Happy New Year (and Good Riddance 2017)


Posted by Cassie

2018 B C

Wow! 2017 is finally gone. It was an exciting and thrilling year with quite the rollercoaster ride. I don’t think I would want to do another 2017, but I certainly have learned a lot through it. We are setting new intentions and looking toward the future. We wish you all a happy new year 2018 as well.

Queen of the elves
Christmas season may be over, but it doesn’t always look like it

Cassie rock en donde crecen las palmas
Taking hikes in January in a bathing suit never gets old

C B Cofresi
We stopped by Villa Cofresi on New Year’s Eve

C B
Beach days

Choco couchAnd more fun on the road

What do you think of this post?
  • WOW (3)
  • Awesome (9)
  • Interesting (0)
  • Useful (0)
  • Bummer (0)
  • Yikes (1)

Felicidades (at least 65 Percent)


Posted by Cassie

AEE sign 3 molestos
This sign says: It is time to have electricity. We are upset and have not seen work crews. The generator costs money and we are broke!

It is amazing how much better life feels with electricity and water. I will never take those basic services of modern life for granted again. We are only two people of about 65% of the island that currently has power however.

AEE sign 2
Another sign notifying the electric company of a house that still has no power

It is sort of strange how and where the power is distributed. For instance, our neighborhood was the first one in Puntas to get reconnected, and now, nearly a month later the nearest road to us still doesn’t have it. The patchwork connection is frustrating for those without. Just because you see your neighbor connected doesn’t mean you will be.

aee WORKING
AEE is out there doing their best!

Still this doesn’t stop the Christmas spirit. Puerto Rico is well-known for the length and type of fun celebrating during the Navidad season. We have been enjoying spending time with friends and going to various events and get-togethers.

Britton with flower bunch  Flanthony   Britton Coral

Tommy tuna poke Kim Party Kim and Cassie Fun socks
Tooting In the barrio Christmas pool day
Christmas Crop

Chrstmas Party fun

Steps beach sunset Steps party
Winter Solstice Party at Steps Beach

Pretty J Britton playingPicturesque scenes

Britton and Cassie cabin
Enjoying nice nights out

Cassie and Blue Santa
And the Christmas Spirit of Puerto Rico

When we are not out celebrating, we have been working on the property. We have added some water tubing to irrigate the gardens more and have found more plants to add to the collection. Now that it isn’t raining very often, the work is a little easier because things aren’t growing quite as fast.

Tarantula
Tarantula in the gardens

Iguana
Iguanas out en force!

Flower bunch short hike around the property for this beautiful tropical bouquet

Uprighting palm tree

Uprighting a coconut palm took quite some doing!

It feels that the more people who receive power, the more powerful and happy people are as well. The general sadness that we saw immediately after and for the first month or two has shifted over the hump to a general happiness. At least 65%. Christmas and holiday spirit has lifted even the lowest spirits some, but we are all still awaiting the full glory of island life once again. The clean-up continues, but overall things are looking more and more beautiful every day.

Trash pile
One of the piles of post-hurricane household rubbish

Christmas day
And a serene Christmas moment at dusk

 

What do you think of this post?
  • WOW (1)
  • Awesome (8)
  • Interesting (1)
  • Useful (0)
  • Bummer (1)
  • Yikes (0)

Enchanting Moments from an Island on the Mend


Posted by Cassie

Front gate flowers
Hibiscus Flowers and ocean beyond at our house

For us, things are starting to normalize a little. The crisis has passed. I know that a lot of people are still awaiting electricity and a few still don’t even have water, but overall there’s more righted than upturned. We have been enjoying the cool winter weather of December in Puerto Rico. It’s one of the best times of year.

Beautiful Rincon
Sunset over Desecheo Island

The air is fresh, the sky and seas are clear, and this year, as a special treat, the roads are clear as well because there are virtually no tourists around. We have had some amazing experiences recently, another sign of tide turning for the better. Here are a few I will share with you.

Lighthouse Rincon
New kiosk bar at the Rincon Lighthouse

We have been hanging out with our friends Bill, Jenn, Linda and Keith a lot more recently. We enjoyed a wonderful afternoon at the Rincon Lighthouse. A new little kiosk has opened and plays music and serves drinks. It has added a lot to the best park on the west coast. We watched the sunset and the surfers at Dome’s as we laughed and talked about the tribulations and tremendous moments in this tropical life.

Hanging with Friends
Overlooking Domes

Bill JennSunset Selfie

Cassie and Domes
Rosy sun glow at Domes

We spent time at Keith and Linda’s guesthouse, Casa D’Palma. You should check it out, it’s awesome!

Pool Party
Pool parties in December are the best!

We also had the opportunity to go out on Bill and Jenn’s sailboat for the first time. I’ve been on a few sea vessels, but never a sailboat, so it was a great first for me! We left early afternoon for the Cabo Rojo harbor and motor-sailed until sunset. It was beautiful watching the flying fish and we were mesmerized by all the overturned and crashed boats. I am sure Bill was worrying a lot for his boat during the hurricane! It felt so good to relax and enjoy life again after such a long time struggling just to eat, drink and survive.

Bill
Cap’n Bill at the helm

Britton and Boat Marina
Loading up

Britton and Keith
Britton and Keith kicking back

Capn Bill and Jenn
Bill and Jenn in a sweet moment

Cassie Sailboat
Sea life for me!

Sun and Sail
Sun and sails!

Sunset on boat
Sunset at Sea

Sunset B C
Yet another sunset selfie

Feet resting
Ahh, time to kick up the feet and relax

We have continued to make progress on the property clearing more paths and hang-out and campfire spots (we certainly have more than enough wood now!).

Kitty fire
Kitty, Cassie and a campfire

We have also been enjoying the nightlife a little. We’ve gone out to the Art Walk and while it is not very busy due to the abysmal tourist season, hey, at least there is parking now!

Congueros
Congueros at the Art Walk

IMG_2241
Fun making friends and playing pool at a local chinchorro (hole in the wall bar)

Hurricane Maria’s fury has passed, but the scars are still seen and may last forever. Interspersed with intense moments of beauty we still see the remnants of the trauma. 

Car load
Always something to see here (note the house without a roof as well)

Overturned Boat
Overturned boat washed ashore

Villa Cofresi no beach
A popular hotel in town, Villa Cofresi lost all of its beachfront

But probably the single most magical moment I have experienced recently was a harbinger of hope and love that flew into our life. I was sitting up on top of the cabana reading a book as Britton worked on the Mustang (there is always something to do on that car-haha). Suddenly I heard a little flutter and looked up from my book. A pretty little bird landed on the chair next to me. I said, “Hi, pretty bird” and he jumped onto my shoulder and then snuggled up right under my chin. I couldn’t believe it! He was trembling and hungry and must have had quite a journey to find me. I asked about and found out that he is a love-bird. A rosy-faced lovebird that would need a friend like me to help him survive. Just call me Snow White, making friends with the lovely fauna of the forest! I just can’t wait to meet the 7 dwarves. :-)

Cassie Lovebird
Me and Birdie Bird

Lovebird
Resting after his journey. Look how beautiful the plumage is!

Sometimes it is difficult to describe just how dichotomous life can be here. On one hand, it has been the hardest thing we have ever done in our entire life, and on the other it is the most fantastical fairy tale you could conjure. I suppose that is the way an enchanted isle would have to be.

3 KingsA little holiday/hurricane humor: the gifts the 3 kings will bring this year (gas, water and ice)

What do you think of this post?
  • WOW (4)
  • Awesome (17)
  • Interesting (0)
  • Useful (0)
  • Bummer (0)
  • Yikes (1)

Giving Thanks


Posted by Cassie

IMG_2063Chickens ranging the property

Gratitude. For so many things. We all go through trials and tribulations in life. It just seems to be the way of the world. And if we compare them to others we may see ours as better or worse. But there will always be someone or something better and always worse. Rather than compare, however, giving thanks seems to open our hearts rather than close them. 

IMG_2048
Working around the property

Two days before Thanksgiving we were mowing the field. This takes about five hours of work with both of us on a mower -dueling lawnmowers if you will. It was sweaty, hot work, but one of my more enjoyable chores on the homestead because it magically transforms  a field into a golf-course looking resort. Just as we were resting on the bench admiring our work and giving thanks for water in our pipes to clean up and drink, our neighbor yells down “llego la luz!” The power was back!

IMG_1979Light at the cabin!

Britton had seen the trucks and crews of men descend upon our neighborhood a couple of days before but we didn’t have our hopes too high. But sure enough, when we returned to the cabin the lights, the fans, the fridge! (ahhh ice!) all worked once again. It was amazing the sense of calm and relief that washed over us. A feeling that after almost exactly 2 months without electricity and nearly the same without water, we were nearly through this whole ordeal. The final key will be when the internet is restored, but for now we are bathing in a sense of gratitude as well as water and illumination -literally.

IMG_1988At our friends’ house in Cruces checking out the blimp in the telescope

IMG_1998A wonderful Thanskgiving high atop the world!

We spent Thanksgiving with friends perched high in Cruces overlooking the Rincon peninsula and the patchwork of light throughout that the valley that indicated more or less where the electricity had or hadn’t been restored. And what a feast we had in spite of their lack of electricity and water. We are reminded why we love it here so, despite the constant daily challenges of life here as a stranger in a strange land.

IMG_1999
With friends on Thanksgiving 

IMG_2004
Having fun playing music

We have friends like the Kersches who have taken us in and loved us as family. We are on a beautiful tropical island that even in times of crisis tiene una buena cara. We have friends and family near and far who care about us. The island is regaining its glory and magnificence just as the trees are sending out more leaves and the flowers bloom. Some areas have lost beach land and palms, but overall our gorgeous lush paradise is Eden once again.

IMG_2067
The trees are growing back in strange ways including shooting out branches directly from the trunks

IMG_2069Marina Beach is empty but gorgeous!

Cassie
Taking a break for a well-deserved swim!

IMG_2045Britton working on the concrete pad

Britton and I have been busy mainly working around the property. We have been clearing, cleaning and planting. We are also doing some small projects. We recently finished the concrete pad on the ridgeline side of the bridge that connects to the cabin. One of our many titles around here includes forest ranger and trail building is a key component in that function. Like the trees and the plants reinvigorating, so are we. And for this and much more we give thanks.

IMG_2066Turkey boy (as we call him) approves of the new pad

IMG_2017
A sigh of thanks as the sun sank

What do you think of this post?
  • WOW (4)
  • Awesome (21)
  • Interesting (0)
  • Useful (0)
  • Bummer (0)
  • Yikes (0)