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