Did you catch Part One in this series? Be sure to check out all the fun additions from fellow islanders in the Comments section. You will giggle.
The longer I live on an island, the more I find myself doing and saying things I never could have imagined before moving here. In fact, if someone had told me six years ago that my life would be anything like it is today, I would have told that person what I thought they were full of… accurate predictions not being it.
But here I am. Living in a beautiful hut in the bush. And I (mostly) wouldn’t have it any other way.
When Chrissann and I first got in touch (before she had launched WWLOR), the ideas came pouring out. I’d been waiting for this venue since moving here. The original You Might Be An Island Girl If post started as kind of a brainstorm, but we decided to publish, and it ended up as one of our most popular to date.
Undoubtedly, the best thing about it was the hysterical conversation it spurred in the Comments section. We loved hearing everyone’s variations on the theme and are excited to see what you all have got for us this time too. The inspiration truly never ends.
Even though island life never leaves me short on writing fodder, it does leave me short on time to sit down and write.
And so I present to you, some 15 months later, the sequel.
(Lumped into a few categories. For organizational purposes.)
You Might Be An Island Girl If…
That Not So Fresh Feeling
You keep slightly bleach-stained clothing items in your wardrobe and just make sure to wear them with something that either blends well with the stain, or brings out the best of it.
You’ve ever been horrified to discover that the pungent scent of mildew you’ve been smelling since leaving the house is actually coming from your clothes.
You know what mangroves and raw sewage have in common.
The smell of septic—even in the fanciest of neighborhoods—is so normal, it’s not worth comment.
From late July to early October
The concept of scalp sweat takes on an entirely new meaning.
You are required to stop wearing daytime moisturizer altogether, lest you walk around looking like you’re wearing a mask of petroleum jelly, becoming more blinded by the second as the sweat pours into your eyes, stinging them and causing your mascara to run.
If you do take time for makeup, you’ve resigned yourself to the reality of applying it atop a thin layer of sweat. You’ll be rocking the “dewy” look for a few weeks.
If not required to leave the house, you occasionally realize you’ve been topless for the last 24 hours. Sex having absolutely nothing to do with it.
You use your body sweat as dusting liquid. And why not? It both cleans and conditions with none of the harsh chemicals. A truly renewable resource.
You nonchalantly pick small bugs out of your beverages and food before finishing consumption. You do this at restaurants. You do not seriously consider complaining to your server.
After encountering a giant killer centipede, scorpions now seem as frightening as spiders were many years ago.
You don long sleeves, pants, and socks – not to keep warm (although you do that too in December), but to shield yourself from mosquitoes. You might even do this inside your house.
You swat mosquitoes with your electric racket while:
- Sitting on the toilet
- Brushing your teeth
- Getting Dressed
- Doing Yoga
- Anything else you do while alive and awake.
You’ve ever waited for a molted lizard tail to stop bouncing around your floor before trying to sweep it up.
You stamp on roaches with your bare feet. (Okay, this is sooo not me, but my girlfriend did, and she’s a true woman on a rock.)
You’ve ever been sitting around in your underwear, minding your own business, when you’ve felt something bite your inner thigh. You’ve looked down to find a roach. As it turns out, roaches bite. Oddly enough, so do moths.
You’ve sent texts like this:
“I’ve been home for less than an hour and have twice screamed. Once when a frog jumped on my foot while walking through my ‘dining room’ and just now when a cute little baby mouse poked its head up from behind my desk and looked right at me.”
You’ve pondered over how much of the
rat mouse-nibbled chocolate bar you have to break off in order to eat the rest of it without getting hantavirus.
You’ve experienced the horror and heartbreak of admiring a teeny tiny lizard on your floor, only to realize 5 minutes later that you accidentally crushed him with your laundry basket.
You can tell what kind of creature is hiding behind your desk — land crab, hermit crab,
rat mouse — by the sound of its scurry.
You fall asleep with the sheet over your head to keep moths from dive-bombing your face as you cradle the cusp of sleep.
You’ve ever been grateful to hear a friend whose house is supposed to be entirely screened-in complain about the minuscule moths that crawl on their scalp, neck, and in their ears while they try to fall asleep. It makes you feel better to know you’re not the only one. You advise that, after a time, you can distinguish the sensation between the bigger moths and the tiny ones, and just ignore the latter in favor of sleep.
Tips, Tricks and Hacks
You’re well aware that turning off the AC in the car will help you get up hills. This is a regular part of your driving routine.
You’ve experienced the sublime gratitude of finding that something drug off that critter carcass in the middle of the night, taking its removal off of your to-do list. (You were procrastinating on that one.)
You spent $13 on essential peppermint oil at the local drug store to prove that it does not, in fact, deter
rats mice. Your house smelled like the inside of a toothpaste tube for days.
You know why cardboard tampons and tropical climates do not mix. If you are a self-punishing tree-hugger like yours truly, you will continue to buy the cardboard ones anyway.
A couple times a year, you stick two fingers into a jar of vasoline and lube up your refrigerator seal. It’s weird. It’s gynecological. But it keeps the door tightly closed. And that means no flies, roaches, or scorpions in the fridge. (I realize how many things are wrong with the previous five sentences. I know. Believe me, I know.)
Out of sheer necessity (and for your basic health), you’ve learned to make “cold-brewed” coffee in a mason jar.
Drinking Too Much
Beer is a valid meal replacement beverage in your world.
If you have to get some work done in public and also would like some refreshment, you take your laptop to a bar. Sometimes you even use the bar itself as your desk. Coffee shops, be damned. Any that exist around here all sell booze anyway.
You are regrettably familiar with the sound of the beer can/wine bottle you forgot about before falling asleep last night exploding in the freezer. You understand that when you finally defrost your fridge, your kitchen area will smell like a frat house the day after a kegger.
You are not opposed to drinking wine, champagne, or liquor straight out of the bottle in a group setting. Especially when on a boat or a beach. You find it actually invokes a cozy sense of community.
You know that mimosas should contain a MAXIMUM of 25% orange juice. Anything else might as well be served in church. Or to a toddler. Hell, both. At the same time!
The “Real” World
You have absolutely no desire to keep up with the Jones’, the Kardashians, or whoever the hell mainland folks are currently obsessed with.
You’ve ever fallen in love (or lust!) during a hurricane party.
Vacation is spent going to the dentist, eye doctor, Target, visiting old people, and meeting new babies.
On a day that is 77 degrees with a bit of wind, you send texts to friends that say, “Brrr! What a blustery day! Even the dog is shivering!”
You still do snail mail Netflix. You simply can’t depend on your internet service provider to consistently provide enough bandwidth to stream video.
You are so used to having your shoes and purses disintegrate that you absent-mindedly pick off the rotting matter and discard it without pausing your public conversation.
You’ve ever brought along an extra pair of shoes—not in case the ones you’re currently wearing get painful, but rather, in case they fall apart. They’ve been rotting for awhile now, and their siblings have recently died, so you know it’s only a matter of time before these fall apart too. But they match this outfit, and you’ll be damned if you’re not going to take advantage of it for as long as you can.
When your stateside hosts apologize for all of the gnats outside, you throw your head back and laugh heartily. No one gets it. Gnats. You shake your head. Gnats! Do they even bite?
Wha You Say?
You’re as disappointed as I am to learn that peeing in the ocean is ALSO bad for the reef. Wah Waaaaaah.
You’ve ever had one of your body parts referred to by a stranger as a “pumpum.” A “faht” one at that. This, you discover, is a compliment. And, most certainly, a come on.
I think I can do one of these a year. It’s just too easy.
I bet you can too.
– – –
We wanna hear yours. Share in the comments below!
Want to stay connected to the Land of Coconuts?
We'll send you island mail, fresh from the tropics each week.