We are currently in a time of transition on our island, with old friends leaving and new ones arriving.
Firstly, there is our jungle “pet” situation. Over a month ago our pal Lippy disappeared. She abruptly vanished for a few days, which was very unusual for her. She did return for our last sighting of her one night. She came into the yard, as she often did, but went straight to her water bowl and proceeded to gulp down water for well over a minute. I had figured she had been gone a few days and maybe didn’t find a good water source. I had also been worried that she was pregnant and wondered if she was dehydrated because she was about to give birth. She drank and drank and drank, and then walked away again, down the street. Never to be seen again. I figured she had gone into the jungle to give birth in privacy and quiet. But then days turned into weeks with no sightings by us or any of our friends who were also on the look out for her.
We waited patiently, hoping she would return with at most one puppy on her heels. We didn’t think much of it, as Lippy often did her own thing. But as time passed and she did not return we began to fear the worst. Did she get hit by a car? Attacked by a drunk local with a machete? Attacked by another dog? Did she have complications during delivery? Or was she just old and wandered into the woods to die peacefully. This we shall never know.
We feel better knowing that her last days were spent well fed and looked after by us. I still, out of habit, look to her spot sometimes when I leave the house, half expecting to see her laying up against the house in her nest. The saddest day was when I had to finally toss all the leftovers I had been saving in anticipation of her return, possibly with little mouths to feed.
But as one door closes a window opens, and this time a cat jumped through it!
Once Lippy was gone, our yard became fair game to all animals willing to try to claim it as their own. We have had several dogs, including some of Lippy’s suitors, trying to camp out here. We have shooed them all away, not wanting any of them to stay for too long, especially since they all have homes already! But one night a tiny little gray and white tabby cat appeared out of the thick jungle behind our house. He laid on our carport soaking up the leftover warmth from that day’s sun. He rolled around, cleaned himself and seemed pretty content. He appeared again the next day, this time sticking around long enough to get some leftovers. For the next six days he returned, including while Mike was on his business trip to a neighboring island. Every night, right around dusk he would appear in our backyard and sit at the spot I had fed him at the previous nights. I continued to feed him, and he continued to grace me with his presence.
It has now been over two weeks that Jungle Cat (originally Kitty Friend) or JC for short, has been hanging around our house. Some days he arrives in the morning, and hangs out all day. Some days he appears at dusk. He loves to hide under our awning on rainy days. He occasionally meows at me, but almost always gives me a kitty smile. Did you know that a very slow blink or squinting eyes from a cat means it is smiling at you? Really its true. I read it somewhere.
We also have had some people we know leave island for good, leaving a void that is impossible to fill. We knew when coming here that the people we would meet would eventually leave Yap, most likely before us. But when your social circle is so small, any loss is magnified. It is a difficult thing to describe, like having a friend move away when you are little, knowing you may never see them again. We will miss everyone as one by one, or two by two, they either return to the states, or move onto another amazing place. In any case, we wish them well on their next adventure!
The flip side of people leaving, is it often means new people coming in. We recently welcomed our new neighbors to this rock. It has really given us some perspective on how well we have adapted, and how much we have learned about Yap. Showing our new neighbors around has given us the opportunity to see Yap with fresh eyes, and has renewed a little of the excitement of living on an island in the Western Pacific. We look forward to getting to know them better, and seeing what they think about living here!
All in all things on Yap are good. There are always the rough days, but then we catch an amazing sunset, watch an impressive rain storm, or a good day at work that remind us why we chose to live as expats. One day at a time!
From a fake leather couch in the jungle,