I’m back on the rock and it almost feels like I’ve never been away. 2 weeks in and I’m back at work, back to the blazing summer heat and already back to feeling like I need a holiday.
This term I’ve made a couple of little “New [school] Year Resolutions” – namely to try and shift some of the island pounds that inevitably crept on over the last 12 months after eating out all over the island and drinking cocktails like it was going out of style. I’ve signed up to a crossfit gym round the corner from work as well as something called the “Whole Life Challenge“; essentially a diet and exercise plan which I’ll write about more once it gets going on the 16th September. I also want to try and be more present on the island live music scene and also find more productive ways of spending my days off. Today is not a good start – it’s 13.55 and I’m still in my PJs…writing a blog post is productive though, right?
The past week has not only been spent getting back into the routine of teaching and getting to grips with our new timetables, but also welcoming new members of staff to the Musicians Ltd team. We have 4 new members of staff, 3 who are entirely new to the island and 1 who is a veteran of Cayman life having been living here 9 years already! Cheryl was fine in her house with her husband, but newbies Laura, Owen and Sophie had to start from scratch. We helped them get set up last week with bank accounts and Cayman phone numbers, and gave advice on the best areas to live in and places to avoid if possible. They’ve even managed to buy the almost-famous CayChalkCar from our good friend Joe. The whole experience does take me right back to this time a year ago when it was the other Musicians staff helping me and James settle in and get set up. It feels good to pay it forward! We even invited them on our Cayman National Orchestra Sunset sail on Friday night which was glorious and a great way for them to meet new people and fellow musicians.
One thing that’s giving me serious deja vu is something that has hit the world’s headlines and social media pages hard this week – the advancement of Hurricane Irma. I wrote this time last year of Cayman’s lucky escape from Hurricane Matthew and how unprepared I felt in general for the arrival of a hypothetical hurricane. This year I was a lot more militant with our preparations, making a list of everything we’d need to do and buy and then practically dragging my roommate Jon to the shops so we could get stocked up. (The fact that we’ve eaten half our supplies since the news Irma is missing Cayman is neither here nor there…)
I’ve had so many messages on social media from friends and family asking if we’re okay, and checking we’re prepared. I’m grateful that we’re safe and for the love and support coming from everyone back home, but part of me also wishes that people wouldn’t immediately hear “Caribbean” and panic – it is a big area and it only takes a quick google search to check the path of a hurricane and see that it’s actually nowhere near us. The most we’re getting at the moment are some big choppy waves and some slightly strong wind. I get it though – most Cayman residents will always eye any big hurricane with caution, particularly a September-time, Cape Verde storm with a 4 letter name that starts with an I.
Unfortunately, like with Matthew last year, other islands aren’t so lucky. Some smaller Caribbean islands like Barmuda have been completely flattened in the wake of Irma, and Florida is due to get seriously hit early next week. Keep them in your thoughts; I know I will be.