I sat on the floor of our room, my legs crossed on the cold, white tiles. The door wide open, the curtain drawn up. The faint sunlight that passed through the thick clouds filled up the room that never really saw the sunlight for months or years.
Since we have less work and more offs, I had more time to read. And I take only two to three evenings to finish a book so here are the recent three.
On my last post, I’ve mentioned how I felt sad about bidding goodbye to our last guest and that, a 14-day quarantine will commence before anyone can leave the island. Continue reading “The 14-Day Project – Island Isolation Stories”
Today we visited the island called Mheedoo in Dhaalu Atoll. We went to a school and got a chance to meet some cute kids. Of course I took photos of them and of the island as well. Continue reading “This Little Island Girl”
Yesterday, I had a chance to visit Bandidhoo Island. It was my 2nd time to visit this island but on my first visit, I never got the chance to take pictures earlier so this time, I seized the opportunity.
I saw two of my colleagues standing under a coconut tree, both looking up and pointing on to something that seems to be on top of the tree.
Being the usyusera that I am, I walked towards them and asked what they were looking at.
In this post, I won’t talk a lot. I will just show you the Maldives through my eyes (and lenses).
5o Shades of Blue
The Maldives is composed of 99% water and 1% percent land. Hence, expect that the country will be so blue. But wait, there’s more to the place than just being blue.
On bright sunny days, I cannot count how many shades of blue can I see. Royal blue, navy blue, cobalt blue, baby blue….name it, Maldives has it.
There are nights when I feel that a blue fairy might have sprinkled some blue dust everywhere. I don’t know how but sometimes, really, even the wooden jetty has a shade of blue on it. And mind you, the pictures in this post have not been filtered nor edited.
This country is also known for its soft and white sand that sparkles like diamonds whenever the sun is up.
So far, I have seen very few species of flowers here in the island. Orchids, gumamela (hibiscus), bougainvillea and santan (ixora) – the tropical ones.
The summer feeling won’t be complete without the coconut trees.
Rumors has it that in the Maldives, there are more cases of death by falling coconuts on the human head than shark attacks. Hence, in my workplace, we have a dedicated team of gardeners who does not only look after the beauty of our resort, but as well ensures that no one gets into trouble due to unidentified flying coconuts.
Everyday, the sun paints a different color to the sky before it finally goes down to a rest. Sometimes I feel like I am looking at a huge painting, it just feels so surreal.
When the sky is not orange during sunset, sometimes it has this baby pink and baby blue color that makes me feel like I am looking at giant cotton candies in the sky.
The official tag line of the country is ‘The sunny side of life” because it is just summer all year round. Though there’s also a monsoon season which is from June to August where we expect a lot of rain. However, rainy season here doesn’t feel really rainy after all. Sometimes it just rains for 10 minutes then the sun is up again. Sometimes it rains the whole day, then the next day you’ll wake up to a whole new world that looks like it never rained the day before. Though, there are tougher days when it really rains for about 3 days straight.
Red as in Red
Red for gumamela and apologies for the bad photography skills. LOL.
That’s all for now folks!
It’s been 6 months since I moved here in the Maldives. Time really flies and the next thing I’ll know is that my 2 year-contract has reached its end.
I have written a few things about my snorkeling adventures here as well as my work life issues but I have not written anything about how life is here in the Maldives, for the expats like me I mean.
Since I am an expat living in the Maldives, I’ll take the liberty to tell you about the country, how is it to live here and a lot more. Of course, I won’t be able to elaborate everything in just one post. There will be more to follow.
Maldives is a very beautiful place to live in and if I’d be given a chance [and money] to buy a small island here where I could build a small house, I’ll do that. Even though the Maldives is slowly sinking and might be wiped out in 20 years’ time or so, I’d still want to live [peacefully] here – if given a chance.
Just for your info, Maldives is the lowest country on Earth. The islands are not more than 1.8 meters above sea level. No hills, no mountains. And also, just for your info, in case you are still clueless as to where Maldives is, this country is located in the Indian Ocean, near Sri Lanka and India.
The Maldives is made up of more than 1000 islands [not so surprising to me though as I came from a country made up of more than 7000 islands, LOL], with around 200 inhabited islands and some 100 islands developed into hotels and resorts.
Most of the time, there’s only one resort per island as the islands are pretty small. Like in this island where I live and work (or work and live), I can walk around the whole island in about 15 minutes. That’s if I walk at a slow pace.
Can you imagine working and living in an island as small as this? Would you be able to survive here?
People like me, who loves to swim, walk by the beach, sit down and read books or listen to the waves might survive here. But youngsters, shopaholics and party animals – this is not the place for you.
A lot of people have asked me the same question of shock especially upon learning that I lived in Dubai for 10 years prior to moving here, how can you survive this lifestyle?
From a busy, crowded, cosmopolitan life to a very quiet, relaxed and isolated life is a huge change.
It was a bit of a shock for me initially. I can’t go out and eat in fast food chains, I can’t even buy the brand of coffee that I want or the brand of shampoo or soap that I want. There’s a small shop here in our island, and it’s like what you see is what you get. I feel happy whenever I see chocolates and chips, regardless of the brand. Whenever the stock of Milo or coke is over, we have to wait till the stock comes before we can buy and drink some again. Completely shocking, right? But so far I have adjusted and I learned to be happy and contented with what I see, though whenever I get a chance to go out of the island, I hoard important personal stuff and ensure that my supply will last for at least 3 months.
Well, I hope I didn’t bore you to death with this post. And if you will be given a chance to live here, do you think you’d be able to survive this lifestyle?
If there are few things that I have learned upon living castaway-ingly for almost a month, it’s not how to catch fish using my bare hands nor how to climb a coconut tree. What I learned so far (and I’m still learning) are these two virtues that are very difficult to learn, let alone practice in real life.
Patience and contentment.
Prior to flying to Maldives, I was told by my previous boss, never to take my negative attitude (of screaming or arguing or talking sarcastically to idiots) with me to the island as it won’t help me. I understood what he meant and so far I haven’t breached my patience contract yet, although, I almost did a few days ago, but I did not. I really tried not to because if I did, I would suffer for the rest of the months or years that I’ll be working here and seeing this person’s face in the canteen, in the laundry, by the pathways, in the office and well, everywhere in the island to be exact.
The staff here lives in dormitory like rooms, and we all have room mates, unless those on the higher ranks. I have a room mate. She is very quiet and I like her that way, though it feels so awkward sometimes. Not talking to each other that much means less chances of arguing over small things like who did not turn off the lights or who did not lock the door. There’s just some silent type of understanding between us and I just like it that way. What I was able to do in Dubai, (like cursing at previous flatmates who stole my hotdogs or fruit juice in the fridge or just moving to another apartment whenever I want to if I can’t stand my flatmates anymore) is something I can’t do here so I need to be extra patient even though my roommate still have not shown any signs or symptoms that might set off my patience alarm.
On my first few weeks here, I wasn’t eating dinner. As I mentioned in one of my previous posts, the dinner served daily are mostly local food that is meant for those who have been fasting the whole day since it is Ramadan – though this will change once Ramadan is over. And since I am very picky with food, I’d rather not eat than regret having eaten something I don’t like.
I also mentioned that I have been craving for a lot of food that is not available here (and will never be), and that I have brought with me just a carton of my preferred brand of 3 in 1 coffee which is about to completely disappear from my life within the next week or so.
At one point, I felt very deprived of the “simple” things that I want in life. But lately, maybe because I have adjusted to the lifestyle, I realized that what’s here, what’s been provided to us is really more than enough. That these cravings for food and for preferred brand of coffee are merely human desires, that we can control if we want.
Maybe, mind over matter? Is this just easier said than done? Or is this just easy for me because I don’t have a choice?
You might say it is easy for me to speak about patience and contentment because at the moment I don’t have a choice. But I think I’d like to continue living this lifestyle even after my island life is over and I hope I can really do so. And I hope I could practice this contentment not only on food matters, but also, in my life as a whole.
Reading this, I’m asking myself now if I’m slowly turning into a monk.