Is it really the end of another year?! Wow, time flies when you do the same thing over and over again, eh? Sometimes I think our lives didn’t change all that much this year and sometimes I think our whole world shifted. We have been extremely fortunate during this pandemic for so many reasons and we are thankful for so much in our lives.
While we self-isolated this year, we took full advantage of the homesteading nature of our home lives. The island-fever has been tough at time but it’s made us a pretty strong family unit. We’ve created ourselves a family routine that works for us, and maybe a routine that was lacking in our pre-pandemic lives. Our biggest news is that we broke ground on our house, just down the road from Gayle’s house. Ethan has spent this holiday break and vacation time that had been saved for travel and poured himself into building our new home.
Container storage unit, a workshop, and water buffalo/catchment unit.
Next up, a Crucian-stype cottage, which will eventually serve as our guest cottage. However, it may house a skilled craftsperson, who wants to escape the snow and work in the Caribbean for a few months and yes, we’re always open to new applicants 🙂 By March, we hope to start on the main house, a two-level home with lots of patios and outside space facing the Caribbean Sea to the west.
Ethan continues to build and manage projects for a local contracting company. He loves learning new things and takes those practices into his own building all the time. His work hasn’t changed much, except for his mask-wearing and safety precautions. He’s had the opportunity to work on some fabulous historic properties and some really interesting commercial builds too. In the afternoons and weekends, he spends most of his time working on our new house or fixing and tinkering on Gayle’s house. As a family, we enjoy board game nights and we’ve binge-watched a number of seasons of “Alone” (History Channel).
Taj will tell you he is bored and lonely, but he has had a pretty good year. We kept him home from Good Hope Country Day School this year because we just weren’t ready to go back. It’s still OUR school and we’ll return but this was a good growth year for Taj. He caught up on his reading and with Gayle’s constant instruction, he’s really picked up skills that he may not have if he were in a classroom. We did have him join a in-person small-group Survival Bush Skills program once a week. He takes piano lessons, karate classes, and tutoring sessions online. We have a small Covid-circle of friends and Taj understands the reason for our lifestyle choices and when given the opportunity, he always chooses safe.
I’ve fallen into a new groove with my client workload and the needs of my most demanding client, an 11 year old homeschooler. While Gayle handles much of the lessons, I handle the extracurriculars, the administration, the schedule, and the household. I find sanity in my daily workouts and feel strong in my healthy lifestyle choice. Sometimes I get Taj to join me for a bike ride, walk, or snorkle in the morning, but it’s the sweaty cardio and weights before sunrise that put me in the right headspace for the day. Covid brought out my green thumb and with the help of ordering interesting exotic heliconias and gingers from eBay and trading with local friends and fellow gardeners, it’s become a hobby that provides beautiful rewards both in Gayle’s yard and in our nursery for the new yard. Did I mention, Ethan built the most fabulous greenhouse for us?
We’ve taken a few staycations at local hotels or glamping sites. Ethan and I even did a grownup only stay at The Fred.
Maybe we’ll venture to St. John when the Covid numbers go down. Maybe we’ll make it up to visit my mother and Harry at their new home in Leland, NC. We missed our trip to Boston to see my brother, Josh graduate from Boston College. And we missed our big summer trip to starting in Portland, OR; then a drive down through The Redwoods, a stay in San Francisco and Sacramento before heading out to Samoa. It would have been our first trip back in 15 years and Taj’s first visit. It’ll happen someday.
Everyone’s lives shifted this last year as did ours. But, we are fortunate that the shift was manageable for us and we think all the time of those that have suffered so much with this year through the pandemic, racial injustice, and political turmoil. We look forward to the future, the vaccine, and a day when masks are not a necessary accessory, and when we are invited to social gatherings again. Our hearts are with those that struggle and we send love and light to all of you.
Follow along our building journeys and island adventures on Instagram Stories. We look forward to you visiting our island! Stay safe.
And as my cousins/friends Elizabeth and Pranay’s poetic holiday card said it perfectly, I’m borrowing it from them with credit:
For now, we’ll keep our masks, with this simple ask – stay safe as you pursue justice and truth.
Let’s let go of hateful, spend time being grateful, and work hard to honor our Ruth.