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  • Lindsey Van Wagner

Ten Days Off the Mainland


First of all, a shout out to my brother Eric for helping me settle in my first few days here... we had fun trying to find where I live, just turn on the unpaved road. That's what the GPS says.

I've been on island for ten days now and I bounce between feeling that I'm in a dream and then a few minutes later thinking, "What the hell am I doing here?" The scenery is beautiful and nature is in the forefront - the water with its many shades of teal and blue, the colorful plants, and the mango trees. I get excited every time I see an animal and I usually call out to them, "Hey little goatsies!" although I have to watch it with the wildlife. I got yelled at, in a different language, for feeding a few chickens roaming about town. Apparently we aren't supposed to feed "yard bird." Whoops.

The faces are unfamiliar, as are the streets and shops - a bit like being in a foreign country because the culture is different and it is a brand new experience for me to be in the minority demographic. When you walk into a shop, you say "Good morning," and everyone answers, "Good morning" or depending on the time of day, "Good afternoon" or "Good night." Their "Good night" is not a way to say goodbye; it is way to greet someone. I love their accents.

The other day, I'm walking by the pier and a man hands me a few branches full of these round green fruits, bigger than grapes and with harder skin. I asked him what they were. He couldn't talk so he just showed me the motion of eating as he raised one towards his mouth. After some research I learned they are called genips. You put the fruit in your mouth and bite it open, discarding the green peel and then you suck on the juicy ball inside and throw out the seed when you're done. They are so good, sweet and tart. They taste like candy.

You know how they have apps on your phone or CDs you can play with different noises to fall asleep? Have you ever heard the one that has jungle or rainforest sounds? You don't need an app for that here! It's live, baby. You can hear all of the things at night, all of the things.

So, how am I feeling? Oh gosh. Hot. Free and exhilarated, like I can breathe. I also feel scared, confused, and uncertain. I have an open mind, a beginner's mind, and for now I'm going to try to take it one day at a time... island time.

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