AWOL in Utila

It’s been a little longer than usual between posts. In fact, I just got a ping from my Dad to make sure I’m ok. (It feels nice to have the check in, just in case!) So I thought I’d catch the rest of you up on my radio silence too.

In essence, Utila got me. Everyone said it would, and they were right. Different than most places on the road, many people are in Utila for a month or more to complete their divemaster training so it’s more socially stable and possible to connect on a longer term basis. Habits and friendships form. I’ve been taken in by the lifestyle and relationships I have started here.

So what has actually been up? I finished my Rescue course over a week ago and since have been a Utila bum: hanging out, coming second in pub quizes (1pt off, so close!), eating delectable food with even better company, exploring more of the island via ATV for half price, getting sunburnt snorking for free off dive boats, restarting Mad Men from episode one, doing too much grocery shopping hungry, contemplating a specialty dive course but not getting my act together, defending the honor and reputation of the Great Julia Child, injuring my hands and componentry constantly and mysteriously, drinking my signature rum and ginger, hitching late night rides on golf carts going way too fast, not sleeping enough, and the big news: moving into an apartment with my favorite dive buddy Nico.

Some highlights where a camera was present:

Best dinner in Utila. πŸ™‚
Host/chef with the mostest, tending the grill.
BBQ–can’t get enough! Β // Β The art of a perfectly poached egg. Respect.
ATV-ing it up, Pumpkin Hill bound!
Dive dive dive! Nico rockin’ out, about to head down.
Ladies chillin’ up top and hanging off the side.

Screw PADI certifications, I think the fact that I now have a proper Utila “address” is what makes me a officially a diver. Nico is here for at least another month doing his divemaster and one day when talking with him about where he was moving it just clicked that we should get a place. Even if I just stayed for a short time more it made sense financially and logistically. I first signed on for one week, then starting admitting the addiction and saying two, and now even as every day passes I still say “about two weeks”. Stay until it feels time to leave, right? It’s nice that even though we’re not dive buddy-married anymore that we still get to chill so much. “So, how was your day?…” πŸ˜›

Our house is bright aqua blue, cute, on stilts, in the best part of town, and has a dive weight as a door stop. Amazingly easy to obtain, we talked with the landlord and signed up within minutes, moving in that very night. It’s $450 a month for a two bedroom, about the going rate in Utila. It has been a new element to life figuring out how to buy electricity, gas, and water and take care of other household logistics. Set far back from the street, some who have fancy boardwalks at their apartments might call ours “in the ghetto” as we are above the swamp. πŸ˜› I call it elevated waterfront property where the crabs scuttle in the gutters eating our scraps and if we open the windows just right the breeze makes a wind tunnel perfect for hot Utilan nights. It’s Nico’s first apartment, and I realized that the same could be said for me too in a way–it’s my first time having a room all to myself, unless you count the Waltham house back at Brandeis.

Nico waving from the new pad, plus our 2lb dive weight door stop.
My room and our beautiful kitchen.
Ok, so we might be a *little* swamp ghetto.

Our first order of business? Housewarming party! Two days after moving in, our house was filled with our good friends from the dive shop.

Housemates! πŸ˜€

The most repeated pot luck contribution was rum. As our freezer started to fill up, I thought we’d be set later with leftovers. I didn’t give our guests enough credit!!

Pot luck Utila style. Luckily Doug, Richard, and Vero are here to help.

We most definitely had food support too. Set before the gas for our stove was delivered, I made cold apps of mango guacamole and apples with honey-peanut butter. Both went over well and I was surprised the apples apparently gave non-Americans a punch of Americana novelty. Richard’s pasta and curry gave us some much needed substance, and then Danielle topped everything off with a dessert of oreos and m&ms.

Yum! Pot luck spread.
Digging in.

Our Advanced class trio of me, Nico, and Tim gathered together for a photo-op. It was one of Tim’s many “last night”s here in Utila before he finally pried himself away. Miss you lil’ bro!

Advanced team unite! Yeah, I think I’m going to stay out of the nipple pinching though…

So our house is thoroughly warmed and life is good. I have a kitchen, friends, a space of my own, fun to be had, and time. What more can you ask for?

P.S. In preparing this post, I discovered that I am over favoring the “yeah”-mouth-open look in my picture selection and probably need to learn some new camera face poses… I have the same expression in virtually every shot. What is up with that?!

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