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Is anyone enjoying it (REALLY enjoying it)?

bluwater
August 09, 2006 09:53AM

Registered: 12 years ago
Posts: 126

Perhaps the forum is just in a downswing and this is the time for reflection and assessment - but the tone feels so generally negative that I am wondering if anyone on here is really enjoying their life in the VI?

Broadly speaking, many forum posters have punctuated their frustrated posts with comments about the view being great and the weather being pleasant....but there doesn't seem to be anything beyond that to give me a sense of what is being heartily enjoyed.

Could it be that there really is no enjoyment of things, events, people, places, experiences....but there is a lack of what displeased you stateside, and that is enough?

After reading this relo forum for some time, I just sit here wondering why many of you stay. It certainly doesn't sound like some place I would want to live out my days. Is there a general appeal, or does each person have a very unique reason for being there?

I used to think I wanted to move down. The fact that I used to live there a a child, have lots of good friends there, could likely get a corporate relo with housing in a lovely neighborhood overlooking the ocean (the corporate home on STT sits empty today on a huge gated lot because nobody wants to go or nobody stays after arriving - even after they get $$ to remodel to their liking - that million dollar house has been remodeled so many times for nothing), have lots of encouragement from family, etc. But, after seriously absorbing what is written here, I wonder why anyone would do it. It sounds absolutely miserable.

Then I read the online press and blogs. More misery. Complaint after complaint about the same things people were complaining about 20 and 30 years ago. It never seems to get any better - only worse. And it isn't that people don't recognize the problems. After all, that is why there is so much press and blogging. But, things continue to deteriorate, despite best efforts of those with fire in their hearts. How frustrating.

At the core of my newly found distaste for a potential life in the VI are the "crimes" against children in the VI. The endless complaints from teachers about the VI DOE, lack of resources, apathy from some parents, and general lack of guidance and leadership are enough to make me want to scream. No wonder things never get better - the very foundation is in ruins. In all that I have read, I don't see any evidence that serious consideration is being given to affordable alternate education - co-ops, charters, etc. Even when I mention those possibilities, responders seem confused about what alternate education would mean and, therefore, offended that I might suggest such a thing, so I assume things haven't even begun to go in that direction, while stateside alternates have long been an effective remedy.

I won't even go into the ongoing complaints about crime (unsolved), racism, government corruption, lack of medical advancement and resources, cost of living, corporate monopolies and the resulting price gouging, recent spikes in land development, land disputes, etc.

Yes, people complain everywhere. That is how issues receive attention and move to resolution. But, the VI progress seems to stop at the complaint and attention phase, and never move to the resolution phase.

Is this disgusting set of circumstances and the resulting complaints just part of life in the VI? Is that the culture? After all, it has always been that way, hasn't it? Why do people move down and then try to change it? Why not just let it be. You moved there by choice, so why complain on and on about age old issues once you arrive? Are you trying to change the VI culture to what you want it to be, or would it be better if you understood the culture before you moved down so that you could know if you can fit yourself into it - Adopt it as your own.

Maybe life in the VI just plain sucks for people who are used to more progressive and harmonious lives stateside. Maybe that is why the children who leave the island for college tend never to return....and why residents who move away often have little interest in even visiting their old home. Maybe that is why the stateside gov't has little to no interest in helping - because the problems are too deeply rooted and there is little to no support for change from the powers in the VI.

I'm wondering if the old saying "Nice place to visit, but I wouldn't want to live there" was coined in the VI.

And, no, I am not cranky or having a bad day. I am actually extremely light-hearted and happy today.....which may be why I am feeling especially good about my life here - and am now seeing the VI with eyes wide open and wondering what there is to enjoy as a resident, aside from the views and the weather.

Re: Is anyone enjoying it (REALLY enjoying it)?

Onika
August 09, 2006 10:13AM

Registered: 12 years ago
Posts: 859

Bluewater--

I had a long post written and then I simply got tired, gave up and have only this to say,

"TODAY, I love and enjoy my life here."

Sorry. I am so blown away by the tenor of the board these past few days that it is hard for me to artculate my thoughts at this time. Hopefully, someone else can provide a more intelligent and responsive answer.

Re: Is anyone enjoying it (REALLY enjoying it)?

shelly
August 09, 2006 10:22AM

I spoke to a friend of mine that has been in STX for 14 years. She said things are much dirtier, crime rate has gone up and the Education system is even worse than it was years ago. There is even LESS for teenagers to do, thus the crime rate caused by the youth is worse. She said if she had to raise her son in the environment and state that STX is in today, she would NEVER do it. I think the post Anita's husband made under the heading "GULP..WAPA bill" explains it very well. It's depressing when you feel helpless and at the mercy of the VI Gov't.

Re: Is anyone enjoying it (REALLY enjoying it)?

sense19601
August 09, 2006 10:26AM

Registered: 11 years ago
Posts: 18

If life in the VI is as miserable as one would be lead to believe it is by the majority of posters on this board, why do they stay?

I can understand the folks that move there (regardless of the length or number of PM V's), decide it is not for them and move on. I can not however understand those that have lived in the VI for a long period of time, are gainfully employed (perhaps not wealthy, but paying their bills), who moan and whine about their miserable existence in the VI. If life in the VI is so absolutely deplorable--------------MOVE ON. Granted relocating is often times easier said than done; but if you are so miserably unhappy that you can think of nothing positive to say about your current living situation you owe it to yourself to try and find happiness elsewhere--sell your belongings, buy a plane ticket and try and find some happiness--life is short.

One can't help but wonder if the majority of the naysayers on this board (esp. the longtime residents) are just unhappy people who would be miserable regardless of where they were living.

I'm certain this post will receive a number of nasty responses; can almost predict who will post those nasty responses.

Happiness comes from within. I don't believe "paradise" has been discovered yet.

Re: Is anyone enjoying it (REALLY enjoying it)?

lb
August 09, 2006 10:49AM

Registered: 11 years ago
Posts: 9

I have been her for over two years and wouldn't change a thing. We moved here after we visited some friends who moved here for a job. After our visit, we decided to change our scenery and get away from the cold.

When I lived in the states it felt like everyone you passed on the streets you either didn't know or no one really felt like getting to know you. I couldn't tell you how many times I am walking through a store and someone states "good morning" or "good afternoon" and the joy that it brings me. I also feel that this encourages me to say it to others all the time as well. I enjoy all the wonderful outdoor festivities-Jump Up, Sunset Jazz, Carnival-etc. You see so many people you know and everyone is just having a great time.

I am a person who is out and about all the time and I have never felt unsafe. Just like people have said so many times-there are good areas and bad areas and you just have to be smart. Things happen everywhere.

A couple of things people have commented on in the last few days:

-I welcome the fact that I am a minority and embrace the culture. Anyone who cannot be open minded and thankful to share such a beautiful island-I feel you should re-consider where you live.

-All the negative elements are out there-political corruption, schools in ruins, crime-but if you turn on cnn you will here about all those happening all over the world. I agree with the post above-if you are so unhappy here-why do you stay? Why do you try and deter people from moving here? With so many choices to live in the world-why here? Nothing good comes from negativity.

-The carambola situation happened over 30 years ago and crucians were also killed during the attack-not just tourists.

I can only see that things are getting better on the island. With a new administration, potential hotels, marina, new stores in sunny iles-this is an exciting time for the island.

I Really enjoy my life here and I thank st. croix for allowing me to live and thrive here.

Re: Is anyone enjoying it (REALLY enjoying it)?

Ric
August 09, 2006 12:00PM

Registered: 12 years ago
Posts: 393

Bluwater,
You have found one person who likes it on STX. We have been here for three years. I think it depends on why you are coming to the islands. We came for the weather. We came for the slower paced lifestyle (Yes, it's even slower than in Kentucky). We came for the beaches. We came for the water. We have found all of those things here.

We did not come looking for "Paradise". We did not come trying to escape problems in the states. We did not come to lie in a hammock and drink rum punches all day. There is no "Paradise". Any problems we had in the states found their way here. I don't like hammocks, but I have drunk my share of rum.

We are fortunate in a lot of ways. While we aren't wealthy by any means, money is typically not a worry. Our children are older than most posters on this board, so we don't have to worry about schools. Our health issues are pretty minor. We get most of the health care we need here on island. There have been a couple of things we had to go back to the states for, but not much. We've had no crime issues (knock on wood). We go out a couple of nights a week. We go to the beach. We dive. I occasionally get to go flying. I am working harder and longer hours than I want to, but I have a lot of fun at my job. What more could I ask for?

Ric

Re: Is anyone enjoying it (REALLY enjoying it)?
avatar

dntw8up
August 09, 2006 12:25PM

Registered: 12 years ago
Posts: 1,866

I'm happy here! While living here is very different from living on the mainland, and in many ways the differences are difficult to explain, this is a good place for my family and myself.

To be content here I think you have to be very flexible and willing to adjust to a number of island idiosyncrasies, despite the fact that these idiosyncrasies may seem wrong or pointless. Compared to the mainland there is a startling high level of acceptance of some injustices and a lack of interest in making the sacrifices necessary to effect lasting change on these issues. I believe that the reason for this is that most West Indians believe that they benefit more from the status quo than they suffer from injustice so they are resistant to change things and risk ending up worse off. This mindset is challenging for most folks from the mainland to accept but those who do tend to last here longer.

The schools here are appalling by mainland standards but the population is literate and the schools serve their purpose, which is not to send most of their students to colleges and universities but to prepare their students for responsible citizenship and adulthood. Schools here stress discipline and rote learning rather than rewarding creativity and independent spirits but high school graduates are able capable of becoming productive members of the local workforce, which consists primarily of middle class and lower middle class jobs in the government, retail and service industries.

Crime is another concern. It seems like most violent crime occurs within the West Indian population. I believe that much of it is drug related but I do not know any of the violent criminals so I'm just making an educated guess. It's discouraging that so few criminals are apprehended but I suspect that the criminals are known entities to many and those folks opt to keep quiet about what they know, perhaps out of fear of retaliation but more likely because the criminals are kin. Managing criminals is a daunting task someplace where law enforcement personnel and criminals are related.

Like elsewhere in the U.S., there is some racial tension and being in the minority population feels much different than being in the majority population. It is discouraging when one is treated as an interloper but I know that when I moved to a small town in southwestern Pennsylvania I was treated the same way despite the fact that I was the same hue as everyone else. That said, I've found that both in small towns and on small islands, if you are kind you will generally find your kindness returned.

Happiness/unhappiness is certainly a choice we make every day, regardless of our personal circumstances. Life in the USVI is challenging in many respects but my family and I find the challenges worth the rewards.

Re: Is anyone enjoying it (REALLY enjoying it)?

STT Resident
August 09, 2006 12:27PM

Registered: 12 years ago
Posts: 860

I remain here because I do believe that good changes CAN come about if enough people get off their complacent backsides and work towards the changes which so desperately need to be made.

I voice my opinions via the local media and am often jumped upon by certain people who, apparently knowing I'm white but not knowing much else about me at all, accuse me either directly or by inference of racism, colonialism, imperialism and all else inbetween. In the same vein, just a couple of days ago a reader of St Thomas Source posted a question on the Open Forum there about all the reports of racism here in the Virgin Islands and asked valid questions. His question has thus far been addressed by an off-island but presumably V.I. bahn-here who goes on what I perceive as a virtual rampage against the writer, accusing him of racism, colonialism, etc. and harping back to the slave days. Once I've recovered from my initial total disgust at the response, I'll reply diplomatically.

Culture? I adressed the issue of "culture" many years ago in a guest editorial printed in both the Daily News and The Avis. I think all that needs to be said right now to anyone addressing the "culture" issue is to look up the definition of "culture" in the dictionary and then see how that term has been bastardized for way too long. "Culture" now seems to include the right to blast out a neighborhood with loud music at all hours, ditto with blaring car stereos; to pee on the side of a main road or on someone's private property; to abusively yank small children around and threaten them in a public place; to call someone white who's done nothing more than make a simple mistake, "white m-f or m-s a-hole." etc. etc. That's not culture, it's plain ignorance, bad manners and upbringing, comes from only a few but which few tend to leave a lasting impression, especially when it's perpetuated, as it is.

I think a lot of people here right now are very worried about basic survival. The summer doldrums, combined with the increasing cost of WAPA's output with no end in sight is making us all very edgy. My WAPA bill is now higher than my rent. I'm as prepared as I can be for a hurricane but another contingent of our National Guard is on its way to Iraq, so less help if we do face another Hugo or Marilyn hit. Stateside agencies (FEMA as an example) are pushed to the max. So, for these and other reasons, I guess we're all just getting a little anxious with the world in such a turmoil.

But enough. I'm in the middle of weed-whacking the property, am covered in dirt and debris from head to toe, half of the work is done and I DO get a kick when my neighbors, friends, many taxi drivers and other commercial people drive by and honk to say hello. There are some who hold up traffic momentarily just to yell out, " Good day Ms. A! Good job!" or whatever, just get me chuckling and so happy to be here in what, despite the adversity, is my home and probably will be until I die. Gotta love these islands which are just so wonderfully diverse - seriously! Cheers to all!

Chill, bluwater, keep packing and look forward to seeing you soon. By the way, CUrchin bought me a conch pate from Ashley's on her recent incoming trip but damn well ate it. She's having a hard time living THAT one down. Pick me up one or two if you get a chance, wrap them in foil and they'll be fine!

Re: Is anyone enjoying it (REALLY enjoying it)?

Onika
August 09, 2006 12:28PM

Registered: 12 years ago
Posts: 859

Now that I am a little more clearheaded, i thought I would try to provide a more substantive response:

I am in a wonderful marriage and a mother to an incredible little girl and I know that we would be happy anywhere.

That said, my love-hate relationship with STT is due in large part to the following:

--Being the black half of an interracial relationship, I am truly saddened by the lack of integration. I still find it shocking that I can be in a restaurant/party/social gathering where I am the ONLY black person, this on an island of 85% african descent people.
This lack of integration or commonality of thought is highlighted during times of crisis. Case in point: Robert Sells or the Geiger murder.
--Cultural differences. There is nothing bad or wrong about cultural differences in and of themselves, but I like to have people smile at me when I enter their shop, etc. to conduct business and give up my hard earned $$$. This is how I was raised. Of course, I was also raised where you were out of sight out of mind as it relates to customer service. I am constantly amazed when storeclerks remember me from my last visit three months ago! This is unique to my experiences here and on some days is good, on others not so. I guess I get tired sometimes of trying to "figure it/them (?) out", sometimes I just want to get my business done without unwittingly offending someone. Is this making sense?

Anyway...

Yes, goverment incompetence, poverty, poor education etc. is also up there. But I have the same frustrations about the federal government and, unless you are fortunate to live in a city with magnet schools, there are many communities with horrid public schools.

Lastly, sometimes a girl just wants to go shopping or see an independent movie or go to a museum or have THAI food! Haha. On those days, I don't "love" it here, but I'm still here.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 08/09/2006 12:30PM by Onika.

Re: Is anyone enjoying it (REALLY enjoying it)?

mdouce4
August 09, 2006 12:31PM

Registered: 11 years ago
Posts: 8

In my experience on St Thomas, I quickly learned that those in search of "paradise" will not find it anywhere. Some come to escape their problems stateside, but soon realize their problems have followed them here. Flying thousands of miles away from something will not always "fix" it.

With that said, those who come to the islands looking for (as others have pointed out) a laid-back, small town feel with great weather and beautiful water will surely find a great fit.

Re: Is anyone enjoying it (REALLY enjoying it)?

sense19601
August 09, 2006 12:50PM

Registered: 11 years ago
Posts: 18

dntw8up-

Well said!

I firmly believe that at the end of the day perspective and the ability to manage one's expectations is the key to happiness wherever you are.

Choose your battles wisely, contribute for the better where you can and adapt with grace to those situations where your contributions can not and will not affect change, be kind and gracious to all (including the ***holes you encounter along the way) and make a conscience effort to enjoy your life ; it is after all a short one. Those of us who are fortunate enough to go to bed at night knowing we have done just that will always be happy wherever we are.

Re: Is anyone enjoying it (REALLY enjoying it)?

JE
August 09, 2006 12:51PM

Registered: 12 years ago
Posts: 312

My wife and I have called St. Croix home for 14 months and have absolutely no regrets about moving here. In fact, I just got back from a 10 day trip to the states and nothing I experienced while there gave me any second thoughts about our move here. Neither of us have had any really negative experiences here, particularly any situation where we thought we were treated any differently because of our race. While we certainly don't think everything is perfect here in the Virgin Islands, as I recall there were plenty of things that could have been enhanced anywhere we lived back in the states also.

Re: Is anyone enjoying it (REALLY enjoying it)?

terry
August 09, 2006 01:02PM

Registered: 12 years ago
Posts: 2,524

I doubt that anywhere is as nice as it was, safe as is was, etc years ago. We moved 16 years ago to the other side of town to get away from the neighborhood going downhill. We in the past few years our street has been fine, but the surrounding neighbor hood is going down hill.
I've read posts by many long term USVI residents that it's not the same as it was. I'm sure that is true. But I would guess that in a few years that even Ric will say that it's not as nice as when he and Linda moved there. They hopefully will still love STX, but unfortunately thats what some call progress.

Re: Is anyone enjoying it (REALLY enjoying it)?

Alexandra
August 09, 2006 01:20PM

Registered: 11 years ago
Posts: 1,428

I love living on STX. The weather and the casual lifestyle were two of the larger draws and both suit me to a T. There are fewer things here that get on my nerves. I never expected any place to be perfect and don't find the minor nuisances to be worth getting worked up over. Life, in general, is good and the easy ability to casually enjoy the spare moments in my day is a plus. Life here is more spontaneous and that offers more frequent opportunities to interact socially. I love the work I do and enjoy *almost* everyone I meet. Even the local characters and homeless panhandlers have amusing quirks that don't make them as annoying as their mainland counterparts.

I don't get to go SCUBA diving as much as I'd like, but that is the fallout of a busy life where I am usually having a fun time even if I'm doing something other than exploring the coral reef. My husband and I have multiple business interests that keep us working at least part of every day (and usually long hours) and yet we still don't feel burnt out or fed up with a J.O.B. as was often the case prior to relocating to STX. The sunshine and the breeze and the scenery do make me smile. The fact that we are able to work together to build a life here that will add more fun elements as time goes on gives us goals and inspiration to stay motivated. The friendliness of the people, natives and newcomers alike, also helps us feel comfortable in our place here. We've dealt with assorted crises that have come along and still find STX to be our preferred place to call home now and for the foreseeable future. We both love to travel and will undoubtedly explore other places in the years ahead. We don't know if we'll find somewhere else someday that we'd also love to live, but we are confident that we will always have a home on STX in some format even if we do expand our sense of home to include one or more other locations around the world.

Re: Is anyone enjoying it (REALLY enjoying it)?

jane
August 09, 2006 01:21PM

Registered: 12 years ago
Posts: 532

Again, we come back to the fact that the VI is not for everyone -but, if you are lucky enough to be in the same type of situation as Ric, it can be great fun.

Re: Is anyone enjoying it (REALLY enjoying it)?

johnnycake
August 09, 2006 01:34PM

Bluwater,

You made some thoughful and poignant remarks that challenged readers who relocated to the USVI to consider why they relocated and remain in the VI and more importantly perhaps to consider what they like about living in the USVI besides the weather and beaches.

I agree that more should be done to address some of the social issues that affect the USVI community. I also know that the USVI community is not unique in their complaints about the social ills that plague many communities. For instance, I have friends who are teachers in NY who complain about the NY DOE . These teachers complain about inadequate pay and they often have to purchase school materials that is not supplied. Most New Yorkers will tell you how ridiculously high the cost of living is. Recently, tens of thousands of Queens residents suffered through six days without electricity because the electrical grid in the area in need of repair was not maintained...... I can go on and on. I am not sure that it is merely the culture of the USVI that prevent progress on all fronts.

You mentioned that "Maybe that is why the children who leave the island for college tend never to return....and why residents who move away often have little interest in even visiting their old home". I was not sure if you were referring to locals who left the islands. If so, I think this is a broad generalization. Like many of my high school friends, I went to the mainland to further my education and opportunities. I have meet MANY statesiders from small towns in America who relocated to cities for the same reason. Many of them have not returned to the small towns that they are from. I can say that many of my friends and I have plans of returning home to STX in the near future. We are all professionals who look forward to giving back to our commuinty. Many of us talk about the social ills that we read about and see when we visist our families back home and want to be particpate in effecting improvements. We also understands that we do not have all the answers or solutions.

Often when I read the experience of the new locals on the board I remember what it was like for me as a Virgin Islander relocating to NY. I had culture shock..it was very different...I was a minority...I missed home (STX)....It was expensive going back and forth to visit. Like many of the mainlanders who are relocating to the USVI, Virgin Islanders relocating to the mainland experience a similiar process of adapting and hopefully acculturating to their new environment. In relocating to a different culture some feel right at home for others it takes time ( a few years) still there are some who realize that it is just not a good fit.

Interestingly, some islanders who move to the mainland also have the reverse "paradise syndrome" that some mainlanders relocating to the islands have. They too eventually become disenchanted and realize that the grass is not always greener on the other side.

Best,
Johnny cake

Re: Is anyone enjoying it (REALLY enjoying it)?

jefgar
August 09, 2006 02:31PM

Registered: 11 years ago
Posts: 137

We are!!

After many years of planning, we moved to STX two months ago. My wife and I retired this past year, so we aren't worried about working. Our son, who has been working all summer as a divemaster with one of the local scuba shops, will go off to college in a week, so we don't have to find anything for him to do on the island.

When we first proposed retiring on STX, our son, who was 11 at the time, asked why we wanted to do that -- didn't we want to retire in our home in Virginia. We explained that Virginia wasn't our home; it was where we lived when we were on assignment in Washington (my wife and I were both in the diplomatic service). Besides, said I, Christmas vacation freshman year in college, do you want to tell your friends you're going home to VA to shovel snow, or do you want to tell them you're going to STX to scuba dive and sail? He instantly agreed with our plan.

Since then, he's gotten his PADI divemaster certification and has found plenty of work -- for both Christmas and summer holidays. This has been the summer of his life -- getting paid to go scuba diving. Furthermore (to our dismay sometimes), he's totally pleased with the 18-year old drinking age. Unlike many teens, however, he will not drive when he's had too many -- he crashes on a friends sofa or calls us to pick him up. We're more than happy to oblige.

My bride and I have plenty to do just getting our house in order. We bought it several years ago and had renters while we were still off-island. There's just been too much to do to make it "home." So much, in fact, that we haven't had time to go diving yet. Once all the new windows are in, we'll finally be able to paint -- outside and in -- and deal with window treatments. We've informed family and friends we're unable to have visitors until the house is ready.

Sure, there are headaches; everything takes longer to get done, and everything costs more here (especially utilities). But we knew that coming in. The most important thing we learned in our careers living overseas is that we can't expect to make this culture conform to our norms -- we have to conform to its norms.

Simple things in life are important -- like offering the appropriate greeting when you enter a store, for example. You wouldn't dream of not doing that in France, Germany or most anywhere else in the world (other than the US). Somehow, we've lost our civility in the fast pace of life in the US. The rest of the world has not -- including the USVI.

Be sure you know what you're getting into -- and, once you're prepared, you can deal with almost anything.
Good luck

Re: Is anyone enjoying it (REALLY enjoying it)? - A Plea to Bluwater

C Urchin
August 09, 2006 02:41PM

Registered: 11 years ago
Posts: 29

While my post cannot answer the BIG question posed is anyone really enjoying it since I don't live there yet. I truly believe that if you are happy in your life, you can be happy anywhere. I moved to Houston from Tampa 9 years ago for the purpose of only going to law school. Hubby complained everyday about EVERYTHING. I complained about the commute, the traffic and all of the concrete. With that being said, we are still here 9 years later (and very happy with our life) with, as you know, plans to move to STT in the next few years. We can be happy anywhere. I'd just much rather be happy somewhere I am able to get in the water with a snorkel and mask and be amazed each and every time I do it.

However, I do need to say this. . .

Bluwater - please, please pick up a conch pate from Ashley's for STT Resident. I went, bought the thing and couldn't resist it sitting in my fridge for another day and had to eat it. . . silly smiley

CUrchin

STT Resident
August 09, 2006 02:48PM

Registered: 12 years ago
Posts: 860

You are just TOO bad, but, Bluwater, pay attention!

Re: Is anyone enjoying it (REALLY enjoying it)?

HipCrip
August 09, 2006 02:55PM

Registered: 12 years ago
Posts: 545

As I've posted here dozens of times since arriving on Memorial Day 2004, we love being here, find the people the warmest, most welcoming we have encountered anywhere else we've lived, have had (by luck or other reasons) none of the negative experiences discussed in recent posts, and hate to have to travel back to the lower 48 because we now find the pace there way too intense and too many of the people to be self-centered and outright rude compared to the lovely life we enjoy here. (In fact we've only left STX for more than a day once -- to be near my family when I needed yet another surgery -- and even our 8-10 hour/one day jaunts to urban San Juan, PR for doctor appointments would be hard for us were it not for the wonderfully nice people we consistently encounter there.)

I think the only island-life limitation that I've expressed frustration over is the difficulties I had in finding a general practice physician who was willing to work with me. This is no way implies that, from my experience, there is a lack of good doctors/PAs in practice here -- it's simply a reflection of my shock that a number of them refused to accept me as their patient for basic medical care because of my extensive medical history.

So once more for the record, both hubby and I love being here. We chose STX because of its rich history, culture and diversity; it's slow pace of life and small-town feel, as well as the weather and natural beauty. Our reality is even better than the hopes we had before we relocated, and intend (god, fate ad health willing) to live out the rest of our lives as happy as we are in this house and on "our" island as we've been since arriving.

Another transplant who'd rather be here than anywhere else, even though it's not paradise in every way,
--HC

Re: Is anyone enjoying it (REALLY enjoying it)?

bluwater
August 09, 2006 03:16PM

Registered: 12 years ago
Posts: 126

Sorry this is long - if you want to skip most of it, just read the last paragraph to get my point.

Thank you all for sharing your perspectives. Yes, my observations are broad and I'm sure there are counter-points to everything I've highlighted. I don't follow the VI press year-round and tend to read the papers when something interesting is raised on the forum. I started reading some of the recently highlighted articles, which led me to read other articles and before I knew it I was linking and clicking around to a number of very depressing and concerning articles that made me question why and how things have gotten so bad. Maybe it was always this way and only now have I removed my proverbial rose colored glasses long enough to realize.

I always have some frustration after reading the ongoing mantra "it is like this everywhere" - "crime is everywhere" - "racism is everywhere", etc. I don't think that is an appropriate response. The racism that seems to be commonplace in the VI isn't in my community here - whether it be black on white or white on black, we just don't have it here like that - though, admittedly, I live in a recognized model community for the Nation in terms of racial harmony, so I don't know what racism is like across the country. Talk about rose colored glasses...
Here, we're all mixed up and interracial couples move here purposely so that their children can be raised in a place where being biracial is the norm. Oprah did a story on us in April and USNews has also covered it. Just trying to frame my perspective for you....not trying to bore you to tears with praise for my neighborhood.

On the flip side, my son was called "yellow" by a stranger last time he was on STT. It wasn't in a confrontational way...and the person was asking him for spare change, but it made him feel uncomfortable to be labeled by a skin tone and because it was such a foreign thing, it put him on the defensive. I'm sure the man meant no harm - he was seated and didn't get up or seem offensive in any way. I get the impression that labeling people by the color of their skin is a common practice in the VI. And, in re: Onika's statements about the division of black and white, that would really bother me.

I can also walk alone at night here without fear, wear flashy jewelry without concern, leave my doors unlocked, etc. ...and I live in a "big, bad" city, but I don't have to worry about myself all of the time. I don't worry about being the target of random crime. So that kind of stuff is not everywhere either.

Yes, the gov't here has recently gone though a Nationally publicized scandal...but it was resolved with wire taps, FBI, extensive investigations, etc...and the players are now in jail - newspapers were happy to print full, front page pictures of the officials being led away in handcuffs.....to the cheer of the residents. To see it uncovered, publicized and severely punished is very empowering to the taxpayers. To see to go on as it does in the VI.......on and on.......without correction, is the really disturbing part.

Anyway, my Philadelphia community and my experience here is not the point - though, it does serve as my point of reference and the benchmark on which I compare other places. The point is that what goes on in the VI does not go on everywhere, so I wish people would stop using that one. Yes, it does go on in quite a few places, but I wouldn't pick up and move there either.

I guess my questions have already been answered. If I understand the everyone's collective position, it is that while the VI has a great number of serious hurdles ahead, those hurdles are things that those who enjoy life there are willing to deal with. When transplants decide that they can't tolerate the challenges, they leave. Those who stay do so because they can tolerate - not love, not even like - but tolerate the problems and enough joy is found in the positives to make the need for tolerance worthwhile.

I'm still very much looking forward to many, many visits. And, STTResident, I was already planning on brining you some conch pate from Ashley's! Now you've ruined my surprise smiling



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 08/09/2006 03:19PM by bluwater.

Re: Is anyone enjoying it (REALLY enjoying it)?
avatar

dntw8up
August 09, 2006 03:45PM

Registered: 12 years ago
Posts: 1,866

"I can also walk alone at night here without fear, wear flashy jewelry without concern, leave my doors unlocked, etc. ...and I live in a "big, bad" city, but I don't have to worry about myself all of the time. I don't worry about being the target of random crime. So that kind of stuff is not everywhere either."

Bluwater,

A female wearing flashy jewelry walking around a big U.S. city alone at night? You live in Philadelphia, right? Is this really something you do or is it just something you want to believe you can do safely? Just because you've been lucky doesn't mean you aren't courting disaster. Yikes!

Re: Is anyone enjoying it (REALLY enjoying it)?

Linda J
August 09, 2006 04:23PM

Registered: 12 years ago
Posts: 3,903

I like STX jut fine. I sometimes miss my kids, grandkids and father, but I have the ability to go visit and bring them here.

I like the beach, the small town feeling, the ability to go into a neighborhood bar for breakfast and the cook knows what I want. I like my job. I like the feel of the island.

If the good didn't outweigh the bad, I'd find someplace else to live. But then I sure would miss Ric!!!



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 08/09/2006 04:24PM by Linda J.

Re: Is anyone enjoying it (REALLY enjoying it)?

bluwater
August 09, 2006 06:29PM

Registered: 12 years ago
Posts: 126

dntw8up, you've combined several statements.

I can wear flashy jeweley - yes.

I am not draped in large diamonds and big, chunky things...lol. But, my everyday stuff totals about $3k in value and I feel fine wearing it anywhere - supermarket, baseball games, etc. Maybe by "flashy" people meant big, chunky, flashy things. I wouldn't wear that anyway.

I can walk alone at night - yes.

I do it quite a bit. If I don't get my daily walk in during the day, I do it after dark. Not in the middle of the night, but it is dark. I see other women doing it too. I don't use my ipod at night so I can hear what is going on around me. But, I live in a busy city. There are people always walking - to and from the trains and busses, jogging, walking dogs, sitting out on their porches, gardening, watering their lawns, lots of cars always going by. And I don't remove my everyday jewelry to do this.

I live in Philadelphia - yes. I may not feel the same if I were in some rural area.

I won't be bringing my good jewelry with me to the VI next week.



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 08/09/2006 06:31PM by bluwater.

Re: Is anyone enjoying it (REALLY enjoying it)?
avatar

dntw8up
August 09, 2006 07:11PM

Registered: 12 years ago
Posts: 1,866

Blu,

Thanks for the clarification. Youu actually did the statement combining, which read as if you do all those things at the same time.

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