An expat living in another country told me that the one-year mark is the end of the honeymoon. The burning love of the place starts to fade as the reality of what it means to live there, not just visit, becomes evident. Do you accept it for all that it is, or do you pack your bags and go?

I am totally there. I am still in love with Barbados. I love how the tension has been released from my body and my mind has become more still on the island.  I sit on my surfboard on the aqua blue ocean and feel the warmth of the sunshine on my skin. I feel blessed to have been given this new lease on life during a pandemic. I feel like I could do this forever – but could I?

It took ten (10) hours to change the registration of my car from the previous owner into mine, and I paid someone familiar with the process to do this. People ask me if I am going to buy a home here. To that I think, Dear God if it took 10 hours to register my car what nightmare beholds me to buy a home?!

There are still things that I don’t understand in Barbados, including:

  • Lineups from lack of process
  • Keeping roosters in an urban setting
  • Not honking at someone that has parked in front, rather than pulling into the laneway (and causing a traffic jam)
  • Half the things that the Bajans say

These drive both the visitors and the locals crazy, so, at what point is it accepted as part of the way things work here?

Acceptance was described to me as getting clear on the facts of how things really are.  Given this reality, you then have choice. The opposite of acceptance is resistance.

Clashes with values often make acceptance difficult.  For instance, it is a value of mine that when I spend money, I expect worth in a tangible object or in a service. This does not happen here on the island compared to home.  Goods are expensive to import and so are overpriced.  Customer service is not a thing. Can I live in a place long-term that is so expensive, and that doesn’t seem to care about working with the paying customer?

Accepting doesn’t mean letting it roll off your back or pretending it doesn’t bother you. I still feel frustrated and feel the tension of not having my expectations met. But knowing this is the way it is, I can then choose how to respond. Resistance, however, aims to prove that it isn’t or shouldn’t be that way.

Here are some facts that I have attempted to put into words and pictures in my travel blog but that you cannot know until you experience them:

  • Barbados is one of the most beautiful places that I have ever been.
  • Barbadians are kind and focus on building community.
  • I am the happiest that I have ever been in my adult life.

It is only through acceptance that I will be able to look at the facts of how Barbados is and decide whether I stay here or whether I go. The reasons to stay are compelling, yet being from Canada, so are those to return home (for summers).

For those that have lived in a foreign country, what were the things that struck you after a year that made/make you wonder whether you could stay?