My Expectations of St. Croix
Truthfully, having never been to a tropical island prior to moving here…I wasn’t even sure what my expectations of St. Croix should be. Of course I had done a lot of research. I reached out to people who were either currently living on the island or had previously lived on the island. I had looked at a lot of pictures. I read a lot of information online and in several books I borrowed. I had kind of decided in my mind to not create any real expectations and allow myself to really just have a whole new experience without putting any expectations on the island, the people, or myself. My expectations were more for my little family and my home.
Expectations and Surprises
I had expected and hoped that we would grow closer and we have – in just the short time we have been here. We have gotten to spend more time with each other over the past 2 months than ever before. We have spent time playing games, reading, watching shows, working together, and of course getting to know our new island home.
I expected it to be hot but have been surprised by the fact that the trade winds really do make it bearable. I expected my home to have space for us to live and grow and move…and do laundry. It has met and exceeded all of those expectations. Stewart really did do a great job.
I have been surprised by how much I sweat. I thought I’d be bothered by it but I find that I just deal with it. Grab a paper towel and mop my brow. Incidentally, our laundry is much more odiferous and I find that I just have to hold my breath for a moment as I drop it in the washer.
I gave up on daily “cute” hair or make-up. As I am one who really likes to play around with my hair and make-up, I am finding new ways to play. No one really cares or notices here anyway.
I am surprised by how long it is taking for Stewart to get a job (not because he has not tried…good heavens!!!…more on that later). I have been surprised with our resourcefulness to make do and kindness of our family.
My skin has surprised me. I had hoped that my typical summer-split-heels and my splitting fingers would end when I moved to this more humid climate – and they have!
I had heard about the Crucian’s way of a formal greeting. It is considered very rude here to begin a conversation without first saying Good Morning, Good Afternoon, or Good Night (not evening here, it is night). This courtesy includes phone conversations, speakers in church, etc. I find myself stopping mid-conversation to apologize for not including the greeting. That effort always softens the other person’s manner toward me. I’m still working on remembering when I am talking on the phone….starting right off with a “Hello!” is a hard habit to break.
As Caucasian individuals, we are very much a minority on the island. This has been refreshing and we have enjoyed the opportunity to expand our cultural perspectives and norms.
I have also had to get really brave. I enjoy the ocean but have never been one to really swim in it. I am not a great swimmer. I have a fear of deep water. I have – in the short time we have been here – been working on this fear and am finding my brave. I have surprised myself by trying to snorkel and actually spending a good amount of time floating and swimming in the water. I suppose the alternative – getting eaten by no-see-ums – has also helped me be motivated to get in the water.
I have been surprised by my children and their ability to adjust and grow here. I have watched them happily play together for hours (with very few fights)! They have taken to their new island home so well. They are thriving.
This island is beautiful. I am happy to be here. We have grown closer together as a family. It has, by no means, been an easy first 2 months living here. I have missed family and friends. I have been sad….not about our choice but by the fact that, as with any change, it can be hard; hard being in a new place, hard not knowing anyone, hard creating new routines, hard learning new environments and ways of doing things. Creating change is hard. Creating anything can be difficult. Without opposition or trial there can be no true and lasting growth. However, as I often tell my boys, “I can do hard things.” I live by those words because in the face of any adversity – big or small, easy or hard –
it is up to us to choose joy.
Did any of this surprise you?
What other questions do you have?