Life on my own has been well, less than stellar [so far]. As with all situations, there are of course both advantages and disadvantages. Let me first merely point out the negatives. First there was the ginormous 8 legged arachnid [hairy tarantula] that welcomed me “home”. He, who will now be called Frank, decided that his final resting place would be my dining room table. Thankfully Frank was dead upon arrival, other wise I do not know how I would have been able to stay. Next, is the fact that I have difficulty sleeping in total darkness and silence, no matter where I am. I am so used to the sounds of city life. Since I lived across the street from a hospital I am quite accustomed to ambulance sirens and helicopters flying overhead to deliver emergency patients on the hospital helipad; the police station was just around the corner, so again I heard many sirens. At the end of my block was Scooters Bar, which attracted many loud and boisterous patrons. I miss the sounds of city life.
My Host Family lived on the main road, which was nice for catching a van and the sounds vaguely reminded me of home. I could still hear cars passing, loud music, and an occasional screech of an ambulance siren. There was a street light right outside my bedroom window, just like my bedroom at home. In addition to familiar “city noises” were the dogs’ incessant barking, pigs’ squeals, chickens roosting, and the crickets along with the rumble of the river in the backyard. This still took time to get accustomed to. Then just as I was comfortable, it was time to move out.
So now my “own” place is no where near the main road, and is about 50 yards down a walking path from the road. There are no street lights. It is completely dark starting around 645 pm and all I can hear at night are crickets and other random bug noises, and most probably frogs too. At first, every little shadow and noise freaked me out, but with time its not as much of an issue. The next issue was the fact that my kitchen light was not working. At first, I needed to rush home from school to cook while it was still light out. There were a few nights when I lit candles so I could finish cooking. Cooking in and of itself is an issue. It requires a lot of time, preparation and planning, which is both good and bad.
But as each week passes I am settling and getting more adjusted to life on my own. It is starting to become “normal”, or at least somewhat close to what I see as being “normal” for the next two years. My mom sent me some pictures that I have hung up, which makes it feel a little bit more like home. I’m starting to get into a routine which also adds to the feeling of “normalcy”.
The advantages to where I am living: my neighbors are great. They are always looking out for me, keeping tabs on when I’m coming/going, they bring me fruits, and my neighbors 3 year old daughter comes over almost every night to play. My backyard is full of fruit trees: mangoes, guavas, bananas, plantains, coconuts, plum rose, cocoa, cinnamon, plum, lime, coconut, sugar cane and breadfruit. I have an amazing veranda that is my favorite place to hang out (especially in my hammock) and read a book.
Life on my own in SVG has also provided me with a new appreciation for the things we take for granted and things we just expect back in the States. For example in SVG I need to cook EVERYTHING from scratch, I am in a constant state of cleaning everything, clothes need to be hand washed and line dried, and when it rains for days, clothes don’t dry. I did not have internet for 6 weeks (which was actually a blessing in disguise I think), it is lonely, despite being closely surrounded by neighbors. But with no internet I have found other things to occupy my time: reading, reading, reading, coloring, drawing, being artsy and crafty, writing letters, making cards, experimenting with cooking, enjoying some time to reflect on life.
In summary, life on my own has been challenging, yet rewarding. And its only been 2 months. Lets see what the next 2 years brings.