Yip. Not much writing being done! I’ve been riding the roller coaster of expat life on an island where I don’t belong. No really, I do not belong here. Sometimes in life, you just need to realize that you need something else. Maybe forever, maybe temporarily, but in any case, something else.
“Yeah, if you were happy with yourself you’d be happy anywhere.” Uh-huh. Ok. Let me air drop you into __________(insert worst place you can think of here), Captain Zen, and you tell me how that goes.
We’ve been enjoying our home. She is beautiful. I will sincerely miss her. Thing is, when it’s scary to to out of the house, even a beautiful house can start to feel a bit confining. “Scary? Come on. You’re exaggerating You’re married. You have a visa, everything should be great and easy now!” Ya. I know. And it is. In my personal life. Except for the fact that – I know I’ll get some hate for this – there are too many rude, depressing, haters on this island. (I realize the irony of me writing that)
My girlfriend goes to her usual supermarket. At the checkout stand, she asks if they sell bags. Normally all the stores do, especially for cold and frozen goods. They whip them out from under the register and charge you for it and life goes on. Checkout lady replies, “No, and I don’t have time for this.” Really, checkout lady? You don’t have time for this? While you’re sitting on a chair at the checkout stand you don’t have time to answer yes or no to a question concerning a bag to carry items bought in the store? No time? Too busy doing…..oh right. Your job. Which would likely include answering that question.
I’m standing in line to checkout at the supermarket. At the last minute a man jumps in front of me. I’ve been watching him dance between two lines, not waiting in either one of them. He only has one item, so I let him go. After he’s paid, and while he’s organising his change, I say calmly and with a smile, “You know, if you had asked to go in front of me I would have said yes, but it would have been nice if you asked.” His reply, “I didn’t do that.” My face, incredulous, I reply, stil smiling (but now because I’m laughing), “I just watched you do that. Are you joking? It’s fine, but honestly, you should at least ask first, it’s just polite. I waited in line for ten minutes and you just jumped in front of me.” Again, like a child who believes they can’t be seen under the blanket, he replies, “No, it wasn’t me.” Ok. This is what I’m dealing with.
I arrive at my car in the parking lot. Woman is opening the passenger side door of her car next to my driver’s side. It is very windy. She opens the door and just lets it go, the door whips open and slams into my car, denting it and leaving paint on it. She continues what she’s doing in the front seat of her car, and when she comes out of her passenger side – and only when she is done doing whatever she’s doing, she shuts her door, and walks nonchalantly to her driver’s side. I say, “Excuse me, ma’am. Your door dented my car.” Her reply? “It’s not my fault. What’s your problem?! I’m not responsible for what the door to my car does!” I ask her, “OH? so who is responsible for your car, ma’am? Who should I talk to?” Her reply, “Pffffff….get out of here, you’re bothering me! Go take care of your own problems!”
I’m walking my dog. On leash. Man sitting at a picnic table walks towards me and asks me when we can cook and eat the dog. Yep. That happened.
If these things happened once in a while, it would be funny. Thing is, I have the impression that they happen all the time. That this is the general population. if I want to go out of my house to do the neccesary things, like food shop, mail letters, exist, I have to encounter shit like this. Does this happen in the states? Of course it does. Can I move away from it to a place where in general people are more polite and logical? Yes. Would I then experience this nonsense less often? Yes. But…Guadeloupe is SMALL. When things in general start to bother you, there isn’t really that far to run to avoid it.
Thankfully there are a small handful of people on the island that impart just enough hope and positivity to help me keep my head above water. There are really nice, interestED and interestING people here. I think they hide. Likely because they experience the same shit I do and enjoy it about as much. I’ve met some born and bred locals who are incredibly kind, creative, open hearted. These people need to procreate. More of that please! I consider it an amazing feat to be born and raised in Guadeloupe and be positive, zen and happy. I do. This is not an easy place. The more I learn the more I’m enthralled and yet ready to leave. A Guadeloupean woman I met in my visa process, who was of great help to me, told me her personal story. What left me amazed is how she explained that after she did her studies, and came back to Guadeloupe to start her own business, she was essentially shunned from her own community. She was told she was now a ‘negropolitan’, who did she think she was, that she was above them, etc etc. What a pity. When people could look at someone and say, ‘oh I want to be more like them’, instead they say, ‘I want to defeat them’. It’s a choice. An interesting one. It’s not the first time I’ve heard that type of story, but the first time I heard it directly from a Guadeloupean.
All this to say, it’s not me, this place is tough. It is not warm and fuzzy. You will not be greeted with open arms and open minds. It is, I would venture to say, unprogressive. Is that even a word?
BUT. Always a but. I can’t tell you I wouldn’t come back. WHAT?! I know. I know. I need a break. I need some perspective. I need something else. I know we’ll move sometime in the coming year, and with that knowledge I can say that I can see the intermittent good things about Guadeloupe. Perhaps one day we could come back. But for now…it’s time to focus on a different, hopefully more polite and uplifting path. Meantime, I’m perfecting my baking skills and my three guys make perfect taste testers. We also have a new puppy (there’s an spca in Guadeloupe – see? A positive!) who is freaking adorable, which totally makes my day. A bientot.