"life is hard" elsewhere
Daniel, you did nothing wrong.
I have diagnosed Yolanda with UMS... Ugly Mood Swings.
You just caught her on both ends! LOL
Gotta say I'm also sitting here with my jaw dropped that someone would seek out a psychotherapist she'd never talked with (even casually), let alone met, before; ask specifically for his professional help dealing with her fixation about a certain island; who could even be the tiniest bit surprised that this trained counselor charges for the professional service he provides.
I just don't get where that explosive reaction comes from -- only thing I can even guess is that she thought that because she's "beyond passionate" about an island located very near the professional's home, he'd (obviously)share her obsession and therefore would take such delight in hearing her lamenting about her longing for STJ that he'd forgo charging the professional service fees he depends upon to pay for his rent, food, etc. I just don't get it, and her whole reaction seems to me to be completely at odds with how the extremely polite, conservative West Indians/Caribbean Islanders and long time residents I know would react.
But what really blows my mind is that this person would come into a public community forum, where this professional is a respected and well-liked member, and blow up about this instead of resolving her concerns/confusion/whatever privately, which is where the professional initiated the conversation and those with manners and respect for others would ensure it remained.
Maybe I've spent too much time reading and agreeing with Miss Manners. Or it could be that I've totally lost the awareness of how self-focused far too many folks on the mainland can be and how that becomes less and less shocking and more "just the way things are" the came with living, working, and driving in Washington DC for over seven years. Neither one is really such a bad thing...is it?
Yolanda ........I am "gob smacked" (as us Brit's would say) If you were to go talk to a Psychotherapist back in your home city you would be charged, so why, when asking for professional help would you even think that a charge would not be involved. Now if you just want to talk to us "boardies" about you obsession with STJ, go right ahead, but we are not trained professionals, Daniel is, and maybe we are all wrong in assuming you wanted professional counseling in a private format, when you really just wanted to talk to all of us in an open forum, but your request did not come across that way sorry.
This message board is a FREE opportunity for those with island fixations to chat to their heart's content about how they feel. They will find lots of people with similar love for the islands. They may also get some information along the way that makes it possible for them to live out their dream in the islands. If you want to get OVER your love of the islands, then by all means go hire a professional counselor. I'm not sure it's something you're going to erase from your heart easily. Once the islands have you in thrall, they don't let go.
Thank you my dear co-posters on this board. I certainly am not looking for support in putting someone down, however my professionalism and dedication to people has always been beyond question until this morning. A I am just starting an outreach mental health group, Inner Health, I was especially sensitive to any negative remarks, with or without basis.
I have found that people who live here, all people, have a code of conduct that inhibits this kind of behavior. As such, I was twice as confused, although I thought the bottom line was that I did have clarity in the situation.
I appreciate your support, and if in the near future you see someone 'hanging' with people who live with mental illness and are homeless, that will probably be me.
Warm regards to all, and hope to see some or many of you at the upcoming picnic/beach party.....
Daniel and all other folks on this subject:
Iam not crazy
Iam sorry that I have insulted someone , who is a professional , but I really
just thought that I was just asking a person ( who happens to be a mental health professional )
For some kind workds or maybe a suggestion to just stop thinking about st john.
Iam sorry Daniel , really. I was not looking for some longterm , phone or otherwise counseling.
Not to be miss understood , but I could go to a local person but they wouldnt understand the
passion of the lure of the USVI , thats all
SORRY to all , really not intended to be maleciuos
Yolanda, I don't think anyone even remotely suggested you were "crazy" or malicious...and I don't believe from Dan's post he was insulted, only trying to address your concerns in a professional manner, which is what many of us took your post as.... a request for help with what appears to be something that is profoundly affecting your life.
Please continue to ask or lurk or comment - we welcome all opinions and thoughts, even if we don't agree, which you may have noted happens on occasion...
The islands are beautiful - they get under your skin - but don't miss your "real" life worry about something that you have said yourself just can't happen right now....the days slip by too quickly, life is too short. Live every day like it was your last, take every day as it comes - perhaps your dreams will come true!
and I do try ,its just that I feel like my dream to live there was a failure , I spent money that was my savings, and a few more things I dont wish to share. My family was upset with me . etc.
But I dont regret it. I feel like my experience will better prepare me for the nrxt time!
As for life being here and now , what choice do I have kids & work force us to cope .
Very much !!!
I remember your excitement in moving to StJ in the first place. You have always been helpful on the Vinow site. The comments came from the fact that Daniel private messanged you with his information professionaly and you, instead of replying privately "Thats great but I can't afford it because...StJ ate up my reserves", and you were astounded by the fact that he charges; You brought it back to the public board as if to 'ruin his reputation'.
You know the people on the board are a close knit 'family' it was just a little disrespectful to bring it back to the public board after he took the time and concern to private message you. You could have commented to Islander about the offense of 'solicitating' privately even.
Now, I really understand the allure and the mental capacity you expend on thinking about STJ. It is an obsession!
You obviously have some things you have to take care of before you can get back on track with what you want to do. My hubby understood this so well, and he has given me my obsessions by giving me a free rein (within our financial capability).
When I was a junior in H.S. my mother was diagnosed with Lou Gehrigs. I applied for all the colleges I could. It was my own private moment to throw out the exceptance letters. I went to the local hometown University so I could stay home and cook for my dad and pick my 7 year younger brother up from grade school. But, oh how I envied my friends. And ever since, I've been in good ole' Toledo. I am an avid reader because of picturing the adventure and places in my mind. I am not running from but running toward something now.
I am thirty five and my mom died when I was twenty and I really have no family left here now. Fifteen years and blupppp- All gone. Same with my husband who has his own story to tell. It is a win lose situation. I'm 35 and can 'hopefully' finally have the adventure and newness I crave. My dad is still here but he lives 6mo in Pheonix and 6mo here. Brothers? Off and about- doing well! ( Thank God) Me? Doing quite well in Toledo. I don't have to work although I run (or ran) a business. My hubby? Quite well also although he is military for 25 years and really doesn't want to go to the mideast. We don't really need the adventure, it is the challange together that is Exciting to us. When you have buried less than 50 year old parents from Lou Gehrigs (mom) and Lou Gehrigs (hubby's Dad) and Cancer (hubby's mom); and you have no other family in town (basically, my dad and our siblings) but you have stuck it out, you are ready.
My point in a meandering, open kind of way is at 35, I am 'lucky' to have these options open. Heck, Something happpens in a familial way, I would have to go to St. Louis or Asatoria, or Pheonix anyway. (or numerous other towns not close to here).
Do what you have to do, for your sake! Keep your dreams alive and close to you! When the time is right a window will open. If it is never right for you to be back on STJ living; Another window will open...
With all my heart
As a word of caution, this could all have been avoided by replying to a PM (Private Message) with a PM back to the person, instead of replying on the public forum. Don't you agree? (nod yes) I'm glad you understand everyones comments. We're happy to have you here on the board.
OK, next patient! LOL
I think life in STX depends on your circumstances. Having teenagers here is the hardest thing I've ever had to do. There is NOTHING here for them to do, thus they get into a lot of trouble. You can only go to the beach so many times and go out to eat, then what? Bowling, movies...yes...but for most teens there isn't enough stimulus. I can see how couples without kids might find it easier to live here. Personally, I've found it is a very hard place to adjust to, especially my WAPA BILL!!! I think it's all a matter of personal opinion. I personally prefer central airconditioning and long baths and a choice of places to shop.
Some people can take it, some can't. It's really pretty simple.
Hello there everybody! Just a comment on kids/teens. In multiple places I have lived and worked, the dilemma of how to keep kids safe, out of trouble and stimulated at the same time was quite a problem. As such, I worked with parent groups to set up specific teen oriented schedules that took what existed, but gave it a twist.
For example: Instead of going to the beach, having a monthly evening beach party gave teens a lot of input, ability to connect with others their age, bitch about the lack of things to do, and often generate other ideas for get togethers.
For safety, I went and did a presentation to the local university for freshmen and sophomores to volunteer on the project, and I provided some safety training to them. Like when to do peer counseling, and how to do it.
All in all it was a success, and I believe that it still goes on today.
I should mention that it started by working with a police substation, and realizing after several months that regardless of what the kids/teens did, it was often out of boredom. With those kids, instead of the usual "clean a park" thing for community service time, I took their graffiti skills and did a wonderful mural on a building that reflected their culture, their hopes and dreams etc. They really got into it as they had no hopes or dreams of "what comes next?".
Just a suggestion. I have been out of the parenting business for quite a few years, but this was a help to at least 3 dozen kids, all of whom turned out to be pretty solid by their early 20's, and many who kept life long friendships they made along the way at the semi organized events.
Hope this is food for thought about a topic that has come up a number of times,
I think that Daniel has an idea definitely worth pursuing. I am not sure that the teens with no hope or sense of the future are exactly the kids that were being discussed. Most of the children of the people on this board are probably college bound or have some idea of where they are going.
Alexandra and I have already had a long discussion on the lack of things for teens to do on st Croix. I guess it all boils down to the teen and family in question.
We tried to have loosely structured activities for our teen and her friends. We had pool parties, made candles one day, had a learn to knit evening....but it was a struggle keeping them out of the bars. Incidentally, now she is in a state where legal age is 21 for alcohol - doesn't drink any more.
It was pretty hard seeing the Good Hope and Country Day evening classes at Club 54 or on Shoys Beach with the beers in hand.
This is something I can speak on. My newly 18 year old came down a few months ago (recently left to take care of business) but he is outgoing. He met the neighbors and started hanging out with them and some people he worked with. But without transportation (like a vehicle they can drive or for younger kids not being able to drive) activities are limited. They would snorkle and go to Sharkey's and hang out at one or the other's house. But he's not into sports - so there goes that angle - we can't afford sailing classes or karate class or any of that stuff. So - aside from going to the beach, the movies (if you get someone to take you to Sunny Isles), the waterfront, walking to town (or wherever) - what is there for younger people to do? Especially new people to the island.
I have a 15 year old who is here now - she's fell into the same friends as my son, but is bored. She got a job while here to keep busy during the days.
There's Buck Island, discover dive, the beach - but these are a day or two each. So - next?
Kids aren't amused with the simple things anymore. The computer age and all that is thrown at them early has made it a challenge for parents. I know there is roller skating, but when you don't know anyone to go with - what 15 - 18 year old wants to do something like that with mom and dad?
At home (or stateside) they had their friends - they had arcades, places that they hung out at, people to do something or nothing with. My kids are from a SMALL (under 1000 people) town in Northern Michigan. They fish, waterski in the summer - go to the campground with friends for the weekend - in the winter they ski and snowboard. My daughter is in track back home. There were the local hangouts - a small burger joint, icecream shop, bowling alley. While some of that may be here and I don't know about them all, she (even more outgoing than my son) doesn't feel comfortable going places like that alone. (nor is it safe for her to). We've talked about watching a game at the ball park - since we walk past it every night on our daily walk - but that would get old she said.
So, Alexandra (or anyone else) - what do you suggest? They could go shopping ($$$), they could go to the beach, read a book, rent a video. But what can someone without any contacts (new or visitor) that is a teen do here?
I'm open to suggestions.
Picking up on Daniel's beach party concept, teens could also be involved in planning and hosting a scavenger hunt (assign teams a digital camera and have them take pictures of their teams at the local (for non-drivers) or island wide destinations, doing challenges, etc.) and offer fun awards (most creative solution to a quest, etc.) at an after event. Crazy tasks can lead to some really fun pics that spark a lot of conversation and laughter. Having the teams bring back a pic of two team members standing with a full moon is always good for a lot of laughs.
Ditto with murder mystery parties, where each person is assigned a character to play and they must solve a mystery that occurs during the gathering. This can be a great icebreaker as people's characters are lead to interact through the plot line or their assigned role. For example, one party I attended many moons ago designated me to play a phony fortune teller. My character was assigned a boyfriend character, and the hosts took that opportunity to introduce me to a guy I didn't know. The job of my character was to make up and spread as much disinformation as I could to make the plot harder to solve -- and therefore require guests to talk more with each other to figure out what was "truth" and what was bunk. Even though the new guy who was my character's boyfriend was pretty dull, I had a blast going around to everyone and making up total bs about what was going on, like telling Person A that person B really wants him/her to meet them at a specific place and time.
There are all kinds of murder mystery party kits available, and I'm sure there's also a million ides for scavenge hunt themes and hunt lists available on line.
Well, if my kids were in the states, they could be in photography classes, Kung Fu, Volleyball, go shopping and hang out at the mall, go to the amusement park and many other things they used to do.
Here, the schools are so expensive I can't afford to put them into Good Hope or Country Day, so they aren't in school activities. They know all of the kids in the schools and are friends with them, and we even attend church here, but the actual activities are lacking here. I've talked to MANY teens who party here (who attend Good Hope and Country Day) and they say there isn't much to choose from when it comes to entertainment, so they go to the clubs or party on the beach.
Many of them don't even WANT that party life anymore, but since all of thier friends do it, they do too.
I have to say, if I tried to have a knitting party, or candle making party for most of the teens I've met here, they would laugh uncontrollably. Most of my teenager's friends are leaving the island due to college and parents relocating due to jobs.
You mention that many kids you know no longer want the party life but go along with it because their friends do. You also mention that an activity like a candle making party (or HC's excellent murder mystery party suggestion) would be laughed out. Is that also simply because of the imagined opinions of friends?
As the parent of a teenager who has never been to school or church, my experience has been that when you find activities your kid enjoys without friends s/he generally waxes poetic about the experience which influence his/her friends to give it a shot. Granted many island activities seem more contrived than hanging around the mall but these activities are also more educational and can lead to hobbies in adulthood. I reason that if kids are truly bored they'll try anything once, if not then they must prefer the state they're in!
What is the refrain from that old 50's song.? ..."Get a job..."
I know ....if your aren't 18 it is not easy....transportation's a problem...no good jobs on island.....kids don't want to work....life is too short....it ain't like it used to be....
All of those things are true, but if you (or they) can find something for them their life will change.
When I was a kid (pre 18) I worked summers as a junior life guard, a camp counsellor, a school library book repair person, a floor mopper in a restaurant, a lawn mower, a fence painter and more.
I recently hired a 15 year old neighbor to paint a fence for me. 20 hours worth of work at about 2-3 hours a day. He and I both gained something.
If you can get your teenagers a job even for a short period of time, they will benefit....you will benefit....the world will benefit.
My daughter worked the whole time she lived on St X - without that she would have been even more at risk than she was. I have to say the drug use, drinking and under age partying on the Island was very nerve racking - the junior prom for Country day, the parent hosting the after prom party would not let the kids drive home drunk - how very sensible....the fact that most of the kids there should not have been drinking at all escaped her.
Alcohol, bars and raves make up all too much of the entertainment scene for safety's sake. however perhaps they are mirroring the adult behavior they see all too often.
Even if they laugh keep trying to stay connected and to offer alternative things to do.
All of the things mentioned above: availability of alcohol and drugs, lack of malls, etc. in 23 years of doing psychotherapy with kids, these didn't seem to impact the choices they made, here or stateside. Teens will make good, or bad choices based on multiple factors, including a strong set of ethics at home, and even that is not foolproof.
Granted, malls and after school activities can help in social growth of teens, but not prevent them from making poor choices.
If your, or anyone's children, will just 'blow off' the idea of a beach party or some of the things that HC described, then as was mentioned, there are other things to do. Whatever happened to mentoring? I know I was a hard teen until I became involved (just to get out of a class) in a senior mentoring program. The man, who actually scared me at first, was the person who turned me on to horticulture. Together, we built a cold frame.
As schools are not required to provide entertainment for students, there are things that involved parents can do. Start a mentoring program where kids can learn some responsibility and earn a few dollars. Create a liaison situation between UVI and the teens for sports, movies or just hanging out. Let the teens see what campus life is like.
In short, it is a tumultuous time, but it is also a time of major transition. This transition is to help kids to made it from being kids to adulthood. Personally, I would prefer kids who were complaining of being bored, and having to get creative about it, than them hanging around malls or out on the streets. Crystal Meth is everywhere stateside, and in reviewing drug use in the VI, I think I can safely say there is no homemade lab here that is going to blow part of our island away with a random spark.
I am certainly not the expert. You, as parents are. You know your kids and know what they would consider goofy, and what they wouldn't. Having safe fun for kids is not laid out on a silver platter anywhere that I know of. That platter is generally made by parents and/or the parents and the schools in collaboration with each other. If it doesn't exist, become a front runner in creating it.
I don't mean to preach, and I think that is what I am doing. I suppose that I have just heard this song from Connecticut to South Carolina to Oregon. The problem is either the infrastructure, the kids or the schools. No offense, but what about the parents? I often found parents dropping their kids off at therapy. They wanted the kids fixed, but were not willing to change anything in the family dynamic to support change. Such as attending PTA meetings, talking with other parents about how to solve problems and create a growth oriented transition period for their children.
I also know that parenting is more difficult now than it ever was. My hat goes off to parents. Regardless, if what I read above is true, how did kids make it before there were malls, television or even the use of a single party telephone? Around that time, the average consumption of whiskey was 60 gallons per year per capita (late 1800's). Not all of the kids then, our grand or great grandparents turned into worthless drunks.
As this kind of thread has been beaten back and forth since I joined the board, if that is a worry for anyone, factor that into your plan for moving. What will my kids do? Where will they have fun? How will they get together with others. Is there a coffee shop or something similar for kids to hang out at?
Again, I really hate being preachy about anything, but this same questions goes around and around. I helped jump start groups and parent groups in the states. I'd be happy to do it here. The only rule is that after one meeting, all moaning must stop. Take control, get into action and put something into place.
Best wishes to all parents. I do admire the responsibility you have taken just having children, and acknowledge that it is not easy.
Warm regards to all,
My teens do have jobs, but they are part time jobs. That still doesn't keep them busy often. It's hard for them to just "blow off" every beach party and event when all of their friends (including youth group from church) are drinking at these parties. The difference in this island and the states is that you only have to be 18 to drink and they don't ID kids at the bars here. Yes, I remember that afterparty after prom. I was furious because parents were allowing underage drinking and assuming it was ok because they took thier keys and didn't let them drive. Personally, I think it's letting your kids know it's ok to break the law and it's ok to start a wild party life. Yes, you can get alcohol in the states when you are underage, but it's MUCH harder than it is here.
I have to say that I personally felt that alcohol, bars etc figured way too heavily in the lives of many adults on St X...children tend to mirror the examples set by the adults in their world (unfortunately, not just their own parents). Now we are back in the land of the Over 21, my daughter has very little to do with alcohol - had she stayed on StX, I hate to think what might have been.