You Might Be An Island Girl If…

Caribbean living is not for the faint of heart. To be successful (e.g. no fleeing back from whence one came, spiraling into addiction, or simply living in a constant state of agitation), one must adapt. I’ve found myself handling situations in ways my loved ones and I would have told you were impossible during my first quarter-century on the planet. Chances are, if you can relate to several of the following, you’ve probably become an island girl too.

Farewell, Fragile. Hello, Hardy!

You pick up ticks, dead flies, mosquitoes, and gecko droppings with your bare hands.

DEET is your new fragrance.

Steep hills are more comfortably walked in flip flops than tennis shoes.

Steep hills are comfortably walked.

Your legs are shapely—chiseled, even—a perfect complement to your burgeoning beer belly. (See below.)


8th one in a year.

You’ve had multiple flat tires in one week.

You’ve learned how to change a flat tire…from You Tube.

Your bras all have mold stains, even though they’re sparsely worn.

You can no longer be bothered with toenail polish.

Your entire wardrobe consists of cotton tank tops, sundresses, flip flops, and jean shorts.

Checking a cistern, lighting a pilot, or priming a pump are no longer intimidating prospects.

Your reaction to noticing a frog in your boudoir at bedtime is to mention the novelty on FB to shock your stateside friends, turn off the light, and fall peacefully asleep.

You’ve grown to rather enjoy a navy shower.

Upon discovering dead tarantulas and scorpions under your bed, you unceremoniously sweep them up and throw them away.

Your 8oz container of lotion lasts for several years.


House Lizard

You now find it preferable to share your home with lizards, as they’re unobtrusive and earn their keep eating mosquitoes.

You have but a vague memory of an contraption called a dishwasher that you once bemoaned having to empty.

You’ve learned to appreciate the Grecian beauty of strappy flats. (Heels and islands do not a friendly pair make.)

Caribbean Customs

Not only can you suck teeth with the best of them, but chupsing/shtoopsing has become part of your vocabulary.

You’d prefer driving away from a minor to moderate car accident than to bother dealing with the cops or insurance company.

You justify having a smart phone so you can multitask by paying bills and returning emails while standing in long lines at the bank/post office/BMV/Grocery Store.

You think nothing of describing yourself as a skinny white girl to locals over the phone, knowing it will help them identify you.

You describe people by the specific hue and tone of their skin as a practical matter without worrying you’ll be perceived as “racist.”

You are as disgusted with tourists going into non-beach establishments half-dressed as the people who were bahn he’eh.

You now find the ocean water far too cold for comfort from January to June. Which is just as well since the beaches are swamped with vacationers anyway.

You “thin out” ground cover and other vegetation from neighboring roadsides/gardens to plant in your own yard.

Flora Teefin' Accomplice

Flora Teefin’ Accomplice

Your body image insecurities have transferred themselves from your wee skinny white girl tits to your flat skinny white girl ass.

You no longer consider it strange to store open boxes of crackers and pasta in the fridge.

You are an ambidextrous driver.

It’s now harder to remember to flush when appropriate than to let the yellow mellow.

You’ve adopted a pit bull and/or chihuahua mix. Or a pit bull/chihuahua mix.

Your first response to tourists who ask, after sundown, “What’s that loud noise?” is, “What loud noise?” before you realize they’re referring to the same tree frogs that used to keep you awake at night.

Drunkard’s Paradise

The cup holders in your vehicle contain a rotating selection of empty beer vessels.


Sophisticated palette, indeed.

You’ve learned to open a beer bottle with a lighter.

You’re a highly-skilled drunk driver.

When dining out, you now prefer sitting at the bar over a table.

You regularly, and without guilt, enjoy lunch beers.

When ordering a cocktail off island, you find yourself needing to request a double.

There is a corkscrew/bottle opener in your center console at all times. More consistently, in fact, than there is proof of insurance in your glove compartment.

You know what “elevenses” means. In the Caribbean sense.

You’ve celebrated at least one major holiday in a bar full of strangers.

Print Friendly

Subscribe Here

141 thoughts on “You Might Be An Island Girl If…

  1. I am originally from the United States and lived as an expat for 13 years in Europe and the Middle East. My husband and I now live on STT, where my husband works. My biggest bugaboo here are the tourists who think they can parade around on the main streets of the island with next to nothing on. I grew up in a California coastal beach community, so I am not a prude about dress. Really people, have a little respect. Please pay attention to what the local people are wearing. I found it helpful to read about the Caribbean before coming here and wish others, travelers or those considering moving here, would do the same.

    • Very true! I need to take a video sometime of the cruise ship tourists getting on the ferry on my rock – it’s like, where else in the world would you board public transportation half naked?!

    • Yes! The sad thing is that I was totally that half-naked tourist before moving here. Living in a tourist destination has completely changed the way I behave when traveling. I am much more respectful of the culture, hopefully ask less stupid question…just try my best not to be a stupid tourist. And if I sense that something coming out of my mouth might come off that way, I try to temper it with saying, “This might be a stupid tourist question but I’m asking it anyway…”

  2. I have lived on my rock for 13 years as of today! I still love it (for most of the time). I have never had to deal with centipedes or scorpions on a regular basis but mice and rats seemed to follow me wherever I went. I moved to an upper apartment and thought I would saved but the buggers jan awed through my missile screens in various places and got and out like they owned the place! Cue getting a cat! He now just brings them in half dead and plays with them then eats them leaving a few choice bits for me to tread in first thing in the morning. He brought in a baby bird once while I had a friend staying and she freaked out. I just picked it up and chucked it over the side of my balcony. The cat thought it was a game and followed. He appeared back again bird in mouth about 5 minutes later. My island girl list has got to be
    1) getting used to being without water and/or electricity.
    2) Not being able to get certain items from the supermarket on a weekly basis so making a list if futile. Go to the store and buy according to what they have available. Try not to plan things too much.
    3) not being too anal about having multiple extension cords plugged into one socket. That’s how we roll in the Caribbean.
    4) when the car in front of you stops for no reason or to have a conversation with someone on the side of the road, another vehicle’s driver or just to let someone pull out, it doesn’t really bother you after a few years.
    5) having no hot water in the bathroom. I’m so used to it and opt to have a bucket shower with some warming waster in the winter months as its a tad too cold early in the morning.
    6) not having any reliable internet due to living in a particular spot which is surrounded but hills which block the signal even though it’s 2014 and the rest of island seems to be able to get a signal!! I’m sure there are plenty more where these came from but I must wield my missile bat now as I’m being attacked so until the next time and thanks.

  3. Greetings from Vieques Island Puerto Rico, 9500 people, 2000 wild roaming horses and power and water that comes from the main island. Wonderful list! Might I add keeping a two liter bottle of water in the shower for the moment the water goes off right after you have gotten shampoo in your hair.

  4. First of all I want to say wonderful blog! I had a quick question that I’d like to ask if you do not mind.
    I was curious to find out how you center yourself and clear your thoughts prior
    to writing. I have had a tough time clearing my mind in getting my ideas out there.
    I truly do enjoy writing but it just seems like the
    first 10 to 15 minutes are usually wasted just trying to figure out how to begin. Any ideas or tips?

    • Hi Maynard. Best piece of advice to you is NOT to clear your head before writing. When your head feels jumbled with all sorts of thoughts and you don’t know how to sort them…just close your eyes and type or write (if you can do this physically). The first step of writing is a purging process. You turn off your inner critic and you just get all the words and thoughts out of your head. They don’t have to make sense. They don’t have to be in complete sentences. They don’t even have to be real words. What you need to do is get the confusion out….once the mess is on the page, the clarity will begin. Hope this helps! Happy writing!

  5. this website is refreshing to say the least…i am a woman who lives on a rock…at times i feel like im under it lol…i’d love to participate in this forum, but for me and ladies up above…to articulate and put to paper is my problem…soon come back!

    • Please participate with your comments any time! If you’re on Facebook, you should follow us there too – we post a funny or cute island photo every day. Lots of fun discussion in the comments section there too. Thanks so much for reading.

  6. Love the blog. Your blog to me is research, I hope to one day be able to call myself an island girl permanently. Until then I will spend as much time as possible on a rock. Have a great week!!

  7. If you are having a beer with lunch, you are a
    Rooky. I enjoy sangria with breakfast, on my rock. After all, it has juice and fruit in it. By island standards, it is a health food!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *