I have a confession. You may want to sit down first. Or not. Totally up to you.
Have you decided? Are you ready? Here goes…
Things are not always perfect in paradise.
I hope I’m not bursting anyone’s idyllic bubble about what they imagine life is like for us Island Girls. But yeah, there it is, out in the open. True confessions, Island Girl style.
Life is not always cabana boys and umbrella drinks. I wish.
This is most unfortunate for me, and also flies in the face of every “are you for scuba?” fantasy I ever had. (Bonus points if you know the movie reference there.) Despite the ridiculously amazing climate, the stunning scenery, the perma-tan and the availability of shimmering, warm turquoise water at my disposal 24/7, bad days worthy of any mainland existence creep in occasionally. Ugh, right?
And then, to add insult to injury, the universe will play a sick, cruel joke and serve up not just a main course of crap, but also a generous second and third helping of shit you could absolutely live without. Maybe your car breaks down (again). Or the taxman comes for a visit (again). Or you find yourself sick in bed with a tropical malady of unknown origin (again). Or someone you love back home, thousands of miles away, has an emergency and you can’t get there fast enough (thankfully this isn’t an “again” situation!). You get the picture.
And that picture, my friends, isn’t suitable for Instagram.
But then…just when it seems like making your escape would be a VERY GOOD IDEA, something amazing happens that could seriously only occur on a tiny rock in the middle of the sea. And when that thing happens, you realize that despite the bills or the illness or the hurdles or the bureaucratic red tape, you love your life and don’t want to be anywhere else. In other words, you get a much needed kick in the ass reminder of how good you’ve actually got it.
But before I share…let’s talk about timing for a moment. These amazing things tend to happen just before you whip out your credit card to buy a one-way ticket for the next flight off your rock. Not. Even. Kidding. The universe, it seems, has a sense of humor.
After a fairly stressful week of one mini-disaster after another (not my best week of Island Girl status), such a moment happened recently.
As Island Boy and I were walking (hiding?) on a quiet stretch of beach on a fairly deserted part of the island (trying to avoid life…or at least avoiding conversation with other, seemingly happier people), we saw a friend’s truck approach and then park. Ok…this doesn’t normally occur. And given my aforementioned shitstorm of a week, I imagined only the worst…
Is everything ok? Did something happen? Is someone hurt? Is our house burning down? (A legit question, by the way. This island is pretty tiny, and if your house is burning down you damn well better believe the Coconut Telegraph will be in full effect within minutes. And that you will be located – wherever you are on the rock – just a few minutes after that.)
As it turns out, no more bad news was about to befall me. Just the opposite.
Our friend was out hand-delivering invitations to his upcoming wedding. How cool is that?! As Island Boy and I were standing barefoot on a pink sand beach, oblivious to the beautiful sunset getting ready to put on a show behind us, we were handed a pretty turquoise envelope. Personally delivered by the groom-to-be himself (his lovely bride was at home suffering from the aforementioned tropical malady currently going around the island).
I’ve been invited to many weddings in my day. I mean, let’s face it, I am, shall we say, mature and at that point in life where I am as likely to receive an invitation for the second or third marriages of my friends, as I am – gasp! – the weddings of their children. With so many nuptial invitations behind me, I can confidently say this invitation wins for delivery style. (And practicality. Because, as everyone on this rock knows first-hand, mail delivery is not a strength this island possesses.)
But still…practicalities aside, this was great. Not the usual, impersonal way of opening the mailbox and finding a telltale, extra-heavy, overpriced linen envelope (you know the kind I’m talking about) tucked in with the bills and junk mail. But an in-person delivery with a hug and a little chit-chat thrown in for good measure. In a postcard-perfect setting.
It was my “a-ha” moment of realizing that, despite all the seemingly bad that was drowning me at the moment, the opportunity for things like this to happen makes living here totally worth it. <3 (Thank you, universe, for giving me the kick in the ass I so desperately needed.)
Our friend went on his way, and we resumed our suddenly much more romantic beach stroll. Personally, I was brimming with happiness in my heart (for the first time in a while) about how lucky I am to even live in a place where something this random and wonderful could happen.
And then, seconds later, I walked straight into a half-buried rock on the beach and promptly fractured my toe (and worse!…messed up my pedicure). Luckily, the wedding isn’t for six more weeks, so I should be able to fit back into high heels by then. And definitely get to the salon.
Like I said. The universe absolutely has a sense of humor.
I’m a writer living on the Dutch Caribbean island of Bonaire. Originally from the U.S., I followed my heart to the tropics in 2011 at the wizened age of 43. Since then, I’ve been blogging to inspire and entertain. I love kitesurfing, a good gin & tonic, and corgis.
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