>Happiness Quotient in Guadeloupe

8 Aug

>
Months back, I received a message from someone who was reading my blog (!) and was also in the process of moving to Guadeloupe. Who knew anyone was reading this besides you? Furthermore, who knew anyone was choosing to move to Guadeloupe if they weren’t being taken by a Pirate? At that time, we began exchanging emails and one half of Couple Moving To Gwada asked me a fantastic question:
What would you say is the happiness quotient of the people of Guadeloupe?

Here were my choices:

happy?
miserable?
welcoming?
stand-offish?

Now as I said this was months ago, and I thought about this for weeks. I wanted to give a fair answer, so I could not write about this on a day when the internet needed resetting three times and there was no wind at all and it was a million degrees and I had mosquito bites in places I couldn’t believe they could get to. Not a good idea. I also didn’t want to write while I was having my best moment here, after a fantastic day full of friends, because although that’s positive, it’s still not like that all the time. (It is more and more, but it’s still quite lonely.) I wrote a bit. I saved the draft. Now I go back and look and it’s interesting to see what I thought. Here it is, two months old view of the happiness quotient of the people in Guadeloupe:

“…happy, not miserable, and stand-offish, not welcoming. It’s a blanket statement. I know…But at the moment it’s my experience. I want to be clear though. To say that I find a culture not welcoming is not the same thing as saying I don’t like it, or that I find the entire culture to be not nice. This is not the case at all.
The thing with living Someplace Else is that to a certain extent I think we expect that being from Someplace Else will aid us in making friends. Yeah, I’ve pretty much realized that this is princessy of me, because frankly, who cares? Does it make me a better or cool person because I’m from Someplace Else? No. BUT, It’s a talking point, the similarity in that we’re both here, but the interesting differences in our paths to get here. Right? As I’m finding, not so much. Or at least, not enough to break down the wall I find in the culture here. That is why I arrived at not welcoming.”

So there it is. I wrote it. Each person I met didn’t throw a parade for me to say “Congratulations American suburbanite for coming to reside on our island. Have a coconut!” Apparently this was disappointing a few months ago. Well, even a little time can change things I guess. I don’t really think people are unwelcoming anymore. Why? I guess I realized that I don’t organize a parade for every person I meet who is from somewhere else. Sure, I may be more interested in their story than the next guy, but that’s my style. I’ve always been nosy. It’s a gift until it ruins your own surprise party. This is a good example of growth in the first few years of living Someplace Else. Never get too set in your head about something because it – your view of things – may very well change.

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