September 2012 - Island Teacher

Week 2 Updates :)

The biggest update of the week is that we have a signed lease on a place to live. We...rather I...looked at many, many places to live. I must have looked at 20 different apartments/townhomes/houses. A downfall to living on such a beautiful, tax free island is that everything (especially housing) is very expensive. While I was able to find a lot to look at that fit our budget, options that I actually liked very pretty limited. Ultimately, we settled on this particular apartment because of the location and the 3rd bedroom. We are in a community/area called Snug Harbor. It's filled with expats and super close E's job (convenient because we are living with 1 car for now). We have a roomy 3 bedroom/2 bath townhome with a nice screened porch. I had to give up living within walking distance from the beach, but we did get a really nice pool. :) The home doesn't become available until the end of October, though. Luckily, we are able to extend our stay at the hotel until then. Even though it is great here, and I am by no means complaining, it will be nice to not live out of a suitcase and actually move into our own space when the time comes.

AG finishes up her first full week at school tomorrow. She is really enjoying it and I'm super proud of how well she is adjusting. I spent the week taking care of lots of details related to the move and E spent the week working and getting used to his new job. I start work on Monday. All in all things are great! Here are some pics from the week:

View from the hotel of the cruise ships in port for the day!

Playing in the crystal clear water..

Fountain Fun at Camana Bay

Chickens roam Cayman like cows roam India...
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The first few days....

Our first few days in Cayman have flown by! They have been packed with details of setting up on the island. Here's a summary:

Saturday: We left Atlanta with our 13 bags and boxes! Everything made it through the change of planes and Miami and arrived in GC safely. Coming through immigration and customs was relatively easy. AG was only allowed entry for 1 week because I need to get a letter from her school...this still needs to be cleared up so that our poor baby doesn't get deported Saturday! We cleared customs without have to pay any duty taxes (woot, woot!) which is something they could have charged. We arrived at the hotel and were surprised to see that we had a one bedroom residential unit with a full kitchen and washer/dryer!

Sunday: This was E's only day off before starting, so we spent most off the day enjoying the beach. We looked at several cars, which the owners brought to the hotel for us to check out. After contemplating, we decided that a 2000 Kia Sportage best fit our budget and needs. It is basic beach transportation that will get us where we need to go. :)

Monday: E started work and AG and I began errands. First stop was getting to the DMV and getting a driver's license. I was told to be prepared to wait awhile, but I was in and out with a new license in less than 30 minutes. We had an appointment with a realtor to look at apartments, so we began our search. Overall, it is difficult to find what we want in a budget we can afford. Prices range from 1000 CI to 10,000++ CI/month. The conversion is 1 CI to 1.25 USD. Everything is rented in Cayman Island dollars (CI$). US dollars are accepted everywhere, but you get a slightly better exchange rate if you pay in CI$. This gets a bit confusing...especially since E will be paid in USD and I will be paid in CI$. There are tons of places that fit the budget, but I find that I'll probably have to give up my updated kitchen and a bedroom (2 instead of 3) if I want to be on the water. OR if I want an updated place then I will have to drive to the beach. We looked at about 10 places total on Monday with a couple of different realtors. Some ok options, but nothing just right. Also on Monday, we stopped by the school where I will be working and AG will be attending. We got to meet some of the staff including AG's teacher.

Tuesday: We spent the majority of the morning getting insurance for the car and then transferring the title...another trip to the DMV. I then experienced opposite side of the road driving for the first time! Not too bad, although the roundabouts scare me! Afterwards, we went grocery shopping. Uh, sticker shock! I had done quite a bit of research before we moved, but nothing quite prepares you for a 6.00CI (7.50 USD) gallon of milk. Oh, and the small package of strawberries I wanted quickly went back on the shelf as I refused to pay 9.00CI (11.25 USD). Pretty much, you just have to shop "smartly" :) I won't buy everything I may want when I want it...I don't do this in the states either though, so it will be ok. I'm a sale shopper and this will have to continue here! We looked at a couple more apartments in the afternoon and then went to Camana Bay when E got off work. This is a super cool shopping, dining, business, and even residential area with the awesome interactive fountains which kids can play in and the only theater on the island. I even found a reasonably priced cupcake store. While it will not replace Gigi's Cupcakes, it was pretty good!

Wednesday (today): Not too much planned...which is good because we have been pretty busy and haven't even been to the beach since Sunday! We will definitely do that and probably view more apartments. :)

Please pray for AG as she works to adjust. There have been some attitude issues and a few behaviors that are not typical which have surfaced the past few days. I know it's tough for her and I want to be compassionate while keeping consistent. She will start going to school half day probably tomorrow.  Also pray that we find the right place for our family to live.




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