So I've concluded since moving here, that when describing the Caribbean Islands, people leave a lot of things out. Don't get me wrong, the beaches are gorgeous, the people are all extremely friendly, to the point where "Minnesota nice" seems like "Minnesota mean" everyone is always smiling, asking you how you're doing, coming up to shake your hand and find out your name, the native Islanders here are just genuinely nice people as a whole. BUT, what people don't tell you is that these islands are basically a third world country.
It's completely poverty stricken, a lot of areas are essentially desolate, there is hurricane devestation remnants scattered around the entire island, to quote my sister, it's like "Google" chooses which images it wants to show of the islands. I came to this island thinking it was going to be completely white sand beaches, clear water, and gorgeous buildings, the nicest architecture, perfect brick/cement roads, and you get here to realize it's quite the opposite.
When I first came here, that was a harsh reality check, I was actually quite depressed. Where was this "Paradise" I'd been told that i'm moving to? I need to mention here, that i'm not living in a gutter, or an alley somewhere, and i'm not waking up to a homeless person taking a pee right next to me, or anything drastic like that. Our resort itself is amazing, everyone who hears we live at "Rainbow Beach" says how jealous they are of all of our pools, and our beautifully furnished apartments, the fact we live right on the ocean, and we have amazing views of the boats, and the waves. But if you take a step outside of our door, and walk down the street, it's so sad. There's litter everywhere, destroyed buildings, stray animals, funny smells, and it's not quite what you'd imagined.
Now that i'm on day nine of being here, i'm realizing something, and that is that i'm here for a reason other than a blissful vacation. Being here is already teaching me that I take so much for granted. On this island it isn't uncommon for the power to go out, which means blistering heat with no A/C, and no refridgeration, so all of your food goes bad. On this island it isn't uncommon to turn the faucet on the sink to find that you have no running water, or when the water is working and you're in the shower, the water pressure is so incredibly low that you don't think you're ever going to get the conditioner out of your hair, and by the time you do rinse it all out, you feel bad about how much water you've wasted, and how much that water costs here.
When I was home none of this crossed my mind, and I'd never taken the time to be grateful for it, and I truly am excited about living here, and learning so much more about how other people live in different parts of the world, parts I've never seen before now, and how nobody should be entitled to anything.
I just feel myself completely transitioning, and I don't want to get up on a soap box and preach to you guys about how I'm this amazing person because I'm realizing this, and how my life is changing so much in so little time, but I really already do feel SO grateful for everything that I had, and at the same time I'm already SO grateful about this opportunity to live here, and feel a different kind of life, and have my eyes opened all that much more...
I'm finding myself praying to find friends here! I left a home with so many friends, I could have made plans to do something every night of the week, and I know nobody here except for the five people I came with, my family. Already the islanders, and fellow med students, as well as people from our church have gone above and beyond at being kind to us, and that means more then they'll ever know. Still, i've never felt as lonely as I do lately, and never felt without so many friends, but I think this will be a good thing, too. Friends are another thing I guess I took advantage of.
All that being said, i'm excited to start the next few months with a completely different perspective, know that I appreaciate all of you, my friends and family back home. Everyone take a nice long shower with high water pressure for me ;) love and miss you all!