Blooming hell – life on a hothouse island

Welcome to May 2015’s #TrailingSpouseStories!  This month, we’re talking about “Bloom Where You’re Planted.” How have we bloomed in our very itinerant way of life?  Here is my take on the matter.

When I heard the theme for this month’s Trailing Spouse crawl was BLOOM WHERE YOU ARE PLANTED. How do you think you’ve bloomed in your past and / or current location? all I heard was the word bloom. And it made me think of mould.

Now I am not sure that this is what Tala and Didi intended we write about for this month’s link-up.  I suspect I am supposed to say something about how I developed and blossomed over the months I spent living as an accompanying partner, happily tending the home while my husband tripped off to work every morning.

Unfortunately though this wouldn’t be true so I can’t write about it. So instead I want to take the word bloom and explain why life in “paradise” isn’t what you think it’s going to be.

When we knew we were going to St Lucia, I thought we knew what we would find there. It’s a beautiful island, surrounded by the azure Caribbean sea. White beaches, swaying palm trees, sparkling swimming pools  – it really does have it all.

If you are on holiday.


And of course, we weren’t on holiday. We were trying to live a reasonably normal life with two active children, one of whom took a huge disliking to the sea or the beach. Many a morning we paddled in the water with our younger daughter while the older one sulked on a towel (she didn’t even like stepping on the sand!) asking when would it be time to go home. They were both at the stage where they wanted to learn to ride bikes, but there was nowhere safe to take them. Just like all children their age, they loved swings and climbing frames, but the only public playground on the island was slightly rickety and completely unprotected from the sun.

Oh yes, the sun, did I mention that yet? It is of course wonderful to greet the tropical sun when you’re on holiday, bikini at the ready, pool loungers and cocktails beckoning. But try shunting twelve bags of shopping from your car to the kitchen when it’s 95 degrees and 99 per cent humidity. Because it wasn’t just the sun that was the problem, but the stifling, draining air. The air that made you feel like you were constantly swimming through cotton wool, that kept you dripping with sweat all day long….and that made your clothes, canvas chairs, towels, and pretty well everything else in the house that was made with the right material bloom with mould.


A hot and sweaty little girl

So we finally get to the blooming part of this post. Yes, it was a constant battle. Not just with mould and dampness, but with the effect the sea air had on anything made of plastic. It just fell apart. And the ants, oh the ants! I cannot tell you how many ants there were – they were everywhere. Leave out a grain of sugar and it would be black with the crawling insects within minutes. Every single item of food that we owned had to be locked away as tightly as possible in a jar, tin or plastic container. Every single crumb had to be wiped up as soon as it had been spilled. We mostly ate outside, which was a good thing as our younger daughter was only just pushing two when we first arrived and so messy, I wouldn’t have been suprised to see her being carried off by the ants herself.

Yes, living in St Lucia might have had it’s ups – but to say it was like living in a tropical greenhouse was no exaggeration. One big blooming hothouse to be precise.

Ah how I miss it!

Now read how some of my fellow trailing spouse’s have interpreted this month’s assignment!

For Didi of D for Delicious it is not rocket science that plants need roots to grow, but for trailing spouses it is not the case in #TrailingSpouseStories: How To Grow Without Roots.

Liz Smith of Secrets of A Trailing Spouse talks about how becoming a trailing spouse is one of the best things she has ever done in Bloomin’ Marvellous.

Jenny Reyes of MyMommyology say that the whole #TrailingSpouse experience is like planting seeds and hoping they’ll grow in #TrailingSpouseStories:  Growing A Garden (Or So We Hope).

Tala Ocampo put her HR hat on and explored the key competencies needed to “bloom where you’re planted” in What Does It Take To Bloom Where You’re Planted?.

Yuliya Khilko of TinyExpats says that whichever way you bloom, you’re not likely to remain a greenhouse plant in Not a Greenhouse Plant.

11 thoughts on “Blooming hell – life on a hothouse island

  1. My parents actually had a bit of a surprise, when they went for 3 months away from Shanghai, locking up their flat. When they came back, everything, every possible surface (tables, armchairs, slippers – I mean everything!) was covered in a thin green layer of mould. Humidity at its best.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: #TrailingSpouseStories: Growing A Garden (Or So We Hope) | My Mommyology

  3. Ah the heat and humidity. Same with Singapore! Like everything about you is sweaty. Haha! It’s interesting what you also said about St. Lucia being paradise when you’re vacationing but not as a resident. I guess at the end of the day it’s all about the fit. And with kids who don’t necessarily like the beach / sand then it’s not a paradise at all 😦 Hugs!


  4. Pingback: Making a new home abroad – my journey back to trailing spouse-land. |

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