‘Invasion of the Cockroaches’, the title sounds like a cheap horror movie, but believe me, this was no movie. This was very, very real! I love animals, I really do, but four legs is my limit, that’s where I draw the line. I don’t like anything with six or eight legs (or more). Being an island girl has definitely made me less squeamish when it comes to bugs, it’s just one of the side effects of living in this beautiful place… but I still really dislike them (that’s putting it mildly). Especially if they’re swarming, flying or crawling anywhere near me. Unfortunately, bugs love living on this island just as much as I do…

First of all, there are the mosquitos. Lots and lots of mosquitos, especially in the rainy season. They are without a doubt my biggest source of irritation here on the island (literally…). Even after months and months of living here, I’m still being bitten and stung all over the moment I step outside the door. So most days I’m covered in multiple layers of DEET. It sort of became my own island perfume.

In second place are the limme limme, or limpie limpie, it’s the local name for a teeny tiny species of flies (like fruit flies) who definitely do not have any sense of personal space.. They get into everything, your nose, your mouth, your eyes, your ears… it drives you crazy! Thankfully, there are only a few places on the island where these little creatures like to live, so avoiding them is not that difficult.

Third up are ants. We already had quite our share of ants, even though we try to keep the house squeaky clean. When we just moved here, every once in a while there was a parade marching around our countertop, looking for little leftovers like breadcrumbs. The people who lived in this apartment before us were not as keen on hygiene as we are, unfortunately. But since I scrubbed just about every surface of the house with bleach, the ants packed up their things and moved.

The worst kind of ‘bugs’ however are cockroaches… Cockroaches here on the island are HUGE and I absolutely hate them! Despite that fact, I do my best not to kill them if I don’t have to. Live and let live right? Besides the risk that you’re squashing a mamma cockroach with eggs inside (something I definitely don’t want to do), there are also some nasty stains and a very eerie cracking sound when you do decide to kill them. I’m sure Hollywood is highly exaggerating, but I keep having flashbacks to scenes from Men in Black. Everyone who has seen the movie will agree with me, it’s not pretty… Besides, I’m barefoot most of the time, so what do I do? Tell the little fellow to hold still and patiently wait for me to come back with one of my flip flops?

So whenever we had a roach before (note the singular sense, as in one at a time…), I used to pick them up very carefully, with a glass and a piece of paper or a postcard (usually after a wild goose chase around the house) and put them outside the door. I hope that with all those times I have build up enough good karma to make up for the ones I mercilessly assassinated last week…

About a week ago my husband and I were at home, just relaxing, like we usually do on Sunday mornings, when he got up to go to the bathroom. I heard the door close and about two seconds later he came walking back into the living room with a startled expression on his face. “Uhhmm, sweetie…” he said, “There are some cockroaches in there”. Some? As in ‘more than one’? I thought he had to be exaggerating, so I stood up, unimpressed, and strolled over to the bathroom with a glass and a postcard. When I opened the door I nearly passed out. There were about ten cockroaches in there, having a party in our bathroom. I think they came from under the front door, because the bathroom is right across the hall from it. It is obviously a ‘wet’ room and it’s the furthest away from the airc onditioning, so it’s nice and warm, perfect circumstances. Also, the door is always open because our cat likes to sleep in there (don’t ask me why).

Horrified, I closed the door, knowing I needed some bigger ammunition. I came back with our XL can of bug spray and asked my hubby for more glasses, still thinking I could save some of them from their fate. Of course, when I started spraying them, they ran in every direction. My God, they’re fast! Jumping and screaming, I kept on spraying them and we managed to catch about half of them under glasses (highly intoxicated by the bug spray), while more roaches kept on coming out of the bathroom. Within minutes our cramped hallway was filled with glasses with cockroaches underneath, frantically searching for a way out. That’s when I realised it was a lost battle and there was only one solution; these guys were going down. I emptied most of the spray can inside the bathroom (after making sure our cat wasn’t in there) and quickly closed the door again, leaving them inside to die.

A few hours later I had worked up enough courage to open the door again and there they were, all of them belly up, their little legs in the air. Death by suffocation. For a moment, my inner Buddhist felt a little guilty, but then I pushed that feeling aside and threw them all out. I mopped the whole apartment with bleach in an attempt to shake my visions of bugs crawling all over the place, hoping this experience wouldn’t cause me nightmares. We sprayed the bathroom a few more times in the following days and installed a door sweep to close the gap beneath our front door.

I haven’t seen any cockroaches since, but peeing sure became a whole lot less comfortable…!


Current Rock of Residence:

Bonaire, Dutch Caribbean

Island Girl Since:

May 2016

Originally Hails From:

Zaandam, the Netherlands

Long long ago, in a kingdom far far away (Holland), Myrthe got a degree in cultural anthropology. Not that she ever found a job in that field (she works in childcare now), but likes to think she finally found her fieldwork now that she’s living on this little rock. Studying anthropology and being curious by nature (aren’t all women?) gave her the urge to travel, see, and experience as much of the world as she can. She loves to consider herself a traveller and was lucky enough to find a husband/soulmate who feels the same.

They always knew they wouldn’t stay in Holland forever, so when opportunity knocked, they kicked the door wide open. In May 2016, they got the chance to move to Bonaire with their “baby” (their cat – they weren’t going anywhere without her!) and loved it the moment they got off the plane at the tiny, very pink airport. Theoretically speaking, it is Holland, but as they quickly found out, it’s definitely not! Lucky for them, it didn’t take long to adapt to the island philosophy of “poko poko” (take it easy).

Not a girl to just sit around, she found herself a job and a place to volunteer and learned the language. Her days are filled up, though that doesn’t mean she doesn’t enjoy the four S’s of island life: swimming, snorkeling, sunbathing, and sipping cocktails. Especially sipping cocktails…

She’s a blogger who writes a weekly blog (though it’s in Dutch for everyone back at home to understand, sorry!) about their day-to-day life and struggles and tries to teach her readers a little bit about the island too – facts and fun. She’s also an aspiring amateur photographer who loves to enter photo contests.

Bonaire is the rock she calls home. It’s big in some ways, small in others. It’s their own corner of paradise! When they’re done here (in about a year and half due to her husband’s job contract), perhaps they’ll move back to Holland, and then again, maybe they won’t. Maybe they’ll go somewhere else, perhaps another rock. Who knows? Life is full of surprises.

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