Hola a todos!
Greetings from the beautiful island of Vieques. It is currently a soaked island as it has been raining for the last eight days straight. When I first arrived on the island, everyone was telling me how dry it has been here but I think they jinxed us because from the next day on it hasn’t stopped raining.
Anyway, I will give you a quick outline of myself. My name is Alissa and I am the new intern at Weddings in Vieques. I am here for the summer- being put to work 🙂 . I will start my second year at the University of Nebraska- Lincoln in the fall, majoring in business, minoiring in Spanish.
Being from Nebraska, I have been land-locked and trapped between fields of corn and cows all my life. Living in the Caribbean gives me a much different perspective on things. With that said, I have learned a few valuable lessons since my arrival in Vieques a week and a half ago. I was here for my sister’s wedding in August 2009 (very successfully put on by Weddings in Vieques) so it wasn’t a complete culture shock when I got here last week, but there are still a few bits of info I have absorbed.
Here are 5 important things I have learned over the past 10 days:
1. Roosters are annoying! – I found this out the first night of staying in my apartment here in Vieques. I about freaked on the first night because at about 5:30am I sat up in bed completely disoriented and frightened by the loud call of a rooster one foot outside of my window (which was open by the way). Once I figured out it was just a harmless rooster that had woke me up, I was just mad! And I got to replay the incident every twenty minutes or so throughout the rest of the morning until they finally shut up. I swear when one of those things starts going off it is a never-ending cycle of them all taking turns making their loud rooster sounds. Fortunately, for tourists, the roosters only seem to be a problem in residential areas (most of these areas being neighborhoods where locals tend to live). When we were here for my sister’s wedding, I don’t remember noticing any roosters. It wasn’t until I got to my apartment and started living in a more residential area, on an otherwise quiet hill, that I encountered them.
2. H is for hielo. C is for caliente – This is something I just figured out a couple days ago- after a week of taking cold showers. In Spanish, “hielo” means ice and “caliente” means hot. But naturally if you are from a predominantly English-speaking nation, you go by the H standing
for “hot” and the C standing for “cold.” So for a week, here I was taking cold showers because I didn’t realize that the faucets are switched around in my shower. Definitely a good thing to know!
3. Never underestimate the lack of driving skills in Vieques – Now, nothing against Viequenses, but one of the most
important things I have learned here is that the driving habits on the island of Vieques leave a lot to be desired. Drivers stop when they don’t need to, make up parking spots that don’t really exist, and are inevitably stopping and swerving to keep from hitting horses, dogs, and whatever else happens to be in the road. I must say, observing the driving styles has actually served as a nice form of entertainment.
4. When they say Vieques is on “island time,” they mean it – I’m not saying this is always a bad thing. You just have to be willing to adapt
to the lifestyle here because it is much different from the hustle and bustle that many of us are so used to. Things run at their own pace here (that pace sometimes being VERY slow). This is also why it’s so important to hire a wedding planner if you want to have a destination wedding in Vieques. Not everything is done through email and fax here because the island is a little behind the times in some ways. For example, one of the local gas stations just got new gas pumps installed. The old pumps were along the lines of the 1950s era, whereas, the new pumps are more around the 1970s-they still don’t allow for you to pay at the pump by credit card.
Your wedding planner on the island can make necessary arrangements and monitor things to make sure everyone is doing their part in a timely manner; this way your big day will go smoothly without negatively suffering from the island time phenomenon.
5. Planning a wedding is A LOT more work than I ever could have imagined – Now that I have been here at Weddings in Vieques for almost two weeks, I have had a chance to see many aspects of wedding planning, and let me tell you there are a lot! I never realized how many little details you have to take into account when planning and putting on a wedding. Things like decorations, vendor contracts, floral arrangements, and little things like a bridal emergency kit and first-aid kit, are all bits of the big picture that must be taken care of in order for the wedding to be a success.
Overall, I have learned a lot of valuable information since starting this internship and I have a feeling that it’s only the beginning. I
survived my first two weddings – they were both very beautiful – and we have several more to come in the next couple of weeks. Can’t wait to see what else I have to learn in the upcoming days!
That’s all for now-time to go prepare for the upcoming weddings! If it doesn’t stop raining soon, I’m going to have to start kayaking to work!