MONTH 1 – Puerto Rico

chanelhason.naturalist

Hello blog world – oh how I have missed you! I apologize for the absence over the last month; I shall use the “moving my entire life to a new part of the world” excuse.

So today marks the 1-month anniversary of my bold, wild, crazy, exciting, and exhilarating move to Puerto Rico. If you don’t know the backstory already about why I moved – read my previous post.

To be completely honest, it has been a tough adjustment. Yes, I moved to a Caribbean Island and it’s sunny and 80 degrees year round…but it hasn’t been all sunshine for me. To completely sell your life and belongings, say goodbye to friends, family, and loved ones in just 2 short weeks before I made a drastic move across the globe; it didn’t really hit me until I arrived here. It all happened in a blink of an eye. But, this opportunity was not something I could pass up. It’s what I’ve been striving for basically my entire life. I can already feel that this experience will lead me to something wonderful. What’s life without taking risks?

TRANSPORTATION: I don’t have a car, but I did buy a bike. I’m actually quite nervous to drive here…the rules of the road most often don’t apply here in Puerto Rico haha. I mostly walk along the beach every morning to work which is 3 miles (takes me about an hour) – which is soothing and relaxing. Whenever possible, I try and get rides from friends to and from places :)

WORK: My job as a Naturalist is definitely A LOT of work. We are not only Naturalists, but we are housekeepers, chefs, baby-sitters, entertainers, and have to always be up for anything. We have a lot on our plates each week, but it’s always fun to know that no one-day at work will ever be the same. We have a multiple activities – mainly 3 a day. That ranges from coral reef snorkeling in the morning, snorkeling with underwater photography, night snorkeling, eco-nature hikes, creatures of the night (forest at night), ambassadors in the kitchen (eco-cooking), fish form and function, Taino arts and crafts (native people of Puerto Rico), sunset kayaking, kayaking and snorkeling adventure, and more.

There are only 2 current Naturalists – but my coworker who has been here a year is leaving in April to pursue other ventures. So, I am hoping we hire a new Naturalist ASAP because doing all the work we have to do alone is very difficult. Do you want to apply? ;) Here’s my first GoPro video I made for our department.

FOOD: Another big adjustment is getting used the cuisine. Being a vegetarian is a struggle. The Puerto Rican culture is very into their fast food chains, fried meats, and fish. Finding fresh produce is like finding a diamond in the rough. California has it GOOD (aka an endless array of fruits/veggies/GMO free/gluten free goodies), let me tell you.  It’s been quite the challenge to continue to eat healthy, but thankfully I’ve got some connections in the California who have hooked me up with some great care packages. Also, I’ve figured out that COSTCO has the best produce thus far.

FITNESS: In terms of fitness, I’ve begun to do more workouts at home, since I don’t have time to go to a gym with my work schedule. There is a CrossFit gym (aka someone’s house) up the street from me that I’d love to get involved in! But, the only bad part of that is timing with my work schedule :/

WEATHER: The weather here is nothing to whine about – it’s consistently been 80+ degrees and sunny everyday. The water is warm (75-79 degrees) everyday as well! My body is getting used to the humidity, which I can’t complain about either. Waking up every morning and knowing I never have to wear pants…is amazing.

FUTURE: I am very excited actually to put my own flair on the Ambassadors program. I’ve already been working with my boss on adjusting some programs and spicing up the decor. I love being able to have the freedom to speak up here- I am very lucky in that sense. Jean-Michel Cousteau and Dr. Richard Murphy are both coming out in May this year to Puerto Rico to visit our Ambassadors of the Environment location. I cannot wait! I love having something to look forward to, and meeting these two influential and ocean heroes will be amazing. Adios!

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