One major life event happened to me on Little Cayman: I lived alone for the very first time. I have lived with family, in dorms, in hotels, on boats, with girls and boys, but I have never truly lived alone. On LC I have a little studio apartment that is all mine. I pay for the rent, the bills and I am the only one with a key. It is modest but to me it is perfect. I live in a block of 5 apartments in the shadow of the church. The beach is a few steps away from my front door. I have a big kitchen and lots of storage. I am convinced I have the best air conditioning on the island. The A/C unit is a metre from my bed and when I turn it on it blasts cold air right into my face. Because my apartment is so small it cools down in a few minutes, great news when it is over 100 degrees outside and the electricity here is made by unionized elves whose wages are so high that my electricity bill costs more than Belgium’s.
When I first moved in I hated being alone. I would be home only when I was sleeping, and even then I would try to have someone stay over. I don’t have a TV, so if I didn’t have company and couldn’t force anyone to Skype with me I would either have something playing on my laptop, or I would listen to the Pocahontas soundtrack. It was really lonely at first. There is no one to come home to and tell about your day, or do a skit for, or watch a movie with or share a pizza.
I’m not sure when the change occurred, but it wasn’t long before I started to like having my own space. I would leave the apartment (now known at The B Pad by just me) clean and tidy, no dishes in the sink and I would come home to find it exactly the same as the way I left it. If I cooked, which I never have, the food would be at home waiting for me. For the first time in years of living overseas I unpacked. Clothes hanging up, cases under the bed, properly unpacked. I could decide how I wanted to decorate and my 100 Forever 21 dresses could take up all the closet space guilt free. I could watch whatever I wanted to watch. I could listen to whatever I wanted. I could put my jammies on at 4.00pm, or keep them on until 4.00pm. Impromptu High School Musical Dance Party? No roomies, no problem.
Then I became a little, dare I say, domesticated. My bathroom is always clean. My drawers and wardrobe are organized like The Gap. My ice cube trays are quickly replenished. Scented candles burn in the evening. I drink wine from my one wine glass. I learnt how to make egg mayonnaise from watching a video on YouTube. I learnt how to unblock a toilet, also from a video on YouTube. Listen up to this nifty life tip, if the plunger isn’t doing the trick, put hot water and washing up liquid in the bowl for an hour. Works like a charm! I have a minor cockroach problem. Any which do not starve from lack of food in my apartment, are gently shooed out the door. Same with little lizards or any other creepy crawly. A magazine, a wine glass and a lot of patience usually get the wildlife back outside. I can deal with iguana poop without flinching. I have an organized weekly laundry schedule. When my shower curtain fell down, I put it back up. Without other people to rely on I find I am much more useful as a human being.
I am also the very proud owner of my first Adult bike. It is the biggest, baddest bike on the island. I call him Geyonce and I feel like a bad ass when I ride him around the island. Groups of boys will gather around it coo-ing at how cool it looks. OK, that happened once, but it there was more people here I am fairly sure it would happen on a regular basis.
With my own apartment and wheels I feel quite the independent woman around town. I went from hating being alone to not being able to imagine not living by myself. It has been an unexpected bonus of moving to Little Cayman. I have always been very independent but now I feel properly so. I think … I might just have become a grown up.
“You can never cross the ocean unless you have the courage to lose sight of the shore”
I took a trip away from my usual sandy, tranquil beach to watch the waves at the East End of the island. Looking at the waves crashing on the rocks reminded me of just how strong and relentless the ocean is. I have plenty of reasons to fear the ocean. Childhood memories of floating out to sea on an inflatable duck. Being pulled under by a massive wave in Florida and being spun so much I didn’t know which way the surface was. Last year I found myself stuck in such a strong current, I could not move out of knee-high water, a bizarre yet terrifying ordeal. Learning to dive taught me not to be frightened of the sea, but to have respect for it.
Living on a little island I think it is natural to become obsessed with the water. The ocean to me represents freedom and possibilities. I have been gazing out at the Caribbean Sea everyday for 2 years . Every time I see a World full of adventures and opportunities just waiting to be explored.
I get asked a lot if I get bored on Little Cayman. It is a million miles away from my old life of sensory overload in Cancun. With a handful of people and no entertainment outlets it would be easy here to lose your mind. Luckily, I am pretty easily amused. I love napping, reading, watching movies and I am a reality TV addict. I have seen every single episode of every single season of the Real Housewives, yes, even DC and Vancouver. That is months worth of TV watching right there. Bachelor in Paradise was the highlight of my summer (Team Sara-dise). I can spend a whole night having an Old School Destiny’s Child Dance Party. These are activities I can do anywhere and alone. I live next to the most beautiful beach on Earth and I like to go there and chillout. That is my thinking place. I feel calm at the beach. The weather has been so perfect the past 6 months I have been able to go pretty much every day.
To survive in Little Cayman I would advise getting really excited by really little things. Having my first banana in a week? Tears of joy. Any events happening, I will attend. I would literally show up to the opening of an envelope. Every Friday is karaoke night on LC. I went from being phsycially repulsed at the idea of karaoke to being more excited than a Japanese business man. I have never missed karaoke, and I have never not sang. There is a reason why they call me The Beyoncé of LC (and by they I mean me). An art auction? Hold me down! The Annual Mexican night party meant a shift change, breaking out a brand new “special” dress and practicing my dirty Spanish for a week. I nearly passed out of joy at a museum opening with COMPLIMENTARY SANDWICHES.
Nothing this summer has made me more excited than the annual Agricultural Fair. I spotted the flyer 1 month prior and instantly fell in love with the Agricultural Fair Goat. He was cute as a button and would be mine. The day was planned, raffle tickets were purchased, the whole island was abuzz with talk of the Agricultural Fair. No one discussed the fact that LC actually has no agricultural. I felt it rude to bring it up, as if maybe the fact had just been overlooked by the organizers. Perhaps it was more of an optimistic look towards the future rather than an ironic sentiment. Like having a Water festival in the desert.
I was restless with anticipation the night before the Agricultural Fair. The day of I got out of bed and skipped down to the fair. Everyone I knew was already there! The games, the stalls, all the agriculture was already in full swing. Sno-Cone in hand I wandered around the exhibits. There was some lovely local crafts and food stuffs on sale. They had a Prettiest Egg contest with an obvious winner, these were more than just edible eggs, why they were beautiful! More attractive plants and foods were awarded ribbon. The raffle winners were announced. There was some controversy when one of the prizes was some turtle meat. It may be a national delicacy but it seems a little distasteful to have it on an island which puts so much effort into turtle conservation. The highlight of the day was undoubtedly the Dog Show. Every dog in the island was there all dressed up as pirates and rastas or in tuxedos, ready to put their best paw forward. Everyone was taking the event very seriously. During the egg and spoon race one man put his finger on top of the egg… The Horror … AND as if that wasn’t bad enough his dog wasn’t even on a lead. Everyone let him off with just a caution though because the dog only had 3 legs and let’s face it, we all love a 3 legged dog. I have to admit that I was a little disappointed that after being the star of the advertisement there was no goats to be found that day. They did however, ship in some chickens especially for the event.
On Little Cayman, we make our own entertainment. It has a small village vibe and we all band together to keep each other sane…. Wait?! I think I just heard someone opening an envelope, must dash!
Sunset Cove is Little Cayman’s hippy retreat. Candy coloured accommodation, a beach side cafe selling the best jerk chicken on the island, beautiful calm water and views for days. Tranquil and secluded it is a great place to try out some water sports. In 6 months the only time I had broken a sweat was by vigorously flicking through magazines on the beach, I felt it was time I should at least attempt some exercise. I had seen plenty of supermodels stand up paddle boarding (in the aforementioned magazines, not in real life obviously). Some of them even do yoga on the boards. I was fairly sure I had seen dogs SUP-ing on Youtube. I knew it was good for your core. I have no idea what that means … But it looks easy, right? WRONG. Especially if you have the coordination of a mongoose, a term my PE teacher scared me for life with. Getting on the board was difficult enough. I managed to Belly Flop Board for a bit, and then upgraded to Kneel Up Boarding. I proceeded to get myself stuck in some reeds on the shore, until I fell off again … and gave up. Pulling the board back to the dock against the current was great exercise! I was sore all over the next day, especially I think in my core.
On my next trip to Sunset Cove I gave the extreme sports a miss and instead opted for floating in the sea like a cadaver. I have seen more sea life at the dock of Sunset Cove than I have ever seen diving here. There is a always turtles to be spotted bobbing in and out of the water in the distance. And a ferocious 3 foot shark who consistently swims around the dock looking for painted toes to bite off. I met a very over friendly fish who attached himself to my upper thigh as I tried to exit the water. Leading to a very awkward … “I swear, a fish give me that hickey…” conversation.
I <3 Sunset Cove. Because of its laid back atmosphere, if I was traveling to LC, this is where I would want to stay.
Salt Rock Dock is a great place to make a memorable Sunday Funday. Some friends and I went with a dog called Darwin. Darwin is not only the best dog in the whole World he had only just recently been crowned the owner of Little Cayman’s Waggiest Tail. He didn’t let it go to his head though. He was still the same kind, caring, gentle pooch we all know and love.
We spent are day jumping off the dock, snorkeling and splashing about singing Little Mermaids song. Warm beers and a beautiful sunset capped off a perfect Little Cayman Sunday.
“Look into his eyes and you will only see a reptile” Paula Abdul
Most days on Little Cayman I see more iguanas than people. I am OK with this.
The iguanas here are very large. In fact, I am not entirely certain that they are not actually baby dinosaurs. They are also very charismatic. LC iguanas have personality to spare. There is Stumpy, the friendly iguana who is as docile as a puppy. Gurny, who is very territorial. He constantly poops on my door step. I am not sure what I have done to piss him off, he is hard to reason with. There is Casanova in the picture above who stands at the door and looks at me through the window unflinching, until I get so uncomfortable I have to hide. There is Shakespeare who pretends to have a broken leg and sits with it jutting out at a weird angle looking very dramatic. When you try and help him he runs off gleefully and full of health laughing. Behind my apartment there are the mean, territorial security guards who watch over not only the nests but the decoy nests too. They are not to be messed with under any circumstance. When they are not chasing me away they are fighting to the death with each other. Then there are the lazy ones next to the beach, who idle their days away lying in the shade yawning, sipping on Slurpies.
My big problem at the moment is iguanas squatting in my laundry room – Island Problems! I had heard before about iguanas on LC who had climbed into washing machines and got hurt. A few days ago I walked into my laundry room and heard a rumble behind the machine. I gently tapped the front of the machine with my toe and a Stegosaurus bolted out from behind it. He was a monster! The next day I creeped into the room again and seen a teeny, tiny little head peering at me from behind the machine. Apparently they like lurking behind the machines for the warmth … but seriously guys … it is like 100 degrees at the moment. Go outside and play! I don’t want anymore iguanas getting hurt so I make a point of keeping the door shut, checking all around before I start up the machines and banging the washing machines with my special Iguana Scaring stick to scare them away. I encourage my neighbours to do the same and keep an eye out for them too. I will do whatever I can to look after the iguanas, not only are they a protected species, they are also totally awesome!