Moving Stories

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Story #4: Story from a St. Thomas Resident!

(Submitted in 2002) I like the weather the best, it is so nice to wake up and look outside and see a postcard. It's hard to explain to some that grew up in the VI, but everyone from the states would understand. Just like Baseball is all American. The Caribbean is the envisioned paradise of most Americans. I also like the small community feeling. It's nice to go places and run into someone you know.

The pros were that I got to live and learn about a new location and culture. The Virgin Islands are American but not the same. The biggest con for me was moving so far away from family. Unlike the states you could just about jump on any plane or in your car and go home cheaply in a few hours. From the VI it's an long trip requiring clearing customs and expensive all day flights. Also I think in the US many people are used to going for long drive to go places; here you are restricted by the island's size; I sometimes get island fever and feel trapped.

Not having a selection when buying something was the biggest thing that took getting used to. In the states you do not worry about selection you worry about price. In the VI you just try to find what you want and you just except that the price is high otherwise you are not getting it. No such thing as one stop shopping. Customer service sucks in the VI, do not plan for anything better. I found myself getting mad but it is just not worth it. Just learn to live with it. A true sign that you just got down here from the states is getting mad at the poor customer service and the locals realize it, they can spot a Yankee a mile away.

Words of advice for persons planning to move to the USVI; slow down you will enjoy the VI much better. Don't come down expecting to change the islands. Things are the way they are because that's the way things work here. Enjoy it for what it is.

The nightlife is a lot of fun, but be careful not to get sucked up in it. I have seen so many people come down to the VI and just get rundown from all-night parting. They come for 1 year, 19 years young and leave the next year looking 30 years old. Lots of rum and sunburn add years to your face and body.

The biggest difference for me was the amount of black people; it used to feel weird being the only white person around at work or in class (I attended classes at the university here). It sounds bad but I grew up in a majority white area. It was just a shock. Now I do not even notice when I'm the only white person.

Also having no changes of season was different, it sort of felt like I was stuck in August.

Overall it took adjustments, its different here. I have been here for a few years now, since 1995; been through a hurricane, worked, traveled and come back, gone to school... I like it here!

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