Moving to Guadeloupe


The nights were drawing in, the days cold and dark, the green man had done battle with the winter queen and lost. Time to fly away.

Florida was fun with my Kubuntu community and friends, the mickey mouse burgers, the free alcohol, chlorinated waterfalls and specs written. I could go home to the cold and the dark or I could go on. I choose on. I fly south over blue seas and tropical islands. At Puerto Rico my body is met with a wall of warmth. A strange land this: half American, half Hispanic, half Carribean. The pace of life noticably slower, the queues longer. I take what food I can from the airport lounge and fly on. More islands pass, the clouds of cotton wool floating by.

You can pick your food out of the sea here.

Guadeloupe appears through the clouds, green and fertile. No wall of heat this time, the plane is already warm. At customs comes my first test of French, will I understand? Words fail, they wave me through. Outside nobody is waiting for me, worry sets in, a foreign land and nobody to help, maybe my colocatiere does not exist, maybe there is no house and my money is gone. She appears, smiling and friendly, speaking impenetrable French. “Plus lentement s’il te plait.” I understand. I can converse. Je suis un francophone.

A beach in tropical paradise

The house exists, my studio flat has all I need. The dogs and cats are friendly. The swimming pool compact but pleasant. Carrefour is a drive away, a city to commercialism, I buy Guadaloupe sauces and fruits. Life here is expensive but various. We enjoy Guadeloupe food, the savoury fried bananas tasty, the chicken done to perfection. The beach is covered in palm trees, the sun strong but the shade welcoming. The sea is warm like I have never swum in before, a hot bath of blue.

The night chorus outside my bedroom, a symphony of frogs

Why Guadeloupe I am asked. No paticular reason but several inpaticular. It is French and they do not speak French here. I am jealous of people who speak a second language, I feel inferior. Here I have to speak French, I have no choice. It is France, and Europe. A little corner of the EU in the Carribean. A strange detour of a political border but one that works for my advantage, no need for visa or strange currency or work permit. It is a Carribean island, I have never been to this part of the world before, a new place. Time to explore.

4 Replies to “Moving to Guadeloupe”

  1. Welcome home J. 🙂

    Feel free to come to Martinique some time, it’s home too!!


  2. Hello Jonathan,
    I am researching avenues for relocating to Guadeloupe or Martinique. I came across your blog via this site, ExpatBlog and hoped to be able to ask you a few questions. While I’d like to be chatty, it might be best for me to just jump in and ask my questions:

    Your blog does not discuss how long a process it was for you to make the move from Scotland to Guadeloupe. Would you be willing to elaborate on (a) how you found a job, (b) what finding a job was like without speaking fluent French, (c) how you found a place to live (and what that was like without speaking fluent French). I think I have about a hundred fifty more questions, but I’ll restrain myself.

    I will, however, tell you that, professionally, I have over 16 years experience in education, technology, and project management. I have taught English to Afghan and Tajik refugees in Islamabad, Pakistan; and English courses (Literature, Rhetoric, Public Speaking) in California and New York. Currently, I am an instructional designer for a college in New York’s capital district. I have made long term visits with my partner to Kenya and Mauritius (living a month in each place – not long, but long enough to have a sense of living abroad more as a local than as a tourist). I am serious about making a move to the Caribbean, but I’d like to hear from someone who has “been there, done that.”

    Looking forward to hearing from you,

  3. > how long a process it was for you to make the move from Scotland to Guadeloupe

    Took me a couple of months between having some visitors from Guadeloupe and thinking that would be a nice to place to move there.

    (a) how you found a job
    I’m lucky enough to work from home so I can usually work from most places with an internet connection.

    (b) what finding a job was like without speaking fluent French
    Everyone on the island speaks French (and Creole), there is little English spoken, so I’d say decent spoken French is essential.

    (c) how you found a place to live
    I rented a soon on Le Bon Coin, a classified adverts website like Gumtree

    Bon chance!

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