I don’t have even a trace of bad snake thoughts here on Vieques, because this tiny, beautiful island has absolutely no snakes. Not one. They probably don’t even sell gummy worms in the grocery stores. It’s one of the reasons I love it here.
It wasn’t always like this. In fact, back in the 1870s, when there were sugar plantations here, there were snakes and an infestation of rats who loved to eat the sugar cane.
So, an enterprising Puerto Rican sugar cane farmer had a brilliant idea when he imported 9 little furry mongooses from India to eat the rats. They did such a good job with the rats, that the farmer started breeding them and selling them to neighboring islands. The rum industry was saved and the mongooses were the heroes of the Caribbean.
One year ago today we were on the island of Vieques, Puerto Rico when Irma morphed me from a hurricane amateur, into a hurricane whiz. Unfortunately, when Maria hit ten days later, I became a hurricane pro.
Well folks, I hate to break it to you, but it looks like it’s happening again. This morning, when I checked my phone, I had three tropical storm/hurricane warnings flashing! Three! Florence, Isaac and Helene! September is definitely hurricane month for this part of the planet. They happen. They are serious business and should be taken seriously when they occur.
After what we experienced last year, we’ve had quite a few people ask us what they could have sent and could have done to help people that are suffering through hurricane disasters. So we’ve given it some thought.
In November 2016, John and I made the decision to join the ranks of traveling, housesitting nomads which was, for us, monumental. In February 2017, we arranged our very first house sit (June through November) on the island of Vieques, Puerto Rico, which was super exciting. We were in a euphoric state of glassy-eyed bliss for a few days, at the prospect of how our lives were about to change. Then, KA-BOOM, reality set in. We had a business and a lot of STUFF we had to get rid of to make our dream life happen.
So, here’s how we did it.
November 17, 2017 Dallas, Texas Our next house sit is in Chapala, Jalisco, Mexico. Before jumping into a new culture and country, we decided that it would be best to go to the U.S. for a week to wash our salvageable clothes, take hot showers, replace trashed clothes, and most importantly visit with family that […]
John grew up in New Orleans. He’s been through a lot hurricanes and tropical storms. He understands hurricane preparation, as well as hurricane recovery. One of the things he tried to get me ready for, after Maria, is a major infestation of BUGS!
Man O’ Man, was he right. We are covered in flying and crawling varmints and his racket “zapper” is doing over time.
This morning, as I was making coffee, John stepped to the screened door with his zapper in one hand and bug spray in the other. He stood there for a second and then exclaimed to the insect population of Vieques:
“Bring it on. I’m ready for you. Who’s it gonna be? Who’s gonna be the BUG OF THE DAY???”
We’ve learned so much about what it takes to be disaster/hurricane survivors.
Our friend Bill describes Viequense with the three R’s: resilient, resourceful and respectful. The people on Vieques are truly remarkable. But, we’ve added another “R” to his analogy – RELIEF lines.
Daily, if we haven’t stood at least an hour in some kind of line, we feel like we haven’t accomplished anything for the day.
Here’s what I mean.
October 8, 2017 Vieques, Puerto Rico We owned a web development/marketing company prior to becoming house sitters. We thought we were tech savvy and pretty current on how devices worked, as well as anything that had to do with the World Wide Web. Often we used our phones to browse the Internet, even when we […]
Last year when we downsized (sold our cars, home, furniture, business and personal belongings) to travel the world as house sitters, we thought we were trimming our lives down to the bare bones. We kept only what we thought we needed to exist in the world. Two carry-ons and two suitcases each of our “stuff” is pretty basic, right?
WRONG! WRONG! WRONG!
When my sons, Scott and Brad, were teens they had a pet iguana named Squiggy. Squiggy had full reign of their upstairs bedrooms and loved to ride on our shoulders as we walked around the house. I would even rock him to sleep and he loved it when we’d rub his little belly. Squiggy was one spoiled iguana.
September 13, 2017 Vieques, Puerto Rico We were lucky. Irma did little structural damage to Vieques. The trees and landscaping were not as fortunate. Huge trees were uprooted and many roads were semi-blocked from branches and debris. The electrical and telephone poles are still standing, but there was some damage to a few power lines. […]