Sundays in Nassau

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Photo by NeONBRAND on Unsplash

This morning I drove to church with my windows down. The temperatures are cooler here now, and today is on the windy side, so it was altogether a lovely ride. Church is on one of my favourite roads – an avenue lined with poinciana trees. You can see it in this post actually. As I neared the end of my drive I passed through the archway of trees and came to a stop at a light. The breeze blew balmily through my car windows and pigeons cooed soothingly. Normally a busy street on a weekday, there were only a few other cars at the light with me. The air was so peaceful. All of the thoughts rushing around in my mind came to a pause as I sat and was quieted by the atmosphere. I wasn’t on a beach and didn’t have a drink anywhere near my side, but I imagine I had the kind of feeling people dream of having when they see those ads for island vacations.

I was thankful to be warm, thankful for the quiet. This might sound strange, but it felt a little like being in love. You know, those easy days when you’re not working too hard and you’re confident in and buoyed by the knowledge that you are loved. When you feel sweet, and relaxed, and maybe a little drowsy.

Life comes almost to a halt here on Sundays. With the exception of the food store, all shops are closed; the food stores close by mid-afternoon. Most everyone is taking it easy: at home, on the beach, out for a drive. It’s like the island is showing us it loves us by prompting us all to slow down and drink it in. At that light, the very best parts of a Sunday in Nassau were crystallised, there for me to bask in, to marvel at, to hold.

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When Fossils Lead to Deeper Friendship

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Pine Forest in South Abaco Blue Holes National Park

I’ve learned this year how cool it is to see my friends at work, to get a peek into the ways they spend their weekdays. It was a little strange recognising the thrill this gives me – like, is this weird? What is so exciting about this? But I realise now as I’m collecting my thoughts that these are new experiences for me. I’ve never been old enough before to see my friends do the work they talked about doing and spent years studying. Now I’ve crossed that threshold.

The first time I had this feeling was several months ago, in the dental hygienist’s chair. My friend Toni loves teeth and posts about them all the time on instagram, but this was my first chance to see her in action. She was wonderful! Told me all about my teeth and oral health in general. I left with a sparkly mouth, a heads up about what will likely need to happen with my teeth in the future and new information to incorporate into my cleaning routine.

The second admiration-inducing moment was a few weeks ago when I met up with Elora, a photographer. I’ve worked with her before on a few fun projects, and we talk often about the hours she spends editing pictures and developing her business, but this was the first time I was behind the camera with her. She explained the basics of exposure and helped me navigate the dials and menu options on the DSLR I’m borrowing from my uncle. I had an idea about the technicality involved in her craft, but having her as a teacher for a couple hours provided a deeper level of insight and, correspondingly, respect.

Then this week I’ve been in Abaco, an island in the northern Bahamas, visiting my friend Kelly. She’s an anthropologist for the Antiquities, Monuments & Museums Corporation of The Bahamas, and the office here focuses on natural history. She’s driven me around the island, telling me all about the environment, ecology and history; I alternate between awe at all that I’m learning about my country and Kelly’s fluency in this information.

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Dan’s Cave, South Abaco Blue Holes National Park

Today we went to her office and she showed me prehistoric fossils found in blue holes on the island, preserved almost perfectly because of the anaerobic environment at the bottom of the holes. We don’t have crocodiles or hutia in The Bahamas anymore, but Kelly has sifted their bones from sediment, cleaned and labelled them and taught schoolchildren about their historic presence here, along with other animals that are still around, like bats and wild boar.

Watching my friends at work, or listening to them talk in detail about their work, gives me a glimpse at another side of them. I learn more about the things they’re passionate about and the ways their minds differ from mine: Wow, this person must really enjoy biology/I don’t know if I could ever memorise all these things! I appreciate them in a whole new way for their contributions to our society, and the high standards they hold for their work. As life lasts, I look forward to seeing more friends in action, and the sweeter level of relationship this brings.