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My Story (So Far)

Posts: 249
Estimable Member
Topic starter

Side Note: Islander, I feel, really wants us to incorporate our thoughts and experiences on to this moving board. I believe I'll do this by writing on this one post the three parts of my move to the islands. It will be more like a progress report. So Here Goes the story of my move to St. Croix. Check back periodically and hopefully Islander will place this as my story upon the final edit...


My husband ran around like a chicken last Saturday and was able to finally locate a copy of Don't Stop the Carnival. (Herman Wouk, 1956). I read the book all day Sunday so that Mark could take it Monday for a business trip to Orlando for reading material. I have only seen my husband sit and read one other book in the six years I've known him. He is already 2/3 of the way done!

I highly recommend this book and also Life in the Left Lane which my host on island loaned me for poolside reading when I was in StX last month.

For all of you, 'Some of its magic, Some of its tragic, but I've had a good life they'll say.' (Jimmy Buffet: Man went to Paris) In Don't Stop the Carnival, Not much was magic for poor Mr. Paperman. Lots of Tragic though. The people who have not done their pre-move, it is highly recommended for you to do so; with a copy of Mr. Paperman's debacles for reading material (research material) really. You'll see why at that point, the concern of Stt asking you what Island Time is on the message board. Can you deal with these nasty little inconviences, Can your personality and attitude toward life handle the USVI.

The book was written in 1956, Mr. Paperman's hotel, a steal at 50,000 is probably worth 2-3 million now. I am sure that the locals will agree when I say that the utility conviences of 2004 we experience Stateside are vastly different then the 'similiar' utilities experienced by the islands which are more on par with 1956. Yes your blow dryer will work, no conversion kits necessary. But if your not directly in C'sted, the question is: will the electric be working in order to use it.? The ants our poor Mr. Paperman discovered unwittingly are all dead and gone. But remember they knocked the queen ant up first and we're into the 48th generation of the little pests.

I'm not into book reviews especially of the genre and influence of the notable H. Wouk, but I will say that I enjoyed the book immensely. Both for the insight and thought provoking three month period we see of tragic Mr. Paperman, who ends up sucking it up and returning to the life he sold out of in NY. (Sorry I ruined the ending)

Somebody shoud write a sequel called Don't Rain on My Parade... Unless your from millionaire row, and I don't know that many of us are, the Virgin Islands are going to be difficult to live in. The work will be long- 2 or 3 jobs most likely. The necessarys of Stateside will be conviences on island (Utilities, Brand name Foods, etc). Politics and government will strike you as fraught with tension and corruption, and we think the next election is going to be bad! I've heard that the USVI is an undiscovered Treasure of the USA. For some of us that chest will be full of fool's gold.

I must say though, with all the thought provoking things I have seen, heard and read, I still want to move to the USVI and open my chest to discover what is in it. Even if it is Fool's Gold, I will still feel richer for the experience I'll have. The shared love, laughter, tears and possible defeat my husband and I will experience, and the new friends we'll share this with. I look forward to de Carnival (even if it gets rained out)!

This will end Part One: The pre-move experience (with some editing I'm sure)


Sorry everyone I have to do this in a couple segments because I'm still gathering my thougts. WOOOOOW!!!

I love it: from my all out dash through PR airport to make my connection flights..... (both ways!), to the islander (local) serving hospitality drinks while I waited for my luggage claim ticket to be checked. The luggage was later delivered directly to the Pink Fancy!
-The tour guide taxi driver who delivered me to the PF. What a hoot! I found the drivers to be friendly and informative. Well worth the extra tip.
-Walking (during the day) down Prince St and King St to the boardwalk and observing a different arcitecture, lifestyle.... etc. The things I have never experienced on my own before. How new and interesting everything is!
-Sweeny and his Stx Island Tour.... what a wonderful man. Cruzan Rum Factory, Whim Plantation, Botanical Gardens, Beer drinking pigs, Dominoe Club... I lived through the MammaWanna.
-The beautiful sunset on the west shore, drinking a Cruzan Rum and Coke.
-And a storm (sunday pm 02/29). What a storm..... watching that roll in off the ocean was magnificant.

My husband is looking into National Guard transfer as I type. I'm looking into health Ins., hurricane Ins., liability, GOOD LORD where to start and what to do (to be there instead of here.)

A compliment to the island and the people I met... Yes, when you first look into the eye of an islander you may feel a sense of hostility. But a good morning and a smile will bring out a warm and welcome good morning how are you today and a nod (from most). In the states, that is rare. In the islands, well you have to experience this. Amazing.

I met Captain Simpson from the Renegade (Buck Island Tours out of Csted). I listened to him and NEVER walked at night through Csted. Felt very safe that way and the taxi service and bartenders where great. Simpson even carted me back to the PF a couple times.

So far I've seen the east side and Point Udall, South Shore, West Shore, Rainforest, Mid-Island with the refinary (No never smelled bad oders myself). I also went to F'sted as well for lunch.

The impressions are great. I love the Island. NOW FOR THE REALITIES!

The real estate agent I met is not a buyer's agent. She works for the seller on commission. Watch for the agents to inflate the asking price on properties to get you to bid more. Be willing to say no to the perfect place and stand your ground. Be patient because you will not recieve responses to your phone calls and emails. It feels like you've been judged and found wanting. These people want to sell million dollar properties to millionaires. They want you to bid on your pre-move visit. You can't because all your value is tied up in Retirement Accounts or needs to be liquidated through your own sale of property. It is a true nightmare. Mark and I have already decided that if we can't find what we want at a fair value, we will sell out everything within the next 6 months to a year, move down, find an apartment and than look for properties which interest us.

So far, no luck on the financial end either. What is the way around this. There is no cohesion between the Stateside banks and the Island banks. Yikes... Now we're talking about coordinating opening an Account on our next pre-move visit in order to have a place to do wire transfers to. Have to remember to take an extra $500.00 to do this with.

OH NO: Don't show your excitement and optimism in this fantastic oppurtunity to your stateside friends and family. Lord, the green eyed monster comes out. I hear so much negativity in a day, I've had to stop talking about it. And what does a person want to do. Talk about it. It's the oppurtunity of a life time. You will find out all about who is your friend or not. Supportive. Yeah Right! My advice is to stick with the message board. The encouragement is a lot more pronounced. People experiencing the same things you do. Use this wonderful, free service. Than help to support the site by advertising your business when you arrive on island.

My husband and I have roundtrip airfare, accomadations and more properties to view. We'll be there in less than two weeks. How exciting! We're in this together. What a great experience. But, what is going to happen next???

We went, we viewed, we have yet to conquer. Mark looked like he went through a hurricane.

End of Part Two: The Pre-Move Visits (to be edited more for sure)

Post Edited (04-21-04 03:04)

Posted : March 25, 2004 10:22 am
Posts: 58
Trusted Member

Well said... I look forward to the read.


Posted : March 25, 2004 11:17 am
Posts: 545
Honorable Member

Everything is what you make of it.

A long line is either a horrible inconvenience because you're forced to wait and the management is too incompetent to either staff up or work harder. I try to see it as a chance to stand (sit) still, catch my breath, maybe say hi and smile to the person behind me in line, and if I'm really prepared, to catch up on a little reading.

My bad medical news this week told me that I will -- over some unknown period of time -- become a quadriplegic with no movement from my shoulders down. Instead of deciding that this would make it too hard to move or that I would be too far from my docs, this news was the impetus to CARPE DIEM in high gear by making our move to STX months ahead of schedule so I could be certain to enjoy some quality snorkeling time, romantic sunsets on a boat, and just being with the man I love more than anything before things become much harder for me.

I could care less about ants/tarantulas/scorpions, not being able to buy crest toothpaste, hurricanes, no road signs, being treated as an outsider, or having to make 6 trips to WAPA to get our deposits taken care of so we can have power. Unfriendly bank tellers and shop clerks can't phase me -- they will get a smile from me in the hopes that they will recognize life is too damn short to not try and find the best in everything and everyone.

Stuff happens, people -- you either decide to get out of bed in the morning and deal with it or not. I take great care to not only get out of bed, but to also spread as much positive energy to those around me as I can even when I am in horrible pain or fightened to death of what comes next because you do get back threefold of what you put out. IF I can make someone smile, or feel better about some frustration they face, I know I will be okay for as long as I live.

[end rant] Thanks for indulging me as I process the 3 day old news about my tethered spinal cord and what that means for my future.

The HipCrip

Posted : March 25, 2004 11:27 am
Posts: 249
Estimable Member
Topic starter

Hey Hip Crip,
Its later on in the evening. I love reading the boards and seeing your responses. I know you read this before I did some of my post editing.
What do you think of it now? You actually saw the three paragraph original. Sound about right so far?

I appreciate all the comments and suggestions from everybody. Hmmm... Maybe I'll end up writing a book when I get to the islands. This can be the first chapter.

Posted : March 25, 2004 10:19 pm
(@Barefoot Bubba)
Posts: 0
New Member

HipCrip, thanks so much for the inspiration. My fiance and I are also planning to move to STX in the near future. When we get there, we definately have to meet. I can tell you're quite a remarkable woman. Thanks for the great posts.

Posted : March 27, 2004 1:30 pm
Posts: 249
Estimable Member
Topic starter

KBuckley and Janet,
Here is the post I mentioned. I found it and changed the title for you.

Posted : April 21, 2004 8:05 am
Posts: 10
Active Member

Thanks for your comments about the real estate agents. We'll need to be more wary after what you shared about their interests serving primarily the seller vs the buyer. Spending that kind of money we will take extra precautions. Are there any such things as homebuyers warranty protection for houses you buy in the VI like you can get in the states? Keep the dialogue going.

Posted : April 26, 2004 10:32 am
Posts: 249
Estimable Member
Topic starter

Most everything from banking and realestate are still governed by the Federal Laws of the US. (Because of it being a territory). You do have to ask though. Are you FDIC insured etc. A territory is almost like a state. It develops it own constitutional territory law but still has to adhere to the US Constitution. The same applies for real estate, criminal activity, etc. The VI conforms to the National real Estate Association and such. I'm sure warranty protections are included on this.

Posted : April 26, 2004 1:36 pm
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