Island Hacks: 20 Tips & Tricks for Life in Cayman

Island Hacks: 20 Tips & Tricks for Life in Cayman

When moving to a new place, especially a tiny island in the Caribbean, it can take a while to get the lay of the land. In my first year of living in Cayman, I have picked up many lifestyle tips and strategies that allow me to live with ease and enjoy island life to the fullest! In this blog I share my 20 essential island hacks that can help optimize your day-to-day living in Grand Cayman.

1. Keep a swimsuit, flip-flops and towel in your trunk at all times – Island life 24/7/365 people! The ocean quite literally has us surrounded. You may be sweating bullets at a Tillies brunch and suddenly the water is calling your name. Do yourself a favor and prepare yourself a “go-bag” of beach essentials to always have in the car — ideal for impromptu ocean dips.

2. Always have cash on hand for fruit stands and group outings – While many businesses in Cayman happily accept credit cards, there are a few situations where you definitely want some cash in your wallet. Many restaurants on island are not keen to separate checks, creating a mathematical nightmare for large groups. However, if you have the right cash in your pocket you can pay your share of the tab smoothly without waiting on cards to be run. Additionally, the farmers market and produce stands are cash-only. The last thing you want is to see a juicy mango and not be able to buy it!


3. Sunscreen, hats, and sunglasses are the best and cheapest anti-aging “skin treatment” you can invest in. Save your money and invest in some top of the line SPF, ladies! (And conscientious men). 

4. DIY Beach Happy Hour – Most likely you are not taking enough advantage of this island perk. All you need is a travel tumbler and a trip to your local Tortuga Rum for your drink of choice — BOOM, you’re ready for a DIY Beach Happy Hour. A walking happy hour with friends, a seated happy hour in solitude, anything goes! But the best part is you are paying a couple dollars for your cocktail instead of $CI 12 + 15% gratuity. I’m just saying.

5. Detangler and brush — My long-haired sisters know the havoc the ocean can wreak on your hair, creating a nest of knots that a pelican may mistake for his home. For this, I always go to the beach with a leave-in spray that moisturizes my hair and prevents knots. Once I am done with water for the day I spray a bit more and brush it out before the knots past the point of no return. 

6. Grocery bags as beach bags — I love me a Kirk bag but Foster’s will work just as good.


7. Follow all of your favorite restaurants on Insta for deals and happy hours — If you do not have an Instagram, I would suggest getting one; simply to follow your favorite businesses on island. This is truly the best way to get exclusive updates and deals from the places you love to eat and drink. For some businesses, Instagram pretty much serves as their main website. 

8. Bug Spray — No one is safe at sunset. While I will say the mosquito situation has improved slightly since moving here, I would still recommend keeping bug spray in your “go-bag” so you do not become a delicious feast for the skeeters! 

9. Carry reusable produce bags with you to stop at fruit stands — They now sell these at Kirk right next to the regular plastic produce bags. They are only 99 cents per bag and are perfect to carry in your car. In the summer when you stop to visit Tony the Mango Man you can save some plastic and put the mangoes directly in your reusable pouch! 

10. Real Women of Cayman — I’ve said it once and I’ll say it forever… anything you want to know about Cayman or life in general can be found on this Facebook page

11. Let the ocean become your personal spa — The ocean is recognized for its aesthetic quality but a bit under-appreciated for its health and beauty benefits. Salt water helps combat acne-causing bacteria, skin infections, and speed up the healing process. Also, sand is a natural exfoliant, which rubs away dead skin cells and helps clear pores and acne. Cancel your next facial and make your way down to Seven Mile Beach! Your skin (and wallet) will thank you!


12. Keep an umbrella or poncho in the trunk at all times — I know I am asking you to keep many things in your vehicle but as we can see, they all serve a purpose! It doesn’t rain all that often in Cayman, but when it rains, it torrentially pours with no warning at all! Don’t let yourself get caught in these unforeseen weather messes without the proper rain gear! But hey, some of us like getting caught in the rain (and piña coladas). 

13. Shop at the thrift stores — Just do it already. In my first year of living here I have not made a single overseas order. Almost all of my clothing has some from the Humane Society thrift store and my savings account thanks me for it. Read my thrift store tips to get started!

14. Book loftSpeaking of thrift stores, there is one on island that is dedicated to just books. While we all want to support our local books stores, we also know that $CI 30 per book at Books & Books is not the most sustainable way to fuel your reading passion. The Book Loft is located above the Humane Society. Their donated books go for $2-$4 each. And after you pick up (or drop off) your books you can go cuddle a cat or walk a pup — the perfect feel-good weekend activity!

15. Coconut water — Sunshine and saltwater, as lovely as they are for our well-being, can dehydrate our bodies quickly. An effective and easy way to combat dehydration is by drinking coconut water which is packed with natural electrolytes — packaged does the trick but natural is obviously preferred! Coconut Joe’s has a $5 natural coconut water served straight from the coco itself!

16. Free workouts are everywhere — Gym memberships and exercise classes can be quite pricey. For many people they are worth the cost, but remember that Cayman offers many free workout options as well! Take a long, luxurious walk on the beach. Go for a swim along Seven Mile. Join a group that puts on free organized runs and workouts (Tuesday Night Bootcamp, Saturday Morning Run Club, and many more!)

17. Non-drowsy dramamine / ginger for seasickness – Whether you have been invited to a boat party or are preparing for a day of scuba diving, it can be a good idea to take some preventive measures if you are prone to seasickness. Non-drowsy dramamine does the trick but you can also count on ginger which comes in many forms (ginger-ale, oils, chews, tablets, etc.) I myself like to peel fresh ginger and add it to my smoothie before a boat adventure.


18. Meditate outdoors – No need to search “ocean sounds” on YouTube or download an app, you have the real thing right outside your door! Take a seat on the beach and let the waves guide your breathing. Few things are more relaxing than a seaside meditation

19. Buy a scooter – This tip is much more of a commitment than my previous suggestions but as a scooter-owner, I have to tell you it has made island life so convenient for me. Never again will you worry about parking or traffic jams, you simply flit in and out of wherever you need to go. It also gives you a unique and beautiful island perspective as you notice things you maybe wouldn’t inside a car.


20. Read Island Diaries! 🙂 Nice job, you are already using this tip to your advantage. Thank you for reading! Watch out for future posts to hear about island lifestyle tips, itineraries, activity ideas, and much more! If not already subscribed, enter your email below!

SUBSCRIBE TO MY BLOG

LATEST FROM THE BLOG

What To Wear in the Cayman Islands

Plan what to wear in the Cayman Islands with these 11 island essentials that are sure to become staples in your Caribbean wardrobe

The Non-Alcoholic Guide to the Cayman Islands | 20 Alcohol-Free Things To Do in Cayman

Grand Cayman offers a buzzing social scene filled with brunches, boat parties, happy hours, and everything in between. While an active social agenda is great for making friends and forming connections on the island, it is no secret that many of these activities center around alcohol. That is why I have devised a list of […]

Preparing For Your First Ever Cayman Boat Party

Attending a boat party in Grand Cayman is basically a right of passage for island newcomers. Within a couple weeks of moving to the island, you’ve probably been invited to a handful, each one sounding more exciting than the last. At first blush, a boat party may seem like an ultra-fun, and dreamily tropical adventure. […]

How I Celebrated Thanksgiving In Cayman

How I Celebrated Thanksgiving In Cayman

While Thanksgiving 2020 was a strange one for many around the world, it was a particularly interesting one for me as I celebrated it away from my family for the first time ever in the least thanksgiving-esque setting you can think of…the Cayman Islands. 

To be honest, Thanksgiving was not even really on my radar. Living on this island is like Groundhog’s Day in the weather department. I realize that to most people 86 and sunny every day of the week sounds pretty darn good. No need to cuss at the weatherman with a forecast like that. And of course, it IS wonderful. However, for someone who is used to extreme seasonal changes, this Groundhog’s Day vibe has me very mixed up.

The other reason Thanksgiving wasn’t totally on my radar is because it is not really celebrated here. Cayman is a British territory and we know of course that Thanksgiving is an American holiday. Whereas in Wisconsin I would have enjoyed Wednesday thru Friday of vacation, here I had to work the whole week! (Poor me).

Alas, despite my lack of seasonal awareness, I must accept that the holiday season has arrived. However strange this year may be, 2020 has taught me to stop wishing for a different reality and simply make the most of what I have. While I wish I could have celebrated Thanksgiving at home with my family, I was able to take part in the next best alternative: Friendsgiving…Cayman style!

While I have participated in a few small Friendsgivings while living in the Midwest, Cayman Friendsgiving 2020 definitely will go down as the most special and memorable one to date. What really gave it WOW factor was the amazing lady who made it possible…my good friend and fellow American, Christine! I cannot tell you how many people I have met in Cayman that I initially suspect to be American but then later find out are Canadian. (Classic mix-up). The fact that Christine “sounds American” and IS actually American (New Jerseyite to be more specific) is such a comfort to me. Not to mention she is one of the most warm, kind people you will ever meet!

Christine hosted Friendsgiving at her place on Black Friday. When I walked into her apartment the first words out of my mouth were OH. MY. GOD. I thought for a moment that I had driven myself to the Ritz Carlton by mistake. She had rented banquet tables complete with linens, table settings, lights, and candles. She lined the living room with fresh flowers and added a finishing touch with name tags at every spot. While helping her with the final details, I spotted her open excel spreadsheet complete with guest names and their respective dishes. (Yes, she is an accountant…and also basically the Martha Stewart of Cayman).

I had signed on to prepare apple crisp (to honor my family’s tradition) and an autumn salad to add some green to the line up. My autumn salad called for sweet potato, a product I KNOW they have in Cayman. However, on the particular day I went to the supermarket they informed me they did not have the AMERICAN sweet potato but they DID have the JAMAICAN sweet potato. This was a learning moment for me as I never thought of the sweet potato as being classified by country. My ALDI days did not prepare me for this. Anyway, dazed and confused I purchased the Jamaican sweet potato as recommended by the produce man. Upon cooking it, I realized it does NOT provide a pretty orange color pop, but rather has an ugly yellowish, gray-speckled color. NOT something I wanted to put in my autumn salad. So, with a sigh of defeat I decided not to add it to the salad. But upon trying it a bit later, I can report that it DOES taste a bit similar to the “American” sweet potato and is rather yummy.

ANYWAY, back to Friendsgiving. Thanks to Christine’s spreadsheet, we all prepared something a bit different and had a wonderfully delicious variety for our Thanksgiving dinner. We were greeted at the door with welcome shots which we renamed “Gobblers” as their original name was a bit too explicit for a Thanksgiving celebration. They are made from Kahlua, Irish cream liqueur, and whipped cream. This really set the tone for the evening as we mingled about among our group of 14 friends. I even got a bit crafty myself in the mini bar department (AKA the washer and dryer covered with a festive sheet), preparing my brother’s Negroni recipe for a few people to try…shoutout Chase!!

After we had finished eating we migrated to our gender role areas: the men outside on the patio smoking cigars, the women sitting on Christine’s king bed in slumber party mode. In typical Thanksgiving fashion, we were too tired to move but were very happy to be chatting away in each other’s presence. And yes, that is a cup of coffee in my hands in the picture below as that is exactly what I would be drinking after Thanksgiving dinner at home 🙂

In total, there were 14 guests representing 8 countries: USA, Spain, South Africa, Slovenia, France, China, Canada, and England. I am so grateful to have shared Friendsgiving with this amazing group of people. We were first and foremost incredibly lucky to have the freedom of getting together freely and safely due to the near non-existence of COVID on the island. I also feel very fortunate to have made such good friends in my short time living on the island. Sharing with them the sentiment of togetherness and family that Thanksgiving brings during a time when I can’t see my own family was something I will never forget.

Thank you so much to Christine and to all the other lovely people who have made Cayman feel more like a home to me. 

Thank you for reading and stay tuned for the next edition of Island Diaries by Kate!

Happy Holidays!

5 Reasons You Should Join Paradise Pizza’s Wine Club

5 Reasons You Should Join Paradise Pizza’s Wine Club

How does a girl go from gulping franzia from red solo cups to swirling biodynamic Portuguese wine at Grand Cayman’s only natural wine club? This Cinderella story is brought to you by none other than Paradise Pizza, a deceptively sophisticated pizza garden that is brand new on the Cayman restaurant scene.

Trust me, I know the kinds of ideas that can be conjured up by the words “Biodynamic Wine Club.” Maybe it sounds pretentious….or like an event that would be put on by organic yuppies who frequent Whole Foods. But trust me when I say that attending a Thursday night wine club at Paradise is one of the best things you can do in Cayman — and I am going to give you 5 reasons why. 

Reason #1 to join the club —

THE PEOPLE. 

Where else are you able to share a table with fashion designers, architects, chefs, teachers, and lawyers from all around the world? (Oh wait, who invited the accountant??) Even more importantly, when have you ever been able to do this without feeling the pressure of labels and status? This club is a place where all walks of life come together and talk over wine and pizza like old friends. You will learn not only about the wine you are drinking, but even more interestingly, about the people with whom you are sitting and how their experiences have landed them on this island.

Reason #2 

THE WINE.

Although currently unable to travel in the literal sense, we can still take our taste buds on a trip through international vineyards. Every Thursday Paradise chooses a region. For example, we have already explored Spain and Portugal, Eastern Europe, and California. They select three to four wines from the region which are presented to you by the coolest lawyer turned sommelier you have ever met. She totally won’t even judge you for your dark days of drinking franzia straight from the box. After one or two Thursday nights you may even be firing off wine vocabulary you never knew existed like skin contact, tannins, and acidity. But if you’re not into that, you can just smile and nod while downing your glass. Each wine selection is paired with a unique Neapolitan style pizza such as the Habibi, Cayman Veg, or my favorite — the Mr. White.

Reason #3

THE VALUE.

Anyone who has visited or lived in Cayman knows that good deals on this island are few and far between. I stopped looking at most of my receipts because they were breaking my frugal little heart. So when I come across a hidden gem like Natural Wine Club, it’s hard to keep it to myself. For just $30 you will try three or more high quality natural wines and at least three pizzas with the freshest ingredients all while mingling with some of the most interesting people on the island. Of course, as with any successful dining establishment, you come for the food but you stay for reason #4…

Reason #4 

THE ATMOSPHERE.

The friendly and open environment is what draws people in at Paradise. Upon arrival the hosts and club goers greet you with open arms and warm smiles. You will not escape without at least a few hugs. It’s kind of like a family reunion…but one that everyone is excited about. Once seated, you will find yourself in an outdoor pizza garden surrounded by vibrant colors and bursts of greenery. The intimate picnic table seating creates a sense of immediate inclusion and all around good vibes. All that is left to do is sit back, relax, eat some ‘za and drink some vino! 

Reason #5

Did I mention the PEOPLE?

I mean…they are truly one of a kind. You could come in with zero friends and leave with ten. On an island that is so transient, it’s a wonderful feeling to be a part of a community. That is what the Paradise Pizza Natural Wine Club has become for me and I would recommend it to anyone who is craving wine, pizza, and good friends. I mean, WINE NOT? 

See you at Wine Club! Cheers!

https://www.paradise.pizza/

9 Things To Do for FREE in Grand Cayman

9 Things To Do for FREE in Grand Cayman

Being a teacher with summers off (and no children of my own) means ample time to explore interests and hobbies. (So many people just rolled their eyes at me). It also means ample time and opportunity to spend more money than a teacher salary really allows for. Especially in Grand Cayman. Land of the $10 bell peppers. That being said, I have to be mindful of my spending habits and creative in my daily activities. Luckily, this hasn’t been too terribly difficult living on an island in the Caribbean. In this edition of Island Diaries by Kate I will share with you 9 free (or nearly free) activities to be enjoyed in Grand Cayman! (This list is absolutely not exhaustive). Please note you are about to see a common theme of beach-related activities. I wonder why…

  1. Enjoy “Poor Man’s Happy Hour”

There are definitely some occasions in which you want to go to a beautiful ocean-front restaurant and spend $10 on a glass of wine. But don’t forget, for that same price you can buy an entire bottle and sit your butt down in the sand for hours of enjoyment. Take a towel, a couple glasses, and pick any spot on Seven Mile Beach. All set!

Price: $5-10/person 

  1. Go on a beach walk

Not much to explain with this one! Take off your flip-flops, put on your sunscreen, and get to it! I myself like to bring along some coffee. Splurge at one of the many Cayman coffee shops like Jessie’s Juice or Paperman’s, or just bring some good old Folgers in your travel mug. 

Price: FREE or the price of your coffee 🙂

Sunday morning coffee beach walk
  1. Take a beach nap

Very similar to Beach Walk (see above) but for this one instead of walking you just take a nap on your towel! Any questions?

Price: FREE

  1. Treat yourself to a sauna session or hot yoga

Right now in Grand Cayman, it is 90 degrees almost everyday. With humidity, the real feel is around 100 or more. That being said, the second you step outside you are sweating. For this reason, any space you occupy can seamlessly become your own personal sauna. If you so choose, you could even do some yoga poses…say in front of the ocean or by the pool, and you find yourself in the middle of your own free hot yoga class. People pay the big bucks for that you guys. Take advantage. Sweat it out!!

Price: FREE

  1. Take part in anthropological observation (AKA people watching w/ the occasional eavesdrop)

This is a fan-favorite worldwide. All you have to do is post up somewhere (on the beach or at a coffee shop), and watch the people go by. I will say, however, that people watching in Grand Cayman is a little boring and normal compared to, say, the Wisconsin Dells with its concentration of Illinois tourists in a constant state of discontent and family dysfunction.

Price: FREE

  1. Have an impromptu photo shoot

If you do choose to people-watch in Grand Cayman, you will more likely than not see Bryan and I somewhere on the beach or around town taking an obscene amount of photos. Walk toward me. Smile! Look that way. Okay, now jump! Oh CUTE. Take off your sunglasses. NICE. Great way to pass the time and you may just end up with one winning photo out of the 100 that you took!!

Price: FREE (with your mobile device) WARNING: may come at the price of judgement from others but haters gonna hate.

  1. Treat your apartment amenities like a royal palace

Obviously, this one does not apply to the general population. But come visit and you can enjoy all that our new apartment complex has to offer! Choose from the following activities: swimming or relaxing by the pool, playing tennis, drinking coffee or reading by the canal, working out at the gym, botanical garden tour (walk around the facility and look at flowers…use your imagination), pet the neighbors dogs, and try to befriend the neighbor’s cats (good luck, they play hard to get).

Price: Not cheap for me but FREE for you if you come visit!

  1. Become a dog owner for the day (or just an hour)

The Humane Society in Grand Cayman is so different from those I have visited in the Midwest. One day I went there to see if I could hang out with the cats and 5 minutes after arriving I was alone with a pitbull named Gloria. We went for a walk. We had fun. I liked it so much that I came back the following week and took another dog out for a drive and a walk (smaller this time because Gloria would not have fit in the Fiat 500) This one was named Mika. At the Humane Society in Cayman they let you take the dogs to the beach or anywhere you want really as long as you bring them back at the end of the day. Helping dogs + exercise = an afternoon well spent! Before or after picking up your dog, you can visit the upstairs Book Loft that has a great selection of used books for dirt cheap!

Price: FREE, but warning — you may become attached!! ($2-4 for a book)

  1. Join Wednesday Night Running Club

Many people just stopped reading because they despise running. And the rest of you who do run are probably thinking you prefer to do it alone. But let me tell you, in this Caribbean heat, running with a group has been my saving grace. And it has been a great way to meet people from all over the world who love to run! WNRC meets at the World Gym (yep, you guessed it — every Wednesday) and the run takes off at 6 pm. Most people run 5k, some run a bit longer. 

Price: FREE (but T-shirt was 25 CI)      Note: $1 CI = $1.2 USD

Well, my friends. There you have it! 9 amazing activities you can do for free in Grand Cayman. Don’t write off this island as an excessively luxurious dot in the Caribbean. There is no doubt you could blow a lot of money here, and I am not saying that I don’t splurge from time to time, but most often the best parts of our day and the best parts of our life are born out of simplicity and are totally priceless. This has been true for me this summer in Grand Cayman! I hope you are all enjoying your summer and its priceless moments wherever you may be! 

My First (True) Week As An Islander

My First (True) Week As An Islander

Gone are the days of cohabitating with rodents at the Comfort Suites. I am free! And so are all my fellow travellers. Everyone at the hotel tested negative for COVID and we were released on Monday, June 2nd after 17 days in government quarantine. The staff and volunteers who took care of us during our stay were very kind and helpful but I was beyond ready to bust out of my fifth hotel room and finally see Bryan up close and not from a hotel window! Now that I have spent a full week outside the walls of quarantine, island life is feeling a bit more real to me. Cayman still has many regulations in place to prevent the spread of COVID but even so, Caribbean life has been treating us well. In this blog I will share with you what life has been like reunited with Bryan in my new home!

New country, new hobbies? 
I don’t know about you guys, but I have never in my life lived within walking distance to a beach with a reef where you can snorkel. In St. Paul I lived next to a Super America which was cool. In St. Cloud I lived near a convenience store called the Slide-In Mart where they sold gyros alongside bongs…also pretty neat. But never have I been able to leave my house in a swimsuit and flip-flops, carrying only a towel and a snorkel. Well, I guess I could have if I was going to a themed party or something. MUCH stranger things have occurred in St. Cloud, MN. Anyway, snorkeling is one of the new hobbies I am referring to. I never thought it was something I would love doing ever since the Disney Cruise in the 2nd grade when I didn’t realize that snorkeling was not the equivalent of scuba-diving and I basically inhaled a gallon of salt-water. 16 years later I am finally ready to try it again and now I can’t get enough! Literally a three minute walk from mine and Bryan’s current apartment is Smith Cove — a small beach with a reef that is just a short swim from the shoreline. It boasts all kinds of beautiful marine life! As a lake girl, I kind of forgot that fish can actually be other colors than that grayish-green lake color. So far, I have seen: parrot fish, surgeonfish trunkfish, yellow jack, four-eye butterflyfish, blue tang, a needlefish, and many more! Of course prior to this week I didn’t know the names of all these. When I was leaving the beach the other day some beach-goers asked me what kind of fish I saw and I told them “blue fish” and “long pointy fish.” Rookie mistake. I went right home to explore http://www.snorkelstj.com/index.html where Caribbean fish are indexed by color, shape, and size. Very elementary but good for someone like me! I feel like I should create some flashcards and quiz myself before and after snorkel sessions 🙂

Snorkeling is definitely the safer and easier of the two hobbies Bryan and I have been trying out in Cayman. The second hobby is…(drum roll)… Skimboarding! It might as well be called “skin-boarding” as my legs have not been this scraped and skinned since my soccer days playing on artificial turf. A skimboard, (pictured below), is basically a shorter, wider version of a surfboard. But instead of starting in the water like a surfer would, you take a running start on the shoreline. To be honest, the end-goal of skim-boarding has not made itself apparent to me. I think you are supposed to stay on your board long enough to catch a little wave and hopefully not fall in the process. We have been watching some YouTube tutorial videos and hopefully can gain a better understanding in the coming weeks and months. But for now it is kind of fun just to run and jump and fall in the water (if we are lucky). The scraped skin has been the result of falling on the sand and pebbles on the beach. The best part of an afternoon of skim-boarding you ask? Rewarding yourself for falling 50 times by watching the sunset from Veranda Seven Mile Beach accompanied by some cocktails and ceviche. Worth it! 

Not ALL new

Moving to a new country doesn’t mean you have to reinvent yourself. My preferred form of exercise is still going out for a run. However I have traded Mississippi river views for ocean views. And instead of running in a comfortable, cool climate, I am powering through 90 degree tropical heat. That means running a quick 2 to 3 miles instead of 6+ … Cayman does have a marathon in December and I am contemplating signing up. But after only 25 minutes of intense sweating, I am wondering how in the world I will ever adjust and run 2-4 hours straight on this island. I have until the end of August before they hike up registration fees, so we shall see how I progress this summer! 

Being that I am not working (in the traditional sense) this summer and international travel is still closed indefinitely, there are no major upcoming events to anticipate and no set schedule I need to follow. This means that my days will be filled with snorkeling, reading, and spending too much money at the grocery store. Not a bad way to spend a summer, right? One thing that IS on the agenda for Bryan and I is moving to a new, BIGGER apartment on July 1st that is MUCH better suited for two people (AND for visitors…wink-wink, nudge-nudge)! We are both very excited about this new place as it will be great for the both of us as far as location and amenities are concerned. Until then, I will be taking full advantage of our proximity to Smith’s Cove and filling my days with sun, sand, and booze…oops, I meant books. See you soon — much more to come! 🙂 Happy summer my beautiful friends and family <3

Return of the Mice + COVID Test

Return of the Mice + COVID Test

Hi there. Thought I wouldn’t be posting again until I was released from isolation BUT writing proves to be therapeutic for me and the last 48 hours have been quite traumatic for someone with a recently self-diagnosed rodent phobia. While I thought I was safe in my new room, I couldn’t hide for long. That’s right. The mice struck again. And this time…not just one. 

The clock struck 11 pm, seemingly the hour in which mice like to wake from their slumber and scavenge for vegan leftovers such as chickpeas and sweet potato. I had just brushed my teeth and was heading for the bedroom. I had tried so hard for the past few days to correct my sleep schedule and I had my sights set on a solid 8 hours of sleep. The mice had a different plan. I turned the corner to the living room and SCREAMED. NO! NOOOOOO. A mouse scurried in front of me, his little tail flapping in the wind. F*CK!! I sprinted across the living room to the bed room, slammed the door shut, and stuffed towels underneath the door. Safe. I was safe…or so I thought. I called Bryan practically in tears and directed my obscenities and “why me’s” at the phone. I began to calm myself and sat down on the bed, ready to call the front desk yet again. And then…ANOTHER ONE!?! I jumped up on the bed, any feeling of tiredness had gone out the window. I wished the mice would do the same. 

Prior to seeing the second mouse, I had (for a fleeting moment) considered riding it out in the bedroom until morning. I thought about what my mom and I had talked about. That part in the Green Mile when he befriends a mouse and names him Mr. Jingles. Could I adopt the same mentality? There were some similarities in our story except of course the part about being on death row for a crime I didn’t commit. No… sorry Mr. Jingles. We couldn’t be friends, you had been too intrusive. 

So, I repeated the same routine as a week ago. I sprinted back and forth across the room, packing up, throwing things in garbage bags. Security came up to deliver yet another key to a new room. Upon arriving at the new room, I did not feel any sense of relief. It was on the same floor, directly across the hall from my first room where there was a mouse. This is so ridiculous, I thought. After a bit of complaining, the next morning the facilities manager proposed that I be transferred to a new hotel. YES!!! Please!! Nope, just kidding…that was not a good idea after all. But, they could move me to a higher floor. Sure…I mean I was already packed. My entire life was still on the luggage cart inside my room. So, later that day I moved to the third floor where I am apparently the only person on the floor. In room #4 I shoved towels into all the crevices where a rodent could possibly enter. I sprayed the room with clorox (kills viruses, deters rodents?) I forced myself to eat all the food they delivered (they provide huge portions) so that I did not have any residual food smells in my room. I couldn’t understand how this seemed to only be happening to me! I guess I am just the fan favorite.

Being that I hadn’t slept well in days, I was actually tired enough that I felt I would fall asleep without problem. If you have ever stayed in a hotel, you know the frustration of getting into bed when they tight-tuck all the sheets and comforter under the mattress. Well, when you are being actively pursued by a gang of vegan mice, you find comfort in being securely tucked in. So I slept for almost 12 hours and awoke with a clear mind and less anxiety. I concluded that if I went to bed before 11 and didn’t get up for anything, there is no way I would see a mouse. So that is my strategy for my last night of quarantine!

It is now 10:40 am, I am awaiting the call to go take my COVID test. I put on mascara and everything. I simply could not be more excited to have a swab stuck up my nose!

[Update] 11:30 am, May 30th

COVID test has been taken! Funny that we had to wait 2 weeks for a 2 second test. For those who haven’t had the test, they basically stick an extra long q-tip up your nose, but like, really far up there. I wouldn’t say it hurt but it was definitely a weird feeling that I continued to feel even after they removed the swab. The staff was very kind and tried to calm my nerves. If they only knew what I had been through the past two weeks. Hehe. 

I returned to my room, celebrated the completed test, now awaiting the results. The staff here is confident our results will be back by tomorrow morning and we will be able to leave sometime later in the day. (I am knocking on wood as I type this.) 

This time, I really hope you do not hear from me again. PLEASE let the next 24 hours be uneventful and blissfully boring. See you on the other side!