Island Life, A Perspective from Past Residents
I realize I am digressing fromt he original post, but I'd like to share some flip side experiences to all of this. I've been on the mainland for the last 2 1/2 months handling some family matters and I've had quite an eye opening experience thanks to my 4 year old.
My little guy is born and raised VI, having lived on St. John all of his life. He's been to the states before, but never for an extended stay like this. We are staying with my folks who live in quite a large neighborhood. Watching him interact with the people in the neighborhood has made me miss home more than ever. Within the first two weeks, my little guy knew more of my folks neighbors than they did, and they've been here 12 years. He cannot let a person pass by on the street without trying to engage them in conversation. And since he is young, he cannot read the social cues of others well, so if they try to ignore him, he makes himself be seen. He simply cannot understand why people here do not want to stop and chat with him. He won't stop with a simple hello either, he wants to have a conversation.
This kind of behavior/mentality, does not stop at the neighborhood either. Every place we go, he wants to talk to everyone. And he is Remembered where ever we go. The park, the gas station we stop at, the bookstore we go to, the frozen yogurt shop, etc. If he runs into a person who doesn't seem to want to be friends, it confuses him. And I have found I have a hard time explaining it to him to. You should see his whole face light up when he gets the cranky neighbor to say hi to him! He runs over to me yelling "She said hi! She said hi mommy!!!"
Early in our visit we had some Jehovah Witnesses knock on the door and I tried to politely tell them I was not interested, and after a few times of telling them, they turned and tried to leave. My little guy would not let them go. He held them hostage in the driveway for about 10 minutes trying to get them to talk to him and watch him ride his scooter and do tricks. They so bad wanted to leave, but my guy wasn't having it. I thought it was pretty funny 😀 I don't think they will be back anytime soon.
I miss being home. I miss seeing the familiar faces and having people ask me how my kids/husband/dog/whatever are doing. I miss the sense of community that just seems to be lacking here in the states. Customer service might be better in some ways, but it's just so cold and insincere in most cases. Gas might be cheaper in the states, but you use so much more of it because you drive more. Food might cost less in the states, but it seems like there is much more waste. I just don't fit in here in the states any more, and haven't for a long time. It's just so cold (both figuratively and literally at the moment) and lonely.
I would love to hear from you in a couple of months Juanita and hear if the honeymoon ended or if you continue to enjoy VI life 🙂
hmm, my grandmother was like that when she was alive and living in pa, all her neighbors would stop and chat with her. she would do her daily walk and talk. i loved going with her when i would visit her.
i think it has more to do with the person and less to do with the environment. shy people will not engage as much as non shy people. even living here i will not say good morning to large groups of people-only to the one i am seeing. it has more to do with me being shy and less about ignorance.
and when i walk-no matter where i am-i always look people in the eye and say hello.
It's more or less automatic for many people to say good morning, good afternoon, etc. Even to total strangers. I sometimes end up having conversations with people I don't know or will probably ever see again. Does be de island way, meeson.
People will let your car out in traffic if you're waiting at an intersection, open a door for you, etc. There's always little acts of kindness and niceness happening.
st.johnjulie, I have had the very same experience with my son. He has been raised on St. Croix since he was two. He is eleven now. We have had two extended visit back in the states in the last nine years. The first was 4 years ago. We were back in the states for 7 months. He could not figure out why no one spoke to us while we were out and about. He kept asking why no one would say good morning. He tried to chat up everyone he came in contact with.
We have been back in the states for 14 months this time. A huge eye opener for him. Stateside children were quite odd to him. I believe Island children and mainland children are very different culturally especially if they were born there or raised on island from an early age.
Like you Juanita, I was ready to come back to the states for a while. Now I'm ready to go back to St. Croix.
Julie & Doug, thank you so much for sharing! I've lived on both ends of the USA, MA & currently CA. I am sooooooo ready for a change for both me and my family. I won't go into a long and drawn out story but the best memories I have as a child was all of the family get togethers where neighbors were also invited. It was a loving community feeling. Somewhere along the line, through family disfunction, the changing of times and generations, it all disappeared.
Reading your posts reminded me of the times when I was younger and life was full of happiness and people who truely cared about you and yours. I look forward to making new friends and new "family" when we make our move to STX.
After reading through this entire post I feel like I am walking away with a good sense of balance. I constantly remind myself to manage my expectations. We are looking at moving to STX Oct 2016. So now is the research stage. I have always lived on the mainland and really enjoy reading the comments about the sense of community. Here in AL I have found myself tired of the fast life, the hurry up and order life, the get outta my way life. So STX is on our radar as a way to slow down some. We both are service industry workers so we will be working, I also hope to secure a volunteer spot at one of the farms. I have added a generator to my list of things to bring......can anyone recommend a good area to look at rentals with dogs? And what are some other must haves when moving to STX? Thank you so much for all of your sharing!