Housesitting in Vieques
It’s been greater than a month since we landed in Vieques and I’ve fallen in love with this island.
As a lady used to cities, suburbs, and rural-ish cities, small island dwelling is an eye-opening deal with.
One thing concerning the distant geography, no stoplights, lovely seashores, laissez-faire perspective of governance, scrumptious fruit falling off timber, and the choice to observe yoga outdoors each morning is the right concoction to deem magic.
After we arrived, nonetheless, I felt like a stranger in a wierd land. Very often I forgot we have been nonetheless technically in the USA. Every part appeared extra run down than I had anticipated.
Roads have been crumbled and paved with potholes and disarray. Deserted constructions lay agape, rebar poking via concrete and vines swallowing the partitions. Horses stooped by the facet of the highway, choosing via trash. Outlets and houses regarded like they might use a renovation or two.
Cheez-Its and Ice Cream
Meals that I’m used to is difficult to return by. Again residence, I store principally within the produce part and head to the innards of the shop once I want issues like tahini or almond flour to make no matter vegan, fusion recipe I discovered whereas on a three-day fasting cleanse, salivating over photos on a well being meals weblog to satiate my compulsive urge for food. Oh, how splendidly neurotic is 20th-century dwelling!
Right here on the mercado, even the necessities are a distant dream. The produce part is little greater than smooth potatoes, wilted spinach bleak and blear behind the plastic, and tomatoes of a mysterious and unnatural hue.
There’s not a lot selection, and what’s accessible doesn’t look contemporary nor wholesome as a result of it’s been imported from 1000’s of miles away. So I spend most of my time perusing the canned and dried meals aisles and the Cheez-It shelf.
And I spend extra time consuming ice cream than I ever have in my life. As a child, I most well-liked fruit-flavored popsicles to creamy-textured ice lotions, and now, as an grownup, I vilify sugar water however justify sweetened milk from a cow’s tit, particularly on a scorching island with a meals desert subject.
I had by no means recognized what it was like earlier than, and it sucks, to say the least.
It was round these first journeys to the shop that apprehension peaked her nervous busy head across the nook at me, beckoning together with her fearful gaze.
However then there may be our residence on a hill overlooking the neighborhood all the best way out to sea and over to the primary island that frames my view each morning I get up.
And the nonetheless, darkish nights when the sky is alight with stars as I flip each which method trying to find constellations, an unobstructed 360° view on our very personal hilltop planetarium. On one of many very first nights we have been right here, we noticed a star falling from its perch, a razzle amongst dazzles.
The seashores are postcard-perfect lovely. The calm, turquoise water sparkles within the solar through the day and at evening, closes her eyes in a candy and sorrowful method like a nostalgic romance. The silhouette of palm timber painted towards a sundown of oranges, reds, and pinks—colours of candy, summer time love.
Shift in Perspective
And someday I used to be driving into city, winding via streets and steering easily round potholes as second nature, eyes alert to the landmarks that inform me the place I’m (no road indicators right here).
As I turned the nook previous the automotive dealership and headed up the little hill via the deeply shaded grove, one thing settled into focus, and the homes that gave the impression to be in such utter ramshackle disarray once I arrived I observed have been so well-used and beloved.
My eyes took in every pothole, every rusty automotive on the facet of the highway overtaken by vines as one other member of the neighborhood.
The damaged chair in entrance of the deserted lot, the flock of untamed fowl roaming the yard on Cow Hill Street, all as a lot part of the neighborhood because the previous man sitting within the shade—each time I drive down that highway, he’s there lifting his hand hi there, his weathered face creasing right into a smile.
After we arrived right here, Jim launched me to Desk Speak pies, little snack pies which are individually sized and made in Worcester, Massachusetts. We have been shocked to see them right here in Puerto Rico.
When he found them at Mollino’s, the native tienda, we started consuming them religiously. The Cult of Desk Speak.
“Pineapple pie?” we requested one another with a devilish smile each time we left the home. The place others have beer or weed, we had Desk Speak pies.
And every time I left Mollino’s with containers of pies, I regarded up on the pizza store whose second story patio neglected the busy, slim road.
One evening final week, once we determined to deal with ourselves to pizza, we went to this store, Mama Mia’s. Over beer and slices of pepperoni laden in cheese, we watched the visitors go by, vehicles blasting reggaeton from trunk audio system set to an impossibly loud quantity. Folks walked about right here and there within the dusty gentle of evening.
For a tiny neighborhood, the one rule there must be is “Don’t be an asshole.” I like that. It’s autonomous and self-regulating on a small island.
This evening was a bit chilly. The place I’m from, the leaves would already be altering colour and I might be taking out my fall suede boots. Right here, I simply wished I wore a t-shirt as a substitute of a tank high.
As I gazed over the rooftops beneath us, watching a slim cat slither his method via the dim shadows, all shoulders, I considered how free I felt. On this area, there was nothing to fret about. And but out of behavior, I hunted for one thing to be flawed. Only for a second, although, earlier than I caught myself.
Out right here, quite a lot of unlearning is happening.
I’m discarding that I have to be laborious on myself or that I have to be spectacular.
I’m discarding that there’s one thing flawed with me.
I’m discarding that household is proscribed to biology.
I’m discarding that feelings imply one thing private and I have to indulge them. Typically stormy skies take over my horizon and it doesn’t imply something, I can simply let or not it’s.