We came out to St. Croix on August 20th. We had a huge schedule of things we wanted to look into and investigate in the week we were here. However, after just a couple of days, we decided we were not going back to Phoenix, so the pressure to cram everything into a week was off. Suddenly, it didn’t seem so urgent to look at every house for rent or investigate every grocery store.
On the 27th, we sat on the steps outside of our room and raised our coffee mugs to the sky at about the time our plane would have been taking off. As of yesterday, we have both founds jobs, and we are renting a house that is in walking distance from where we work. Our cats are flying in with friends on September 30th. I have had a couple of moments of frustration, because I am living in my vacation wardrobe and the washing machine ruined 3 of my six shirts!
We went to Surf the Net in Paradise on Strand Street in Christiansted for our mailbox. Mia is very nice there, and takes packages of all sizes. It is 12 dollars a month, but it is close, convenient and open long hours and on weekends. She also has internet access, so I can check my email when I go to get mail.
My impressions of St. Croix have been way more positive than negative. (Obviously, or we wouldn’t be staying) We have been respectful and polite to everyone we meet and for the most part, everyone has been respectful back. I haven’t felt pushed aside at any of the grocery stores. I was a little worried about that, because someone had written that they felt they could stand at the counter forever and wouldn’t get waited on until all of the locals were taken care of. I haven’t found that to be the case anywhere I’ve been. Our regular cab driver brought us a coconut, hacked it open with a machete and poured coconut water over ice. The three of us stood around looking at the water and drinking coconut water. It was really cool. When we told one of our cleaning ladies that we had decided not to go home, she laid a hand on each of us and said a little prayer for us to have success and happiness. It was actually quite touching.
Coming from Phoenix, I really haven’t had sticker shock on most items… Just milk, medicine and (sorry men) tampons. ($9.50 for a box of 20, are they %**#&^$ kidding!?!?!) My brand of tea actually costs less, the beer costs less and of course the rum costs less. Granola bars and honey are about the same. Produce seems high, but when we start shopping the local farmer’s market to get locally produced stuff, I imagine it won’t be as bad. Gas is still cheaper here than in Phoenix right now. We paid the same (about 7 bucks) for a pre cooked roasted chicken here that we do at home. Restaurants are outrageous. If I was doing the vacation part of our trip over, I would have paid extra for a room with a small kitchen and I think it would have paid for itself by allowing us to eat in.
Of course, the scenery is spectacular. I keep coming around a corner, or just looking out a window and having that moment of awe when I remember that I really live here now!
The only negative I have had so far (and it is a small one) is that I am having a hard time learning my way around. Phoenix is a grid, so you have very little chance of getting lost. My new home is down the dirt road where you turn left at the house with the big yard and the horse.
I think the most important thing about finding work, finding a place to live, making friends, learning your way around, etc, is that you really do just have to be here. We found our jobs due to work of mouth. We found our house because we told everyone we met that we were looking for a place. We ended up in the one we got because we were walking down the beach and talking to a lady about her dogs.. she showed us her place, and we ended up renting from her landlord. We are starting to learn our way around because of great people we have met. We are getting a car because we mentioned that we need a car, and someone knew someone else who is leaving the island and needs to sell. If you just get here and allow yourself to go with the flow, things just seem to fall into place without even really trying. I love that relaxation.