Life in the Caribbean

One of the suggestions I received when I asked friends what I should blog about was to write about what life in the Caribbean is really like. Because sure, there are dazzling, white, sandy beaches; dreamy, turquoise oceans; and soul-lifting, brilliant sunshine. But there is also the everyday drudgery of grocery shopping, house cleaning and bill paying that most people don’t experience when they are on a fleeting holiday in paradise.

I’ve been thinking a lot about how to describe life here because to me, well, it’s just life! There are bills to pay, groceries to buy, meals to cook, the household to manage, children to keep alive…the list is endless and yet, we do live in one of the most beautiful places in the world and it’s important not to take that for granted.

So far I have come to realize that in order to fully savor the Caribbean lifestyle, especially as an expat, you need to embrace the following mindsets. I will elaborate on each one in following posts, but here they  are in summary:

Slow down – Everything happens in its own sweet time in the Caribbean. Nobody is in a rush. And if you are, you will just end up frustrated and sweaty and everyone will laugh at you.

Simplify – Sir Mick couldn’t have said it better himself. “You can’t always get what you want…but you get what you need”. Unless it’s hypoallergenic baby formula. But that’s another story!

Socialise – It’s the only way to create your own village. As one of my closest friends here (and actually she’s one of my closest friends anywhere) says, one year of friendship in Barbados is like ten years anywhere else. My Barbados friends are my Barbados family and I could not survive without them.

Soak – Immerse yourself in local life. When we first got here I joined the gym opposite Adam’s work and it became a real haven for me. Now, with children in tow, we are regulars at the Saturday morning farmers’ market and the cashiers at the supermarket know each of us by name, including Beanie. We’ve worked hard to create a network of local people who we can count on and who, we would like to think, can count on us.

Surrender – Give yourself up to the sheer beauty of the place and the perfection of a morning on the beach or an afternoon splashing in the pool in the sunshine. Take in a sunset. Whenever I see the sun setting over the west coast now I think of Squeak running into the house one evening, ecstatic beyond speech to call me onto the verandah where she showed me, arms widespread, a brilliant pinkening sky.

There are, of course, many more things to write about and I am sure that they will come to me as I blog along. But in the meanwhile, I am going to slow down and surrender to the breeze on my verandah while I finish my tea and the baby sleeps.