Welcome to my Island Life

One year ago this month my husband suggested we pack up and move to Puerto Rico. That really isn’t as random as it sounds.

Our daughter got married here 13 years ago and since then we have sailed and visited Puerto Rico many times. We have had an on-going love affair with not only this island but all the islands of the Caribbean.

My first inclination was to divide my time between Texas and here, but quickly learned just how exhausting it is to maintain two residences.

So. Four months ago today I packed up my two little dogs and more than a few suitcases and made my way here.

Please come along as I trade in a life full of formal dinners and entertaining for one of sheer simplicity.

I’ll be perfectly honestly – I am scared to death. I don’t know if I really know how to do this, but this week I decided to sign a 2 year lease and give it my best shot.

NOT gonna lie – in these 4 months I’ve had some pretty bad days. But those days are always made better by this view right here!

So, you think you want to escape to a tropical island, eh?

Doesn’t it sound exciting to trade in the rat-race for sun, surf and long walks on the beach. Throw in one of those fruity cocktails with a tiny umbrella and this scenery is picture perfect. I’m not going to lie – this life definitely doesn’t suck. But, I also don’t think it’s for everyone.

Here are just a few things to consider before making that plunge (pun intended):

Do you have a hard time winding down? If you’re one of those highly ambitious, aggressive, impatient Type A people that must have things done a certain way (i.e. your way or the highway) then this is a GREAT place to vacation, but I don’t think you’d do well to live here for reasons we will discuss below.

Are you a stickler for traffic rules? Here in Puerto Rico all traffic signals and signs are merely ‘suggestions.’ Stop doesn’t really mean ‘stop’ – unless you want to, of course, and that green light means you can ‘go’ as long as no one else decides to ignore their red light. Confused, yet? Welcome to driving in The Island of Enchantment.

Do you absolutely LOVE and anticipate the first turn of autumn leaves and can’t wait to break out your fall/winter wardrobe? Do you long for a White Christmas? Well, here we have 2 seasons: Summer and Hurricane Season (also knows as summer). November to May is absolutely glorious – very little to almost no humidity to where you miiiiigght need a sweater in the evening (those ocean breezes might knock the temps down to a cool 80). May to August warms up and is when the humidity kicks in and you will most likely experience a few tropical storms and possibly a hurricane. And then September to end of October where 87 degrees feels like 187. The humidity is stifling. So. If you are a 4 seasons kind of person and you absolutely must have your pumpkin spice coffee and thick sweater while your trick or treating, this might not be the place for you. And White Christmas? Ain’t happenin’.

Do you demand ‘good service’? – Service etiquette is way different here than in the states. So, if you’re server isn’t at your table every 5 minutes checking on you, ‘simma down’ – it’s for a reason, and that reason is because they think it’s rude to keep bothering you while you eat. That’s the same reason you’ll have to beg for your check before you leave. They think it’s rude to bring your check without asking because that means they’re ‘hinting’ that it’s time for you to leave. ONE thing the Puerto Ricans are NOT – and that’s rude.

Are you easily bored? No one loves to swim or walk on the beach as much as I do, but you won’t want to do that all day. There is such a thing as ‘Island Time’ and everything is on it. I live on a resort on the beach, so there is also golf and tennis, but alas, I’m not a golfer or a tennis player. So, my days consists of swimming, reading, writing and talking walks. It’s been a big adjustment for me because I am used to meeting friends for lunch or coffee, going to parties/events/entertaining at home or my VERY favorite – antique and thrift stores. I think there might be some antique stores in the nearby town but since I don’t have a car I haven’t been able to explore.

Electricity Some days we have it. Some days we don’t.

Working From Home A LOT of people do this, however….see ‘Electricity’ above. Same goes for internet service.

So. If you’ve read through this and you STILL think island living is for you then get yourself down here ASAP! If not….well, we love visitors, so come down and just stay a spell. Regroup. Recharge. Then go back home better than ever. You may not want to live here, but I KNOW you’ll want to come back for a visit.

Now, if you’ll excuse me….it’s time for me to head to my favorite beach bar.

Wearing white after Labor Day

”Dear Kathie, Is white after Labor Day a breach of etiquette or just a fashion no-no?”

Putting away the white after Labor Day is more of a time honored tradition that stems from class distinction in the early 1900’s. In New England ladies start wearing white after Memorial Day, as to where Southern ladies begin wearing white after Easter, and traditionally everyone puts their white away after Labor Day, signaling an official ‘end to summer.’

While ‘fashion experts and influencers’ threw this rule out the window over a decade ago, I can tell you you that most ladies of distinction would not dream of breaking this rule. A fellow etiquette professional that I have been friends with for years and lives in Florida STILL refuses to wear white after Labor Day even though it’s a million degrees year round. While, I am not one to judge what one wears I must confess that not so long ago I’d rather have had teeth pulled with no anesthesia than wear white past Labor Day.

However, now that I live in the land of perpetual summer I will probably being wearing white to Thanksgiving Dinner….and Christmas Eve supper….New Years Eve….Valentine’s Day.

So, dear reader, my answer to you is if you are one of those fashion rebels that throw caution to the wind I say wear that white with PRIDE. But don’t go getting ‘too rambunctious and wild’. I’ll let you off the hook for those white jeans….but there is NEVER an excuse to not have a proper table setting…..which we will discuss NEXT time.

Till then…..Kathie