Thursday, October 16, 2014

Adjusting to Life in a New Country

I'm going to be honest here and say that it did not take much for me to get adjusted here in the Bahamas. Having been in Costa Rica and spent some time in a very poor area, I knew sort of what to expect when I was told that the settlement I would be living in on Eleuthera was "remote and developing." Granted, I have internet and air conditioning in my apartment, but there are many things that are different here than in the States.

Most people envision the Bahamas as (I'm assuming) the highly developed Nassau or the pristine beaches that are accessible from the cruise ships. However, that is not what every single island or every settlement looks like in the Bahamas. For example, there are no stoplights on my island at all and the island is 110 miles long. There is no public transportation system here, no hospital, and two clinics. Even though I look at this view every morning when I leave my house:

The other side of the street (and the rest of the settlements I have been to on Eleuthera) looks like this:

There is nothing wrong with this. In fact, I feel like it will be weird to see my house in a few months when I go to visit my parents. I am already so used to the different way of life here, that I cannot imagine what I will feel when I go back to the States. Here is a list of some of the new "norms" I have been living with in the Bahamas:

- hitch hiking is safe and 100% normal (I have hitch hiked solo to work before)
- I am safe walking through the neighborhood by myself at ALL hours of the day (yes, men still say things to me, but I have felt safe 98% of the time. I usually have a male counterpart walk me home after parties/in the dark, though.)
- Seeing the stars CLEARLY every single night
- Losing power any time it is windy or rainy (the entire settlement loses power at one time)
- Drinking rain water (it's filtered)
- Taking "navy showers" (wet self, lather, rinse, repeat)
- No running water between the hours of 12 am and 6 am (seriously, the water gets shut off)
- Driving on the left side of the road
- Drinking rum because it's cheaper than beer (unless you win free Kalik!)

- Not having any major kitchen appliances (except for two burners and a fridge)
- Having conversations with the locals that I do not understand because they speak so quickly ;)
- Having a pack of pot cakes (stray dogs) follow me wherever I go
- Being without a cell phone (I can communicate when connected to wifi, but that's it!)

Often times, if I describe my living situation to my mom, she takes pity on me. I think it is because she has not experienced anything like this before. However, I am incredibly happy and this is my new life. I'm making do with what I have and I don't miss as much as I thought I would. I miss cooking and I REALLY miss Greek yogurt, but other than that, life in the States is slowly becoming foreign to me. I'm curious to see how it'll be when I visit my parents for a couple weeks during the winter!

Until then, I will be enjoying life as a mermaid :)

Has life in a new place ever been different than you expected it to be? Has your vision of "paradise" ever been changed after a trip to paradise?