When I first told people I was moving to the Cayman Islands their first response was jealousy, then in a lot of them something registered and they remembered they knew someone who lives there or had previously lived there. I was very surprised at how many people in lil’ old New Zealand knew someone who had lived there – so far way, such a tiny island! I got a bit excited at the thought of a bunch of Kiwis being here so there’d be some familiarity about the place. But after I had been here on island for a few months, I had met one. Only one. Granted he was very kiwi (rugby ball in hand almost constantly), he was still only one. I had met loads of other people from Canada, America, UK and South Africa and lots more countries and had become great friends with a lot of them, but I couldn’t help but feel there must be more of ‘us’ living here. Hiding somewhere.
Then one day when I went to watch an all day rugby tournament my boyfriend was playing in, it was as if I’d been transported back home to a rural rugby match! I found them all! Dozens of them! All speaking in their strong Kiwi accents, chugging beer between games (girls and guys), talking about the All Blacks and how much better they are than the Wallabies (which rubbed the Australian players the wrong way but the South Africans loved it). I got to talking with a few of them and they were excited to have some more Kiwis in their midst. Some had been here only a few months like us, some had been here a few years, others had been here long enough to have become permanent residents, which means they’d been here over 9 years. Some worked in bars and hotels, others were big wigs in accounting and law firms. I was told to find them on facebook in the page “Kiwis in the Caymans” and that began some really nice friendships (and help when I needed advice on getting a new passport!). Unfortunately some have already left, which is the trouble with making friends in a country with work permit limitations, but I’m still here. I’m still loving it. And I know where to go when I’m getting a little home sick (or want to tease the Australians a bit more) – the Cayman Islands rugby clubhouse.