Monday, 12 December 2011

Tis’ the Season

I love living in the Bahamas.  Even though we do not have the typical seasons where leaves change colour, snow falls, spring arrives and then the joy of summer, we do have seasons.  You just have to look a little closer. 

Growing up here, I was not exposed to the typical change of seasons that northern countries such as Canada experience. I was so excited to ‘experience’ the change of seasons when I went away to school, and cherished every change.  Often walking down the street in the summer enjoying the blue sky, flowers in the gardens and sandals on my feet I would say to myself, I cannot imagine snow being on this street even though I’ve seen it in the past... and then in the winter when the streets were stacked high with snow banks and the trees were bare and the sky was grey, I couldn’t fathom what a summer day would look like in this very spot, even though I had seen it with my own eyes just months before! I never grew tired of that day dreaming. 
But here in The Bahamas, the changes are there.  And every year I cherish them. The heat of the summer tends to lull everyone into a sleepy state but as the tinges of cool start coming in on the evening air, and the air starts to smell a little fresher as  September draws to a close, Nassau starts buzzing with activity and the island comes alive.  
The signals of winter also come through people.  The social calender is packed with events that start at the end of October, and pick up steadily until the end of December.  The stores start filling up, and people have a lightness in their step.  Perhaps its because the heat of the summer has been forgotten and the excitement of the holidays is upon them.  
October brings in the International Food Festival.   With November comes coveted Balls where everyone has the chance to be Cinderella and weddings are plentiful. 
One of my favorite events is the annual Bahamas Humane Society Luncheon Fashion Show put on by Cole’s of Nassau.  I remember hearing about this event when i was younger, looking forward to the day when I had the luxury to attend.  To be able to take 3 hours off during the work day to enjoy a lovely lunch and watch the season’s fashions come down the runway in front of you.  The best part is getting dressed up and catching up with people you haven’t seen in a while.   This year’s event was on November 8th at the British Colonial Hilton.  And it was sold out! 
The Bahamas National Trust’s annual Jollification is another great event.  You get to see just about everyone you know, and probably have not seen since last year’s jollification! 
This year I attended the Lignum Vitae Winter Fest and had a wonderful relaxing afternoon.   While the event is more geared towards kids and families, my Mom and I attended, bought a few wares from the vendors, chatted with some friends, and enjoyed a baked potato on the lawn and soaked up the positive energy in the air from people coming together for a great cause, with great spirits.   And after all, isn’t that what the holiday’s are all about? 


Seasons really do exist in The Bahamas - you just have to look a little closer! 

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

WE THE PEOPLE! Have YOU heard?

After a long and busy past couple of weeks, I debated going to the We the People AGM.  I went expecting something of what has become the norm here in Nassau.  Another disorganized, poorly attended little meeting.  As I pulled into the parking lot behind another car that was also turning into the Dundas I saw so many more cars than I expected.   There were tents in the courtyard, professionally made poster boards and a big buffet awaiting the end.  There were proper video cameras and people greeting you in We the People T-shirts with very professional brochures that they handed out.  Immediately I was energized and so pleased with the decision that I had made the effort to attend. 
I walked through the doors and there was the registration table to either become a new member or renew.  As I signed up last November when the group was founded, I renewed for a very affordable $10.  You can be a member for 5 years for the low cost of $25. 
Into the main theatre section I went, where I saw a surprising turnout along with familiar faces of the community.  The stage was set with a projector and banners! Completely unexpected. 
Phil Simon opened up and then Dr. Nicolette Bethel gave an empowering talk on democracy.  I won’t even try to quote what she said but it was so well put together and thought provoking.  The gist of it was democracy is an experiment of which we are a part, and that we are all members of this democracy and we have a duty to actively be involved in our democratic country or else it will fail. 
Phil then introduced the short video and glimpse of a show that will soon air on T.V. called WE TV.  Again I was blown away by the quality of the production of the show.  We did not watch the entire show as it is 30 minutes long so I cannot wait to see it all. 
After our sneak peak at WE TV there was a video interview of a lady Mamphela Ramphele a very famous African lady who explained that the problems in Africa were that people are simply sitting and waiting, still as subjects of the past rulers, and not acting as the citizens that they are.  Waiting for someone else to come to them, to provide opportunity, rather than taking ownership of their country.  Of course it was much more eloquently put than this but here is the link - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qBRGLdWMgoM



This is the problem that we have in The Bahamas.  Most people want to pass on the responsibility and accountability of a problem.  It’s always the mysterious ‘they’.  ‘They’ should really do this, that wasn’t me, that was ‘them’, or the simple ‘I don’t know’.  I guess ‘They’ according to most Bahamians refers to the Government.  Well the Government is US! WE ARE THE PEOPLE of this little country and change is my responsibility and your responsibility.  
Ed Fields presenting
After the video concluded Ed Fields came out and presented the impressive accomplishments that We the People has achieved in just one short year.  And anyone involved in a group or organization understands just how quick one year goes! 
The six projects that have begun are: (please visit www.wethepeoplebahamas.org) for more information) 
  1. Bahamas Police Athletic League (PAL) which is all about training and engaging youth in an afterschool program in conjunction with the police force. 
  2. Government House Renovation and Beautification - Tim Bethel is the landscape architect on this project and the idea is to start to restore our national treasures for Bahamians and Tourists to enjoy, beginning with Government House.  The plan is impressive! It will be a centerpiece of downtown Nassau and attract cruise passengers.  We will finally have places to be proud of! The forts and other historic sights will follow. 
  3. Six Seconds (Emotional Intelligence Program) - Again another after school program that will be rolled out in every school once the pilot program has been completed. 
  4. Derelict Vehicle Removal Campaign - sounds simple enough but definitely takes some changes to policies and a fair amount of effort. 
  5. Tree Planting & Community Day - this took place on July 9th and it was great to see the photos 
  6. Traffic Flow and Thoroughfare Improvements - In the area of Potter’s Cay they had an evaluation done and worked with the residents of the area to come up with a solution.  
It was so interesting to hear all this progress, see photos and hear it from Ed.  
Heather thrilled about her new Membership!! 
The meeting ended with all of us standing and listening to our beautiful National Anthem. Oh and a big buffet of free food, wine, beer and soft drinks! That alone was worth your $10 annual membership! 




Buffet!


Let’s face it, not being involved in politics makes projects much more achievable and efficient.  This is what makes We the People so exciting - it is NON PARTISAN! Yes, imagine that, projects that are done for the good of the country.  Party politics is destroying this country but thats a whole other topic... The amount of red tape that the MP’s and every ministry’s office face are just so absurd that our country will never make strides if we sit around and wait for the Government to handle it.  I’ve discovered after just a short amount of time involved in charity you can get much more done working as a private citizen than trying to get something done through the Government.  And you know what?Maybe, just maybe when whichever party is in power in the next election and they watch We the People make strides and accomplish projects, maybe the red-tape will start to shed some layers.  One can only wish. 

Andrew & Ryan
But the bottom line is you cannot sit around and wait for THEY - if you love your Bahamas then join We the People and get involved in one of their programs. If you don’t, don’t complain to me about the state of our country, I don’t have time to hear you whine anymore. 
Lift up your head to the rising sun, Bahamaland;
March on to glory, your bright banners waving high.
See how the world marks the manner of your bearing!
Pledge to excel through love and unity.
Pressing onward, march together to a common loftier goal;
Steady sunward, though the weather hide the wide and treach'rous shoal.
Lift up your head to the rising sun, Bahamaland;
'Til the road you've trod
Lead unto your God,
March on, Bahamaland!

Monday, 7 November 2011

Eleuthera! Paradise Found?

In my humble opinion yes! Just a quick 20 minute flight on Southern Air  on Friday morning at 7am took us into Governor’s Harbour at 7.30am.

It was a perfect day, the sky was crisp blue and due to our generous rainy season this year, the greens were vibrant.  The best part of the landscape was the glass calm water. 


Driving south to Tarpum Bay

Eleuthera is the ideal balance of escaping the hustle and bustle of city life, but where there is still enough going on that when you do want to socialize and have some fun, there is lots to be had.  There are quite a few restaurants, settlements and beaches to explore.  And nothing is that far away – we landed in Governor’s and drove down to Tarpum bay within 40 minutes.  It took me longer to get through town in Nassau when I returned!


Being there, I thought to myself, I could live here.  Property is still very affordable in the central parts of Eleuthera such as Tarpum Bay.  Check out Cool Brease subdivision that is almost completed.  http://www.grahamrealestate.com/view/Eleuthera/REF%23+3305+-+Tarpum+Bay+Subdivision/3305/
 
Cool Brease - Lots starting at $17,500
                                                                                            
View of the Barn

After meeting with our surveyor and our road contractor on site in Tarpum Bay, we headed back up North.  My close friend is also going to be starting trail riding along the beach and the barn and house is under construction so we stopped in to say hello, see the progress and admire the breathtaking views from the cottage. 

Just across the street from their property is Tippy’s restaurant which serves excellent food and has a great ambiance.  The Beach House Restaurant is also close by along with the Bank’s Road Deli who make fresh bread daily and scrumptious sandwiches.  The main town of Governor’s Harbour has everything you need.  The best part is everyone has a smile and will know your name after a couple of days. 

We headed to the airport with sandwiches to go, Southern Air’s plane was there and departed early and by 12.30pm we were back on the ground at Nassau Airport.  Not a bad morning at the office!

Eleuthera = Paradise Found!

Beach at Tippy's

Sunday, 30 October 2011

Do you have a Life Plan?

Inspired from Zan Monroe and The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People
Following the Florida Association of Realtor’s conference I attended in August, my motivation has been increased significantly.  It is very exciting to wake up every morning looking forward to what the day has to bring, finding a balance that up until these past couple of months knew was possible, and quite honestly seeing the world in a whole new light.  There were some incredible speakers but the one that stood out the most to me was Zan Monroe Zan’s book called Stories of Uncle Adrian - A Guide to Mastery in Your Life says it all - so read it! 
My co-worker also did a workshop in August on the Seven Habits of Highly Effective People that she is teaching to us in the office.  It’s all very simple, but very powerful when you apply it to you life.  And it is incredible how the two tie together. 
I am currently working on my Life Plan following the guide laid out in Zan Monroe’s book, Stories of Uncle Adrian.  It is not something you can do in a day, it takes a while for the concept to marinate in your brain, for you to see situations throughout your day, evaluate relationships in your life and then you can really see the bigger picture of what it is you want in your life, to analyze each area of your life, and to strive for self-mastery.   
This is a very daunting topic for most people, and so we do not face the challenge of putting a plan together.  And isn’t the famous saying “The best made plans of mice and men often go awry.”   Sure, but you could get in a car accident on your way to work but it doesn’t stop you from going to work does it? And in my humble opinion, when you establish a plan, feel organized and calm you anticipate speed bumps, detours or road blocks, and your plan makes you more capable of coping with them.  Or you could choose to float through life, without any sort of plan, just reacting to what happens around you.  The concept of the Life Plan that Zan Monroe talks about is exactly what the first habit of highly effective people is - Be Proactive! I don’t think that its a coincidence that Zan Monroe is a highly effective person, do you? 
If you have no clue what your life plan is and think I am nuts for blogging about this - think about one of these 2 things: 
  1. What type of people would you like to have surrounding you on your 80th birthday and what would they say about you? 
  2. or a more morbid but still effective thought, What would you like your eulogy to read? 
Go ahead, write it down.  This will start to give you an idea of what your life plan should be because you can’t just sit around and do nothing and expect people to say wonderful things about you when your 80 or dead, right? You cant expect to change the world in a year without laying the foundation work required to get there.   Ah, yes, and here we are back at seven habits of highly effective people and guess what Habit Two is? Begin with the End in Mind.  So begin with the end in mind and figure out how it is you are going to get there. 
Take some time, think about what it is you want to accomplish in your life.  Everyone has a unique gift and talent.  I have no deadline on my life plan but I have a feeling it will come together somewhere just in time for the arrival of 2012 and the beginning of a new year. 
We only have one go round, so why not fulfill all of your dreams? Who’s stopping you? 

Saturday, 8 October 2011

My Passion Unites with My Career

When I returned home to Nassau in 2005, I had ideas in my head as to how the next few years would pan out. I needed to get a job, save up to get a house, and once I was settled I would focus on giving back to the community. 

I was ready to get involved in 2009 but I was not sure which charity I should help with as I feel that children in our community need a lot of help, and I am a huge animal lover, and we all know the strife that animals face on a daily basis in Nassau. I was also afraid that I would not be able to make very much of a difference and contemplated whether or not it was worth it to get involved. I found the problems facing our community so overwhelming that I hesitated for a while. Due to a public outcry about the Government Canine Control Unit and the forming of a group called Baark! I found my direction - it’s funny how life presents itself to you isn’t it? It finally hit me - If I can change the mind of one person, and save one animal from a life of suffering, then my time was worth it. And I dove head first into the ‘Charity World’.

Being involved in charity work for the past two years has been the most rewarding experience of my life so far. It is really great to know that your time is being well spent and you can help something bigger than just you. It has also been a growing experience for me as a person. And to top it off I have met the most amazing people and formed life long friendships.

My dilemma is now that there are not enough hours in the day to do what I would like to do to help out and I wondered how I could link my career to my passion of trying to make The Bahamas a better place. I have to work to contribute towards our bills so volunteering full time is not an option for me so I have figured out the next best alternative.

I am a real estate agent. I know, I know! There are a lot of stereo-types about the ‘typical realtor’. First of all, I am certainly not any of those things. I am not a cut-throat typical sales person and I am incredibly honest. I got involved in real estate by accident when I moved back in 2005. I was offered a job as an office assistant and in 2007 I took my salesman’s license, still unsure of whether or not this would be my career. Later on in 2007 I was offered a job with Graham Real Estate to work in the office as well as assist with a development in Eleuthera. As I mentioned earlier, life presents you with a direction, I realized that being involved in real estate is something I really enjoy. My dream was to save up and buy a house. It is most people’s dream.  I appreciate different interior design styles, different architectural styles and different lifestyles.  I care about seeing other people happy and I love being able to be part of that search for the biggest decision a person is going to make. Purchasing a home is so much more. It’s finding a community that the buyer is going to fit into, a layout that fits their tastes and lifestyle needs. I am so focused on their happiness and being able to guide someone through what can sometimes be a stressful process.

So, my solution to combining my quest to make the world a better place with my career is that I will donate 10% of the commission I receive to the charity of my client’s choice selected from five options.

Each of the five charities that are selected mean a lot to me. I feel they encompass a variety of areas, from youth, to animals and people in desperate need for a helping hand.

As the Nassau market is a close knit market a lot of real estate sales or rentals are cobroked - so in the event that it is a co-broke sale or rental, my client (either seller/landlord or byer/tenant) will select the charity. If it is a direct transaction both the seller/landlord and buyer/tenant are my clients they can either decide on the same charity or split the money between two different charities.

Some commissions are small, but being the Chairman of Baark! even a $5 donation is appreciated, and I know that is the case of many charities. No donation is too small!

Baark! 
I am chairman of Baark! and absolutely amazed with the momentum that we have established over the past two years. Baark! has amazing, dedicated volunteers and we all have the same goal, to stop suffering for the animals of The Bahamas. 
Spay Day 2011 - Bernard Road Community Walk


In their own words: 
Baark! is a non-profit volunteer group dedicated to improving the welfare of animals at the Government run Canine Control Unit (CCU), locally known as ‘The Government Pound’. Every Friday, as many as 50 dogs and several cats are put down at the Government Pound in a futile attempt to address the problem of stray and unwanted animals in The Bahamas. We are working to improve the conditions and treatment of the animals in their care and also rescuing as many animals as possible from the weekly euthanasia.  With your help, we can shift the focus from killing suffering animals to prevention, through spay and neuter programs and public education on responsible pet ownership. Baark! works closely with Stray Busters and together we operate a TNR (trap-neuter-release) program targeting stray and roaming dogs and cats. Those picked up and needing extra medical attention or care are treated and fostered where necessary.

Hands For Hunger 
Hands for Hunger is an incredible venture that speaks for itself. So many Bahamians go hungry, young, middle aged, or older. Many children go to school with no breakfast and have no lunch to eat at school. Alanna Rogers founded Hands for Hunger, collecting food that would otherwise go to waste, and getting it to people that would have gone hungry.

In their own words:
Mission: Hands For Hunger is a humanitarian organization committed to the elimination of hunger and the reduction of food waste through the creation of meaningful and engaging partnerships formed amongst all sectors of the Bahamian community. We strive to inspire a shared sense of social and environmental responsibility amongst citizens, who, individually and collectively, come to realize the power of their own contributions. We do this by food rescue and distribution, education and other innovative solutions. Vision: Our vision is a transformed Bahamas where everyone has access to three nutritious and fortifying meals each day. No one goes hungry. The quality of our environment is enhanced.

The Bahamas Humane Society
The Bahamas Humane Society is the mother ship of smaller animal welfare groups like Baark! The team of staff and volunteers work tirelessly despite the emotional draining work they have to do day in and day out. I truly believe that the work they have done has brought Nassau a long long way in improving empathy for animals in The Bahamas. 
BHS Spay and Neuter in Exuma, Bahamas

In their own words:
Established in 1924, the Bahamas Humane Society addresses head-on the problem of stray animals and many other concerns. It is affiliated with numerous international animal welfare agencies, including Humane Society International, and it is the only organization in the Caribbean to hold membership in the Standards of Excellence Program sponsored by the American Humane Association, which it has belonged to since 1981. Though it is based in Nassau, Paradise Island, it works with sister organizations on other islands. It is the oldest charity in the Bahamas.

KPACE Kids 
KPACE Kids, founded by Darcy Moss is very close to my heart. Driving to work one morning feeling sad about the future for the youth of The Bahamas I thought that the government needed to have an after school program that taught life skills and emotional development. Later that day at the office I received a call from a lady I did not know named Darcy telling our company about the after school program she is creating a model for in one school and plans to roll it out to all other government schools in the future.

In their own words:
A non profit organization dedicated to providing educational reinforcement to students in the public school system from grades 1 thru 6.

Lignum Vitae 
The Lignum Vitae Centre for Hope works with specific residents that need a helping hand. Whatever their hardship resulted from, the Centre works to get them through a rough period and to enable them to be self-sufficient in the future.

In their own words:
The Lignum Vitae Centre of Hope is a Non Profit Organization providing services to the needy residents of The Bahamas. The organization is committed to motivate individuals, through empowerment, to attain self- sufficiency. The organization is non- discriminatory and is not limited to any particular population, race, culture, political group or religion.  Our vision is a society where all citizens have access to opportunities which promote self-sufficiency.
Please support me in my quest to support these great charities! Any suggestions or input is also welcome.

Thank you, Laura

Estate Agent and Appraisal Associate at Graham Real Estate

http://www.grahamrealestate.com/

Sunday, 25 September 2011

The Power of Mantras - Smile at the World


man·tra Noun/ˈmantrə/
1. (originally in Hinduism and Buddhism) A word or sound repeated to aid concentration in meditation.
2. A statement that is frequently repeated; a characteristic formula or refrain.  

I am finally learning the power of mantras.  I don’t know about the rest of you, but I feel that in the western world we are ashamed to think of ourselves in a positive light as it may be thought of as conceited and therefore we often repeat negative phrases in our head without being aware of the damage that they are doing - the negative energy they bring into our days.  Things like, ‘oh of course because I am in a rush everything is going to go wrong’, ‘I know that person doesn’t like me’, ‘what is wrong with that person’, ‘I’m never going to succeed’ etc.

After attending the Florida Association of Realtors Conference in Orlando, one of our seminars, by Zan Munroe, suggested we start our day by giving thanks/gratitude for five things in our lives.  It enables us to start our day focusing on the positive, and there is strong belief (which I strongly also believe) that the more you focus on what is positive in your life, the more good will come.  Of course, the more you focus on negative – the more negative you will receive. 

So, I have started to give thanks for five things in my life, everyday, or just about.  I may not remember to do it right when I wake up, but usually driving in the car to work.  It sets my intentions for a positive day ahead.  I find that it also helps me to cope better when circumstances in my day do not go as I had hoped or planned.  My mind goes back to all the things I have to be thankful for and puts that moment of stress or frustration into a better perspective. Do I still get irritated and frustrated? Sure! But I am learning not to let little things ruin my day or get the best of me.

I also have a new hand soap that I have in my bathroom that is called “Go Forth & Conquer.” I have no choice but to read it every morning while I am brushing my teeth.  Sometimes when I am super tired and I wake up really not wanting to get ready and get moving that saying, as overheard and overused as it is, boosts my energy and I am ready to face the day. 

And, when I am feeling a little unsure of a decision throughout the day, I am learning short pep phrases that I repeat to myself, ‘Well it was the best solution you thought of at the time so don’t beat yourself up about it’ or ‘You are going to succeed and you ARE smart’.  Sometimes that other voice on my shoulder says ‘Oh stop thinking so highly of yourself’ but I am learning to tell that person to pipe down, and that if I cannot belief in myself who else will! 

So surround yourself with positive phrases and speak positively to yourself.  Do not be afraid to think that you look really pretty when you look in the mirror, or that task you just completed you totally kicked ass on!

And when you step out into the world, smile at everyone and hope that everyone can enjoy their day as much as you.  Your positive energy will be contagious - the positive energy that you give off will make the world a better place. 

We can never know how much a simple smile can do. ~ Mother Theresa 

Sunday, 18 September 2011

THERE IS NO DARKNESS BUT IGNORANCE

“There is no darkness but ignorance” - William Shakespeare, Twelfth Night 


Learning is a wonderful thing.  One can learn something new everyday without picking up a book.  It just requires an open mind and taking in what the universe has to teach us. 
As I mentioned in my past blog, I am relearning how to eat and it has been one of the most enlightening experiences of my life.  
In order to change the way we eat, we need to learn about our food.  If you just say, I am going to stop eating bread in order to loose weight - even though you enjoy bread - unless you understand WHY you should not eat bread it will be a struggle and challenge and it will not last.  If you do not learn WHY you should eat more fruits and vegetables, or why you should choose as many organic items as possible you efforts will be short lived. 
I have always wanted to be a ‘healthy eater’ but until now I have not taken the time to learn the reasoning behind it.  Only now that I am learning more and more each day, is it possible for me to make and commit to these changes for life. 
I am only at the start of a life long journey to learn more about what we are putting into our body but already I am seeing the light.  The large food corporations want us to live in the darkness of ignorance because it is all about the bottom line for them.  Pharmaceutical companies profit on the unhealthy eating habits the majority of the world’s population practice.  
If you would like to enlighten yourself, watch this free airing of Food Matters.  Information is below.  This video as part of my nutrition program with Janine Carey has really opened up my eyes to the truth about food.  
'FOOD MATTERS' IS GOING TO BE RELEASED ONLINE FOR FREE FOR ONE WEEK ONLY!  
Find out more about this special event here:
We've had such a high demand from people asking how they can best share the film with everyone they know, and what better way then to make it available for free, right! 
This special event will be running for one week only from October 2nd until midnight October 8th, 2011.
To get involved you will need to REGISTER on the following page so that we can send you the link when the film goes live.
You will also get immediate access to watch Part 1 of the film when you sign up today.

Sunday, 28 August 2011

Nutritional Therapy - ‘It’s not on the menu’


You have to watch this video (or clips from it on youtube)! it is just over an hour and so enlightening and eye-opening. It discusses the fact that good health is right at our fingertips and its all about our diet.  The  drug industry is such a big business that the corporate world does not actually want people to be healthy.  

Thursday, 25 August 2011

Hurricane a comin’ and I’m heading to Orlando for a Conference?


It is with mixed emotions I head off to Orlando for the Florida Association of Realtors Conference.  I have been looking forward to this conference for a long time.  I need motivation and inspiration at work.  But leaving my family and home during a storm, I am certainly feeling guilty and sad.  I would much rather be there with everyone to share in the experience. 

Also, it’s my very first conference for Real Estate and I am attending it alone.  Will I meet people? Will I be eating dinner alone each night? Will it be interesting, motivating and all that I hoped for? Or will I be disappointed that I chose to leave my family during this time?

All in all this is going to be a growing experience for me, facing uncertainty head on! 

‘Relearning’ How and What to Eat



I am embarking on a new journey with regards to my diet.  I am not changing my diet to loose weight (although that would be an added bonus J) but for health reasons.  Diet is so attached to our outward appearance where really it should be seen as how we are treating our body inwardly.  People who are blessed with a fast metabolism can eat the worst foods and still remain physically skinny, but this does not mean they are healthy on the inside. 

I have struggled since I was a teenager with stomach problems.  I clearly react to dairy, but other types of food make me sick as well and it was totally unpredictable.  I went to gastroentologists, and spent lots of money having tests done, with out any conclusive results or explanation on what I could do to prevent being sick.  The test for gluten intolerance came back negative, so the vague diagnosis of IBS still stood.  What does that mean for someone? What is the solution?

Luckily the solution presented itself to me, and it’s not an easy fix, a pill to take or 1 specific food to cut out of my eating routine/diet.  It is learning a new way of eating.  And that is why I am writing this blog, I feel that I have discovered something so exciting, that many people do already know, BUT many people do not know – so I would like to share. 

In passing I mentioned to my yoga instructor, who is also a nutrition coach, about my issues and she said she could help.  I decided that as I had no solution from a doctor, exploring a new way of eating would be worth testing out, and at worst, at least I would be eating healthier, even if it does not fix my IBS problems.

In July of this year I began on my 6 month nutritional program.  I am 4 sessions into the program and I am already noticing significant differences.  The experience is truly remarkable.  To begin, my coach evaluated my existing diet and established that I was consuming a mostly acidic diet, and because I suffer from anxiety, which is considered a possible cause of IBS, the acidic diet was not helping my digestive tract, leaving it inflamed and irritated. 

Keep in mind I have never eaten ‘poorly’.  Junk food is not a part of my diet but I had no idea how much fruits and vegetables I should be eating.  I also thought, What on earth would I eat if I was not able to eat gluten? Turns out quite a lot.  So far, I have been learning how to add fruits, vegetables, grains and beans into my diet.  And it actually tastes good!

Habits are hard to break, and that is what one’s diet is: engrained habits established from childhood.  It takes a considerable amount of time, energy and most of all WILL POWER to make a change.  I guess my IBS is a plus, in that it makes it easier for someone like me to embrace the change as I have suffered for so many years.  Saying that though, sometimes I still cannot resist pizza, cheese, icecream – things I know for sure will leave me ill for hours following.  It is as hard as stopping smoking or breaking another typical addiction.  For others who do not have digestive problems, it would be even more challenging. 

This is a learning curve.  The first time I made Quinoa it was a disaster.  You cannot be afraid to fail.  You are also not going to wake up the next day and everything you eat will be good for you – it would be far too overwhelming to make that drastic of a change.  My coach does not tell me I cannot eat something.  I have not stopped eating all the things I should not – but I am learning that when I do make the right choice I feel so much better.  I am not beating myself up when I do crave chocolate, or a cupcake, or cookie, my biggest weaknesses.  I try to stop myself, but if I do eat it, I know that as time passes and my body starts to adjust to this new way of eating I will crave it less and less.  I am also aware now of how I feel when I consume something healthy.  I feel light.  I eat a cookie now, and although I enjoy it immensely while eating, after I am AWARE of the acidic after taste of the cookie. 

I truly believe that the ‘western’ diet is where our ailments lie.  Advertisements on packages trick us to make us believe that what we are eating is good for us, when really it is not.  With the risk of sounding extreme – the big food manufacturers seem to have a bit of a conspiracy going on and do not really care about the well being of their consumers.  What they care about is their bottom line. 

If you want to make a change and think – oh its too hard – I don’t have time – reconsider.  I did not think I could do something like this – but I am – and it feels liberating! I am starting to really enjoy food for the first time in a very long time! And I am also starting to learn all about what I am actually eating – education is true enlightenment.

Stay tuned and join in my journey – I’ll post links and more information soon! 

Thursday, 11 August 2011

Stella Maris, Long Island


Traveling… one of my favourite things!

I love to go to new places whether it is far away or close to home.  I make it my mission to go to 1 ‘cool new place’ every single year.  I would say it is my priority goal, before house projects or anything.  I think about my vacation about a year in advanced!  Getting only 3 weeks vacation a year on this side of the world (compared to Europeans who get about 6 weeks) it goes fast.  I usually budget in a few days unpaid too since I have a very pro-traveling boss J

Just over a week ago my boyfriend and I traveled to Long Island, another island in The Bahamas.  We had never gone there before and we both enjoy getting to see the different islands in The Bahamas.

I have been to Abaco, Freeport, Chub Cay in the Berry Islands, Eleuthera, Harbour Island, and Andros.  And now Long Island.  We LOVED Long Island!

We were between Cat Island, San Salvador and Long Island.  As my boss owns a lot of property in North Long Island I had heard so much about it, so we chose to go there.  The Ministry of Tourism was doing a special that if you go and stay at a participating hotel for 4 nights; you get your 2 airline tickets for free! We thought that was fabulous, and a great way to celebrate our 9 year anniversary. 

On Friday July 29th we headed off on Pineapple Air down to Stella Maris, North Long Island.  I was not sure what to expect, but I was expecting something similar to Eleuthera.  Long Island makes Eleuthera feel like a bustling town. 

Dolphin House
Stella, the local community potcake, greeted us warmly at the airport.  We were whisked away by Dwight, a local taxi driver and our new best friend.  Arriving at the front desk at Stella Maris Resort was such a pleasant experience.  All the staff greeted us warmly and we found out that we had been upgraded to a beautiful house on the water with its own private pool! To my surprise, when I asked for the keys to the house, I received a funny look and was informed that they do not lock the doors.  I defensively explained that we do live in Nassau – it’s understandable!

Dolphin house could not be more perfect - a 70’s style island home with a great layout for visiting guests.  Two bedrooms on each side separated by a living and dining area, and great porch and the feature of the house is the ocean views and huge swimming pool.  

Yummy Cake!
Dinner at the resort is phenomenal.  Chef Bruno makes remarkable dishes and on our first night there we had a most delicious cake in honor of our anniversary.  I was pleasantly surprised to see Stella the dog outside of the clubhouse and she kindly escorted us back to the house, after she realized we had a ‘to go’ container.  Stella enjoyed her reward of cracked conch, and barked a few times as if to say that we paid her to act as security and we were now protected. 

On Saturday morning after a lovely relaxing night sleep, we were up early and enjoyed a great breakfast.  Stepping out of the house the small crabs scatter, and a meow came from some trees.  This was our first encounter with Rambo, the community ‘potcat’. The pancakes at breakfast were superb!  I had the same pancake every day and may have to go back just to eat another pancake.

Dean’s Blue hole was today’s destination.  About an hour’s drive south, down the one road that runs the length of the island we found it.  Words cannot explain, and photos barely do this place justice.  It is something one must see to appreciate.  Driving through the settlements of Long Island takes you back in time.  What really amazed me was how interesting it is to witness this primitive state of development.  Most people only conceptualize it in history books, how a church was built and the town grew around that and side streets develop and before you know it you are in a city.  In Long Island, you get to experience the state in which every town or city would have started off in.  Everyone knows everyone.  Even though we were outsiders, we still received a very warm welcome. 
Dean's Blue Hole


We meandered back North, excited at the thought of just relaxing around the pool at house, and even taking a nap.  Oh the decadence of island life. 

Rambo
Sue heads up the bar and grill down by the water at the Stella Maris Resort.  We opted for lunch over there and met our new friend Rambo the cat.  I shared my generous portion of mahi-mahi and Rambo fell in love. 

Later on that evening he even found our house, came in and enjoyed a packet of cat food we had picked up from the store for him.  Rambo curled up so happily on the couch we did not have the heart to put him outside, so there he slept! 

On Sunday we lazed around, enjoying the house and time to do nothing, something that I especially do not get much of in Nassau.  Stella passed by to check in and lay by the pool with me until she caught a whiff of something coming from the grill and happily trotted off to investigate.

Stella, Everybody's Friend! 


Cape Santa Maria
Today was the day we were going North.  Cape Santa Maria has a legendary beach that we had to see for ourselves.  Lunch was fantastic and the beach was breathtaking.  I insisted that we go in search of the monument that I had heard of.  We were told it was down a road that was not too good – they did not tell a lie.  It was a very rough road and we were glad we rented a little jeep.  The monument is worth seeing just for the beautiful views – the different blues from the waters below.  I find all different types of landscapes beautiful, from snow-capped mountains to green pastures, but I must admit that the turquoise ocean landscapes are my absolute favourite.

Views from the Monument

Sad that our trip was drawing to a close, it was decided we would watch the sunset, enjoy the stars, and rise to see the sunrise.  Sue told us the best place nearby to watch the sunset was at the Beach Bungalow about 10-15 minutes south.  Driving down, with the music blasting, singing at the top of our lungs I felt true happiness and contentment.  The water was calm and the sunset was striking.  It was a very romantic setting.  As we both wanted one last dinner at the resort we jumped in the Rav and headed North.  Dinner was, as expected, very yummy! 


Next on our Island Agenda – watch the stars come out.  Where else could be more perfect to watch the stars but from the middle of a sun heated pool with the sound of waves crashing on the seawall.  Most of us really miss the beauty of the night as a result of our city lights.  The stars were mesmerizing.  The only other place I have been to that would top this is the Galapagos Islands. 

The alarm went off early and we looked at each other and said, are we really getting up? YES! So we did – however, the sky was cloudy, and the mosquitoes came out in droves, and drove us right back in the house and back to bed!

Our trip had come to a close, it was time to pack up from dolphin house and depart.  Rambo brought his family, a female and 2 kittens, by and it was heartbreaking that we did not have anymore cat food! Lesson learned, always travel with more cat and dog food than you think because I will always come across hungry cats and dogs!

A quick flight back to Nassau brought us quickly back to reality… we will definitely be back to Stella Maris, Long Island.  


Sunday, 7 August 2011

My very first blog...


Welcome to my very first blog.

I’ll take this first entry to introduce myself. 

I was born and raised on the Island of Nassau, in The Bahamas.  I went to high school here and graduated in 1999.  I headed off to boarding school in Ontario for 2 years, and then university in Nova Scotia, Canada.  I returned to Nassau in 2005 after graduating with my Bachelor of Commerce.  

When returning back home I moved back in with my parents and started working in real estate.  Not because I planned to, but because it sort of just happened.  I was supposed to work at Atlantis, but after 2.5 days there I realized it was not the place for me.  I worked for about 2 years at one real estate company before I moved to the company where I am now, at Graham Real Estate. 

It was my mission to save up and for my boyfriend and I to purchase a house, and that happened in 2007.  After we settled into the house, I found my place back in island life, and things with work were going well, it was then my calling to give back to the community - something I had always said I would do once I got ‘organized’ with life.  I got involved with Baark! and the Bahamas Humane Society at the end of 2009. 

Like many people, I have never been a person that knew exactly what they were destined to do in life.  I would like to believe that I will ‘succeed’ in life and that I am destined for ‘greatness’ – defining those 2 very vague words is what I am trying to now figure out in 2011.

This blog will be exactly what the title says – An Island Girl in an Island World. 

My journey of figuring what success and greatness mean to me… the search for completeness and balance.