Just a wittle homesick.
There is no one thing that I can say is making me feel a little unsettled in STX. Everyone asks me both here at at home in the states --How do you like it? I keep giving the standard answers -- "I'm adjusting or I'm getting use to everthing or for me it's just too early to say."
I went to Washington, DC for a few days to take care of some business and was like WOW. I kind of miss all this. I did not say it out loud to anyone. It was just a thought. That little thought that lingers in the back of my head did not make me want to put my car back on that ship, mail all my things back, and move back home or anything like that. There is just this little voice thats kind of irritating that says see I told you so. I think I'm just a little homesick. I'm sure this is a natural reaction.
On the other hand I find something everday that counters that little voice of home sickness. It might be the beaches, or the wheather, or the students I am working with, or the helping people that I encounter, or my personal tour guide (guardian angel, or the island dishes that I am eating and so on. Sometimes I am in the twilight zone other times I'm in smalltown USA, other times I'm in paradise. One of my friends back home asked "are you happy" My response was "happiness is what you make it and you can take it where ever you go" For the first time in my life that phrase really means something to me.
Today, I look forward to a new discovery about STX and about myself.
Like you, I taught in the islands, although two years. I left this past summer to return to graduate school. Those feelings are natural, and I often thought them to myself. Obviously, they got the best of me. There was certain things I missed about the states, as you do too; but, you just have to know what is your purpose down in St. Croix. If you know you are not going to spend the rest of your life down there, do the things you will most likely never get to do. In addition to the cliche activities associted with STX., I recommend getting to know your students and their families very well. What are their experiences in life. Talk to senior citizens about the changes in the islands. Learn about the culture, language, cuisine and history. And if you get a chance, visit the other islands. This past summer I sailed from the V.I to Trinidad with two other guys. If you find your mind missing home, occupy it: go running, swimming, excercise, learn a skill. Oh yeah, and have a local teach you how to dance.
And I would ad, don't forget to visit Puerto Rico! When homesick for the US mainland, that definitely is your closest and often forgotten best choice. The east coast (Fajardo down to Humacao) is less congested than San Juan metro area and has Wal-Marts, Sam's Clubs, Pep-Boys, Western Auto, you name it - and pretty much all of your favorite eateries. Don't forget to check out the bio-bays in Vieques and Fajardo. And don't be afraid of not speaking Spanish, most Puerto Ricans know English. You, too, will be enchanted by the island.
There's nothing wrong with feeling homesick. It's natural, especially when one relocates to an area that is significantly different from the place you've called "home" for most of your life. Add to that the notion most people have that life in the islands is all palm trees and pina coladas and anyone who lives here has a perfect life it's easy to see why a newcommer might feel overwhelmed. This is why many of us tell people to make a pre-move visit and to set aside enough money for a return ticket if things don't work out. It's hard to explain to those who have not gone through it but island life is not for everyone and there's no shame in that. I've said it many times, living on an island is not better or worse than living in any other part of the world, its just different. It is just a fact of life much like big city life or rural living appeal to different folks. Some like it some don't.
You are now on the island, give it a chance, after a few months you'll probably start to adjust. If not, at least you gave it a try which is something not everyone can claim. Good luck to you.
I know exactly how you feel. I moved down to St THomas (from Philadelphia) in April. I am so homesick that I can't think of anything but going back home. My girlfriend loves it here, so I hate to be raining on her parade. I'm hoping to go back to the States in April, when my lease runs out. If nothing else, it's a great experience to have. I'll always be able to say that I lived in the Virgins for a year. It sounds impressive on the "Resume of Life". I wish you all hte best & happiness...
I'm preparing to move to STX around Jan. I'm very nervous that I'll feel the same way you do. I know I'll miss the season changes and the holiday's in the states. I did a Pre move visit last weekend. I love to vacation in STX, but after touring the island, i'm not sure how I'll like the inconvenience of the island and the attitude from a lot of the locals I got. I smiled, was courteous and most of the time I barely got a hello out of people. I'm very worried about my daughters there too. They are 16. One of them accidentally bumped into a local woman in Christiansted and she told her she was sorry...the lady gave her the meanest look I'd seen in a long time and kept walking.
Yes, you will have rude people everywhere,..I'm just not sure how well I will adjust to this.
Melody...I like your mantra of discovering new things about the island and self...well said! I can totally empathize, you explained this weird, ambivalent adjustment time perfectly. We moved from NYC about a month ago and adjusting to living here is more difficult than I anticipated. We are still without our "stuff" (shipment was delayed) which I think adds to the homesickness. My husband is busy working at a law firm and I am still looking for a job (I was a psychotherapist in NYC working with young adults) so I am a bit restless. To keep busy I am volunteering at the animal shelter and for the literacy program at the library, as well as taking tennis and golf lessons and a weekly yoja class. But still, I feel lost. Hoping time will heal.
Okay, did you all re-read : https://www.vimovingcenter.com/talk/read.php?4,35345,35345#msg-35345?? Moving to a totally foreign place will make you feel just like the proverbial stranger in a strange land. General advice: Try sticking it out for at least 6 months to a year. At that point, ask yourself where you really want to be.
And Melody, your statement: "Sometimes I am in the twilight zone other times I'm in smalltown USA, other times I'm in paradise" holds true for folks who have been here many, many years.
Sissem: Are you on St Thomas or St Croix??
It's also interesting that many people who move to the islands and complain that they just can't take the changes they find here change their tune when they go back to the mainland after 6-12 months to visit family and friends. They often quickly discover that their recollections of the mainland and what they thought they missed aren't so great after all. Many return to the islands after their mainland visit with a new, positive outlook on their life here in the islands. It's easy to say you miss what you have given up. Revisiting the reality is sometimes the most effective way to get over being "homesick".
There is no one place that is truly Paradise for everyone. Every place you can live has positives and negatives. We each have to figure out what is most important for us and what we can and cannot accept. I find a slow pace, lines in odd places, some attitude from some of the locals, and other typical complaints about the islands to be much less irritating than some of the characteristics of where I moved from.
When people arrive expecting Paradise and a life lived in a resort atmosphere, they do themselves a dis-service. If your expectations are reasonable, you will be much happier here over time.
Shelly try not to be fearful of your move. I do not think that fear is helpful at all. Talk to your self ask yoursef why are you really making the move. Ask yourself are you equipped internally. OR just take the leap. Either way you going to gain fromthe expeience. Like everyone has responded on hte message board. Being Homesick will be a natural experience and you and I and everyone else will have to work ourselves around that. If you are excited about your upcoming move try to hold on to that too.. But DONT BE AFRAID.
Thanks Melody. I really did need to hear that. I think moving ANYWHERE is a bit scary. I'm really trying to remember the reasons why i'm moving. I'm also reminding myself it's not permanent. It's only 5 years. My husband landed a 5 year job contract on STX.
Nostalgia is a form of highly selective memory, especially when it comes to a city you used to reside. It’s like reality TV. Imagine a crew filming your life 24/7 for all the years you lived in DC, then they edited the mountains of footage into say, a five-minute montage of your best times, and that’s nostalgia – browsing world of books at Barnes & Noble in Georgetown after a brunch at Nathan’s, sipping a cup of coffee on a crispy fall afternoon in Dupont and watching the world go by, stuffing a jumbo slice down your throat at 4am in Adams Morgan after a crazy night out in town, or simply jogging on the National Mall at sunset and dodging the tourists and their cameras.
At least that’s my memory of DC. I too moved down here from Nation’s capital about two months ago. The initial excitement has somewhat worn off by now. It’s amazing how fast you can become numb to the beautiful ocean and beach. Dealing with everyday lives here is, put it nicely, different. Sometimes I wonder how the heck did I end up here; sometimes I feel like I live in a third-world country; and sometimes I absolute love this island.
I ended up not buying the ticket to DC last weekend. I knew it was just homesickness; I’d have that even if I moved to L.A. Granted moving here made it worse, but nothing I cannot handle. I’m here, and I’m going to make the best of my time.
For every second in that DC montage, there are hours and hours of footage that’s mundane. I am sure when I leave the island there will be another 5-minute montage labeled “Paradise” waiting for me.
I too get that "longing for the familiar" feeling. Or is it the "feeling sorry for ourselves living in Paradise" feeling?
I have met many wonderful - and some not so wonderful people here on stx. I do love it here. It has not been all roses for me though. It was for the first couple months - absolutely everything seemed to drop into place. Then someone greater than me decided I needed to remember that LIFE HAPPENS - no matter where you are. So I had some adjusting to do - but because of the support of my friends that I made here on this board (and onisland) I have triumphed.
I look forward to life everyday here. The good and the bad. The frustrating and the peaceful. I am trying new things each week. I am going stateside the end of the month to see my kids. But when I return I will be taking Kite Surfing lessons. I am getting my SCUBA Certification and plan on taking a trip once season ends down island to Bonaire or Dominica.
If it wasn't for this board - I would never have made it. The support of the people both on the board itself and those I've met and become close to - has been what has kept me here. And being able to return the favor by helping others.
Thanks for everything guys! You're the best!
Hey Linda... if you get your SCUBA cert, then definitely make the downisland trip to Bonaire. Fabulous diving there, and not all that deep so new divers can get a lot of experience on some wonderful dives. I wish I were going along! (I'm a scuba instructor, as well as a real estate agent! And I don't get to dive enough.)
A GOAL LIST OF THINGS TO EXPERIENCE. Thanks Linda I think I'm going to start a list for myself. One of the first things I am going to do is allow myself to get lost on this island. I tend to only go to the places I know. You can imagine that that is getting pretty old by now. The few times that I did get lost I wound up on some road I did not know I found myself discovering a wonderful view, another ATM machine, or just realising that hey this road takes me right back to the beginning or the end.
Diving Huh -- That something to think about.