Barbados is easily one of the most beautiful places I have ever been, and one of the most frustrating. I am having flashbacks of trying to settle in Ireland. There, I had many breakdowns crying when people said that they would phone me back and never did. It seems to work the same in Barbados, except that I haven’t felt like crying.
Bajans, like the Irish, are some of the friendliest people that I have ever met. I love these people. They mean well when they are helpful in person, and they say that they will follow-up with what you need. They rarely do. As a result, you spend many hours in line-ups so that you can face someone and wait while they take care of the thing that you need done. I do not know how anyone with a full-time job settles into a new home in this country.
It has been almost three months since I returned to Barbados, to a new place that I bought. There is a list of frustrating things that have not gone well including, but certainly not limited to:
- Suing my last landlord for not returning my rent deposit (I now have a court date of December 12)
- My internet being out for 4 of the first 17 days of September and then receiving a bill last week from the internet provider for $471 BBD
- Waiting, going on 8 weeks, for a response about whether the condo will replace my balcony door, which is decayed from the elements
Yet, the beautiful things in Barbados seem to outweigh the frustrations.
When I go to the beach with my board, I always go in no matter the size of the waves. Last week a guy I surf with was wondering if we should bother with the small waves. As we stood on the beach, he told me that he had a bad day. I said that we needed to go in; he would feel better. By sunset, he was all smiles and relaxed.
I spent Thanksgiving with Erin and Darren and guests. They have a tradition to go around the table and each person states what they are grateful for (Darren said the start of the hockey season 😉) I am grateful to Erin and Darren for showing me that a life in Barbados is possible and giving me a place to celebrate Canadian Thanksgiving.
Friday night, I had a girls’ dinner; my first real hosting in my new place. We ate (a lot), laughed, and took a break to skateboard and make room for dessert.
I couldn’t create a community in Ireland. My boyfriend at the time was at medical school and I never managed to link into his network. The weather depressed me, and I didn’t have the energy to create one of my own.
In Barbados, I am surrounded by people who energize me. Sure, we have whine sessions about the infrastructure and the costs, but then we talk about how grateful we feel to be here.
I have recently found a lawyer who has been able to explain a more permanent path to residency. She does not do this unless the person has been here over a year, preferably two. She says, that is the amount of time it takes to truly understand what you are in for in settling in Barbados. Coming up to two years, I am there. I have built a community that gets it – the frustrations and beauty of Barbados – and we are here to stay.
My community is what gets me on the path from frustration to beauty…what’s yours?
Happy to hear you’re doing well! The hibiscus is beautiful, it’s amazing to see such a tall and bright flower that survived the hurricane instead of bending and breaking. Skateboarding is so cool!
Hey Sarah! Isn’t the hibiscus beautiful?! This flower has been the symbol of resilience throughout the pandemic. Not really understanding the scope of what was about to happen, I left this plant outside during the ash cloud and was pretty sure it had died. The Monday morning when there was finally a break in the ash and the sun came out, the hibiscus bloomed. I figured, if that poor plant can make it through, I can as well. Here we both are today, enjoying the sunshine.