A Caribbean Girl Comes Home

The transition from city life back to island life would be an easy one. Or, so I thought.

Saying goodbye to my life in Amsterdam was easy, saying goodbye to my friends was emotional but still doable, but it wasn’t until I arrived on my rock that it really hit me. Not that I missed Amsterdam (I missed Europe yes, southern Europe to be exact, but Amsterdam was now officially a thing of the past), but I had more of a What the heck am I doing back here?!  kind of feeling.

Don’t get me wrong – I absolutely love my island, and I came to appreciate it even more once I started traveling. Abroad, I was proud to tell people that I was from a tiny Caribbean paradise. “Lucky you!” was the response every time. But didn’t I leave this little rock for a reason? I remember how happy I was the day I left for Amsterdam, bored out of my mind with island life, ready to travel the world and telling myself, swearing even, that I would never, ever move back to Curaçao again. Yet here I am, bored again and ready for yet another adventure. Though this time, at home. A place I never expected to move back to.

Stephany back on the rock_WWLOR

The first days back were weird, between moving back in with Mom at 24 years old after such a long time on my own and feeling like a zombie thanks to jet lag. I didn’t sleep well, woke up way too early every day, then spent the rest of each day feeling overly tired. The unbearable heat didn’t help one bit. The first night, my mom took me for a drive in the capital of Willemstad, an activity most locals do whenever they feel like they’ve been inside for too long. “Ban dal un rònchi,” they say in the local language of Papiamentu. Literally translated: “Let’s take a round.” I remember thinking how small everything was. No high buildings, no highways, and no wide streets. Where was everything?!  I started to doubt if I would ever adjust. Life on an island suddenly seemed impossibly dull.

The turnaround came on a Sunday, a few days after I arrived, when me and my mom went to the beach for the first time. Not the touristic beaches near Willemstad of course, but the beaches on the western part of the island – the part that happens to have the best beaches. When I was growing up, my mom and I would spend every weekend there. And that Sunday, it all came back to me. The cool breeze as we drove around, the sprawling landscape around us, and the cacti everywhere. The closer we got to the beach, the happier I became. And when we arrived, I got in the water as fast as I could (after taking some photos to put on Facebook, of course). The clear blue water greeted me, and I felt like the little child I once was. The warm feeling and salty smell of the sea were familiar. It was the water I grew up in, the water that made me, and the water I had longed for so deeply my last months in Amsterdam. In that moment, I was so happy and grateful to be back on my rock.

Curacao beach_WWLOR

I am home.

I don’t know how many times I’ve said that to myself now. This tiny, but incredible rock in the Caribbean is my home and its beautiful beaches could be a daily thing from now on. What a luxury!

Oh, and living with mom? Best thing ever. At least for now.

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Stephany Daal

About Stephany Daal

Born and raised on Curaçao, Stephany left her rock in her teenage years. Having always been the girl with the big plans moving confident in the direction of her dreams, this girl knew one thing very certain from a very young age and that was to see the world. Growing up she dreamed of traveling and doing things on her own (so much that at the age of six she packed her little bag and was convinced she'd move into the newly build houses in her neighbourhood all by herself). At 17, one year after a trip to Amsterdam and loving the city life and a few months after coincidental meeting and falling in love with a Dutch guy from Amsterdam, she finally saw the opportunity to leave. Four months after her so called crush left Curaçao, she was in Amsterdam.

Stephany describes herself as "a perfectly good learner, but being very bored in class so therefore wanting to achieve success her own way" and decided to quit her politics study after three years. By then she was already extensively traveling the world and felt that she learned more during her travels than in a lecture. Being a firm believer of doing whatever you want with your life and always actively pursuing her happiness, she realized after six years that life in Amsterdam had become dull and moved back to her rock one year later. Being the island girl once again, she's ambitious to make it as a writer and volunteers for the Curaçao Animal Rights Foundation. For now she's enjoying island life and planning to stay for a while, but who knows where her dreams will take her next. You can take a look at her blog, www.biahando.com.

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6 thoughts on “A Caribbean Girl Comes Home

  1. I’ve always wanted to visit Curaçao it looks beautiful on the photo’s I’ve seen.
    Loved hearing about it. You’re a really good writer cannot wait to read more.

  2. I love the western end of Curacao, some of my best days were spent at Playa Forti, Playa Kalki, Knip and Playa Lagun. You live on a gorgeous rock, we almost moved there. If you ever run into Luis Lopez Ramirez who owns AllWest Apartments in Westpunt, tell him hello for me.

    • Playa Lagun is by far my favorite beach here! So nice to hear this. I’ve never heard of AllWest Apartments actually, but I will let Luis know if I ever find out and bump into him 🙂

  3. The thing I miss the most being away from my island is the beautiful deep blue sea. I used to lay in the Caribbean sea on my back and gaze at the sky and feel how blessed I was. I could stand in waist deep water and see the bottom. People here in Minnesota tell me they have lakes but the lakes aren’t warm like the sea, the lakes don’t loll one into meditation and self reflection, the lakes don’t cradle you like the Caribbean Sea. I miss it every day of my life and can’t wait to visit and lay in the sea and explore the sea and watch the incredible life that exists in the sea. Always reminds me of the quote, “We are all just a drop in the great big beautiful sea and sometimes we sparkle.” Working on my sparkle in the states until I can return.

    • What a beautiful written post and I totally agree. The Caribbean sea is really something and I was longing for it every day back in Europe. Hope you get to return to your island soon 🙂

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