I’m not the type of person that warms up to things quickly, so it’s no surprise that adapting to my new house has been a challenge for me. When we came to look at the place I immediately liked the laid back, Caribbean feel of it, and the ocean view was undeniably beautiful. However, upon moving in I realized that I had my work cut out for me.
The house itself is relatively simple to explain. Basically, picture my old place in Chicago - a 2 bedroom condo in a 32 story high rise that includes a doorman, pool, gym and dry cleaner and is located in a major metropolis. This house is the exact opposite.
Of course, I’ll be more specific. As you approach the place, you’ll find that it’s a white cement house with green trim, located at the very top of a hill. The center of the house is a hexagon shape with the kitchen and living area open to one another, and 3 large sliding glass doors that open up to the back of the house. There are two hallways leading off either side of the main room where the bedrooms and bathrooms are located. In typical Caribbean fashion, the ceilings are high, giving the place an airy feel. A large deck wraps around the entire back of the house, overlooking the Atlantic Ocean and a golf course that runs through the bottom of a steep valley. The area we live in is quite lush, including many trees and plants that provide a great deal of privacy from one house to the next. In fact, there is a feeling of quiet seclusion when staying here.
Our new abode came furnished, so the place was turn-key but definitely wasn’t ready to be lived in when we got here. After a couple fitful nights of sleep, I realized that this house hadn’t truly been lived in for some time. In fact, it was reminiscent of a summer house after a long, long winter. Closets and cabinets had a musty smell, the furniture was dusty and there were countless dead bugs. I spent days washing every dish and all the linens. I cleaned out all the cabinets and closets and washed down the bathrooms. Items that I knew we wouldn’t use were boxed up and stored away. The things that seemed completely unusable, like the George Foreman Grill with the dead roach caked onto it, I took upon myself to throw out. No doubt, getting the house in order was a seemingly endless and at times frustrating task.
Over time, I also couldn’t help but notice that there are many mysterious quirks with my new residence. Despite several attempts to fix it, the freezer hasn’t worked since we moved in but the refrigerator is working just fine. The other day, one of the two ceiling fans didn’t work, but when I turned them off and on again they both turned on without any issue. When we first started using our TV, it would shut off after 5 minutes. Inexplicably, it started working perfectly one day and hasn’t been a problem since. The alarm to our house started beeping the other night, causing me to frantically wake up my boyfriend, convinced that someone was breaking in. Curiously, it wasn’t an intruder but rather our alarm simply beeping as though a door was ajar. It didn’t stop beeping until sometime the next day and has yet to turn back on. I’m actually concerned that I may have caught whatever ailment this house has because last night after dinner, I broke out into a rash on my face, back and chest that miraculously disappeared without a trace about an hour later. So the house never ceases to be a baffling phenomenon that could very well be spreading.
However, in recent days I’ve realized that my house is growing on me in a way that only a true home can. I get a familiar and comforting feeling when I’m driving up to the house at the end of the day, and the deck is quickly becoming one of my favorite places to find some solitude. In fact, over the weekend I spent the majority of my time at home. I stained some new Adirondack chairs with my boyfriend, read in the hammock, took a nap and BBQ’d on our grill. By Sunday night I undoubtedly felt an attachment to my new home that I hadn't felt before. Of course, there aren’t any amenities like my place in Chicago, but when I look out over the island from our home and take in the blueness of the ocean with the lush green island hills; it’s easy to forget about the luxuries of living in my prior world.