I wake up on the morning of Thanksgiving Day (October 25th) in Grenada, feeling like I have been re-born; just having emerged from the other side of a long, dark, scary tunnel. I have a lot to be thankful for.
This post was originally published in 2011. It has since been updated for accuracy of links and content.
Why am I Thankful in Grenada? Rewind Two Weeks.
With giddy excitement, I arrive at my new house-sitting gig in Grenada. Despite over 30 hours of travel from Saigon already under my belt, the last 10 hour flight from London has me giggling like a schoolgirl every time I look out the window at the sparkling ocean; the ocean which is to be my front yard for the next three months.
And arriving in Grenada is no disappointment. Everything is beautiful, from the luscious green island, to the friendly people, to the gorgeous property, to the sparkling ocean.
I take a day to settle in and meet a few neighbours before calling my “Swedish Squeeze”.
The ball drops.
I’d had a feeling something wasn’t right with us for a while. Despite a brief and lovely interlude in Sweden, we had been apart since June and I felt an ever-growing distance between us. After an email to him to make sure he still really wants to come in two weeks when he’s scheduled to arrive, he suggests speaking on Skype.
I learn that while I was on a train somewhere in Siberia, my “Squeeze” was “Squeezin” another lady, who is now pregnant.
The initial shock quickly gives way to anger. Although the terms of our relationship were still somewhat undefined, there is no room for promiscuity in my books – especially when there are pregnancies to contend with. I end the relationship, and his invitation to house-sit with me in Grenada is promptly revoked.
And with that I end the call, and go grocery shopping. (As you do).
Standing in front of the cans of tuna, it starts to hit me. My knees buckle, my vision darkens, my stomach turns. Overwhelm and panic overcomes me.
I’m here. On a desert island. In the middle of the sea.
For the next three months.
I’m now the statistic of two big breakups while traveling, and left to contend with trust issues that infidelity brings up in the best of us.
Buy your stuff and Go Home, Nora.
My inner voice is strong, guiding me carefully and quickly out of the store and back to the comfort and safety of my villa where the fallout can begin.
In the following days I lay low and nurture myself from so many things: recovery from the very hectic Ultimate Train Challenge which took a few bars of strength from my coffers, relaxing into the heat and pace of “island life”, and – of course – a broken heart. As much as I may have had reservations about our relationship, I had not expected this.
The ball drops. Again.
And then I get sick. I mean, really sick. I maintain a fever so high and so constant that I can’t do much more than sleep. With the accompanying headaches and body ache, I am unable to sit up for more than 10 minutes before having to lie down again. I lack the equilibrium or strength to do any more than feed myself simple food (thank goodness I went shopping earlier) and shuffle ungracefully from bed to chair to bed.
I’m too sick to even make it to the car to drive out for much-needed painkillers.
Being sick is never fun, but it’s additionally scary when you’re alone – and a stark reminder of it no less.
Through the following week of solid fever and associated symptoms, I battle a number of demons – seen and unseen, physical and emotional. I sweat through night after night of tormented, fevered dreams.
And I pray.
And then I wake up.
It’s Thanksgiving morning in Grenada.
I’ve weathered my first full night without a fever or headache. I have a long way to go to reach total health (for instance I now seem to have developed an unsightly and painful body rash and my hands and feet are so red and swollen that it actually hurts to touch anything or wear shoes), but – I’m moving in the right direction. At least I can make it to the car to get what I need now.
I have a new take on my relationship. It was clear we wouldn’t have been together forever, and I’m in a perfect place to rest, recover, hike, mediate, write, reflect, and mend. For him, his new partner of choice is apparently a good one; an old friend with whom he can build a life and have a child. This is good.
The sun is shining, the ocean is sparkling, and I’m living on a tropical island.
And so, I am thankful in Grenada.
All’s Well That Ends Well…
I ended up staying in Grenada for almost two years while using it as a base for my travel lifestyle. Here are some of the adventures I had:
Random Observations About Grenada Island
Unique Transportation: Buses in Grenada
Don’t Send me Presents: My House Has No Number, My Street No Name
29 thoughts on “Being Thankful in Grenada”
Wow, what a traumatic start to your stay in Grenada. It must have been awful to be that ill while alone in a new place after hearing that news. I am so impressed that you have managed to come out of it with a positive frame of mind.
I am jealous of your house sit in the Caribbean though. Take care and enjoy!
Oh wow Nora – what an awful lot to endure in the last couple of months.
So happy that you have this housesit though – the next 2.5 months you can start anew and do all the reflecting you need. Enjoy paradise! (I am sitting in chilly London and jealous of your warm weather) 🙂
Wow, talk about alot to handle…glad you are feeling better and on the other side of the rainbow…enjoy Granada and your freedom!!!
I’m really sorry for what happened but I hope writing about it helps. I am sure the sun, warm weather, some tropical fruits will definitely be a great pick me up.
Keep writing and do the things you love.
Oh, Nora. This destination – the grateful mindset – is such a good place from which to look back upon the difficulties as they fade into the distance, as you know. You deserve a season of peace and beauty now, and it looks like you’re going to get it.
@Erin – re: Traumatic starts – yes, I don’t seem to do things in small measures! Ha ha. Being sick like that and alone is one of the scariest things for me. But having made it through has also been very empowering.
@Dalene – As long as the hurricanes remain at bay in the next while, I’ll be golden! (Whoops – did I say that out loud??? Dammit.)
@Lori – Speaking of rainbows here, there are some doozies to admire!
Re: freedom – yes, complete and total freedom. It can be quite liberating!
@Shawn – Mmm…tropical fruits….that was about all I could eat with the Dengue fever (as I now learned is what I had). There’s nothing like tropical fruits on a tropical island. One of the things I missed most about Hawaii. Yum!
Do the things I love….great advice! Thank you.
How brave of you to not only live through the above, but to reveal it here. You’re an inspiration!
Dios mio, I’m worried about you! Do you feel better now?
Where and how did you catch Dengue fever?
I suppose your defenses were quite down after your too-long train-tour and the breakup… emotional stress can have a huge impact on your body.
I’m so sorry for what happened with your boyfriend, surely it was a great deception for you… . Hope your heart will heal soon!
But don’t worry, you’ll recover from illness and heartsick and feel better and three months on a pretty island are surely a good way to achieve this.
Sending you a lot of love from México,
WTF. Zero to pregnant in 60 seconds?!?
Sounds like you are way ahead dumping that chump.
(A bottle of Meyers Dark Rum bets that relationship ain’t gonna last.)
Wait, so you are a beautiful, intelligent woman alone on a magnificent Caribbean island…I’ll be right there.
Shit, I forgot that I’m a sixty year-old hirsute, pudgy, balding (the one place I want hair), and oh yeah…happily married for 33 1/2 years…wannabe person like you (a wonderfully talented travel writer).
Well, a guy can dream, right.
(What’s that dear…no, I just checking the news on my computer. That sexy redhead?…ah…um…)
Keep smiling, Nora (when it no longer hurts).
You’re fine. Hell, you’re great.
Well that sucks! At least you can take medicine for the rash…
I’m sure that some day you will find your soulhobo.
Whew. That took me through a roller coaster ride of emotions! I went from excitement, to anger, to worry & concern, and then finally, a little bit of relief.
Enjoy Granada and have a wee bit (okay, A LOT) of fun. You deserve it.
c’est la vie soldier…carry on…. as you must
sorry to see you hurt
So sorry to hear about all of this. Cold comfort platitudes abound of course (their loss your gain ..bla bla ) but you know you can only come out better. We are out there.
And I’m coming to visit! We’ll tear it up!
Two single girls on an island, whoo hoo!
I think we should make a website about the upcoming visit and make a big event, with locals and exotic tourists alike…I can see me in a lovely weekend romance with a mysterious man from Morocco perhaps…and some dark-eyed soulful man, from let’s say France, pines after you all week…you have one passionate night with him but then dismiss him. You’ve had enough of men right now and don’t want to commit. He spends the rest of his life wondering about the beautiful aloof redhead he met in Grenada….yep. Sounds like a plan.
I better go shopping, this is going to require some new clothes and supplies!
Hee hee! Ok, we can just lounge around in hammocks and drink cocktails with little umbrellas in them!
Love ya babes!
@Alicia – Although I could have caught the Dengue Fever in Vietnam, my feeling is that I got it here in Grenada, where the mozzies are brutal and Dengue is common. (There is no vaccination, nor is there any cure).
@Wannabe – Thanks to you all for such great support. It means a lot!
@Miki- We’ll discuss our plan(s) of attack closer to your visit….the website may be a bit extreme, and you’ll be hard-pressed to find Moroccan love on this side of the Caribbean. But I DID spot a table full of French people at lunch the other day… 🙂
All things considered however, the hammocks and girl-time sound most appealing to me these days! 🙂
Oh wow, Nora. So sorry you had to go through all of that. And to be sick too?!
Glad you feel better. Only up from this point on. Enjoy Grenada. You deserve it.
I’m glad you didn’t choose the easy option – binning the trip when things got tough. You did the best thing – road out the storm – allowing for a fresh perspective when the sky was clear.
Hope you enjoy it there!
Take care. All my best.
@Kieu – Thanks. Indeed – a few icky experiences can help you put things in perspective, and to enjoy the good times even more.
@Darren – Funny thing is, there is no “easy option” for me, as for me the trip is my lifestyle! Binning it would have far greater consequences (like having to find a new home!), than simply riding it out and realizing that bad things happen, even in paradise. Getting through it is where strength of character comes from.
@Gar – Thanks. Having a much nicer time now.
Bet Grenada can’t be any more beautiful than Aitutaki in the Cook Islands, where I was for 2+ weeks. And stayed healthy. And had time to myself after volunteer teaching. Within the next few hours I’ll be sending you off my “Week-in-the-life” produced there.
Dengue fever can kill you, so despite the daunting week, you’re lucky it wasn’t longer and worse. Enjoy – good health, tropical breezes, your fabulous life!
@Dorothy – Glad you enjoyed the Cook Islands! And I’m even more glad you stayed healthy (that deet came in handy, I see).
Thanks for your week-in-the-life submission; I can’t wait to share it with readers here!
Sorry to read all these bad things that has happened to you, but in grenada you can just relax, a thing like this happened to me wife caught playing around she had to leave & head back to the UK, i stayed in Grenada & still here & forgetting the bad things & enjoying life
@Mick – You know what? It’s the dark moments in life that help you to truly appreciate the amazing times. And things have certainly turned around for me here; Grenada is quickly becoming one of my favourite places, and I’m already making arrangements to return!
Starting next week, I’ll start publishing a collection of articles and videos about my time here in Grenada, painting a picture for the journey I’ve had so far. It has been amazing….
Wow, talk about starting over. Really sorry to hear about the not quite enjoyable start of a new adventure. I hope you are feeling much better and keep your head held high and face the world (as you’ve done so far). Your inner strength guided you through and luckily you didn’t say ‘it couldn’t get any worse than this’ as Life has a funny way of proving us wrong. Keep up the awesome work and enjoy the sun and sea 🙂
@Joseph – Thanks! Yes, it was a rocky start to my time in Grenada, but as the post says – I’m actually thankful for it all in the end. I caught up on some much-needed rest, and I’ve rebuilt and regained a whole new sense of self and self-confidence that is really fabulous.
Girlfriend, I have been there..sick and no one can go get you anything at the store because you are alone. It sucks. Last time, I had the flu and went to the grocery store looking life death…I warned all the people trying to push me to go faster in the self-checkout lane that i had the flu…that all slowly moved backwards and away. hehe I am glad you have a new take on your island paradise. Sounds lovely.
@Selena – Thanks for your good thoughts. I’ve long recovered from Dengue fever, and moved onwards and upwards! More recently, I’ve had to deal with a very high fever aboard a sailboat where I’m cooking for the guests….but thankfully (again) the fever has broken and I’m on the mend – once again! I really appreciate the gifts of health after being ill.
I went through something similar when I was in my early forties and went off on a teaching stint for 4 months. It was scary being very sick so far from home in a remote place, alone and with inadequate health care resources. I was also extremely lonely, and being in a place full of opportunistic and unemployed men that watched the latest bus arrivals unload fresh female tourists in town was not appealing; the whole scene became rather stagnant for me. (I am/was married, though that didn’t stop me for longing for the intimacy which I lacked both in that exotic place and at home….) I was impressed with was the fact that you had the maturity and wisdom to see that your relationship was not fated to last forever and that perhaps your ex wanted to settle down and have a child with this other long time friend, which certainly is not a crime. Too many people think of people they are involved in relationships with as objects of possession, and then feel deceived when they don’t last forever, even though most of them were not meant to. Being bitter and reproachful about it helps no one. And think of all the love affairs that could await you! You are beautiful and intelligent, and I certainly envy you being young and free and having such an ideal living arrangement.
@Marty – Thank you so much for sharing your story, and for your kind words!
As for relationships, there’s a saying that people come into your life for a reason, a season, or a lifetime.
I also believe that we can have many soulmates in a lifetime….some will be romantic partners, and others friends or even teachers/mentors/students. So it is with grace that we should be able to let go of a relationship when its time is done.
Love – romantic or otherwise – is something to be shared and not possessed. After a spell of anger and disappointment, I am happy to say that the Swedish Squeeze and I remain in touch and are confidents to one another, providing a level of honesty and perspective to one another’s lives that few other people could.
For that – and so very many other things – I am thankful!