October 22 was my 18–month island-girl anniversary. Reflecting on my time here so far, I thought about how much I love island life, and how it has tested me in ways I could never have imagined, or possibly endured, in the States. In celebration of my rock anniversary, I’ve assembled a list of lessons learned since I moved to this small island. Some are practical and some are personal. But each one is something that required a change in perspective and lifestyle to learn and embrace. I hope some of them resonate with you.
1 ~ Don’t wait until you need it. Buy it when you see it. (Applies only to non-perishable items.)
2 ~ Not having the “luxury” of spending days on end searching dozens of stores for the exact item you’re looking for, can itself be a luxury.
3 ~ You can predict the weather based on the state of your hair.
4 ~ Always keep electronics fully charged.
5 ~ Keep flashlights and candles where they can be easily accessed in the dark. Not in the vicinity of furniture that has a reputation for breaking toes.
6 ~ How to fit a Jeep into spaces that, technically, should be two inches too small.
7 ~ Greet everyone courteously – i.e. “Good morning,” “Good afternoon,” etc.
8 ~ On an island, “No problem” doesn’t mean, “That will be easy.” The correct island translation is, “I hear you, but I may or may not do what you’ve asked, depending on how much trouble it will be.”
9 ~ Always bring reading material to places where you may have to wait: government offices, doctor’s offices, the bank, the line at the grocery store on a Saturday…
10 ~ A hair dryer is not a basic necessity.
11 ~ Vinegar will clean almost anything.
12 ~ You don’t need fancy equipment, or even a gym, to stay in shape.
13 ~ Everyone has a story, and most of them are extremely interesting – if you’ll just listen.
14 ~ Have compassion towards immigrants – making a life in a new country is much harder than most people realize.
16 ~ Appreciate the quiet.
17 ~ During the day, look around at the beauty of the island. And at night, look up and enjoy the stars.
18 ~ Sea water heals both physical and emotional wounds. Indulge generously.