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Lessons Learned: Grenada 1 Year In

  June 22

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Six days into my move to Grenada, I wrote how it changed me. {Update to new readers, I left the shiny land of the U.S.A. to move to the beautiful yet still developing Caribbean country of Grenada last year.}

That first impression of peace and beauty waned a little but came then full circle.
It’s not easy to dive into a new culture. First, I thought moving to Grenada was the greatest thing that ever happened to me – an adventure that everyone wishes they could have. I tried to experience the island to its fullest, going on different excursions, enjoying the beach, and striving to meet new people.
A few months in though, I got a got a little down. A true introvert, I struggled with making friends. I can be friendly and chat with people and have good manners and all that jazz. But, when it comes to trusting people or being around people for long periods of time, I have a very hard time. I began to feel hurt and left out by others. Many people rushed to my assistance when I first moved to the island to show me the ropes. Then, when it really mattered, they faded away.
Then, things got way better because I got a job.
And, I truly love my job.
And more importantly, I began to realize that there were many people like me who just simply like to hang out or watch a movie or try out every pina colada in Grenada just to make sure we know which restaurant has the best one.
So, I wouldn’t say Grenada changed me. I would say it taught me.
Here are the three main things:
1. You Can Only Be Yourself.
When put in new situations – a new job, moving to a new city, meeting your new boyfriend’s parents, going to a job interview – you can only be you. Life is much easier that way. So in my case, I tend to be ultra polite but only let a few people in close. I have to eat pretty much all day or else I turn into a huge grump. I’m pretty sarcastic and try hard to realize when people don’t pick up on it. I get really excited and bubbly when talking to others about something I love, but do my absolute best work sitting by myself with no one around me. I’m full of paradoxes and have bad days. But, I also love deeply and am sensitive to others. Any time I have ever tried to be something other than what I have listed above, things haven’t worked out.
2. You Can Go Without Buying “Things”

It seems that now that I am back in the U.S. for the summer, every ad, every store, every commercial, and every radio station is trying to sell me something – sell me a lifestyle. They want me to have certain items which indicate I’m somehow accomplished. Every time I get annoyed with an ad, I wish I was living back in Grenada which is so freeing being away from these things. With no T.V. and only a smattering of billboards in Grenada, I felt no pressure to buy anything. In fact, my husband and I went from November – May without buying one article of clothing.
3. Your Happiness Is Up To You.

We all make decisions every day that determine our happiness. I realize that not everyone in the world is going to like me, nor am I going to like everyone in the world. So, I just strive to be at peace with myself and understand myself better every day. Grenada has taught me what makes me tick. I like to sit and write. I like to teach. I like to interact with a few close people. I like to blog and tweet and pin things. When my home is organized, I’m happy. When I snuggle with my dog in my bed with her spoiled puppy face on my pillow, I’m happy. When I get a big hug unprompted by the hubs, I feel so special and safe. Essentially, I’m easy to please, and it’s the little things that make me truly at peace. When I’m true to myself, when I don’t let myself worship money or material possessions, I feel free.
It could be a bit of maturity, it could be turning 25, or it could be successfully managing my little two person + pup family daily and by myself. Either way, I feel more content than I ever have before. There have been trials, there have been arguments, and there have been disappointments, but for once I feel like I am just along for the ride and not micro-managing my life. I’m seeing where this adventure takes me. And by me, I mean the real me – the one I’m learning about every day.
What are some of the most important lessons you’ve learned?

10 responses to “Lessons Learned: Grenada 1 Year In

  1. I could have sworn I wrote this, we sound a lot alike. I have learned these things as well, mostly after moving out of my home state. We can’t let ourselves shape our identity around other people.

  2. Just landed here from Anna’s blog to check it out–Anna’s right, these are great life lessons. Now I’ll have to see whether I have time to catch up on reading more about Grenada!:)

  3. Your blog is always such an inspiration! Thank you for being so candid and personable with your readership. Some lesson I’ve learned this year would include: (1) Turn the Page (Sometimes in life, things change to allow for the opportunity for grander experiences); (2) Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff (so many times, we allow ourselves to be bogged down with the trivial incidents of life that keep us from enjoying the special moments); (3) Happiness is Personal (whether it’s dancing or reading, hiking or enjoying a cup of tea, going out on the town or curling up on the coach watching a flick, happiness is a personal decision; void of the materialism that we all to often find ourselves dependent upon, happiness is an adventure all in itself–and I want to be along for the ride). Thanks again for such a fun blog!

  4. I’m learning there are “season’s” to life. I’m in a much older,well deserved, and fun career building “season” and a grandma… I find it ridiculously fulfilling. My best to you in your “season” enjoy it!

  5. I’m learning there are “season’s” to life. I’m in a much older,well deserved, and fun career building “season” and a grandma… I find it ridiculously fulfilling. My best to you in your “season” enjoy it!

  6. I’m learning there are “season’s” to life. I’m in a much older,well deserved, and fun career building “season” and a grandma… I find it ridiculously fulfilling. My best to you in your “season” enjoy it!

  7. I’m glad you’re liking Grenada again :). I’m still a bit jealous of the warm weather and beach that you get to enjoy… it’s raining here in Seattle (typical). 🙂

  8. Great meeting you at Haven Conference and I wish you all the best in your writing career.

  9. I LOVE this!! Everything is so so true. Especially ‘your happiness is up to you’. We move quite a bit, but this is our first time out of the US and I’ve seen so many people come and go and say ‘there’s nothing to do’ or ‘I haven’t met anyone’ but what they really mean is ‘I’m not trying hard enough to get out there and do things and meet people’.

    It was so awesome to meet you at Haven. I hope you have a great time with your mom!! SO happy to have found another islander out there. 🙂

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