November 10, 1999
Nevisian Paradise
Garrick's Pasture
Nevis, West Indies
 

Greetings from Paradise
"Moving in with the Granny Nippers"

Dear Jan and Joy,

Well, here we are a week after moving in--living our dream. We arrived Thursday and on Friday night, Lee and I sat on the front verandah steps, watching our first Nevisian Paradise sunset followed by the stars overhead while we enjoyed dinner. The sunset--blazing as though the heavens were on fire--was spectacular as I share with you.
 

                      
     A spectacular gift, our first Sabbath sunset.                                                      The same sunset, minutes later.

Considering what my journey had been this past year, I felt pretty amazed to be sitting on the steps, enjoying all of this. Let me share a little about our Sabbath symbols. The challah (bread) cover was Lee's parents--quite soiled when I found it. When I took it to the dry cleaners in Los Angeles they said that if I cleaned it, it would fall apart. My only option was to carefully hand wash it myself which I did; surprise, all the spots vanished. The kiddish cup for the wine was made by a dear, dear friend of ours, Eva, who had survived the holocaust. Four times the Nazis had tried to kill her and each time she survived. Lee and I deeply cherish her and her art. On our previous trips here, we had tried to find Sabbath candlesticks in Nevis, but with less than a handful of Jewish people living here, Sabbath candles are not in great demand. On the day before my by-pass(in California)--when I wondered if I would ever return home to Nevis--Lee gave me the candlesticks, a gift from a client who had just returned from Israel. I told Lee, "I guess this gift shows me that we will get back home." And here we are so very, very thankful for this incredible blessing!!!


Celebrating our first Sabbath in our new home,
Nevisian Paradise, in Nevis.

Our furniture will be unloaded next week barring too much rain. The road to our house is still full of deep potholes so it has to dry. The house is phenomenal and the views are breathtaking. The house is in fairly good condition, all things functioning, stove, refrigerator, washer, dryer, oven, dishwasher, lights and fans. Lots of minor jobs to be completed. In about four weeks it should be finished. The builder did an absolutely outstanding job and the house is a masterpiece of local craftsmanship. We love the colors and tiles that we picked, orange-sherbert for the greatroom, dining room and kitchen; soft purple and buttercream yellow for our bedroom and a soft golden sandy color for the office and guest bedroom at the other side of gathering and eating areas. Master bath tiles of various flower and fruit baskets of pale orange, yellow and periwinkle are beautiful with the purple walls and hand-crafted lattice mahogany cabinets. Caribbean motif-tiles brightly-colored tiles of fish, roosters, turtles and elephants for luck add a bounce in the kitchen. Guest bath is mustard color again with matching tiles that reflect African and local costume and culture of men carrying fish and chickens and women carrying babes on their backs and fruits in their hats. We love the tiles that Lee chose and the locals are touched that we have honored their culture with these motifs in our home. Feels very comfortable and nothing major flawed in the design except the one thing that we already knew and remedied with swinging bar doors to our bedroom which were again locally hand-crafted with the carved glass that we brought from California.

Neighbors are great, the ones behind us and over one lot is a fisherman who will deliver fresh fish weekly. He brought us two big fish, one parrot fish and one snapper and wouldn't charge us, that was his welcome gift. We arrived Wednesday night and brought in dinner, but other than that I have cooked every meal; we have been eating well. Sunshine provided us with some BBQ chicken. Our neighbor Veronica's and Kenneth's sons are graduating on Wednesday and we have been invited to graduation.

The wedding reception at Sunshine's was great; Sunshine was choked with words--the only time that I have ever seen Sunshine speechless--and is thrilled to be married to Maria. She is the epitome of loveliness; together they will be quite a force on the island. There were about 200 people present and we saw almost everyone we know. I mentioned to the First Lady of Nevis that we swim daily and asked her if she enjoys the sea as most people on the island do not swim. She said that she swims. I asked her if she minded swimming with me when Lee is out of the country. She said, "great" as her husband travels a lot. She even offered to come and help me move in.

After the beginning of the year, I will somehow get involved in volunteer work once a week, having something to do with education, probably on Mondays and want to start a hiking group on Tuesdays. By the time you arrive, that should hopefully all be in place.

We can't plant grass until the backhoe man has graded the property, then we fence and plant grass. Right now there is lots of mud, but the floors are tile and clean up easily. Sweeping is a daily chore with dirt and sand carried and blown in. I have help a few half days a week; I couldn't possibly keep up with all the sweeping and mopping. It feels amazing to be in a brand new spanking clean (of sorts) house, fun, kind of like playing house as children and hopefully with not much more responsibility. Just hope we stay well and the stock market never falls too low!!

Can't wait to share the beauty here. Last night the tail end of a storm passed through here. We sat on the front veranda with its 180 degree view of the lightning, a spectacular show. We eat all our meals on the front step because they haven't unloaded our container, which hopefully happens tomorrow. I call this "upscale camping." We sleep on camping mats on the floor and have hot showers; can't beat it. I awaken and look to the right to see the sea and to the left to see the mountain whose peak always looks different depending on the cloud cover surrounding the top. Once in awhile, it is clear, and the locals say, "It looks lonely." When it is lonely, the weather is HOT with a penetrating, blistering heat that local people don't like. Lee thrives in the heat while it is my warrant for distress.

There are tiny bugs which are not visible, but they pinch and are called "granny nippers." Lee and I often feel them at night, especially if we have been to the sea and haven't showered properly. Often when Lee and I lie in bed at night, we give each other "granny nippers" to positively make certain that we aren't dreaming and that this is really life down here. We are so awesomely blessed and thankful and share our blessings with you this way!!

Well, take care, we'll keep in touch. They came on Friday to change our phone lines, but didn't come back today because it was too muddy and couldn't traverse the road to our house.

Love to your hubbies; I will write again soon.

Later,
Ruthie