Your biggest obstacle to overcome...
Hey this was a question that came to me while receiving answers from another post, so please go with me here.
What was your biggest obstacle to overcome in the first 2 weeks when you made you move on island? And in the first 2 months.
Interested to see if the answers are similar.
I don't even remember any particular obstacles, but I offer relocation rentals, so I am always meeting people who are just moving to the islands.
THE HEAT. That is immediate, from the moment they arrive .(That's kind of funny this week, since we're all freezing.)
Then, closely related, and after they have been here for a month or so, is the first utility bill. Since they haven't acclimated yet to the heat, they tend to run the A/C more (thinking regular electric rates will apply, no matter how many times we tell them to get prepared for the shock!). Also, it usually takes a month, and the first bill, to drive home the point that water is precious here.
Heat, mosquitoes, figuring your way around without street signs but by landmarks, no customer service, poor grocery selection, how much more everything cost (feeling of being nickeled and dimed) are some of the things I remember being a bit challenging at first.
2 months is just not long enough for the honeymoon to wear off, so I would say at around a year you start to notice the real problems like the govt, crime, poor education, corruption, etc...
My experience is that the biggest obstacles to overcome when living here don't present themselves in the first 2 weeks, or the first 2 months, or maybe even in the first 2 years. At first, everything is new and exciting - the weather is great, the beaches are beautiful, and the blue seas are gorgeous. Learning this culture is fun and can be outright hysterical. The folks that move here are embarking on a new adventure - living a dream - and everything is seen and filtered through those lenses. Some aspects of living here take time to understand and to accept.
As for how it can affect someone on a personal level...I have heard gunshots after dark in my neighborhood on 8 of the last 13 nights - on 2 of those nights, they were extremely close. That has a way of affecting you on a very personal level. I called the police on 6 of those nights. No one came.
Not having my car for the first month and not being able to have the freedom i was used to back in the states because of this. after that learning how to drive on the wrong side of the road. after that, getting a job.
now it is the crime-63 killed this year. the highest for the us virgin islands and of course highest per capita on us soil.
oh yes, the accents can make it hard to understand people. they speak so fast and i don't hear that well to begin with. that is still hard for me.
I agree with aussie, though. The true obstacles (things you can't overcome) don't hit you when you first arrive. It's like starting your new life on vacation. Then, when vacation is over, and the real world sets in, you start to run into things that make you beat your head against a wall.
That's why most of us encourage people to live here for a while before buying a home or burning bridges "back home". That first year is still "vacation", even if you work a full time job. It's a mental thing, and I don't believe it can be maintained for years.
Along with getting used to the island lifestyle, and accepting what you accept, there is the frustration at the things you can't bring yourself to accept and you can't change. One of my pet peeves is litter. It's not unusual, at all, to see anyone from child to senior citizen simply drop something on the ground or out a car window. Another is the disregard for handicapped and no parking signs. Can anyone explain to me why there is always a line of parked cars in front of Kmart, when there are no parking signs posted every 30 feet?
You just have to take a deep breath, get involved in projects that interest you, have patience and a sense of humor, and if you have good character and work ethic, hold onto it, but without an air of superiority.
Wow, didn't really mean to get on a soapbox this morning, just started rambling....
This is gonna seem strange, but back in the states, I was somewhat of a neat freak. After moving here (5+ years ago), I was just shocked at how impossible it is to keep your house clean! I'd clean like a mad woman and the next day - you couldn't tell I had cleaned. The windows are always dirty. The fans are a mess. Screens? Need cleaning every couple of weeks. Bugs are everywhere (but usually dead, thank goodness!!) Now these are little things - but if you are used to things being nice and clean - you gotta get over it!!! I may have overachieved.....I'm sitting here looking at some very dirty windows right now!!!
But being able to essentially "live outside" - it's so worth it to learn to accept a little dust and dirt! But honestly - that was one of the biggest obstacles I had to overcome!!!
Happy New Year to you all! May 2011 bring you peace and prosperity!!!
Juanita, Kim and Bombi all hit the nail squarely on the head for me. Once the honeymoon phase is over, these are the things you have to live with. The first few weeks and months, you'll likely be treated like a tourist, as it takes awhile to "fit in". I know I'm still working on it after a year!
...I left the islands to find a calm bride (lol) ...when I brought her here she was here for only one hour before she turned to me, hit me, and said, " So much about you makes sense now! ...none of you have ANY concept of time or the simple necessities!! " I just heard her respond to someone who said that they couldn't see how she could deal with a whole island full of her husband, "Well...you just have to take the time to comb your hair. Oh God, I can't believe I just said that!! "
Preconceptions are the only obstacles one has to overcome.
1. People not staying in their lane when they drive. Scares the crap out of me.
2. Cars with non working tail lights and the police not pulling them over. I have heard the roads are the culprit for the lights on cars not working, but i dont believe it because the roads in the Detroit area are 10 times worse than here. The lights on the cars in detroit work fine. If they dont, the police there will pull you over
3. The customer service is HORRIBLE!!
4. Filling up 5 gallon jugs for drinking water.
5. Worrying about taking long showers because you are worried about your cistern
6. The power going out frequently. Twice a week
7. No hight speed internet (Cant get comcast speeds here)
8. Chickens in public places like the seaplane airport, courthouse lawn, hospital lawn.
9. Birds flying thru the supermarket (Price Smart on St thomas)
10. Pueblos supermarket being FILTHY! (Would a supermarket on the mainland pass a health dept inspection if it looked like that)
11. Hearing 'Continentals' refer to a business establishment and say "Its a very nice place, you should check it out.", then in a lower voice say "and very few islanders go there."
12. Seeing people get out of the drivers side of a vehicle with a beer in their hands, right in front of the police. (There is no open container law here)
13. Seeing very few islanders use child car seats
14. Seeing people ride in the back of pickup trucks, because its legal. (I hear its legal in Kentucky also)
15. Seeing my friends FACEBOOK posting about how cold it is in Michigan.
16. Not getting free chips and sAlsa when you go to a mexican restaurant.
17. Seeing the supermarket run out of something, and the empty feeling you get when you realize it will be weeks until they restock.
18. No See UM's. Not a good feeling being bit by something you cant see.
I can post a few dozen more but I will stop here. Will post more upon request.
Despite the beaches, weather, and freewheelin culture, you still gotta pay bills, commute to work, pick up groceries, and drive to the bins to take out the trash.
EXPENSES - a water bill of $180, electric of $280 (in a two-person small apartment), groceries (my favorite cereal is $6 a box)
PREJUDICE - statesiders look down on native islanders because of their speech/lifestyle/ etc - DITTO what Michiganman1019 said
MOSQUITOES - $%&*&!!!:-o
LITTER - I still can't believe some of the stuff that ends up on the side of the road...and in such a beautiful place...:-X
We are only staying two years,. If I had plans to settle down here I think all these things would slowly drive me insane.
Thank you all for the imfo. the bugs and heat I can handel. Moving in april, I will always try anything once, now living in ND its been zero for a week. I realize the $ part. Just going to deal with it. Our interstate east has been closed for 3 days blizzard. I will get over the garbage part. Seen Detroit and Philly they are dirty to. Lived all my life in Chicago its got garbage to. Looking forword to the move. life is what you make of it. Tony
It's interesting that most posts are about annoyances rather that obstacles. There are no obstacles at all. If you want you can have all the annoyances in the world, it's up to you. The most annoying people here are the busy body statesiders who want to change things. There is no one more obnoxious then the come here who says we should do things like back home. I grew up with them in Va Beach and I guess there is no end to their reach. Most of these posts have nothing to do with day to day life, but are ventings. This is a forum for information
and was valuable to me before I moved.
Now that that's over with: the main obstacles are:
1- Finding your way around. If you get a car it will maybe be easier but maybe not. On St Thomas I have found that anything out of my routine is trying,directions difficult to follow and everything nearly impossible after dark when the landmarks were less visible.
2-People driving in the middle of the road. I know this was in an earlier post ,but it's not a joke,they really do drive in the middle of the road. I would not care less if they were drinking rum and talking on the cell if they would just stay left like the signs say.
I think the main obstacle will be the chains you have ,if you see you have the key to your own chains there are no obstacles here. All that other stuff is life: DEAL WITH IT.