So I am finally on my way. I leave Whitehorse, covered in snow and about 20 degrees below zero…Celsius that is. I first fly to Ontario, which was four hours, and then on to Barbados, another five and a half hours. Long flight! I step off the plane at Grantley Adams Airport, and no, Rihanna was not on my flight although I did meet her mother some years later. I pass through customs no problem, and I start looking frantically for my friend Diane. Anxious….what if she’s not there….what would I do….This was my first and only big trip by myself on an airplane other than a visit to Hawaii 25 years earlier with a girlfriend. I step outside into the glaring heat and wish I had changed clothes on the plane.
Jeans and a winter jacket just didn’t cut it in 80 degree weather.
Suddenly I hear my name and there is Diane grabbing me in a big hug! Thank the Goddess! She has arrived with her hubby Glenville, whose nickname is Cent. His mother named him that because when he was born, he was no bigger than a cent. That nickname has stuck with him to this day. Most of the folk I met in Barbados all have a nick name, sometimes two or three. So, Cent grabs my bag and off we go towards this white, very small narrow van. As I get in, I am introduced to our driver Rodney, who is known by the name Froggy. Sorry, I don’t know the origin of his nickname, but it might be because he has rather buggy eyes. He is some kind of family to Cent. So, off we go, heading to Bathsheba which is on the other side of the Island in the Parish of St. Joseph. Barbados is a small Island, 21 miles long and 14 miles wide, but densely populated.
Well, I have no words to describe the adventure of my first ride in Barbados. I was terrified. They had given me the front seat so I could admire the view but all I could do was hang on for dear life. No one else seemed the least bit perturbed but I was white knuckling it the whole way. As we proceeded through the various Parishes, Froggy would lay on his horn at every corner. I soon realized why when I finally got brave enough to open my eyes. The roads were so narrow that there was only room for one vehicle so a good horn blast lets any other traffic know you are coming. Years later, I got very good at the ‘horn blast’, and used it often. I’m positive it saved my life on several occasions. Now, I do need to mention that we were on back country roads by this time. The main roads were all two lanes, well-kept and paved…in some cases even wider.
So, about an hour or so later we arrive in beautiful Bathsheba. I am blown away as we come down into the small fishing village, with the boats bobbing on the sea, fishermen working on their nets, folk walking on the beach and surfers out enjoying the waves.
Village of Bathsheba. Eventually I ended up living right in the middle of those trees behind the small white building, at the bottom of a cow pasture. I will probably do a “Barbados” page eventually as I have lots of stories and lots of photos to share.
I couldn’t believe I was actually in paradise. I was exhausted after my long flight, and we all trooped up to our ‘accommodations’ which Diane had rented for a month. Her and Cent had a little place over on Hillswick, a short walk away but at that time, they had no power or running water, and they only had one room so they had decided to rent a three bedroom place, right next to the beach for my month-long stay. Our place had a big porch and the next thing I knew it was filled with people coming to meet me. There was Smokey (his nick name had something to do with falling in a fire or getting hit with a fiery stick) and Rasan, Cent, Froggy, Shirley (don’t ask me how he got that one) Mark, Diane, myself and several others. I was struggling to try to keep my eyes open and to figure out some way to remember who was who. Diane, realizing my exhaustion, showed me to my room and I crashed amid the sound of the waves gently hitting the shore, laughter of the guys, the haze of smoke from the many spliffs being passed around and the sounds of the night folk; crickets, frogs and all kinds of other soothing sounds. It was blissful to say the least and I was out like a light!
I woke up at daybreak to the sounds of roosters crowing and dogs barking. It was time to get up. Diane was already outside getting ready to meditate and I hurried out to great her. In Whitehorse, we were part of a very Spiritual group of people, and we were exploring a lot of alternative, New Age type stuff. Diane and I both firmly believed in the Power of the Universe and I was looking forward to a month of contemplation, meditation, great philosophical discussions whilst high on some wonderful Bajan green. In between all this, I envisioned long walks on the beach collecting shells, boogie boarding in the surf, hanging out with Diane and just doing nothing, working on a tan, watching the moon come up and the sun go down. It was going to be an idealistic month, for sure. Bathsheba was a wonderful place to explore.
Our days were full. We walked and talked for miles every day. We collected shells and made jewelry. We hung out with the guys and left our ‘feminist’ sign down for a while. It was magical and I went to bed at night just waiting for the next day. Every day at some point we had the same discussion. It was always the ‘what if’.
What if we could do this every day.
What if we didn’t have to go home.
What if we could actually live here….and on and on. Diane would always say…but we could do this every day, we don’t have to go home, we could live here and I would always reply…maybe you could but I have a responsibility to my boss. I work for Government, I have to go back. I have bills to pay, I have a house to take care of, I have a relationship at the point of disintegration and I have to end it and on and on and on and Diane would stand up, cross her arms over her ample bosum and say in a very stern voice: YOU ARE LIMITING YOURSELF, STOP LIMITING YOURSELF AND PUT IT OUT TO THE UNIVERSE AND SEE WHAT COMES BACK well, I wasn’t sure what to make of that and I said: The Universe isn’t going to make my car payment or shovel the snow at the house or do my job that I need to do to make money to live…..and she would repeat STOP LIMITING YOURSELF, JUST PUT IT OUT THERE
Well, the days passed and it was soon time to leave. I was really psyched by this time. I was going to go home and ‘manifest’ this life. I was determined! The day before I was to leave, we went over our ‘plan of action’. Diane and I had decided to use crystals as a way in which we would communicate and keep in touch. We set a time to try to do this. Between 6:30 and 7:30 am for me would be between 11:30 and 12:30 for Diane. Right at lunch time. As I mentioned in earlier blogs, I lived in Whitehorse, Yukon at the time, about 25 miles out-of-town. We did not have running water, we hauled our water. So, every morning I would be up at 6:00 am and out the door on my way to town. I would arrive at the Swimming Pool at about 6:30 and I would start my morning routine. I used to swim a mile at that point, then a quick sauna, shower and off to work. I had been back about two weeks and I had my ‘vision board’ going, with all my Barbados pictures; I had my affirmations stuck all over the place. I was talking to the Universe every day. Man, I was ready.
So, this morning I was doing my laps, minding my own business and reliving the whole Barbados trip in my mind. I’m also concentrating on Diane, letting her know that I am think about her and thinking about our conversations. Well, I can multi task like nothing and I was doing it all. Lap after lap…what if I could….but I can’t…what if I could…but I can’t….all of a sudden as I reach the end of the pool and prepare for my turn I see Diane. and this is the absolute truth…SHE WAS STANDING AT THE END OF THE POOL SAYING “YOU ARE LIMITING YOURSELF…STOP LIMITING YOURSELF AND PUT IT OUT TO THE UNIVERSE AND SEE WHAT COMES BACK” Well, I took in so much water I thought I would drown and while I was swimming back, gasping for breath, everything fell into place. My mind just clicked and I knew exactly what I could do. I could rent my room out. That would pay my car payment. I could leave Phil in the house and he would monitor everything, collect the rent, take care of the house, make my payments etc. This would work for both of us until I knew for sure what the future was going to be. When I got into work that morning, I went in to see my Director and I said: Bobbie, I want a job share and she said sure, what do you want….three days on and two off. I said no….I want six months on and six months off. She said ‘can you do that’? and I said ‘why not’…the Feds (as in Federal Government) are promoting the triple work day for women and this is the Women’s Directorate, supporting women’s issues so I feel justified in asking for this. Well she said, do me up a proposal and we’ll discuss it. I wasn’t taking any chances. I decided to lobby the Minister Responsible. The Yukon was pretty loose about protocol and it was nothing to see various cabinet ministers having coffee in the lunch room. I choose a quiet time and approached Margaret Joe, the Minister Responsible. I said Margaret, I want to do something unusual and unheard of at this time within Government and I would like your support. She asked me ‘what’ and I told her the whole story, from start to finish. She also knew Diane and was not overly surprised when I told her what I wanted to do. She said she would give me her full support! I was stoked.
To make a long story short, I did the research, presented the proposal, and sold it to my Director by stating that a lengthy six month job share would create employment for a mom during the winter and would allow her to stay home with her kids in the summer, and being as how it wouldn’t affect the actual job if I was gone that long, it could work. I had lots of other good stuff as well, but that was the clincher. She said OK, we will try it for a year but you have to do all the work involved in making this happen. I proceeded to do just that. From the advertising of the position to the interviews, to running it through the Public Service Commission and past the Union. I was the first person both Federally and Provincially to have obtained a six month job share so I was trying to be very careful. I was like a mad woman. The necessary paper work was all completed, my half time was hired and within eight months, I was back in Barbados for my first six month vacation! I am not a religious person in any way, shape or form but I cannot explain what it was I saw and heard that day, so I can only call it my God Experience and be thankful that the Universe answered my prayers and changed my life. I ended up in Barbados for fifteen years in all and I will have lots of stories and pictures to share.