THE VOICES OF CAYMAN’S ENDLESS SUMMER
In this series of interviews called ‘The Voices of Cayman’s Endless Summer,’ we will be speaking to well-known faces of the Cayman community about their favourite summer memories.
Cynthia Hew is a Jayne of All Trades – Mother, Business Owner, Wife and some may even say a pretty good cook. She is a familiar face in Cayman, being married to a local politician and the Owner of kitchen store Bon Vivant in Camana Bay, where she holds cooking classes and sells retail goods and high-end appliances.
We welcomed her to our Beach House and asked her about her love for Cayman, learned what her typical day is like, heard all about her current state of mind and her idea of perfect happiness. She has a beautiful story. Read on to hear more about what inspires her.
Cynthia has very fond childhood memories of Cayman. Even though she did not grow up on the island, she spent just about every summer with her family members who were based here. She reminisced: “I still remember how free I felt as a young child. Every day was an adventure and I learned so much about valuing what you have…even if it’s just a little. After a full day of playing in the sea, I remember walking back to my Grandfather’s house and either washing off with the hose or sharing tub water with my sisters; saving every bit of water since he relied on the cistern and didn’t want to spend too much on ‘city water’.”
Her fondest memory of a summer day in Cayman was when she was around 12 years old and she asked a boy to climb a ginup tree. She elaborated: “Ginups are a local fruit – they are green, have a rough exterior and inside there are seeds covered in a pink, soft fruit. I still run into that boy occasionally and think back to that day. It was such a big tree and the fruit was just hanging there waiting to be plucked, but I couldn’t reach them. I was so pleased with myself when I asked a boy at age 12 and he actually responded. Pretty sure that was my first summer crush as well.”
As an adult, she loves living in Cayman even more for the people and the beautiful scenery. She said: “People from all over the world or even just George Town tend to be more accepting and will lift a hand to wave hello here – complete strangers appear as though they have known you for years. It’s also a great place to raise a young family. My kids thrive here. They walk with confidence and not in fear of what’s around the corner here in Cayman, which is a real treasure when we live in a world where the news is dominated by wars, accidents and tragedy.”
We are not envious of her early starts everyday. Her mornings begin around 4:45/5am and she is out the house for an early morning run by 5:20am. That’s where she does most of her thinking, planning and clearing of her head. She explained: “I set out early to wake up with the day and don’t feel as guilty when everyone in the house is sleeping anyway! I’m home around 6:30/6:45am and that’s when the real work begins – made to order breakfast…every morning! During the school year, it’s off to school by 7:30am and in to work at Bon Vivant by 8am. I love what I do and my mission each and every day is to create an environment that not only I enjoy, but my co-workers and most of all our customers enjoy too.”
When we asked her about her current state of mind, Cynthia told us she is grateful. She said: “Growing up, there were some challenges – my Mom is Caymanian, my Dad is American and living in the US isn’t always easy for people who are from another country. Looking back there were a few rough patches, but I can’t imagine there not being any in life. What I have learned and continue to learn is that everything will always be okay, and that state of mind is always a choice. I have an amazing family – my husband and two boys (step-son, Josh who is 16 and Jacob who is 6) – who love and support me and I willingly return that to them each and every day. Yes, they are untidy, demanding and sometimes just won’t be quiet, but they are my world and my reason why I do everything that I do.”
When asked about the greatest love of her life, she had a hard time choosing one person. She said: “That is a tough one. My kids mean the world to me and the fact that they are the only two people that can make me so angry I could throw something but then say three simple words “I love you” and melt my heart. They have my unconditional love…my husband my greatest love. It’s not often that you can meet someone that loves you just for being you and he does. I can still remember the day when I was beating myself up over something and he said I love you. I love you when you’re sad, I love you when you’re mad, I love you when you’re goofy, loud, wrong… I love you when I see you being YOU. If he can love me just for being me…he is my greatest love.”
Unsurprisingly, when asked what are her most treasured possessions, she admitted that they are items that assist her in the kitchen. She added: “I can’t live without my Le Creuset non-stick omelet pan and silicone spatula. Those two things have helped me out many of early mornings when at 5am someone comes into the room to say, ‘My tummy hurts ’cause I’m hungry and need breakfast!’”
And her idea of perfect happiness? “Seeing everyone I care about genuinely happy. I think that’s why I love to entertain and cooking as much as I do – to have a good group of friends join you for a casual dinner to me is the perfect happiness especially if we start out with a glass of champagne,” she concluded. We can’t top that!
Cynthia In a Nutshell:
Motto: Believe that you are worth more than you think!
Brand of sunscreen: Neutrogena
Sunset drink: Champagne
Summer scent: Watermelon
Brand of sunglasses: Dior
Summer Book: Reality Based Leadership by Cy Wakeman
Song of the season: Let it Go, but not from Frozen – it was a remake of a Mom singing about her kids.
Flips flops or bare feet: Bare feet, but only if you start that way. I keep the heels on no matter how much they hurt!