I’m lying in bed at 6am, before my first coffee, and I reach for my phone.
Not to check the weather— that’s going to be a high of 30 or 31C, low of 25 or 26C, every day, because it’s July. Predictions of rain are erratic— it could be pouring rain here and sunny a few blocks away, or vice versa, unless there is a tropical storm arriving.
Not to check e-mail or social media— there’s probably nothing important there, and there’s lots of time later to do that.
No, the first thing I check is the surf report and the beach webcams.
We walk down after coffee, an hour before low tide, to see how bad the sargassum is. The old stairs look like they are a bit clearer for getting in, although the seaweed is floating thick in the water for the first 10 metres offshore. Because I’ve missed two days in a row, I go surfing anyway.
When I first came to Barbados, surfing was the rare excitement of catching a wave (usually with help) and standing up to ride it in. Now, there is always something I’m working on: turning to the right instead of the left; the faster pop-up that I’ve been practicing on my yoga mat; a slightly adjusted position of the fin. I’m on my second box of board wax.
I greet people I know on the water and we chat as we wait for the wave. I recognize many of the surfers at Freight’s Bay and have shared rum drinks with more than a few!
After almost a year, we know a lot of people. We have a community of friends, both fellow Welcome Stamp Visa holders and Bajans. They joke about the Veranda Bar at our house, and Scott making the best rum drinks on the Island.
We do a lot of socializing, or liming as it’s called here, on our veranda, and we spend most of our home time outside. The few times we couldn’t (during the volcanic eruption on St. Vincent, during Hurricane Elsa) it felt strange to be sitting inside with windows shut and no wind blowing.
While Scott makes a late breakfast, I coordinate some weekend activities on WhatsApp. After 9 months of using the local buses we are now sharing a car with Richard, our neighbour. Simone and I are excited to go to the East coast of the island on Sunday for a day of kayaking, hiking and a Bajan lunch. The owner of the Bath Beach House pings me the location because, like a lot of Barbados, they are not on Google maps.
I usually meditate in the morning but do it after breakfast today as surfing took priority! Some days I do a Youtube exercise or yoga class, but I always get my 10 thousand steps in, one way or another. My routine includes language study on Duolingo (currently Finnish) and writing, as well as the day-to-day chores of laundry, shopping, or tending the little herb garden I have planted. There is always something to research, some business to attend to, friends and family to message with or call.
I usually make dinner. Today I am waiting for the veggie lady to come by in her van; last week the aubergines were amazing so I will see if there is something there that inspires me. If not, we might walk into Oistins to the fish fry, or to Cafe Luna, our favourite local rooftop restaurant.
Perhaps a friend or three will see that the string of lights wrapped around our veranda railing is on this evening and drop by; perhaps Scott and I will play some cards or dance, just the two of us.
In any case, we will listen to the whistling frogs tonight, and be glad we are in Barbados.