North Star Immigration Law rented a house in Guadeloupe from late April to early June 2019. Our lawyers took turns going for a week or 2.
It was a small, cute house with good wifi and a nice pool:
The house came with a spectacular cat, one we almost brought home until we realized her hunting passion and prowess would be stifled in our office, since we have no lizards/birds/snails/hermit crabs/bats/moths/you-name-it-she-kills-it:
There was an outdoor trapeze school down the road from the house ( École de Trapeze Volant!):
Guadeloupe, being an overseas French Department, is a really interesting mix of Caribbean/Creole culture and France. Bakeries everywhere. Duck confit, cheap wine and good cheese in the grocery stores. And this, Hibiscus juice, the most spectacular of drinks:
Guadeloupe has a slow-pace, where you have to watch for crab-traffic in parking lots:
And cows on the way to the beach:
Pop-up Law Office, Lessons Learned:
I think it is fair to say, with only a week or 2, and with the beach, sun, cows, crabs and cats to occupy you, it’s hard to get settled and to get any real work done.
I assume everyone does this when their colleagues are on vacation – you try to give them time and space but always end up sheepishly emailing them once or twice, knowing you shouldn’t bother them, but only they have the answer/insight into a question, so maybe if they have a second, no rush, no pressure, they can give you some guidance? The fact that we could email each other while they were in Guadeloupe without feeling totally guilty since it was a “working holiday”, was great. And when it was your turn to be there, there was no expectation to get any massive file work done (except Cam and his PF submission that I’m hoping he at least wrote while sitting on the pool ledge). But an hour or two in the morning of replying to emails and the odd CSE, or giving feedback on something, was all that was needed.
So what did we do?
Sophie went jet skiing (photo pre-jet-ski):
Cam hung out in the rainforest:
Guilhem climbed the volcano:
Lori went to the beach:
And I stayed pretty close to home, this was the walk to the beach behind our house:
Wandering around the capital, Pointe a Pitre is very interesting:
Most of us made it to the ACTe, the International Memorial dedicated to the memory and history of the Slavery Trade. It is such an important place, I wish it was better known, because spending time there is a profound and life-changing experience.
Of everything, the highlight for me on this trip was a song. We were last in Guadeloupe with our kids (ages 5 and 9 at the time) 3 years ago, and we also spent a day at the ACTe. We paired up: my partner took our 9-year-old, and I went with our 5-year-old, Louisa. For the main exhibit, the audio tour is mandatory, even for kids. I remember Louisa and I finished the exhibit first, and as we stepped out into the final corridor, which is a tribute to heroes who have fought against slavery and oppression, the loveliest song started to play. As we stood at the end of the tour waiting, we watched strangers step out into that corridor as the same song started to play in their audio tour. Without exception, everyone started to tap, snap, shake or shimmy to the rhythm of that song. Whether consciously or not, that song makes you dance your way out the door of one of the saddest and most sobering places on earth.
I never found out what the song was, thinking I could find it online.
But of course, I never did.
This time, it was my first question after buying the entrance ticket.
The answer: Miriam Makeba, Pata Pata