Like many foreigners in this part of the world, we took a holiday ... a gentle dip into our imaginings of a laid-back tropical lifestyle. It wasn't real. It was vacation.
Repeat visits, however, took us deeper into island life, talking with the people who were scratching out a living here and gradually, as we built a retirement home, experiencing the frustrations of a slowly building infrastructure, the bureaucracy of an overseas territory and the harsher aspects of sun, sand and sea. Still we came. I lived here for nearly five years, Tom for one. Even when circumstances took us back to the U.S., we continued to come here. And somewhere along the way, vacations became visits.
Trips to North Caicos are now something different, something more than a vacation. Yes, there are still beach walks and time to read and hanging out at the bars ... but also a sense of return, of slipping into an alternate timeline the way they used to in Star Trek episodes.
From here, I can see Urban Jody walking to the garden and Lorraine's studio, writing and making mosaics, going to the museum and festivals, cooking new recipes with exotic ingredients. From there, I see Island Jody trying to fix and clean things around the house, having drinks with friends, writing and making mosaics, and soaking up the stories and knowledge of the island old-timers.
And in between, in the space that used to be occupied by shallow vacationing, there's just Jody, still trying to work out how to live a creative and kind life.