll be your Mickey" and he's sporting a birthday button!|