Regular Life

The title of this blog post feels a little funny. What even is regular life? Is there even a “normal”? I’m starting to believe that everyone thinks their way of life is “normal”. I use “normal” in quotations because I don’t actually think there is a “normal” – rather, everyone is just trying to figure out how to move through their life in a way that feels natural and healthy – in a way that their life functions for them.

So what is my regular life? Well when I start to think about what my regular life looks like currently I always feel a little funky, just because some aspects of my life currently feel so unnatural and bizarre. Maybe lucky and fantastic are better terms to describe these aspects, but compared to other people’s lives they can seem unnatural and bizarre. Even though I shouldn’t care about what other people think of my life. I’m working to care less and less about other people’s opinions every day and I’m honestly starting to feel like it’s actually getting somewhere.

So what aspects am I even talking about? Well for starters I’m pretty sure that it’s very special and rare that I’m currently living with my family. Or rather that my whole family is living at home at my mom’s apartment. Yes, we got a second apartment because my mom’s place isn’t actually big enough to comfortably host four adults. But we spend at least a part of almost every day together at my mom’s house, whether to have lunch together, to work together, or to watch a movie or play a game. Why does this feel so special? Well, we’re 22, 24, and 25 years old, and my mom didn’t really buy an apartment just to have her three kids move in again. But since we all work together and none of us have our own place yet/anymore, we all decided to temporarily stay at my mom’s. Something that also seemed like the only logical option after our dad passing away. It was good to come home to mom and to be able to spend quality time together. But now it’s been three months since we’ve been here and it’s looking like we’ll all be here for a while. Moving in the middle of a pandemic seems somewhat un-logical (yes I realise I was planning to move to Amsterdam, not the most strategic idea at the time). And while Christiaan might be leaving in October for a little while regarding giving workshops in The Netherlands, it’s looking a lot like we’ll be here for a while.

Choosing to move somewhere new (which I realise in itself is already a big privilege) depends a lot on how the pandemic moves and the rules that come with. But being optimistic, my own plan is to get traveling by May, and so moving somewhere new again before then seems pointless now, especially because being together with my family right now is providing a lot of insight into my own character traits, thoughts and beliefs, and in general it is just a lot of quality time. I was sharing today (Saturday, 26.09) that it’s so great to be with my family because it’s not just family time but they are also my friends – people I chose to spend time with. So living with my family after university and while all in our twenties, currently just feels like some extra special time together where we get to learn about each other as adults shaped by life, rather than living together as teenagers.

Another aspect I had in mind when I said my life is somewhat bizarre and unnatural is the fact that I’m living on a tropical island in the middle of the Caribbean at the age of 22. While it’s all easily explained by the fact that my mom lives here, I don’t have my own place, and came to stay with my mom for a while, it’s still quite bizarre and people always seem very curious and intrigued when I mention that I live on St. Barths. Just for clarification purposes, I do not go to the beach everyday. Two years ago when my mom told me she doesn’t go to the beach everyday I thought that was crazy, why wouldn’t you when there are so many beaches so close by. But living here you realise that day-to-day life is a thing here too. I have an eight-hour work day, I like to make time for my writing projects, I like to exercise, and just regular existing things that happen throughout the day, that often there is no time to go to the beach. But this doesn’t matter too much, this way going to the beach keeps its charm.

A bright start to the day.

What does feel really special about living on a tropical island is that every morning when I wake up I see blue skies, it is warm, and I see the ocean. Last Thursday I was even so lucky to wake up to a rainbow. Living on an island you can often see the rain pass by the island – not quite touching the shore but just passing by over the water. And the view it creates is spectacular – you can actually see the rain fall out of the clouds.

What else does regular life for me include? Lots and lots of writing. Almost every day I get to shape my workday however I please. Occasionally I have phone calls or Zoom meetings in the morning, or meetings in the afternoon, but overall I can start and end whenever, as long as I get my work in. As I am a morning person I always try to start early so that by lunch time I have already completed most of my hours for the day. This way I often have the afternoon to work on my personal projects or make time to go for a run. But this is the way I get lots of writing done. I also get lots of writing done on the weekends. When I wake up I’ll take my coffee or tea, whatever I was in the mood for that morning, and sit behind my laptop and type away. Whether for my blog or for my Camino book I’m working on. Whichever project I feel the most inspiration for.

Alongside all the busy-ness with work and personal projects, we often also take a coffee break at our favourite café: Oubli. We go for an hour or so, have a noisette or two or a juice, and just have a break in our morning. Thursday was one of those mornings, as much earlier that morning Rowie and Mom had presented their Chill-Food project in a first, closed meeting (the second, open one will be on October 8th). So we went for a coffee break in order to celebrate their hard work and finalisation of the project. We continued this celebration on Friday night, when we went to La Cantina, in Gustavia, to celebrate their accomplishments and the already exciting and interested reactions they were getting from the group of experts and those that had been invited. We had some drinks and some food (which included our usual order of a planche mixte).

Saturday morning started off fantastic. I woke up a little bit before the alarm went off and decided to take some time to work on my Camino book – A project I felt I hadn’t given much attention in the past few weeks. I cut up some fruit for breakfast, alongside a cup of coffee and stationed myself outside to enjoy the freshness of the morning while tuning in with my creative side. The mornings (and evenings) here are cooling down again, making it incredibly pleasurable to spend the morning outside in the shade.

Around 08:00 Christiaan and I headed to mom’s place and by 08:20 the four of us were ready to go. We hiked to Saline beach. The beach is quite close by, only about 2.5 kilometres one way. By the time we left the sun was already bright and hot but we enjoyed the exercise and the scenery. It always feels like you see much more of the island when you walk rather than drive. We went to the farthest corner of the beach where it was quiet – there was only one other person there. Mom, Rowie, and Christiaan went for a swim, while I only went halfway into the water. Since I have my new tattoo I can’t go swimming for a while. Luckily I can still dip half of my body into the water. I spend most of the time sitting on the shore and reading my book. It’s my 18th book of the year – for my Goodreads challenge I made my goal to read at least 20 books this year and it’s going very well, it looks like I’ll easily make it past 20 books. I to get a bit of my tan back as well. Even before having Dengue fever I hadn’t spend all that much time in the sun or at the beach, and then being inside in the dark for a week didn’t help my tan much, so it was a good moment to regain some colour.

Following our hike we headed to Oubli for some coffee. We spend two hours just talking about life and our family and individual life projects. We discussed my business idea and that I want to get it set up. There is no reason to wait! I’ve also decided that Monday I’m going to figure out how to get a good phone contract here, as for the next year or so this will be my home base, and they have plans that work in Europe and the US too as it is a common fact that people who live on St. Barths travel a lot to both of these places. Plus I’ll need a local number for my business. The details of my business I won’t share just yet, I’ll do that once I’ve officially created my business! But a little preview/fact is that it’ll include a new page on this very website – so keep an eye out!

Working on my blog on a rainy Sunday.

Sunday morning was one of those nice, relaxing mornings. I slept in a bit until 07:45 (as we’d gone to bed late because Saturday night we had watched our third Mission Impossible movie of the week; Thursday, Friday, and Saturday we had watched Mission Impossible 4, 5, and 6). After I got up I did some yoga on the balcony outside. Even though it was short, it felt good to be back on the mat and stretch again. I hadn’t been doing any yoga for a solid two weeks due to having been sick and the toll that took on my body. After yoga I washed my hair and put on some fresh clothes and made breakfast while Christiaan put on the coffee. I settled on the couch and pulled out my computer and did some little things that I hadn’t gotten to all week – my personal administration, some unread, non-work related emails, looking for new books to read on my Kindle and spending some time writing on my blog.

The rest of my Sunday was calm. The weather was super rainy all day so it was a good day to spend inside and relax, just working on my blog, setting up some posts to be published at a later date, and working on my Camino book and writing in my journal, brainstorming about my life and future creative projects. The whole weekend had really been filled with working on personal projects and spending time with family – it’s honestly been a very loving and relaxing weekend. I cooked us a salmon-asperges pasta for lunch, which we ate on the couch as we had left our table outside in the rain.

On Sunday evening we decided we needed a break from intense, action-filled movies and spend our evening relaxing, everyone just doing their own thing and heading to bed early in order to start Monday morning off right.

Aspergus & salmon pasta in the making.

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