It's been one year. Oh, what a year it has been.
Harbour Island, with its bright smiles, colorful cottages and home of friendly people, also has an underlying dark side that's crept into my bones, tainted my disposition and challenged my sanity.
Looking back at the roller-coaster of island hopping, one might get dizzy with the amount of movement that has commenced in my life within the past three years. Three islands I have called home, and if you were to observe a compass while turning in circles, each island might as well be as many degrees difference as you could fit onto the radius.
My first stop in the Bahamas took me to the indescribable beauty of life on the remote island of Norman's Cay in the Exumas. I can easily transport myself back to who I was then. My long, peaceful walks on the quiet stretch of beach, where not another soul's footprints had touched, would fill me with a sense of boundless joy. The water was so calm as it lapped on the shore and there was nothing I could do but join in and become one with its beauty. The connections I had with the other residents and passerby's were like no other. It's as if the island itself attracted anyone and everyone who were either like-minded to myself or had something to teach me. I was lost then, but free. I was content float wherever the wind took me.
The next phase took me to a private island. One giant construction project, and the complete antithesis of Norman's Cay. Jackhammers jarred into the depths of my soul at a constant, unrelentless pace. Construction workers knocked at my door at all hours of the day and night, looking for a Coke Soda, phone card or a pack of smokes. I had no female companionship, just my partner and otherwise 150 fairly uneducated minimum wage male workers. We called it "Hell Island." We were confined to the Man Camp. Dusty and scorching in the afternoon heat, the Man Camp was never a peaceful place. Workers longed for their families and lives back home, but forged onward in the pursuit of the hard-earned dollar. There were boozy nights to forget the sweltering days. My poor little dog was banished into hiding, sneaking out in the only in the dark hours so as not to be seen. I could write a book on the escapades of that place. We always thought we'd get great ratings on one of those Survivor-type reality TV shows.
This third island where I have spent the previous year has had its ups and downs. Last November, I married my husband and went through the process of becoming a legitimate resident of the Bahamas. Our plans were been extended from spending 3 months on this island, to 1 year and 3 months.
The island itself is deceiving. I have discovered that life on this charming and picturesque island, dotted with historical clapboard houses, brightly washed in pale pinks, yellows and turquoises, is best suited for vacationers. Tourists often ask me what it is like to live on Harbour Island. They gaze dreamily as they presume...."it must be paradise right?" I gently explain to them that even "paradise" has its hardships. But somehow I never seem to penetrate the I'm-on-vacation buzz and no matter what experiences I tell about my battles with the utility companies, the inability to get ANYTHING done without some kind of hang up and the general superior demeanor and lack of work ethic of the local residents, they just grin and tell me it sounds quaint and that I'm the luckiest girl in the world.
Maybe I am, but that's all relative....