1. The divi trees seem like something from a fairy tale.
2. My neighbor welcomed me to my Tanki Flip cul-de-sac by bringing me a machete and a fully intact fish with eyeballs. The machete, he explained, is for gardening, and the fish should be fried up for dinner tonight.
3. Every grocery store on this island sells giant blocks of cheese. You can also find an ample supply at any corner convenience store, such as the Wai Fat around the corner from my house. It is very clear what is important in this country, convenient and immediate access to a large variety of kaas.
4. Tiny lizards dart beneath my feet when I hang my clothes to dry in the backyard. Others, the size of paperclips, find their way into my shower and kitchen sink. I will take lizards any day over other kinds of pests that can plague homes.
5. There is a butterfly farm here, along with an ostrich farm and a donkey sanctuary.
6. Some Arubans completely transform their yard to depict fanciful scenes spawned from imagination, like a giant diorama. Only there has to be a certain amount of upkeep since all of these materials aren’t protected inside a box. I imagine it is like tending a garden for the people who live in these houses: this mannequin’s shirt needs to be hemmed and that broken bottle needs to be swept. My neighbor has something like this going on in his front yard. A canoe with paddles is affixed above his door. He recently started decorating for the holidays by placing a Christmas tree in the canoe, as if it were a person paddling down roaring rapids. I’m sure I would find googly eyes if I looked close enough. Near the canoe, there is a wheelbarrow brimming with Aloe Vera, and the whole place is lit up with Christmas lights like a rocket ship.
7. Young people are involved in the betterment of the community. They are always standing in the middle of the two-lane roads, passing out flyers about events for causes that are important to them. Some even work all day on Saturday to raise money by washing cars and/or dogs in front of the Do It Center, one of the only chain stores on this island.
8. Aruba is a multicultural precious jewel of an island on planet Earth. This tiny island is home to almost 100 ethnic groups and nationalities – my favorite part of calling this place home. It’s ironic how I moved from a big city of millions and millions to a 21-mile long island of 100, 000, yet my world has never felt more wide open.
9. Goats play peek-a-boo behind trees. They also cause traffic jams.
10. You can always find a new trail to hike, many feature prehistoric pictographs along the way.