The challenge of island living is not trying to keep busy as many people seem to think, but allowing oneself to regulate your time so that you can accomplish the long list of tasks before you.
Of course, as we all know, at least of those of us who live here, the #1 challenge is maintenance! The sea and the salt along with the humidity have a way of wearing things down. It is common knowledge that to survive comfortably, one must have 2-3 of everything! Replacement parts are hard to come by and the things that keep our lives running smoothly (electricity, water, propane for our stoves, boats, engines, refrigerators, fans, etc.) are in constant stages of deterioration. Besides mechanical parts, furniture must be re-varnished, houses painted, clothing repaired, computers upgraded, etc., all things that keep us occupied and “busy.”
For those who like the diversion of a hobby as a means of expressing themselves, there are many avenues. Understandably, all of the things I have mentioned previously are necessities and must be tended to. But people like to keep busy with things that entertain, challenge our skills and relax us! We are constantly on the lookout for items to accomplish that end.
Some of us prefer to take up hobbies, and I am speaking of the women here, wherein we turn to hand crafts; sewing, crocheting, knitting, painting, jewelry making -- simply the creation of something out of nothing so to speak. Others like gardening or photography, while some prefer cooking. For those who are either not skilled in any of the aforementioned, there are always sea activities and an abundance of reefs to explore. For those not inclined to any of these things, and I can’t think of a person on the island who does not take part in at least one these activities, entertaining is another way to go to round out one’s schedule.
We do quite a bit of entertaining on the island. As a matter of fact, I have never gone to or held more parties than since I’ve been here. When we lived in the States we were too busy working long hours to get much entertaining in. Oh, we did have some get-togethers with a small group of friends, but those were few and far between. There just didn’t seem to be time to entertain and it was so much easier to go out to a restaurant a movie or an art fair.
Here, things are different and the fact that we are now retired makes all the difference in the world! Staying in touch with some of the almost 60 foreigners who live here seems to be a wonderful pastime and breaks the monotony of the daily routine. Plus, it is a challenge to think up dishes to serve, a possible theme for a party and to prepare for anywhere from 6 to 20 people (or more depending upon the occasion).
We have get togethers just to visit with people that have been gone from the island for a while, for holidays, for birthdays, anniversaries, ladies luncheons or just in order to get together in small groups for quiet chats/discussions. Shown here are some of the wonderful gatherings we have had:
I have given many lunch/dinner parties and have attended an equal amount, some of which are pictured above. It is fun to visit with people that have been absent from the island for a while,t sampling the cooking of other people, and interesting to revisit their homes to see what improvements they have made. Some homes are visited for the first time, for instance a house-warming party, and it is fun to return over the years and see the changes that are being made. Some people use the opportunity to get an idea of what they might want their future home to look like and can glean information on the plus and negative sides of certain types of construction.
One of the fun occasions is when someone has a “Ladies Luncheon.” It is at a function like this that the ladies can talk about hobbies, cooking, home decorating, children/grandchildren, discuss problems only addressed to another female, and experience new recipes made by their hostess.
We recently had one such luncheon at Kate’s home on the far Northeast end of the island near Savannah Bight. Kate and her husband have a sprawling concrete home with a guest house off to the side. They have recently finished their interior decorating and have done an excellent job in picking out colors, furnishings and plants for their home. They have been in their house for more than a decade and recently upgraded their living area with new furniture and finally were able to finish the lovely free standing cooking area.
The day was windy with some rain, but really quite nice considering the sun was behind the clouds and kept us cool. Plus, with the breeze, the bugs were at a minimum! There were 13 people present and Kate has a porch large enough to accommodate a crowd. Here home is quite open and comfortable. Kate is Dutch and her husband Canadian and it is always interesting to see and sample the different tastes of other countries represented on the island.
We had a wonderful time sampling the various appetizers she had set out along with drinks. Lunch was a simple affair but quite interesting. She had a pork soup/stew, warm cornbread (and she makes wonderful cornbread) a beautiful tomato/cucumber/bean salad and a coleslaw and lemon cake and cookies for desert. The small touches make an event and she had plenty of that in her decorating, service and, hey, she even managed to decorate the butter in the butter dish! There was enough food for all and very satisfying!
Thank you Kate for the lovely time, the great food, friendly conversation and for sharing your beautiful home with us,. It made for a wonderful break in the week!