I’m playing along with Everyday Stranger’s very cool idea, “Around the World in 80 Blogs.” Ever wonder what it’s like to live on a remote tropical island in middle of the Pacific ocean? Well I’ll tell you.
For starters, there are no squirrels here, there are mongooses. I’m forever swerving my car, trying not to hit them. They’re not native to this island, but they’ve been here for a while. I know this because my daughter Lulu dug up mongoose bones in the park in front on my house. We reburied them, and damn if she didn’t find and dig them back up, the very next day, while her sister Mumu cheered her on. Don’t tell me my kids aren’t talented!
The mongooses represent a larger problem. I read somewhere that 90% of the plants and animals on this island don’t exist any where else on earth, and the problem is, keeping it that way- it’s a losing battle. Creatures (like mongooses), plants, etc., somehow find their way to this island, and mess things up. Like mosquitos. There were no mosquitos on this island until the British brought them on their boats. THANKS, by the way. But that was hundreds of years ago. Nowadays, the biggest threat/invader/nuisance is frogs. They came from another island thousands of miles away- I have no idea how they got here, but they really piss people off. They’re tiny, but incredibly loud. They sing all night. On the island they came from, people think they’re cute, but everyone has air conditioning there- it drowns them out. We have the tradewinds here- a better way to keep cool, but it does nothing to quiet frogs. They’ve pretty much taken over the island. People say they’re kept up all night by all the peeping. I have lots of things keeping me up at night, but not frogs. I don’t even notice them.
It’s strange what you can get used too. If I stand in front of my house, just past my banana trees, I can see a large volcano smoking, erupting, in the distance. I feel the tremors of those eruptions often. I’ve stopped noticing for the most part. It’s strange living so close to flowing lava, mostly because no one is afraid of it, not really. Lava formed the island, it’s still forming the island. Lots of islands in the world are shrinking, ours is getting larger. The lava flows down into the ocean and forms more land. It’s pretty groovy to watch. The flowing lava, and the hardened lava- the ground we walk on- is all ruled by the volcano goddess. She’s a huge dealio. Taking a piece of dried lava with you when you leave this island is akin to taking her own skin, and if you do so, she will curse you for the rest of your life- or, a least until you return the lava. I’m not making this up. There’s a bulletin board at a visitor’s center near the active volcanoes with letters tacked up from repentant tourists who didn’t heed the warnings. When we first moved to this island, we had such a terrible string of misfortunes, we actually drove out to the volcanoes and left an offering to the goddess. I was raised Catholic, so this was pretty weird for me, but it worked.
Despite the constant earthquakes, smoking volcanoes on the horizon, and the sulfurous fumes that blow over the town on the rare but awful days when the tradewinds die down, I don’t notice the volcanoes anymore. Know what I do notice? The cockroaches. The dirty little secret no one tells you about living in the tropics. They’re in the 5 star resorts, they’re in the shopping malls, they’re in your home. They’re unavoidable, enormous, and they FLY. My husband and I closed on a house the day my twins were born, and we found ourselves in quite a pickle. With preemies, spraying Raid around the house didn’t seem like the greatest plan, so we had to rely on the tools at our disposal- staple guns, swiffer sweepers, and cats- with mixed results. I gave up on keeping the geckos out of the house- you gotta choose your battles.
In addition to cockroaches, geckos, and mongooses, there are people on this island. Generally they move here for one of three reasons: 1, They grew up here, or their family is here, 2, They are scientists or family of (that’s my category), or 3, They have come to live in a yurt and commune with nature. It’s that kind of place. Actually, people are our biggest challenge here. Much more daunting than the lava flows and earthquakes, and did I mention the tsunamis? One came in the 60s and wiped out half the town, so there are tsunamis alarms everywhere, but anyway- we’ve found it difficult to find people to relate to here. It’s a problem we didn’t anticipate having- we’d lived all over, multiple continents, but here isn’t like all over- it’s not like anywhere. So is it sometimes lonely on my island, and will I stay here forever? Yes, it is; and no; I won’t. When I started my blog a year and a half ago, I wanted to document our adventures on this island, and our adventures in parenting, but mostly, I wanted to find other Moms to relate to- and I have. You wouldn’t believe how many clever, hilarious Moms there are out there- the web is awesome.
So that’s my life- in a jungle, on the side of a volcano, on a little island in a big, big ocean, and this post is my message in a bottle.
Anyone out there?