Travels of the body…
Two days before Christmas I flew to my newest work destination, an island base. From the plane I could look down and see the dry and patchy terrain below, the intense aqua color of the sea. I took a ferry ride across the bay and landed nervously on the side where I will live and work. My new colleague picked me up and drove me around, schooling me on the rules, the culture, and the uniqueness of the base.
Movies are aired nightly and are absolutely free. There is the usual bowling alley and Arts and Crafts. It hardly ever rains, and so its no big surprise there are cactus and scaly iguanas and jumpy lizards and scorpions running about. “Don’t kill an iguana. There is a huge fine of several thousand dollars,” she told me. The real excitement was the ocean and the little beaches scattered along the edges of our “town”. One can snorkel, rent a boat at the marina, and learn to scuba dive.
I have grown up around water and spent almost all my childhood summers splashing around in it, so being able to live so close to water again is an absolute joy. I can even glimpse its sparkly blue mass when sitting on my bed, looking out the window, which is another pleasant surprise.
My apartment is situated right up the hill (within walking distance even)
from the marina. It has a bedroom with a tall, thick bed, two TVs, a tub in the bathroom, and a tiny but full kitchen. I can bake cookies, flip pancakes, and even juice veggies—all of which I do. Just down the hall is a small laundry room. Downstairs there’s a snack and drink machine, and banana trees grow out front with tiny green bananas on them.
My job is a little different this time, but has the potential for joy and purpose nonetheless. The only downfall to my arrival was the immediate feeling of lonesomeness. My family-less and friend-less state at Christmas prompted me to attend a Christmas Eve Mass, which I enjoyed. And on Christmas Day I wore a beautiful skirt and went to church again, then took pictures of myself as a way to celebrate the day.
Later I drove out a little ways to get a better glimpse of where I would be living for the next few months. I decided it was beautiful, so long as I looked straight out at the ocean.