Paradise Found.

I'm writing this post perched on the edge of our new porch. If I point my computer just this way, I can secure one bar of unsecured wireless network. Thank you, wireless network. As you may have guessed, I've been a little bit out of touch! Start a blog specifically for this move and then actually move and don't bother to update. Brilliant. Until we get our own legit internet connection up and running (only slightly more exhausting a process here than at home), I'll count on my unsecured friend, but it looks like I'm OK. For now.

Last Tuesday, I boarded my plane to Jersey and then on to our final destination, only a day after getting off of my plane from Victoria. After the loooooong process that we'd undergone to get to that point, my enthusiasm was pretty dismal. I think I was more excited about the SkyMall catalog in the seat pocket than I was about getting here. Something about no sleep, exhaustion of losing things in suitcases and the general anxiety that goes along with me generally had me completely zoned for most of the journey. I hadn't seen Kurt in over a week, and I hadn't even really thought about it. Not that I didn't miss him when I did think about it, but my mind was pretty much mulch.

And then the plane descended out of the clouds and I got my first glimpse of this beautiful, quirky little rock and it all came back. Literally. Like, in a Lifetime Original Movie way, complete with a tear, a racing heart and all of the excitement that I'd lost. I was a kid in a candy store. WITH change in my pocket. Glorious.

Kurt met me at the airport (he came down a week ahead of me) and drove me back along the (one) road towards the temporary accomodations we would be staying at until we got the keys to our place. Ah...our place. More about that later. It was about 4:00 in the afternoon and the roads were covered with scooters, driven by people on their way home from work. In between the scooters were various versions of tiny European cars. Ah..cars. More about THAT later as well. That was a less adoring "AH" than our apartment got. The only way that I can describe the air here is jungle-y. It has a greenhouse feel to it, but in a pleasant, fresh-air kind of way. And all the smells that mix in with it are distinguishable...flowers, salt, Downey dryer sheets...the list goes on. Every house is a pastel color and has a white corrugated roof, which drains rainwater into tanks underground, which supply the tap water. Palm trees grow next to cedars (which are, surprisingly, indigenous here), and everywhere I look, there is a plant or bird or flower that I have never seen before. At least, not growing naturally. There are tons of frogs (I actually just saw my first one, making its way down the stairs in front of me), and they make noise all night. Not a ribbit-ribbit kind of noise, more of a two-toned beep. It sounds like a noise that a Nokia cell phone would make, if someone were to pick the most annoying ring-tune possible. I'm used to it now, but it pissed me off something fierce the first night. Frog beeping aside, this is an incredibly, incredibly beautiful place. And from someone from Victoria, this is very high praise.

We stayed at the guesthouse for the first few days as I got my bearings. However, as of the first of this month, we had the keys to what has to be the most amazing apartment on the island. I'm not totally convinced that someone didn't die here, given the obscenely low rent (for the island), the space itself, but we're happy. Really, very happy. High ceilings with exposed beams, brand new (amazing) kitchen with corian countertops, huge bedroom, one and a half bathrooms...it's gorgeous. I think Kurt was just in the right place at exactly the right time (a phenomenon not present for our search for a car), and signed a lease on the spot. Finding a home is the biggest thing...the biggest expense, the biggest impact on your lifestyle...and we have one that suits us perfectly.

A seven minute walk from our house takes us to the ferry stop, where I catch my catamaran to work. It's kind of like the Clipper, except smaller and no one barfs. It cruises in at 8:15, cruises around the corner to the neighboring bay to pick up another load of passengers, and then picks up speed and flies across the Sound into Hamilton, where I work. I'm walking up the hill to my office at 8:45. I sit outside on the upper deck. The weather is still somewhere around 22-26 during the day, so I have yet to unpack my coats or heavy sweatshirts.

I started my new job on Monday with a couple of days of "computer training". It was the most elementary training I have ever done. And yet, totally mandatory. But today I actually sat at my new workstation for the first time and started work. My boss is awesome so far. I had a feeling from our phone interview that he would be and my co-workers on the floor were really welcoming. I do miss the LUNLF girls, though. It's not going to be the same without DDC, KKB, EXH and SKZ. I signed something with my LAS ID today by accident and felt a small pang of regret. But then I got over it.

I have met my first new ex-pat friend. She's from Australia and started the same day as I did, so also endured our training period. We've planned our first night out for Friday, which marks the end of the big rugby match going on here right now, so that should be fun. I believe it will mostly consist of getting drunk and meeting people, which sounds about right for people who currently know no one. Something about it isn't lonely though. Having Kurt here, of course, makes a huge difference, but everyone is so incredibly friendly here that you are constantly finding yourself in conversations with strangers at the ferry stop, on the ferry, on the street...everyone says hello, how are you, have a nice day. In fact, the ones who don't are the ones who look miserable.

Our apartment is currently unfurnished, though we did manage to completely outfit our kitchen and have started cooking for ourselves already, which feels great. This also means that we have done our first grocery shopping and yes, the rumours are true. It's expensive. But really, if you are careful with your shopping, check out the ENTIRE shelf, and don't buy more than what you'll need for a day or so, you can do it affordably. For instance, we picked up a salmon filet tonight (about four servings for $13), along with a lemon (0.99), three apples (0.99/ea...seriously), brown rice ($2.50), some "green squash" (a.k.a. zucchini) for about $2...not terrible. It kind of evens out, since there are things that are cheaper here than at home. Such as, surprisingly, maple syrup. WTF? And soy milk. And after we shopped? We loaded the two of us with the grocery bag between us onto our new Vespa scooter, snapped on our helmets (very cool look, by the way), and zoomed on home. Right around dee cornah, and dawn dee road. That's how they talk. It may or may not be how I talk after some more time here.

Anyways, I want to end this before this unsecured person shuts off their computer and I'm stuck with an unposted post, especially after my embarassing absence. We're having a blast so far - still feels like a vacation. Of course, work is hammering in the reality pretty quickly, but something about climbing aboard my 5:30 ferry home, while the sun is setting, amongst the friendliest people I have ever encountered (minus a few crusty ex-pats) makes a day of work a distant memory before the ferry even leaves the dock.

Start counting your air miles people, we've got loads of room for guests.

I've uploaded some pics onto Facebook. If you haven't seen them already, they're here.

3 comments:

Heather said...

I'm a leeeetle bit jealous, mon.

Anonymous said...

I got the email today for a seat sale from Scotland to Bermuda...once this tummy's out of the way, I'm so there! How do you feel about small children, or will I leave the boys at home?

-rachel

Heather said...

MORE UPDATES!

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