Photo by Tere Cornelio
I'm pretty sure that most people who have been here too long for their taste and many who have never been here at all would vote that being secluded to the base would have to be the number one thing not to like about being stationed in GiTMO, Cuba. But think about it, once you settle into a routine in your new home, new surroundings, the kids go back to school, you go to work, etc... how far do you really go away from home and how often do you do that? Granted I can't get up and go visit my friends in the next town, nor could I just get in the car and visit family members (I'm not really helping, am I?) but I could plan to leave on military flights that cost next to nothing so I do have some options. I could even spend the money and buy a pricey ticket, however, I'd rather wait for that Space A seat.
I have found many things that bother me about being here and yes, not seeing friends and family is one of them.
Also on this list --
1. I have to use a calling card to call anywhere off island; but they are easy to get and they do save lots of money.
2. I am limited to the shopping experience as we only have the Navy Exchange and it is not very big at all (I have plenty to say about the NEX, later); but I am a friend of online shopping and planning trips off island for the simple purpose of going shopping.
3. it is pretty dry - rain is a rare thing, so water is controlled; but the temperature is tropical, it is always beautiful and the homes have central AC!
4. mosquitoes--ugh! Bring on the deet-free bug repellent, any tips on plants that repel mosquitoes would be appreciated; still working on this one!
However, there so many things to like and LOVE:
1. The people -- I am so thankful to everyone who has made life so much easier for me and the kids. When we arrived, our home was furnished with temporary loaner furniture, every bed was made, we had towels and food to get us started. Within days everyone knew we were on island and since then we have been welcomed and invited to several activities that include the entire family and some only for us Moms!
2. The beaches are not resort like, they are very much in their natural state, except for some added beach huts with showers, phones, grills and tables. There's no carefully tended sand or restaurant or bar by the beach. What you have is sea glass, pretty rocks, sea shells and a lot of fun. The water is clear, cool, and in many areas shallow so the kids can play without being swept away by the waves :-)
3. We have a mass transit system throughout the base so you can walk, bike, or ride without ever using your car - It's Free!
4. The Marina, where you can rent boats, the pool, gym(where I plan to teach spinning), the sports complex, the galley (they serve way too much food but it's pretty cheap and yummy and someone else cooked it!)
5. Snorkeling, scuba diving, boating.... I'm sure there's plenty more but I've only been here about 10 days.
So far, it still feels like a summer vacation and I feel like I need to start packing up the gear and heading home. It will soon hit me that I'm here for a good 30 months and I'm pretty sure that during this time there will be many things that will annoy the heck out of me but the annoyance will be washed away with a little salt water from the beach! I can't complain.
Have a fantastic year 2010 everyone!! Stay safe, live, love and laugh more than you ever have before!
PS: if you want to see a really cool picture of an old Iguana, click here