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New Member

If I get it wrong I’m sorry, but I believe it was Thoreau that said some to the effect of, “They may come here for the summer, but we own the winter.” I can relate. I live in a town of eight thousand that get almost a million tourists in the summer. At least we own the winter. From what I understand in a place with a relatively non-changing climate and no real off season, (USVI) you own no winter. Wars are fought over ownership of the smallest parcels of land. Reactions of “rudeness” and disdain seem like a real reaction to feelings of lose of control of ones homeland. I too have been guilty of this. I also am guilty of feeling that we live in much too small of a world for people not to share. I am sure locals in the USVI are willing to give me a little piece of their paradise to rest my bones. It has been my experience that the quickest way to combat this “rudeness” is a smile and a conversation. I guess, maybe, can you give some ways I can make the transition from “visitor” to “islander” more easily? Someone suggested joining community groups. I think this is a great idea. Are there any specific groups that anyone would suggest? How about any local hangouts that we might make connections? Also my wife and I are going to need a daycare, are there any suggestions?



Posted : May 5, 2007 2:46 am
Posts: 104
Estimable Member

Generalizations always lead to arguments. There are good people everywhere. Exceptions exist everywhere, hence the nasty folks. I have lived in many countries/locations. But I have never seen such a predominance of rude people in the service industry as I have on stt. Customer focused cultures such as those in Asia I am sure have a cow when they get waited on at Plaza Extra or KMart. Talk about culture shock!

Polarbear: "I am sure locals in the USVI are willing to give me a little piece of their paradise to rest my bones. It has been my experience that the quickest way to combat this ``rudeness`` is a smile and a conversation."

Let me know how this goes and what kind of meds you are on....and how it works after you try it. It works 20% of the time. Hate to burdt your bubble.

And to those long time have lost all perspective. You don't know what good cuatomer service is. Not your fault. You can get it on the island, but it is the exception. Mainland is not that much better. Visit Asia and have you socks blown off!

Posted : May 5, 2007 4:19 am
Posts: 104
Estimable Member

said another way:
japan 10
europe 5
us mainland 4
stx 3
stt -10

Posted : May 5, 2007 4:25 am
Posts: 3904
Famed Member

East Ender said it well. I might add, as I've said before that the newcomer here must adapt. If you don't you will be miserable. This isn't Nebraska. If you want everything like everywhere else you're not going to get it. If a clerk doesn't hope I have a nice day, it doesn't ruin my life & make me gnash my teeth.

I'm in a service business & train people on how to perform it. I'm also well-traveled including Europe, so don't think I'm some scruffy old bag who hasn't seen the wonders of a Wal-Mart greeter. The last tooth-sucker I got, I said something to the effect of, "Isn't it annoying when you get something stuck between your teeth?" She laughed.

Posted : May 5, 2007 8:36 am
Posts: 389
Reputable Member

I agree with EE, but to be honest, after almost two years in St. Croix, I still don't have any love for the bugs. 🙂

Posted : May 5, 2007 2:57 pm
Posts: 5404
Illustrious Member

Beachbum: The Asian culture is not the Caribbean culture. If you travel through the world, it is a good idea to acknowledge other cultures, not expect them to be like yours. I can only control my own behavior, not yours.

Posted : May 5, 2007 3:25 pm
Posts: 2045
Noble Member

I think Eddies post pointed out how important it is to come here with a good nest egg. Maybe if they had saved up enough to buy an island beater their experience would have been a better one. To say you need to come with 10k is not at all extreme to get set up here.

As far as rudeness it is all over the world, and the more undeveloped parts of the Caribbean the have little knowledge or training in customer service. Some people find the honesty refreshing and adapt and some never do. I come across many "rude" people in businesses and shops but when I meet locals in more social settings like restaurants and bars I do find them to mostly be very friendly.

Posted : May 5, 2007 4:17 pm
Posts: 988
Prominent Member

Still pretty much of a lurker here, but ...
As I read back & forth to the "fiesty disagreements," this board reminds me a lot of the hockey message board I'm addicted to ( I've actually met a lot of the hockey folks with whom I've had spirited online disagreements with, and it has helped me understand that message boarders are by nature mostly good people who also enjoy a good argument. People without strong feelings don't stick around msg boards for long. (So I'm assuming the community here isn't entirely representative of the island population.)

Now here's my question and have at it:
--- All those people you PERSONALLY know who LEFT after 6 months... was it because they couldn't stand it, or couldn't afford it? And.... What were they looking for that they did not find?

((BTW.... do they carry "NHL Center Ice" on the cable packages down there? Really need to know!))

Posted : May 6, 2007 9:45 pm
Posts: 3919
Famed Member


Good question. I think most people leave because the reality of life here did not agree with their perception of what life would be like. Many people either haven't fully considered the inconveniences of daily life or have brushed warnings aside, sure that things would be "different" for them.

And I think money is a huge factor. People who believe that they can get by on love or beans and rice or whatever are usually doomed to unhappiness here. Parents who have never homeschooled and think they can bring school-age kids here and home school them and the kid will be happy, well, history does not bear that out.

The more money you have, and the fewer encumbrences, the greater your chance of living happy in the USVI.

Oh, and a good sense of humor and appreciation of the absurd also helps.

My opinion, for what it's worth.

Posted : May 7, 2007 10:06 am
Posts: 3904
Famed Member

I don't think anyone objects to what's perceived as what's "negative" only the nasty way the negative is presented & the insults slapped on those who like living here & say so i.e. "pink bubble wrap."

The ones I've seen leaving are gone for different reasons:

a. Those seeking geographical cures from personal problems caused by themselves. You do, after all have to bring that personal problem (yourself) with you.

b. Those who think it's all palm trees, beaches & pina coladas not realizing how hard you have to work to get a day on the beach.

c. Those who need every convenience known to man at their fingertips 24/7 like electricity 🙂

d. Those who come temporarily for a job & then move on to another job. This can happen in hotel work & even jewelry sales now that some of the latter go to Alaska to sell in the summer.

e. Couples where the husband has a good job but the wife is left to deal with all the day-to-day hassles & she gets tired of it quickly.

f. Those not happy with the school system & when their children are old enough, cannot afford private schools.

g. Those who just get homesick.

h. Family problems in the States.

i. For those who have lived here a good while, retirement might be too expensive so they leave for where their money will go farther

j. They die. I know a drinker who came here & was dead in 6 months. This is not the place to be if you have a tendency to alcoholism.

Posted : May 7, 2007 10:18 am
Posts: 3904
Famed Member

Linda's exactly right in all she said especially,

"Oh, and a good sense of humor and appreciation of the absurd also helps."

Posted : May 7, 2007 10:20 am
Posts: 450
Reputable Member

People I know personally who have were couples. First couple - he loved it here, she hated it here(no shopping, no conveniences, she was used to being waited on and coddled and that didn't happen here). She sacrificed for him and tried it and it didn't work so they moved. Second couple - missed their extended family. They figured that family would visit them from the states and that just didn't happen - airfare too expensive for a lot of trips so they moved back to be close to family. Another family I knew personally - here for three years - had two children and missed being close to extended family. Another couple - here for 15 years - parents became ill and they had to move to care for them.

Posted : May 7, 2007 1:01 pm
Posts: 713
Honorable Member

Neil - we left after 13 months, for a myriad of reasons. No pink bubble wrap here. We are baby boomers who had a dream after a couple of serious illnesses with both my husband and a little more and work a little less. We came from an area of the U.S. which has an easy cost of living. The VI did not, not for us. Even if it had been just me and my husband (we brought a pack of dogs with us, which complicated matters), I'm not sure we could have financially survived and been in a position to ever retire - the cost of living differential was that vast. We left our families, who are aging, who decided to start dying after we got settled. The pace, while being called "slower", to us was more frenetic.....trying to plan your day to get the most out of it and waiting in line at the bank for an hour for no particular reason was was chasing all over the island for the elusive fencing or whatever it was you needed. Therefore, your schedule got a little screwed one day, so you threw those things you missed to the next day, and suddenly the list was never ending, leaving very little time to enjoy what we wanted to enjoy. We would set aside a weekend to go to the beach, but have all these loose ends to tie up on the weekend - which ended up eating up the weekend. Call it the slower pace, call it island time, call me a spoiled twit who needed instant gratification - it all ended up one way....we got frustrated. We couldn't get back to our families easily or inexpensively - even talking on the phone was difficult because we were on cell phones and sometimes you just got lost in space and couldn't hear from the rest of the world.

Trade mentioned "things at your fingertips - like electricity" - well, yeah, when I'm trying to run a $75K/yr. business over the internet, the old WAPA-just-died scenario got old fast, and very nearly killed my business of 14 years. If it wasn't WAPA, it was the internet. I could have lived through that part - unfortunately, the surgeons I work for couldn't - they relied on my turnaround to do their surgeries, and if I was down for 10 hours, they were as stuck as I was. Prior to our departure from STX, I will say that problem had improved significantly....too little, too late. I had to do some major sucking up to keep everything once I got back stateside and I've spent almost a year re-building my little kingdom.

We also had grown children with upcoming marriages and the possibility of grandchildren and I did not want to be the absentee grandmother.

I have no problem with people who absolutely love the VI - what I DO have a problem with is people glossing over certain facts, or having been there so long they've forgotten what a big reality check it is when you first get there. To each his own.....obviously, it's not for everyone, or we'd all be there living happily ever after. I truly believe both sides of the coin need to be presented and examined. However, this post will probably take it's share of hits because it will be perceived as negative. It's not negative, it's a story - it's my story - and I hope it helps someone else understand that even though it sounds wonderful, sometimes it's more like a cross between Gilligan's Island and Green Acres to live on an island.

We anticipated certain things - other things were a total shock. It was a huge decision to go to the VI, and a huge decision to return to the mainland. Linda J is right, everyone is right - go with as little as you can and try it on for size. You can always move your treasures down later. As it was, we sold off much of our household rather than putting it in storage, and moved the rest - what we moved is battered and sad looking from the sea air - and what we sold off we would pay double to have back.

Posted : May 7, 2007 2:39 pm
Posts: 862
Prominent Member

I know a couple of couples who moved down to get away from hectic corporate lifestyles. The husbands loved it and fit right in to the island. The wives hated it because there was no shopping and not many conveniences. On top of that, when the couple actually had to spend time with one another (the corporate life didn't really allow too much of that) they realized they didn't actually like one another too much! So they got divorced and the wife leaves island and the husband stays and gets happily remarried to a woman who loves the island too!

Also, to add to Trade's list-- a few of my friends who were down for a several years just left because the job market ran dry in their particular fields and/or they needed more training/education. In order to stay in that field, they had to return to the states. They may be back though.

Posted : May 7, 2007 3:24 pm
Posts: 5404
Illustrious Member

Neil: Don't know about the hockey question, but they do have cock fighting and pit bull fighting.

My opinion is that lots of people think that because it is the US Virgin Islands, it is the US. And while you remain a US citizen, you live on a Caribbean island. Read BeckyR's post- very true. I have never understood why people thought that the pace of life is slow. You should see a Virgin Islander once s/he gets in a car! ZOOOOOOM! 😀

Posted : May 7, 2007 10:55 pm
Posts: 463
Reputable Member

Hi Neil,

I hope someone is able to answer your question about hockey because my husband would sure like to know as well -- especially now that it's the playoffs :)! Also, if anyone knows a good place to watch the game on STT, please let me (us) know!!!

I think Trade provided a very thorough and comprehensive list of the major reasons that people leave. In fact, I plan to link to her post in the future when this question comes up again (as it inevitably will in one form or another).

The only thing I would add to that list is health problems. I have known two people now who have left island (STT) because of serious health problems that required extensive, long-term treatment.

Posted : May 8, 2007 1:10 am
Posts: 121
Estimable Member

Becky R,
Can I ask why you continue to post on this forum even though you do not live here and had so many negative experiences?

I have only been here for three years, but I've seen my share of stateside couples and individuals come and go. One lady I met told me she had to leave because she really missed Walmart.
I've seen my own marriage fall apart for many reasons, the main one being that I absolutely love it here and my soon-to-be-ex always feels isolated and frustrated. The poor guy still gets road rage on a daily basis and can't stand the fact that sometimes going to three grocery stores for one meal is a natural fact of living here. I don't know whether he will stay, return home to the UK or move back to the states, but we do have two children that love living on island and this is their home. I do know that I will not be going anywhere soon and I welcome anyone to come and live here-it really is a wonderful place.

Posted : May 8, 2007 1:41 pm
Posts: 61
Trusted Member

Wow SuzanneB -

I had the same problem. I live here and absolutely love it. But my ex (who i met here) had the same issues. I swear your sentence - "The poor guy still gets road rage on a daily basis and can't stand the fact that sometimes going to three grocery stores for one meal is a natural fact of living here." - describes him perfectly. I wonder if our exs know each other. They would be great pals - they could bitch together, so they don't have to b@$%$ to us!

I'm so happy I read your post. Have a great week.

Posted : May 8, 2007 2:00 pm
Posts: 713
Honorable Member

Can I ask why you would care?

As I have stated umpteen times, I don't think the full picture gets presented - and if you will look back, I've spoken highly of the people I know there, the parades, and the good was not for us. I am trying to keep someone else from making a $30,000 mistake that they might pay dearly for. If ONE PERSON re-thinks what they are doing and makes sure they have all the bases covered, then I'll at least feel like I did something. People who come down saying they can work 3 jobs and make it - well, that's a reality for some, but is it a GOOD reality? Is it going to be what they imagined while listening to Jimmy Buffett and making their margarita in their top grade kitchen with ice from the icemaker and a never-ending supply of water and affordable electricity, and going to their nice office every day rather than scrambling 3 jobs and never seeing the place you came to relax?

We made many friends on the island - we enjoyed our time as much as we could, but things simply did not fall into place for us for a number of reasons. Those reasons aren't that uncommon among the baby boomer generation....ailing families, not being a trust fund baby, personal health issues, etc., etc. We thought one thing and found out something else. Hey, if nothing else, I've been honest and told where we missed the mark.

On the other hand - no matter how much I loved the island, I wouldn't lose my husband over it. No way, no how. If he had been incredibly happy on island, we would still be there. I can live anywhere with him, but I would be nowhere without him.

But P.S. to Suzanne.....thank you so much for your interest in why I do what I do - you certainly have cleared up a lot for me that no one else has ever brought to my attention.....(hahaha) with that I will just ride off into the sunset and you can take the reins. I'm sure everyone will be MUCH happier.

Posted : May 8, 2007 2:04 pm
Posts: 436
Reputable Member

I don't live on island either, but guess what, I'm allowed to have an opinion.

Hmmmmm. Two marriages that didn't work out after moving to the island. Maybe we should add that to the list of what should be looked at before moving.

Posted : May 8, 2007 2:07 pm
Posts: 61
Trusted Member

yo promo~
i never said we made the mistake of getting married. i simply said my ex!

i get what you are saying - examine your goals, values, and what you find important in your life - before you move here!

Posted : May 8, 2007 2:16 pm
Posts: 121
Estimable Member

donkeysusvi LOL!!!!!!

Becky R-Enjoy your ride off into the sunset, yeeeeeehaw!

Posted : May 8, 2007 2:16 pm
Posts: 713
Honorable Member

Suzanne, I have had a few moments to re-think my position - no, I won't be riding off into the sunset. When someone posts that they have $1000 in savings and no life plan after they arrive on island, I'm going to be there. When someone posts about pulling up pillar and post with one vacation to the islands and moving, I'm going to be there. When someone posts they have a life-threatening condition but are moving anyway, I'm going to be there. Whenever anyone says they are bringing their 5 children to the island and putting them in public schools, I'll be there. Whenever ANYONE thinks they are simply relocating to a prettier part of the mainland, you guessed it - I'll be there....because, you see, that is the perception from the mainland....pretty water, but the U.S. It ain't.

If you don't like my posts, don't read them. I'm giving my opinion, you give yours, and we'll all live in peace and harmony. But I WON'T be a member of the cheerleader brigade whose battle cry is "come on down, you'll be fine" - if everyone that moved ended up "fine", the island would sink from sheer weight of human bodies. The huge turnover of the population has a number of reasons behind it, and that's called reality versus a dream. So your dream has worked for you, and good for you and I'm proud......and I'm proud of the people I call friends on STX. Just because I no longer live there doesn't mean I don't care - and unless I am banned from speaking my mind.....well, I just will.

Posted : May 8, 2007 2:36 pm
Posts: 121
Estimable Member

Cheerleader brigade.... I like that. I guess my perspective comes from a different point of view. As a public school teacher here on STT, I see a great need for good, quality teachers, not to mention nurses, police officers, social workers, you name it. I think the more people that come here with a mission to do something to help others in their community, the better. Even if people only come here and dedicate a year of service to the people of the VI, we will all be better off. At least people can say that they tried and failed rather than to never have tried at all and will always wonder 'what if'?

Posted : May 8, 2007 3:17 pm
Posts: 2552
Famed Member

Becky R, as much as we sometimes disagree, I would certainly hate to see you go. Sometimes I do think you are a little too negative, but other times you are right on.:) Sometimes I think you have to over defend your decision to leave what others think is paradise, and only see the worst . While sometimes we who only see the paradise have our blinders on too tight. 🙂
Keep up the posts.

Posted : May 8, 2007 5:53 pm
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