Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Three Months! What?!

Yesterday marked three months since I started this new chapter of my life here on Tortola. CRAZY, right? In some ways it feels like I arrived yesterday. Yet in others, I feel as though I've been here much, much longer.

I'm quite settled here. When I'm working, I work very hard. When I'm NOT working, I'm actually enjoying my off time. Every day I become a little more familiar with the island and it's ways. Everyday I wake up happy. What an amazing feeling!

The most monumental discovery is that the States no longer feels like "home". Last week I was Facebook chatting with one of my dearest friends back in Washington and she asked if I missed anything about home. I explained that I miss my family, I miss my friends, I miss some of the conveniences that living in the States affords...but that's not my home anymore. Never have I felt more comfortable and at home then I do here on Tortola. Will this remain my permanent home? I have no idea. Maybe, maybe not. I do know that I have little desire to return to the US. There is no urge to go home; I AM home.

Some reflections on my first three months (and first holidays) here on island:

  • Bugs are still eating me. UGH. It's better, but I'm still being feasted upon. I am being more diligent about applying protection (Avon Skin So Soft!) and have started taking a B vitamin complex again. Damn bugs.
Kyrie, dive instructor extraordinaire!
  • I'm an open water certified scuba diver! My buddies at Blue Water Divers have been amazing teachers and I have completely fallen in love with diving. Kyrie and Rupert convinced me to go on with my advanced certification, which I've started. I'll finish that up in a month or so, then just fun dive for experience for a few months before I go on to rescue diver. Again, add this to the list of things I never thought I'd be doing.
  • Next up - surfing and sailing!
  • I broke the cardinal rule of living in a holiday destination; I fell for someone who doesn't live here. Met this great man (on the dive boat. YAY DIVING!), had an incredible week together, and then he flew back home. Womp woooomp. :( Story of my daaaaaaaamn life, I tell ya. Who knows what will happen though, right? Or maybe I should start adopting my 50 cats...
  • The plus side was that I was able to play tour guide to someone who'd never been here! I was pretty proud of myself that I could give a "local" experience to him and that he got to see the island in ways he'd not have on his own. 
  • Christmas was AMAZING. On Christmas Eve I worked, then had dinner with my coworker Courtney and our friend Jim up at Bananakeet (btw, delicious calamari). We followed that up by heading down to Carrot Bay and celebrating with the locals there at a roadside bar. They were playing music and we danced in the street and drank guavaberry wine. I loved every second of it. Afterward I sat in my car and did a Google Hangout with the family back in WA, where my sister proudly flaunted her aebelskiver in my face, then drove down to Cane Garden Bay to walk on the beach and get my feet wet and have some quiet talk-to-God time there. 
Christmas Day on Marina Cay
  • Christmas Day I went out to Marina Cay to spend the afternoon with my roommate Rob as he was stuck out there for work. It was a lovely day and very low-key. That evening I went out to CGB to my friend Charles' house for a delicious and festive dinner with some of my very favorite people here on the island. On my way home, I again stopped at the beach in Cane. Standing there in the dark, looking up at the stars, feeling the waves crash against my legs...I knew there was no place I'd rather be.
  • Boxing Day (the day after Christmas, for my US friends) I nursed a hangover and then promptly drank again with my friends after finding out some upsetting news. That's what friends do; they get you drunk at a beach bar when you find out your exhusband is engaged to a woman he's known 3 months and you feel like a complete loser. And when they are not in the same time zone, they text you repeatedly to check on you and remind you how much better your life is without that dude. Thank God for them!
  • I made fast friends with an amazing woman...who doesn't live here. GOOD JOB, STEPH. But! She comes down frequently and we are pretty much connected at the hip now. We had so much fun together. I miss her already. Sad face. Is it March yet?
  • Who saw Shaggy in concert? This girl! 
  • Who went to Jost Van Dyke to celebrate New Year's at Foxy's with 8 bajillion others at one of the biggest NYE parties in the world AND kissed a handsome Aussie at our own made up midnight since we missed the countdown? This girl! 
  • Finally bought a bathroom scale the other day, and even after the debauchery of the holidays - and let me tell you, there was some serious debauchery - I'm officially down 23 lbs since I moved here! I've been off my workouts the past 2-3 weeks (gah, holidays) and now the gym is full of Resolutioners so I'm sticking to workouts outside of the gym until February or so. I tell ya, this island has been good to me in *so* many ways. 
  • I weathered my first family drama from 4000 miles apart when we lost our beloved cat Ed on New Year's Eve. She was 18 and the greatest cat you could ever ask for. I did get to see her over the intertubes and say goodbye, but I did, and still do, feel the guilt of not physically being there for her and the family. I'm trying not to let it eat me up. This was my choice and I knew that being so far away would mean missing things. 
  • I'm joining a choir in a few weeks. The community college has a community chorale that is quite good, and I'm looking forward to singing again and meeting more people. 
  • I feel like I've lived more in the last 3 months than I have in the last 3 years. I'm doing new things! And meeting new people! And having a blast! Wooooo!
  • I'm getting more brave when it comes to killing spiders. This is big news, my friends.

2013, I am welcoming you with wide open arms. I can't wait to see what this year brings! If my first three months were this jam packed with fun and new adventures I can't imagine what the next twelve will be like.