If you should be in Rome, live in the Roman manner; if you should be elsewhere, live as they do there.

The idea of living as an expat, especially on a Caribbean island, is pretty romantic. The reality, though not nearly as rosy, is so much more interesting. I’ve officially been an expat for 9 months now. I’ve been here long enough to experience the underside of the beast, especially in my line of work. Unlike many expats who work in tourism or hospitality, (providing visitors with great food or guiding them to a wonderful dive site), I see mostly locals, many times on their worst day. I certainly care for tourists, it’s rare a day goes by without treating at least one cruise ship passenger, but more than half my calls are for locals. What makes working with and caring for, the local population difficult is although they speak English, our customs and approach to life is different. I’ve had to adopt a “when in Rome” attitude. I remember reading about U.S. Special Forces, when they initially entered Afghanistan following 9/11, becoming frustrated with sitting down and having tea with village elders before getting down to business. The thing is, that’s how the Afghans do business. Continue Reading

Holidays on a Caribbean island

Working as a paramedic, or in any hospitality/healthcare/service industry job, has its perks. For me, I only work 16 days a month (in a job I love no less) vs. a 9-5’er working 20. For my wife, among other perks, she gets to dive for free on her days off. One flip side to that, we work on holidays. As a college professor of mine once said about the hospitality industry, we work when everyone else is off. During the holidays, we sometimes work even more. My poor wife has been on 6 day, 13-14 hour work day weeks lately and it’s kicking her ass. With that kind of schedule, we had to find some time to dive and enjoy ourselves.Continue Reading