Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Puppy Love

First off, October 8th was my ONE YEAR anniversary of moving here! Wha-what?!? Crazy, I know it. Hard to believe it's already been a year. Ups and downs, goods and bads...I love this goofy island. Fo sho. It's been one of the best years of my life. It's been the start of a completely new life. One year in I can say that I feel very comfortable and settled here on Tortola. Do I still have bad days and rough patches? Oh hell yeah. But, overall, I'm happy and healthy and still 100% certain I made the right decision in moving here.

In the past few months I also moved to Cane Garden Bay, in a neighborhood with my dearest friends and some of my favorite people who I met when I first came on island. It was perfect timing that this apartment became available, and the absolute perfect location. Being in Cane also means I'm right up the hill from a beautiful beach, lots of social options, a gas station, and a little grocery store. OH! There's also this crazy little bar/store called Columbus that has almost ANYTHING you could possibly think to need. It's a game I play when I go in now. Need a washer for your kitchen sink? They've got it. A miniature souvenir guitar. Yup. Champagne/spirits/wine? Of course. Batteries. A strainer. Cheese. Electric fly swatters. Pringles. Room deodorizers. Whatever. All crammed in this teeny tiny shop. The guy behind the counter is a sweetheart and laughs at me every time I come in and try to stump him with something. But I digress. Being here in Cane is good for my social life and for my soul. I loved Pockwood Pond and I LOVED my awesome roommate there, but the baby bird had to spread her wings and get her rear closer to the beach.
View from my porch in Cane Garden Bay!

The other benefit to moving to The Commune is that it is pet friendly. I've been wanting to take the plunge and adopt an island pet for awhile, but didn't have the option at my old place. Once I moved here to Cane I started looking around and putting out the feelers and sure enough, a darling little dog sort of dropped into my lap.

She was a rescue over on Virgin Gorda being fostered by a really amazing woman who does a lot of rescue work there. With two dogs and a few cats of her own she knew she couldn't keep this one, but she wanted to make sure she went to a good and loving home. The pup was found abandoned on the side of the road, starving and skinny and scared but otherwise healthy. The vet guessed that she was between 4-5 months old nearly a month ago. Jane took her in and took amazing care of her. A friend posted a picture of the dog on a Facebook board for animals here in the BVI, and a friend/guest of mine (who made it her personal mission to find the perfect dog for me) linked me to the post.

She was younger and a bit bigger than I was really looking for but her faaaaaace was so sweet. I called Jane and chatted with her about the dog a bit, then agreed to come over to VG the next day to meet her. Well, the second I walked off the ferry and saw her standing there I fell in love and knew she was going to be my little buddy. The pup sat in my lap as we drove to Jane's place and I absolutely melted. By the end of the visit I knew that I wanted to adopt her, and Jane agreed to bring her over to me the following week.
That face! I was a goner from the first meeting.
The ladies on VG had been calling the dog Roxy, but Jane said that she didn't know it yet and they weren't really pushing it on her as she'd probably be renamed when adopted. Sure enough, Roxy was just not going to cut it for me. Instead, I chose to name her after my beloved Caribbean grapefruit pop - Ting.

Ting and I have been together for a few weeks now and while it's a ton of work and she can be a complete pain in my ass, I adore her. I've so missed having the companionship of a pet, especially as I've been living alone the past few months. Ting is always happy to see me, she's silly and fun and frustrating, she's smart (at times too smart) and is coming along in her training, and she's a great snuggler. She does have pretty bad separation anxiety - wouldn't you if you were thrown on the side of the road and abandoned? - but we're working on it.

Luckily my freighbors (friend/neighbors) are amazing and helpful and extremely patient with us. I'd be lost without them, really. My next door neighbor is an absolute saint of a woman who comes to "rescue" Ting as often as she can. Ting has fallen in love with their dog and looks for her every time we walk past their stairs. It's super cute. Oh, but how did Ting repay their kindness last week? She pooped on their bed. ON THEIR BED. I was mortified when I received the text from the freighbor saying "Oh S is mad. Ting shat the bed!" Again, I'm lucky that they are kind and forgiving. Ting and I still left a six pack of Guiness and a bottle of wine on their porch, along with an apology note. Baaaaad dog.

On the beach at Long Bay. Sand errywurr.
Almost every night we take a big long walk along the beach in Cane, which is good for the both of us. She loves the water and walks/runs right in the surf. If I can haul my rear out of bed in time in the morning then we head down as well. That's one I need to work on! We went out to Long Bay this weekend to explore the beach and say hi to my buddy that works out there. She and I both left the beach very wet and very sandy. I think this weekend we'll head down to Brewers and see what she thinks!

Adopting Ting brings back the pain of having to say goodbye to Scully, but I just have to keep telling myself that it was for the best. Scully has a wonderful family that loves her dearly, and moving her down here would not have been the best. Plus, I know that I've given one of the many unloved and abandoned animals here in the BVI a very, very loving home. We're still getting to know each other and she has a long way to go before she really has manners, but she's still a baby and I have nothing but love for her. She fills my home, and my heart, with joy. Even when I'm mopping up her pee. The best is when I wake up in the middle of the night and she's cuddled right against me. Sigh. I'm such a sucker.

So that's the biggest news in my life right now! Chorale has started back up and we're working on our set for the big winter concert. I auditioned for, and made it into, the jazz choir as well. Two nights of rehearsal a week? Why not. Singing makes me happy and the people are fun. The season is ramping back up and the island is coming alive again. I completed my 40th dive (and 3rd night dive!) a few weeks ago when my awesome Boston friends were here, so I can start my divemaster as soon as I get the money and the balls to do it. My dating life is still ridiculous. Would we expect anything less? But, the sun is shining and life is all good. I have a darling little dog to come home to!
Sigh. Love.

Friday, August 23, 2013

We're All Just Trying To Get By

It's been a bit more than a week now that I've been back on island after 3 weeks in the States on vacation. My time back on US soil was amazing; I saw my best friend (after 10 years of not seeing each other!) get married to his absolute perfect match, then I watched my little sister marry the man of her dreams. It was a fun, albeit emotional, couple of weeks. Every minute was special, but jeez I was ready to be back on my quiet, easy going island.

Before I left I had to say goodbye to a few more important people. This isht is getting old and I haven't even been here a year. Of course, in true SNP fashion, I have had my heart broken yet again...but would we expect anything else at this point? It's nearly comical. If it were happening to someone ELSE I'd laugh even more. I'm a bit tired of being the butt of that joke, though.

The hard part has been that I've been in a bit of a funk since I returned. Yes, you can still be down and live in the Caribbean. I suppose some of it can be chalked up to post-holiday blues, although honestly I was ready to get back to work and back into a routine. Part was missing the family and friends I'd just spent 3 weeks with, naturally. But a big part is that I'm just...lonely? Yeah, lonely. Not alone, but lonely. I'm surrounded with friends and great people, but it just gets old coming home to a metaphorically empty house day after day, year after year. The other day I came home and wanted nothing more than a hug. Some sort of touch, some human interaction that I wasn't being paid for. Cuddling on the couch. Something. Instead, I went for a lame ass run (it's been awhile, I'm off my game) and had a glass or two of wine. It didn't quite fulfill the need, but it at least deadened some of the feelings.

People who know me very well know that I have a hard time reaching out and asking for help. It's something I've worked on over the past few years. Being here on my own is forcing me to work some of these "episodes" out by myself, but it isn't easy. Then again, who said being an adult would be easy? Can't I just go back to blanket forts and red rover and dinosaur shaped chicken nuggets (which my mother NEVER fed us, btw) and giving a note to your crush that said "check yes or no if you like me"?

Youth is wasted on the damn young.

BUT! Tomorrow is another beautiful day in the Caribbean and I have much for which to be grateful. This too shall pass. Chin up, buttercup. What doesn't kill us only makes us stronger. Blah blah blah.

I think I need a dive. And a hug.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Happy Six Monthiversary To Me!

"Just know you're not alone
'cause I'm gonna make this place your home."

Six months.
Half a year. 
183 days.

It's incredible how that can feel like a huge amount of time, yet also feel like merely a drop in the bucket. 

My life has done a complete 180 in that 183 days. Sure, I knew that moving here would be good for me, but I could never, NEVER anticipate that it would be this good. 

I've changed - emotionally, physically, and spiritually. So many worries and stresses that I held to for so long have crumbled and fallen away. Here, I'm finally beginning to feel like myself...and learning that I really do like myself. In fact, I'm a pretty freaking awesome person. 

When I was back in the States over Easter holiday it was made very clear to me that moving was the right decision. While I love my family and friends, I felt no connection there. It was stifling and uncomfortable. I longed to be back in the sunshine, where I can see the water and waves every day, where we greet strangers with a smile and a good morning, where I can feel like I'm living my life for me. Finally.

Six months ago, I was terrified. I'm a creature of habit and a control freak; I like to know what's coming next. This move has shown me that while I may not have completely relinquished those characteristics, I have greatly diminished them and am learning to enjoy and embrace the unknown. 

183 days ago, I couldn't run a mile straight without stopping. Last week, I ran 2 and could have kept going. Had to pee, oops. I had never donned a scuba tank. Today, I started my rescue diver course and completed my 22nd dive. Looking back at pictures from a year and two years ago the other night made me cry. Physically, I'm a completely different person...and I LOVE it. Finally, I'm learning how to love and honor my body. Although I might have gotten a little too much sun on my dive today. Oopsy poopsy! Eventually I'll learn.

Half a year ago, I thought I'd stay out of the country for two years, maybe five. Last week when I was painfully saying goodbye to my sister at the airport, I hugged her and said, "You know I'm not coming back, right?" She said she did, that she had expected it. 

Countless people who knew me pre-BVI tell me they've never seen me happier. It sounds silly to some, I'm sure, but I am constantly crowing about how happy and healthy and settled I am here. For once, it all just feels right

Do I still struggle? Hell yes. The past few weeks have been rough, I won't lie. Between a few situational stressors (boy problems, body issues, anxiety about going back to the States, blah blah) and just a general depression downswing there have been a lot of tears and self-doubt. But! I'm bouncing back out of it much faster and with more confidence then I would have six months ago. Life here isn't perfect; we do have shitty weather now and again, we have bills to pay, we have responsibilities. Moving here didn't mean giving up on being a grown up. It meant disconnecting from all the assumptions and parameters I felt had been placed on me and living a life that I built, that I wanted, for which I'm entirely responsible. 

People tell me I'm lucky. Yes, luck had a bit to do with me coming to Tortola. But you know what was really responsible? Me. Hard work. Perserverence. Faith. Support and encouragement. And, a healthy dose of insanity. 

So, Happy Six Months to me. Happy Half A Year of a brand new life. Happy 183 Days of new opportunities. Here's to many, many more.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

I Get By With A Little Help From My Friends

After a ferry ride, a taxi ride, and two lengthy flights that left my bum quite sore, I successfully made it back to SeaTac last night...and we arrived almost an hour ahead of schedule! Minus the little sh*t that was kicking my seat and being completely obnoxious during the flight from St. Thomas to JFK
Leavin' on a jet plane.
(normally I'm very understanding about kiddos on flights. However, this kid was old enough to know better AND his parents were doing nothing about his poor behaviour. I had to give him the stink eye and the Stern Adult Voice a few times. Darn whippersnappers.) my flights were easy peasy. Also, I was drugged. That might have helped. Through it all I was operating on about 2 hours of sleep and very frazzled nerves, but once I saw my sister waiting for me at baggage claim I knew that everything was going to be alright. Yes, I cried. I'm super emotional right now, ok?!

I'm currently bundled up on my parent's couch and watching a glorious sunrise, as my body thinks it is 3 hours earlier than it is here in Spanaway. In the nearly 6 months I've been on Tortola I have definitely become an island girl. I was shivering and my teeth were chattering when I stepped off the plane last night, and I slept in a tshirt, hooded sweatshirt, yoga pants, and thick pink fuzzy socks (borrowed from Mom) under 2 comforters. IT'S EFFING COLD, GUYS. Holy moly.

I get lots of compliments on my button.
The past two weeks have been rough. Physically. Emotionally. Mentally. For a variety of reasons. This trip off the rock could not have come at a better time. In no way am I unhappy being in Tortola. If anything, living there is what is helping me to keep my sanity. I'm just...dealing with some crap on a few different levels and I needed a break to recharge a bit. I'm so lucky to have such supportive friends who will lift me up and help to remind me of what a flipping awesome person I am, even when I don't
feel one iota of awesomeness. I love that I can send out a text late on a Thursday night when I've had my heart broken and get instant rallying of the troops. Or that my boss can just look at me and know I'm not alright, and insist on doing work on me (that was so, SO incredibly helpful!). Or that when one of my dearest girlfriends asks me how my day was I can honestly respond with, "Well, I came home from work, got in the shower and cried, then got straight in bed and cried for two hours until I passed out," without fear of judgement. Or that my guy friends constantly remind me how great I am and how I deserve nothing but the best.  Between my friends and being with my family this weekend, I think I'll arrive back home on Tortola feeling about 1000 times better. At least I hope. I'm putting on my big girl panties, squaring my shoulders, and not letting anyone or anything piss in my Cheerios.

Today's agenda, once my sister wakes up, is to hit the mall (OMG THE MALL!) so I can begin my massive shopping spree and then we have an appointment to pick up my sister's wedding dress this afternoon!

Friday, March 22, 2013

It's A Party In The USA!

I'm heading back to the States on Good Friday for my first trip back since moving here nearly 6 months ago. It will be a very short trip, as I get in late Friday night and leave again on a red-eye the following Tuesday night, but it's necessary for little sister's wedding prep and planning and I get to celebrate Easter with the fam. Not to mention, I need to get off the rock for a few days and recharge!

Things I Am Looking Forward To When I Go Back To The States Over Easter
  • My family.
  • SISTER TIME. Holy Jesus, I miss her so much.
  • Easter! It's my favorite. Hopefully going to my home church, dying eggs, celebrating the Resurrection and what it means to me...I love it!
  • Beester. Kids have eggs hidden for Easter, adults have beer hidden for Beester. That's how we roll.
  • Costco. Tampons, deodorant, razor blades, contact solution, bandages, a giant tub of ketchup if I want it! 
  • TARGET. I just want to wander through the aisles because I can.
  • Trader Joe's. Need to stock up on more of their shave cream. It's my faaaaavorite and I'm almost through the last of my supply. 
  • Starbucks iced soy chai. 
  • Clothes shopping. Honest to God, I have not a single bra that fits properly (and finding one on island has proven to be a challenge), my underwear are all falling off my ass, my jeans are too big, my tops are getting too big, everything is getting worn down, my bathing suits are falling apart or are too big...sense a theme? I need more shorts and tops, I need more dresses, I need more of my goofy toe Injinji running socks. Now that I've been here awhile I have a better idea of what my wardrobe should look like.  I'm planning a MAJOR shopping spree while I have multiple venues to choose from!
  • Snuggling all the pets. I miss having one terribly. :(
  • Seeing Jenni.
  • Seeing Jenni and having breakfast at the Sunbreak Cafe with her, where I will indulge in the best banana bread on the planet. My mouth waters just thinking about it. Mmm.
  • Stopping by my old spa, seeing my girls, and stocking up on fantastic product. I'm such a girl.
  • Picking up my sister's wedding dress with her. Oh, there will be more tears shed.
  • Trying on the bridesmaids dress that I ordered. 
  • Wedding planning in general!
  • My mom's cooking. Hoo boy. Pot roast, meatloaf, Ma's deviled eggs, aebleskiver, whatever feast we're going to have at Easter. All of it. She and my sister are amazing. My talents lie in other arenas.
  • Dick's burgers (yes, it's a legit place in Seattle. Get your mind out of the gutter)!
  • Being able to be outside without being eaten alive by mozzies. This is said as I'm sitting in the Most Comfortable Lounge Chair EVER on my patio, smacking myself like a meth head. 
  • Mount Rainier.
  • Legendary Donuts. Bill Cosby! Auburn/Tacoma peeps, you know what I mean. 
  • Self service gas stations.
  • Having a week to rest my hands.
  • Showing off my island tan and my changing island body. 
  • 4 days of completely hectic insanity with the most important people in my life. 
Things I Am NOT Looking Forward To When I Go Back To The States Over Easter:
  • The airport pat-down and rigamarole. 
  • Freeways.
  • Multilane traffic.
  • Driving on the right again. My poor confused brain!
  • Not having Ed, our beloved cat who passed at New Year's Eve, to snuggle. :(
  • Gray, cold, drizzly, miserable, depressing, awful rain. You can tell how I really feel about Washington weather. 
  • Billboards and aggressive marketing all up in my face all the time.
  • American media. I'm really only subjected to it here when I'm in line at the bank. 
  • Having to wear shoes. It's been nearly 6 months, but my sister will murder me if I try to wear my flip-flops the whole time I'm there.
  • Speaking of...I don't even HAVE a pair of proper Seattle-appropriate shoes to wear! Crap...
  • Having to wear sweaters and coats. 
  • Being cold. 
  • Potentially gaining like 10lbs due to the outrageous food consumption. I'm going to have to be careful and get my ass on the treadmill or hit the pavement as much as possible. 
  • Overstimulation. My life here is much more laid back, and I like that. 
  • Having to switch back out of "island time". 
  • Time zone changes and how zonked I'm going to be because of them.
  • Bra shopping. As much as I NEED them, I'd rather have a root canal sans anesthetic than bra shop. Fo sho.
  • Missing the important people in my life here on the island.
  • Not having enough time to see all the people I want to see. 
  • Saying goodbye when it's time to head back to Tortola. 
Just one more week! 

Friday, March 1, 2013

Happy Friday from sunny Tortola!

A little inspiration to start the weekend off right. Oh, except that I work on Saturdays. :) Well, TGIF for the rest of you!

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Every Little Thing Is Gonna Be Alright

I am feeling MUCH better this morning following:

  • A chat with my bosom buddy Yvonne
  • A pep talk from my roommate
  • A sweet, if not juvenile, romantic comedy (Nick and Nora's Infinite Playlist)
  • A good amount of tears
  • A half a bottle of riesling 
The glass truly is half full and I can not lose sight of that. Also, I knew moving here that I would meet transitional characters. That does not mean, however, that great things can't happen. Look at my friendship with Yvonne! She was just down here on holiday, and now I consider her one of my closest friends. 

Me and Yvonne, New Year's Eve. Awww yeeeahhh.

As my mama said to me last night, "It's ok to have an open heart." Boy, if that doesn't describe me to a T I don't know what does. So, I'm just going to keep on keepin' on and see what the future holds, and be grateful for the people that this island brings into my life - whether it be for good or just for a little while.