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