Each week day, at 8.15am, I am collected to travel to my new job. I am based in the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank, which (among other things like supervising banks) looks after the currency and monetary policy for the Eastern Caribbean Monetary Union, a group of 8 small countries, whose population is around 600,000, and who share a common currency – the EC dollar.
The Bank is a whopping 2.5km from where I am staying, and it takes a leisurely 5-7 minutes to reach the front of my office building. The typical workday here starts at 8am but, lucky me: since my driver starts work at 8am, I don’t get picked up until later. Nonetheless, I feel like I skulk in each day since everyone is busy working by the time I arrive.
As we roll past the security office at the gates, I have to smile and show my pass, allowing the mysterious figures behind the dark glass to check me out and wave me through.
Even though it’s hot here, there is a relatively strict dress code, and one is not meant to go sleeveless. This, and a number of other “rules” mean that the culture is, despite its clear Caribbean-ness (relaxed, fun-loving) is still oddly English in many of its sensibilities. One rule in the Bank’s dress code reads “ties should be seen and not heard”, and I wonder if the author laughed out loud as he or she was writing it.
My first three weeks have not been as busy as I am used to, so I have taken my time in getting stuff done so as not to run out of work to keep me busy. However, things are catching up on me and the next 2 weeks are going to be frantic, which is more like it (although I wonder how much of this I have caused by taking my time getting into the swing of things – manufacturing my own busy-ness?).
At the end of my work day, my driver collects me at 4.30pm, meaning I am home by 4.40pm, which is deeply unheard of in my past lives and allows me to wash clothes, go swimming or take a snooze in the afternoon. I think I like working here, and am even getting quite used to the hea. It might – just MIGHT – break the back of my aversion to hot weather, although it does help that it’s not particularly humid, and that trade winds blow through with great regularity to cool things off.