diaries

Island Diaries: The sweet life with Katie Bondy

KATIE! I'VE HAD THE PLEASURE OF KNOWING YOU FOR QUITE SOME TIME, TELL THE READERS WHY CAYMAN? WHERE ARE YOU ORIGINALLY FROM AND HOW DID THIS PLACE BECOME HOME?

Where I'm originally from?! It's a bit of a trek, but I was born in Fort Lauderdale and lived there until I was 5. My family moved to Windsor, Ontario and I grew up most of my life, school, first jobs, etc. there. When I was 25 I quit my 9-5 job with the Government, broke up with my boyfriend (at the time) and decided I wanted to bartend in the Caribbean. I definitely watch the movie Cocktail on repeat! Funny enough, I went to highschool with two girls that moved to Grand Cayman! It took me two whole weeks to down size my Windsor life, pack and move to Cayman. After a few years on this glorious rock, my then boyfriend decided we should take a break and try "real" life back in Canada. It took four years, and our honeymoon trip back to Cayman and we decided to move back. We've been back now for three years. 

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YOU’RE LIFE IS LIKE A LOVE SONG, BABY! WHAT DO YOU LOVE MOST ABOUT BEING (BACK) IN CAYMAN? 

The sense of community! I love walking down the road and people you know honk as they drive by. I love walking on the beach with my dog and running into others. I love walking into my favourite bar for a glass of wine and run into old friends, or even make new friends! There is no way to be lonely on this island!

SO WHAT DO YOU DO ON ISLAND? WHAT DO YOU LOVE MOST ABOUT YOUR JOB?

I am an Assistant Food & Beverage Manager for the largest restaurant group on island. I also love my job, which makes my island life even better. Watching visitors and locals enjoy their nights out and lunches in Camana Bay is a great job!

ALL WORK AND NO PLAY MAKES JACK A DULL BOY. TELL US WHAT YOUR DAY OFF ROUTINE LOOKS LIKE!

I do enjoy my playtime! My days off always include my husband Eric and my big dopey, beach loving Labrador! We usually start our mornings off with a beach run and swim. We love having a nice quiet lunch on the water. Morgan's, Waterfront Urban Diner or Karoo are all dog friendly! To end our day, we love having a sunset drink at Calicos, catching up with friends and cheersing to another beautiful sunset in the Caribbean!

YOU MENTIONED YOU LEFT ISLAND AT ONE POINT AND DECIDED TO MOVE BACK, WHAT MADE YOU CHANGE YOUR MIND?

We moved to my husband's native prairies to take a break from island life in 2012. I am officially and unequivocally NOT a winter girl. We missed the sun, sand and water the most. We missed being barefoot and seeing friendly faces wherever we went. I missed jerk chicken, rum runners, and swimming in the ocean. Once we came back for a visit, we knew Cayman was where we were meant to be.

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IS THERE A SECRET ABOUT CAYMAN YOU CAN SPILL TO US? RESTAURANT, PLACES TO RELAX, ANY GOODIES TO SPILL FOR THE READERS? 

Well, then it's not a secret! But yes, we love sitting in the adirondack chairs on the water at Morgan's, with a nice bottle of wine. The breeze there, looking over the bay, it's all very screensaver-esk. In the mornings it's nice to go get a coffee at the Marriott and sit in the swings around the courtyard. It's awesome to feel like you're on vacation, even if you live 10 minutes down the road. Every three months or so, we take an island drive and stop at dive bars along the way. The South Coast Bar has my favourite conch fritters and jerk burger! The beer is cold, the bartender is friendly and a few dollars on the jukebox gets you a solid mix of Country, 80's music and Reggae.

SINCE YOU'RE A DOG LOVER, YOU HAVE TO SHARE THE BEST PLACES TO TAKE YOUR DOG! READY AND GO!

Just Northwest of The Kimpton is a nice quiet area of beach for Dude to roam and play in the water. Dude enjoys a good spa day and plays with other pups. He's enrolled in doggy daycare with Love Your Dog and occasionally heads to Cay 9 Resort and Spa. Lastly Rackam’s. Dog friendly and he LOVES watching the tarpon swim around. We are constantly making sure he doesn't dive off the dock into the water to tackle a 30 pound tarpon.

WHAT WAS THE HARDEST/EASIEST THING ABOUT MOVING TO CAYMAN?

The hardest is getting used to "island time". It's very endearing in lots of ways, and us Westerners could learn a lesson or two about this time keeping. However, when it comes to waiting for the AC repair man, or in line at the bank, you do miss the luxuries of quick service back home. The easiest is there is always friends to help you out and make sure your transition is just as good as theirs was. After you drop your bags, you have a drink in your hand, unlimited hugs from friends and meeting new people. 

WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE SOMEONE WHO'S MOVED OR LOOKING TO MOVE HERE?

Do your research. I used to recruit for a living and no matter how many times I explained the cost of living here, people were usually pretty broke for the first couple of months. Save, and ensure that you do your research about setting up costs. You have to be able to adapt and adjust to the lifestyle too. If you're the type of person who has a hard time adjusting their routine and appreciating a slower lifestyle, than this may not be for you for the term.

Island Life Diaries: Britta Bush

Island Life Diaries: Britta Bush

I arrived in Cayman 13 years ago as a dive instructor, living and working in the EE, with no car for the first 3 years!  Originally born in Colorado to American Father and German Mother, spent my childhood growing up in Germany, then latter years in Ohio. After stints in Arizona and Mexico, I accidentally settled in the Cayman Islands :) Now married to a West Bay Bush, with a 3-year old son, dog, cat, and plant menagerie.  

Island Life Diaries: Javier Bustos

SO TELL US, WHERE ARE YOU FROM? 

I am originally from a small town in Spain called Salamanca.

AND WHAT MADE YOU MOVE TO CAYMAN?

My partner and his family moved here for business reasons, so I moved with them!

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COOL! SO WHAT DO YOU THINK OF ISLAND LIFE COMPARED TO SPAIN AND THE CITY?

I love it! It is quiet and slow paced. I like that I know a lot of people that I interact with on a daily basis and then I bump into them socially. I feel secure and safe.

WHAT WAS THE BIGGEST CHALLENGE YOU FACED WHEN YOU ARRIVED?

Not being able to walk or drive from a long period of time and that I have to fly every time that I want to leave the country (Because it’s an island.)

WHAT SURPRISED YOU THE MOST ABOUT CAYMAN?

How quiet and nice it is. I was expecting something like the Bahamas or Monaco but it has such a personal and familiar touch.

WHAT ARE YOUR HOBBIES NOW THAT YOU LIVE HERE?

We go boating a lot! I love paddle boarding, yoga, spinning, and tennis. Exercising is big for me and being able to be outside and enjoy exercising in this nice weather is amazing.

WHAT IS THE BEST THING ABOUT LIVING HERE IN YOUR OPINION?

The people and the weather!

WHAT ADVICE CAN YOU GIVE FOR PEOPLE WHO ARE MOVING HERE?

Do it and chill, things are happening very slow here but when you accept Cayman for what it is: a calm place, safe and friendly, you will love it!