I spent 4 yrs living on STT
I moved to STT thinking I would spend the rest of my life there (2004-2008). Visiting is nothing and I mean nothing like living there.
The first year I was in love with the notion. The second year, I started questioning if I liked it. The third year, I decided it sucks big time. The fourth year I planned the move out.
The following recaps my 4 years on STT.
There is no water, you must buy and drink bottled. You shower and do everything else in rain water, and pray for rain.
There is no garbage pickup. You haul it out in your car and dump it in nasty dumpsters all over the island.
There is no mail delivery, you must rent a PO Box.
There is no gas, you must have a tank refilled when it runs out.
Utilities (WAPA) are a joke. Electricity is so expensive, its ruining the island. Power is off regularly. An IHOP opened for one year, with constant lines and very successful, he closed after 1 year cause he couldn't afford his $12,000 per month elec bill. The only thing every one talks about is WAPA.
The "slower" pace of life, is really people who have a pathetic work ethic and are basically very lazy. If you are a person of color, you will get bad service. If you're white, you will get horrible or no service. I'm white, I had bank tellers steal from me, was served stale bread at Subway, etc..
The government is corrupt, health care is dangerous, and the cops are a joke. You do not want to get involved in any of these systems. Thankfully I didn't have to.
When I was there, the high school was uncertified. The few kids that graduated could not go to college unless they got a GED.
Pretty much your entire shopping experience will be Kmart. If you have a shopping list you'll be lucky to get half the items. They run out of water, kitty litter, toilet paper, etc, all the time.
Life is a daily hassle and anything but peaceful and serene.
I could go on and on about how awful it was. I will go back to the Caribbean, but never-never-never to St Thomas.
All the best, Barbara
Hi there angry 🙂
I'm aware of all of the situations you brought up and people look at things differently. I don't look at problems as they'll ruin my life, but I adjust to deal with them. All of the things you listed are things I'm willing to adjust to live somewhere where I can have a better quality of life.
Barbara: I am glad you posted, and hope Islander will put your post under the moving stories. So many times people who post on the board get info, move here and disappear. Would love to hear follow up stories on some of our other posters. I have always said that at least half of newcomers are gone in six months. I appreciate your point of view, but I want to make a comment or two:
"You shower and do everything else in rain water"...um, and there are folks in the states who have never felt the sensation of washing their hair in rain water. It is heavenly!! I drink my cistern water every day. And WAPA desalinates water, so when there is no rain, you can still buy water.
"There is no garbage pickup"..."There is no mail delivery" Well, there is, it isn't common like stateside, but one can get both.
"There is no gas"- You are referring to propane for cooking. I think you always have to have propane tanks filled, no?
I think there may have been more to the IHOP story than just an electric bill.
"I will go back to the Caribbean, but never-never-never to St Thomas" HAHAHAHA! You think it is bad here??? Why do you think people have flocked here from every island in the eastern Caribbean?
But I do have to say, when you get to the "deciding it sucks big time" level, it is time to buy a ticket back home. 😉
Thank you for giving the other side of the story, the one that *we* are always accused of trying to cover-up.
If people want to post their experiences, bad or good, or warn others, where's the drama? Some people here are rude to white people, treat you like an outsider, and have a chip on their shoulder. That's their problem. Some are great. Most seem cautious. My first week was on St Thomas. A lot of people wouldn't even respond to me when I asked them a question about how to get around! I can see how this constantly would bother someone. The work ethic is...poor. You do have to shop around for things and develop patience like you never thought you would. Don't know about the school system, but the public school teachers always seem to have walk-out protests over conditions!
The attitudes toward women is dated. generally, Animals are not treated with care.
Some places use cisterns. I have for the past few years. Not a big deal to not drink tap water. Buy a 5 gallon container and keep a pitcher with cold in the fridge. To balance the bad, the surroundings are beautiful. Things are slower. The beaches are great! You may find peace in the little things. If you have a good support system it will work out.
The "drama" is in the sweeping statements. There is city water in parts of town. There is garbage pickup in parts of town and mail delivery as well. Many, many of our kids go to college. I think painting any situation with only negatives is overly dramatic.
Just my opinion. Not trying to start a fight.
Hmm....Barbara registered today, posted the same message 4 times and replied with a good luck wish another time. AND she lived here 04-08. Just wondering.
I am a newcomer, been here 4 weeks. I'd like to offer my experiences. I am one of the MANY travel nurses on island. I am looking at the possibility of staying an extended time. I do enjoy plenty of water (that I drink) and power in my rental and wifi works most of the time. There is garbage pick up at my villa. My first day here I went to the nursing license office - a government run institution and I was served by a very kind, friendly and helpful staff member. Offered me a drink, sent a fax, made copies for me, and suggested a place for lunch and a safe walking route. AND I spent less than 20 minutes there. I have a PMB (mail service) box at the mall. I was told nothing available now, when the island lady who served me heard that I was very anxious to get mail service she said she would check again with her manager. 30 minutes later I had a box. I have ridden the Safari, the city bus and rode in taxis. All pleasant experiences. I rented a car from Dependable, and again was served by 2 island ladies that were very friendly and efficient. The rental process took over an hour and 2 trips. Not that different from renting a car in Orlando FL on spring break. I drink coffee frequently at a cafe where I enjoy good service, and nice chats with others like me, islanders and the baristas! I use the bank and the pharmacy too. I have been so warmly welcomed by all.
As a member of health care services on STT, I'll also offer some input. SRMC is very tuned into patient satisfaction and outcomes. They have to be, because reimbursements are based on this. Satisfaction scores have been rising and are now at an acceptable levels, per the federal government. I have been welcomed and accepted by the regular staff. Patients are well cared for and seem very pleased with their care in my department.
Thanks to all who post and read this forum. I've been steered in the right direction more than once. I love it here!
Please tell me this person is just miserable or something. I visited St. Thomas last November for a one on one job interview. It was a short 3 1/2 days but the time I was there I fell in love with the island and the people. It reminded me of the Chevy Chase movie Funny Farm where the towns people all put on an act so Chevy and his wife could sell their house. It just seemed too perfect. During my stay I only had one day to myself. The rest was part of the hiring process. I had a car so I explored as much as possible. I went to K-Mart to compare prices to those in the N.J. I couldn't find a few items and the sales person was happy to help. I stayed at Bologo Bay and had breakfast there every morning and the service was fast and friendly. Everwhere I went I did not have one bad experience. Did I miss something? When I first considered the move , did I realize I wouldn't be in Kansas anymore? I was told up front when I was there you had to take your garbage to a dumpster. The power went out the first night I was there and I heard it is a regular occurance. Will I be sacrficing a lot by making the move? Well because I've had 9 months to think about all of this, I can spend the rest of my life here and deal with way too high property taxes, crappy weather, incredibly high cost of living and more idiots per square mile than anywhere in the nation. Or move a tropical paradise. Too me it's a trade off. I'm tired of the rat race. In the movie Rocky Balboa, Rocky tells his son "The world ain't all sunshine and rainbows. It can be a mean and nasty place and I don't care how tough you are it will beat you to your knees and keep you there permanently if you let it. You, me or nobody is gonna hit as hard as life. But it ain't about how hard you can hit. It's about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward. That's how winning is done". Sorry for the rant. That post just gave me a scare with my planned move being so close. Maybe Barbra just isn't a winner. John
I admit to taking exception to Barbara's post, mainly because she just registered and posted this several times, like she is very angry. I think she probably is angry, and to be fair, there is some validity to the points she makes, but here's the thing, in my opinion....The things she complains about just aren't that big a deal. What's wrong with rain water? So you have to take your garbage....who SHOULD take YOUR garbage? Tanks refilled instead of coming from a line from the gas company? So what??? I bet all Barbara did was pick up the phone and Antilles took care of the rest. What's the problem? I never did buy the excuse that IHOP closed due to WAPA, but I'll give her that point because WAPA is high. The government does have some corrupt members. I bet they do in Barbara's hometown, too. Health care and schools could use some improvement, particularly the schools, but that's why most posters on here warn newbies to plan for private school. It really sounds like Barbara just wasn't cut out for island life. We don't have all the usual conveniences (which could be considered luxuries) of most US towns/cities, and if you need those, then listen to Barbara, and don't move here. If you can adjust to going to the post office (gee...didn't realize it was such a hardship for some) and taking your trash to the dumpster, and schools aren't a concern for you, come on down!
I also found it amusing that she will come back to the Caribbean, just not STT. When we visited many of the islands for several months at a time, on our sailboat, as we started getting close to home (St. Thomas, at the time), we always got excited about having a Kmart and Marina Market and our personal favorite...a salad made with real lettuce!
People only believe what they want to believe.I read about the crime before I moved to STX and I blew it off as alarmist. I don't blame people for not wanting to believe that the things Barbara missed are things that will bug them too - but it seems a little mean to call her names for telling her story. Oh well. It is hard to say goodbye to the modern conveniences that make life so pleasant stateside (like mail delivery and trash pickup and a constant supply of drinking water). Living in the VI is QUITE an adjustment.
I see your point, Barbara! But if you are trying to save people the insanity of moving their whole life onto a little island and then moving everything back a few years later if/when they decide it is not for them - I think you are wasting your breath. Life is a journey and failed experiments are learning experiences. People who are brave/adventurous/crazy enough to do it, should go for it. And to those who are determined to move here and don't want to think anything bad about "paradise" - I wish you luck! Lots of people leave... and lots of people stay. Either way, enjoy the ride.
Anger is not a strong enough word.
Let's see. You could get struck in traffic on the New Jersey turnpike for 6 hours? Or you could pay tax on tax? Or you might even believe that it is fun to go to the main land DMV and much much more.
4 years is a long time to miss those wonderful things on the main land!!!!!
No place is perfect. Even the VI has some problems. I would rather take those VI problems than live in the main land. After all it took me 40 years to move here. But I have never been sorry!!!!!!!!!
Go back and ENJOY the main land!!!!!
Maybe Barbra just isn't a winner. John
The lure of “paradise” is strong. The dream of living on an island is shared by many. People will always come here and people will always leave. Nothing said on this board will ever change that.
Those of us that have moved here and chosen to stay are far outnumbered by those that have moved here and left. Why would so many people leave "paradise?" Why are there so many properties available here when we build next to nothing?
I've only been here 4 years but in that time I've seen many people move here and then leave for a number of reasons. Many of them were my friends. If asked to find a common thread, I would offer this. Their dream of living in "paradise" didn't match the reality of living here.
Many people read the advice offered on these boards and believe that it does not apply to them - that they are somehow different than all of the people that have come before them. They believe so strongly in their dreams that they sell their homes, give away their winter clothes and many of their belongings. They no longer have a place to return to and they are now deeply invested in their hopes and their dreams.
Our gorgeous tropical seas, beautiful beaches, and exceptional weather can blind people. It's difficult to see past them, at least for a while. Many aspects of living here take time to understand.