Saturday, March 30, 2013


I recently took this picture (above) while standing on the shores of Buck Island. Buck Island is a small island that was made a National Monument in 1961, it is surrounded in the waters by several species of coral several that are on the verge of extinction, including the magnificent Elkhorn Coral, my personal favorite for many reasons. You can only reach Buck Island by boat, and it is regulated by the National Parks as a preserve. The beach is as Virgin as it gets, the water is unreal, and for us "locals" it gives you a unique perspective of the rock we call home. 

In the last month we have had two sets of visitors. It was a blast, full of fun times and memories. A pleasure to share our Island with these people, and in a way it was nice for us to have witness to what we experienced day in and out on this crazy spot. Although I try, some of our experiences are not easily put into words, and best experienced in person. With our guests here it was fun to once again see our Island through the tourists eyes. It is a place that should be visited often, I HIGHLY RECOMMEND IT FOR A VACATION. If your thinking of moving here, you haven't been listening and  need your head examined!!!

The first time I arrived on the island of St Croix, USVI stars were in my eyes. I loved the bright, beautiful, bold colors. The architecture was unique and everything I had hoped a pirate town might be. The what dreams are made of, and a sight and feel I know will never be matched or recreated again other than on the Islands of the Caribbean. My trip was not long enough, and I couldn't wait for my return.  
 I wanted my children to have the experiences of the ocean in their lives, I wanted them to have the lesson and adventure of being in a place where the people were as diverse as the colors on their buildings. The second trip I took to St. Croix my mother, who missed her grandchildren and daughter dearly, strongly encouraged us to consider relocating here. I was tempted, but uttered the simple threat that my husband would never come here....not in a million years. 

We have officially lived here for "more than" a year. Our lives will be richer, our minds expanded, and bucket lists shortened. Although a lot of our experiences have been less than we expected, and we were not prepared for some of the reality of living on an island. How can we complain about the opportunity few will ever take to see the other side of heaven. Mountains are our home, but the ocean heals the soul. Something both Don and I needed dearly. 
I felt strongly on two occasions while our last guest was here that our time here on the island, as a family, is truly coming to an end. This realization should have been a celebration but it actually came with mixed emotion. On one occasion I was greatly saddened at the thought of not standing in the exact spot I was standing ever again. I love that beach, and I love the sound of the ocean beating the sand as the sun kisses the water. Heaven on earth, well one of the places I've found it anyways. The other spot was a place I have often gone "looking" for "personal" direction. Fitting that it is also the "Most Eastern Point of the United States of America". I thought that theses feelings would fill me with joy, but I found them to be mixed emotions of gratitude for my experiences, sadness of leaving, and excitment for adventure and familiarity. My perspective had been renewed through the eyes of guests. This island is magical, and we have been truly blessed to share in the moments of "Lost in Paradise". It was a much needed vacation, like a retreat where you find yourself. 

After she left Don and I sat down and discussed my feelings and we mapped out a plan. We decided to make some changes financially so that we could pay our land off a little sooner. With that debt gone from our plate our needs are greatly reduced. We decided that once that was accomplished we could and would leave with or without the perfect job. We planned to be leaving island by Fall 2013. I liked the idea of that, it gave us time to do the last few things we wanted. Where will we go? Who knows? We know better than that to plan out much of our lives. Sooner is still our prefrence, but financially without a perfect job to go to, we are going to stay here and finish off our land mortgage. All that said.....Don has a very promising interview next week.

Figures, our family motto...."Life is what happens, while your making other plans!"

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Positive Vibes

There is a a Senator (the first elected Rastafarian in the territories) here on Island. His given name is Terrence Nelson. However, a big part of the Rastafarian culture is to take on a different name. Terrence is well known throughout the territory as "Positive" Nelson. Part of his campaign was a great slogan of: "Positive is how I live". I have met him, and observed him on several occasions  He truly does appear to live a very positive life, and when living in these territories, watching as your brothers suffer, and struggle. As they choose to live lives that drag them under in currents they cannot swim through. I can only imagine, that this makes Terrence struggle even harder for his brothers. I hope so.

So, as a direct result of this man, everywhere you go on island you see the slogan above. EVERYWHERE! Car bumpers, people, buildings, trees, benches, trash cans. Hell one of the A/C units at my work has this sticker slapped on it. It is a constant reminder to be Positive. Smart campaign, smart idea.

I haven't caught on I guess, I know I tend to be negative about my current state of mind, and residence. This island makes it difficult. I guess that is why someone thought it such a good idea that we have one-thousand reminders daily. I had a friend share something on facebook today, that simply stated: "For one minute walk outside, stand there in complete silence, look up at the sky and contemplate how amazing life really is."

I did this today. I did it yesterday too, as I had a rather cool experience. One I hadn't had in a while. 

I was rushing as usual trying hard not to be late for work and to get out the door with Rozi in tow. On my way to work I need to stop quick at the Post Office to mail my check back to my bank in Idaho. Quickly I rolled up the windows all but an inch or two, locked the doors. Then I unlocked the drivers side because it has the uncanny knack of refusing to let you back in, even with a key. So we don't lock our drivers side door. Promised Rozi I would be a flash, and I ran into the Post. Checked my mail box, empty. Dropped the mail in the slot and was back, a minute if that. Grabbed hold of my door to throw it open, and about ripped the handle off. LOCKED! I stood there a moment in shear amazement. Then quickly I grabbed the key out of my pocket....please work I silently pleaded. Nope. 

I stared through the window at Rozi who had a look of concern and wonder. Also I was staring at my cell phone sitting in the console. Just perfect I thought. Instantly I got mad, I wanted to know why everything had to be so damn hard on this rock. Why I can't just have one thing work as planned. I began to try and convince Rozi to unbuckle herself, which up to this point I was so proud of the fact that she HADN'T figured that out yet. She knew I wanted the door open, and was so intent on trying to reach her door latch while still buckled she couldn't focus on me to listen about the unbuckling instructions I was pleading at her through the window. I stood up looked around, not a soul in sight. I didn't dare walk away from her and I didn't know what to do. I was so frustrated I leaned forward, put me head on the glass closed my eyes and asked. I just needed a little help, just a little.


I startled and stood up to look at a tiny white car sitting behind mine. GREAT, I figured just what I needed some good old Cruzan schooling. (They really love to do that here, any chance they get to let you know you done wrong you get it...humbling and infuriating all at the same time.) I assumed the gentleman wanted my parking space and the courteous honk was for me to hurry up. So I ignored him and began again with the unbuckle instructions. I jumped as he spoke, standing right next to me like he materialized on the spot. 

"Locked out?" he asked. I quickly explained my predicament, and he suggested I run to the lumber store about 200 yards away and get a stick to reach the other side door lock. That was when he noticed Rozi, and realized I wouldn't want to leave. He then tried to reach his hand through the window, not a chance. I suggested he push down on the window and I would try my luck. It worked, we popped the window out of the frame, but I got the door open. He stayed with me until the window was fixed good as new. He suggested I leave the window down a little more next time, to which I laughed and replied "No Shit" he laughed too. 

I told him I would pull out so he could have my space. "No mom, I go other way. I turned round to find you," he says, "I be going now." I was shocked, I had been heard.

"Positive is how I live" was plastered on his bumper as I watched him drive away from me in my rear view mirror. 

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Goodbye's, linger in my soul

Never an easy task, saying Goodbye.

I find that I am becoming quite emotional as I get older, I am getting more and more attached to relationships, and finding it harder and harder to say goodbye. I feel the distance that escapes between me and the people I love to be more vast and empty.

I personally felt this for the first time 3 1/2 years ago as I stood in an airport in the middle of the night watching my parents get checked in to board a plane 3500 miles away from where I stood. It hurt like hell, my baby cried, clear back into Idaho where sleep finally took over.

A year ago I did the same exact thing to my friends, saying goodbye to some of the best people I have ever know. It hurt a little less, because only days before had I said goodbye to the love of my life, and my final destination would be in his arms again.

Now, as I float in the middle of the Caribbean. I feel the loss of those people so much more. It's the little things that you forget, or don't even bother to notice. Extra help on a weekend, or unexpected visits. Little things that often times seemed inconvenient or poorly planned. I miss them immensely  and realize the gifts that I had. You come to realize how much you relied on those people, and how good they were to you, and how much your truly love them when they are gone.

Recently we had company, two of our dearest friends (more life family really), and we had a blast. Life long memories and moments to share over and over again. Adventures, and laughter filled our days. It amazes me how quickly you rekindle old flames, and how small children become attached to a complete stranger in mere moments of time. Before we could prepare, days slipped by and it was time for them to go. We arrived once again at that tale tail place of arrival and departure. Goodbye was seamless, I didn't want them to regret the fun we had shared. The hugs were warm, and appreciated as a chance to show gratitude and love to last until next time.

As I drove away a tear slid down my face, and then another as I questioned the length of our stay on this tiny mirage in the ocean. Wondering when I would see our great friends again.

Today, we arrived again at that gate of Goodbye. Friends we met a mere 6 months ago were once again leaving our lives. Friends from Don's work, a couple with three charming boys who despite their shrill Puerto Rican voices, and wild antics had found a way into our hearts. They are moving on to bigger and better. Texas their final destination. As we kissed, and hugged, and kissed again. I couldn't help but wonder if I ever will see this family again in my travels of life. Tears welled up, and I washed them down again wanting no sadness to spoil their excited departure.

How can I help you say Goodbye. I don't think there is any easy route to this moment. I would like to do it a lot less than I have in the last year. Yet, in two weeks I will be right here again. Life is full of hellos, and goodbyes....mine seems to have more goodbyes just like sometimes you have more blueberries than cobbler.