Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Friendship in Curaçao: The Bad (Part II)

This is Part II of the series Friendship in Curaçao: The Good, The Bad, The Ugly, The Sad.

If you read The Good post, you might be thinking Curaçao is da place, at least for friendship (and if you happen to dislike 90-degree weather year-round).

But there's a flip side one doesn't discover until it's, well, too late.

How many circles do you see?
No, really. No joke. Seriously.
At home, where you grew up or where you've lived for, say, more than five years, you have circles. The circle of the people you knew in college. The circle of people you socialize with at work. A circle of peers. A family circle. A crazy-Friday-nights circle. A circle of people you work out with, or rescue dogs with, or write with, or whatever with--you get my drift. Your social life is compartmentalized.

In Curaçao, that doesn't happen. Or it happens very rarely.

Unless you're a serial killer or a pedophile, chances are your own circles overlap. A lot, a little--it's all good, right? But here they overlap to such extent there's no geometry principle that will support the notion there's more than one circle.

This is an island with around 146,000 people. That's probably the population of your neighborhood. The ex-pat community is even smaller (according to the CIA--they're everywhere, I swear--there's 1.27 migrants for every 1000 locals). And ex-pats have no family, no old friends--not on the island. Unless you're accepted into local communities (more on that in Part III) it follows your social life will revolve around your job: your assistant is also the guy you jog with in the morning, your officemate's wife runs the animal shelter where you volunteer on weekends, your supervisor is the only fan of film noir--besides you--on the island, the IT guy is the party guru who takes you all on Friday rampages.

Which isn't necessarily a bad thing. By definition, most ex-pats are an open-minded bunch who rarely sweat the small stuff. It makes for pretty easygoing times. The real drawbacks are i) you work with these people, which might cramp your tequila-gurgling, dance-on-the-table style, and ii) if there's someone you really don't like--the chauvinist pig, say, or the pick-a-fight-with-a-shadow drunk--haha, the joke's on you. Because there's no escape.

Unless, of course, you want to go back to the lone ex-pat wolf life.


  1. Very real life you describe, Guilie. You're speaking to my heart in many ways. Sure, there's a family and there are friends, but something will always be missing. Only thing one can do is pick up and move on in the best way possible. Thanks God for writing. Seeing that writers are solitary creatures, that sure as heck helps. :)

    1. Oh man, Silvia--where would we *be* without our WIPs and our editing and that endless search for the perfect sentence? Puts everything else into a different perspective, doesn't it? :) Thanks for stopping by!

  2. Thank you for visiting and commenting on my blog. You did a warm post on circles and friends in Curacao. Sounds pretty normal for any fairly small community. I've never longed to be anywhere else than just where I am. Thank god for that. Ha

    1. Thanks for stopping by :) Indeed, any small community will have this; I think what makes it special here in Curaçao is the fact that there's so much diversity. Glad you enjoyed the post!

  3. I've been revisiting your blog since a possible visit to Curacao is in my future. It's becoming harder for me to find reasons not to go.

    Growing up an expat in Europe, I know what you mean about circles overlapping. Sometimes those that just wanted a little solitary time were labeled as "not a community player."

    1. Janna, you nailed it: that label of "not a team player" or "antisocial" is one most ex-pats go to great lengths to avoid--sometimes in detriment of our own well-being.

      So cool that you're planning a visit to Curaçao! Please do contact me if I can help in any way.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...