T-58 hours until my flight from Grand Cayman leaves for Heathrow, and I CAN’T WAIT. Yes, I am counting down the hours. I almost feel guilty for doing so – surely when you move to a new country it should be an exciting adventure that you never want to come back from?
To an extent, it has been like that here. The adjustment to working fewer hours with a much shorter commute was a fantastic one to make; those extra hours in the evening have meant I’m no longer exhausted after work and have both the time and energy to head to the beach, or even the gym! So although that image my friends in England had of me here sitting on the beach every day drinking cocktails isn’t quite reality, it’s not far off.
It’s also crazily easy to make friends here. When I first moved I was daunted by the prospect of moving to a place where I would know nobody and essentially start from scratch, but there are so many other expats here that everybody is in the same boat! Now after being here for just under 4 months I can happily walk into a bar and either see somebody I already know or get talking to people I don’t – without that awkwardness you’d get back in the UK doing the same thing. Also it helps that the people I work with are all awesome and friendly – and the main people I spend my time with here. I feel that with them I’ve landed on my feet, and they always make me feel welcome.
Part of me is also gutted I’m not getting my first island Christmas this year, because although it’s still regularly 28C or higher at the moment and it feels nothing like winter, Grand Cayman is SUPER Christmassy. The decorations went up on island in early November, and I had pupils begging to start Christmas carols in their lessons not long afterwards. The whole island seems obsessed with this time of year (maybe influenced by our American neighbours but I don’t know). The tree in Camana Bay is fantastic and there are giant reindeer everywhere. Every roundabout is covered in lights and decorations and some of the houses are decked out like Santa’s grotto. A lot of my friends here are also planning a Ritz Brunch on the big day, which for some seems to be a big tradition (see my previous blog about brunch to see how much of a feature even just “regular” brunch is on this island).
But I am excited to come home all the same. Despite the amazing time I’ve had so far, I miss my family and I dearly miss my UK friends. I also miss living in a quiet house – which is the main reason for my counting down the hours til my flight home. I made a big mistake in choosing to live with a young family, no matter how cheap the rent. I won’t go into details here (it’s not so tasteful to publicly deface peoples’ characters when they cannot defend themselves) but suffice to say the noise, messiness and general self-involved nature of a family don’t go hand-in-hand with the easy going lifestyle I crave here. I will be very excited to come back in January to a place I can finally call “home”.