As I looked out the large pane glass windows of the airport, I saw rain pouring down, splashing off of ledges, obstructing the view of what lay beyond the sheets of water. Moments later, the white alarm lights began flashing, as a recorded message informed us that a fire alarm had gone off in the airport and we needed to evacuate. The crowd moved through the door, as we waited for firemen to come reset the alarm and inform everyone that it was a false alarm. We were then once again ushered quickly through security, as we were hoping to board our flight which was now approaching three hours of delay.
These were my last moments in Cayman. My time there felt in many ways like a perpetual exercise in responding to a constant push-pull on my emotional state. While working to let go of expectations, I also had to navigate in what was my reality. Somehow this airport ending felt very fitting.
As I stood there waiting for the firemen, my mind traveled back to my first clinical day of work on the island. In an individual session with a child with autism, the power had gone out. I can still recall the confusion I felt as I tried to navigate this building which now had metal doors blocking off hallways. I remember others telling me that island-wide power outages never happened in Cayman anymore, yet I experienced more than one in my time there. That was the nature of Cayman.
Let go of expectations. Navigate the roller coaster of emotions. Trust that moments of frustrations would be followed by moments of joy, only to once again be followed by frustrations. Life is a state of movement. Trust that discomfort will eventually ease.
My time there still feels too fresh to make sense of all that I experienced there. As I sit in my apartment in New York, I still feel like Cayman was a blip in my life, almost like a special TV mini-series event. It seems surreal that I went to another country and lived that life, especially as I reconnect with friends here and we pick up where we left off, almost as if these nearly six months never happened.
But they happened. I encountered people I never would have met if I had passed on this Cayman opportunity. I spent hours on beaches, watching sunsets, staring out at the water. I laughed and danced and baked and sang. I stepped out of my known world, and was gifted with friendship.
In my last days there, I couldn’t help thinking about this world I had discovered and the fact that I never would have discovered it if I had let this opportunity pass me by. It still seems strange that I would never have known what I was missing if I hadn’t taken this chance in going to Cayman. Now, on the back end of this experience, I’m so glad to know what I did not miss.