a farewell

One of the things we both love and hate about Grand Cayman is how transient the people are here. Due to the island's major industries (financial services and tourism), expatriates from around the world flock here for short-term work contracts. Although the contracts with our respective public accounting firms are two years each, some work permits are only for six months, so there is always a new face in the crowd. And as I've noted before on this blog, mostly everyone that moves here is looking for new friends to replace those they've left at home. So meeting people and making connections is easy.

But the problem is that people also leave. And just as you're getting comfortable with a group of people and you're used to running into the same familiar faces at church and the grocery store and at the many sports activities on the island, someone leaves. And then another, and another. As CPAs, you'd think we'd be used to it by now. Public accounting is rife with work burnout victims, not to mention the classic firm-jumper. But working in Cayman just increases the number of leavers, as people fulfill their contracts and move on. It's bound to happen often, but it still makes me somber.

So to brighten up the mood, it was refreshing that in his final email to co-workers, Dustin Snyder - a co-worker, teammate, and friend of NS - jotted a few funny notes from his Cayman experiences.

Dodgeball tournament teammates

The contents of the email, reproduced with his permission, follow:

For interested persons... 

I've compiled my listing of things I've learned/observed throughout this experience.  I share those with you below.  Enjoy.  (These thoughts do not represent those of every American.  After all, I am one of the few of us that actually has a passport - I'm not your average American.)  And if you take any of the below seriously, you've got problems.  (Feel free to pass on to others.) 

Food and Drink 
- You may think that American beer is crap.  Fair enough.  But, you look awfully stupid trashing a Budweiser when you've got a Heineken in your hand.  Heineken, seriously?  C'mon! 
- I'll take a peanut butter & jelly sandwich over a cucumber sandwich any day.  A cucumber sandwich is not, in fact, a sandwich at all, but a hodge podge of veggies and bread. 
- Seriously, Britain.  Embrace the hot dog and hamburger bun.  Why buy bread that you have to cut when there's bread out there specifically designed for the purpose? 
- Unless you're tearing into a steak or something tough, why use a knife?  I'd venture that American save millions of gallons of water each year because we rarely use (and thus not have to wash) the knife. 
- Waitrose products must have heroin in them, because British folk flock to them like they always need a Waitrose fix. 

- It's the TV, not the tele. 
- Ricky Gervais makes great TV programs.  Ricky Gervais, however, should not be allowed to do stand-up. 
- "The Inbetweeners" is the funniest TV program of all time.  "Little Britain" is the worst TV program of all time. 

- I discovered very quickly that I speak American, not English. 
- I managed to pick up a few words in Afrikaans (although mostly of little use and all generally frowned upon when used in most circumstances), although I should have learned a lot more with all of that flying around. 
- Frazer and Ross, I still have no idea what language you're speaking.  I do know that I don't understand a lick of it. 
- I have picked up several British English terms and unfortunately use them now in my everyday speech.  With that said, I will never use the word "fancy" as verb, nor will I ever refer to a costume as "fancy dress".  Those are just weird to me. 
- In case of emergency, I still go to the hospital.  I don't go to hospital. 
- It's a "period", not a "full-stop".  Period. 
- How many different ways can you use the word "piss"?  It's seemingly indeterminate for a British person. 

- For the record, in the plural form, "sport" has an s on the end of it. 
- I play most of my outdoor sports on a field.  A "pitch" is something reserved for a door-to-door salesman or a baseball player. 
- I will take the stop and start of a football game (the real "football") over the 90-minutes of straight nothing that is a soccer game. 
- Rugby players are big beasts of men - that point I will not debate.  But, you cannot compare a rugby tackle to an American football tackle.  Caution gets thrown to the wind when you have the pads on....trust me.  And those pads are designed to protect the person doing the hitting, not the hittee. 
- I concede that our use of soccer makes no sense.  You use your feet in it - it should be called football. 
- Baseball and cricket are by far the most boring sports on the globe, but I'd rather watch paint dry than be subjected to even one hour of a cricket match. 
- Sorry Canada, but the winter olympics is not a real Olympics.  Two words...figure skating....nuff said. 
- Vancouver.  You're supposed to riot after a victory, not a defeat.  I suppose when all you usually end up with is the later, then you have no choice. 
- You're really missing out on American sports if you're not watching them at the collegiate level. 
- I'll admit that Americans have made up a lot of their own sports.  But what about the Irish?  Can we really attack one without attacking the other. 

At the end of the day, it is the constant abuse for being American that I will truly miss.  For the record, we are the best. ;) 

So, while this may seem like a rant against non-American ways of life and speech, I think Dustin's message is basically that living in Grand Cayman broadens one's horizons. You live among people from all over the globe, and the experiences and customs our international friends bring to the table are educational and enlightening. And if nothing else, it gives us something to tease one another about, which is all part of the good fun in a friendship.

Dustin, we're sorry to see you leave. We hope you remain proud to be an American in your next home of choice. Cheers, mate!


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