Living the Island Life: St. Thomas, USVI

I’ve stepped out of my comfort zone.

I’ve traveled.

I’ve lived away from family.

I’ve lived in another country.

I’ve experienced many firsts.

OR so I thought. My life in St. Thomas, USVI has been more of a life experience than I EVER  EXPECTED. I knew it would be different and truth be told, it didn’t take long for me to fall in love with this beautiful, cultural-filled, island-life, country in the Caribbean.

But, boy, was I in a complete culture shock when my “work-social” life began to emerge.

If you know me outside of this blog, then you know that for the last 4 years, I haven’t really EVER worked in a normal 8-5 or 9-6 style job. That changed the minute I accepted this position, moved to a “random” location and began working as a Speech Language Pathologist on the island. Talk about a MAJOR change.

It’s been a difficult transition from Geriatrics to Pediatrics and school-aged kids. It’s a different world figuring out the new learning language children vs. the re-learning language adults. It’s a different world figuring out the children with genetic neurological disabilities  vs. the acquired neurological disabilities. It’s a different world learning how to schedule children, readjust the schedule, then ultimately fill-in-the-blanks for make up sessions, meetings, trainings, and documentation, all within 40 hours. My head officially hurts. Oh, and did I mention I’m replacing a seasoned SLP, who’s worked with children before. I haven’t been in a SCHOOL SYSTEM SINCE GRADUATE SCHOOL, like 6 years ago.

I haven’t had to bring work home with me for nearly 4 years, but in the school system, I can’t not bring my work home with me. I’m not required to by any means to bring my work home with me, but I’m the type of person, who doesn’t like when I feel like I’m letting the children down. Let me explain something…it’s only the third week of school and things move slower here so it’s my first “true” week with my kids. I need to learn how to RELAX and take things day by day. I’m learning. It’s been a fault of mine for decades that I take things on too fast and try to “fix” things (I am my father’s daughter)! Learning. Learning. Loving. Learning.

Outside of school, island life has tested my patiences in multiple ways, but I continue to find myself relaxing and soaking in every ounce of change. “Island Life” is a commonly spoken term and refers to things moving at a very different speed from what many “mainlanders” are accustom to, including myself. Seattle life was GO GO GO and I felt like every waking minute I had somewhere to be, something planned, or something to do. I lived in the midst of Seattle within walking distance or biking distance to EVERYTHING, which meant I always wanted to do something.

On St. Thomas, my roommate and I live on the north side, which is located approximately 6 miles from downtown. But that 6 miles correlates to 15-20 minutes. That’s not talking about the “social” location or the south side, which is where I play volleyball once a week. It’s a drive. No literally, it’s a drive. The roads are curvy and downhill (starting at our house) and can be a NIGHTMARE during cruise ship seasons (which hasn’t happened, yet.).

Because of this, the minute I get home, I relax. Relaxation. Doors open, sea breeze, birds chirping, sun setting, relaxing. It’s been a long time since I’ve had this level of relaxation. Oh yeah, did I mention, the beach aspect of relaxing. Let’s save that for another time.

Relaxation tends to drift out of sight when I begin to enter the local stores/shops, general life. Frustration is a term I’d use when I think of the “island life”, but it’s still a different level of frustration. It’s a cultural, I need to relax, frustration, that I’m just not use to and need to learn to recognize as something special and unique about the island. Plus, what does frustration do to anyone. It’s not going to be change, it doesn’t need to change, nor should I stress about it. It’s my new lifestyle and learning to adapt is part of what makes moving to another country so special.

Life on the island is truly different, culturally, career wise, and socially, but it’s a level of difference that I’m slowly adjusting too and although it’s going to take time, I’ll learn because I already LOVE it here. This is real life and just another Mapless Adventure, okay life MANY, MANY, MANY, Mapless Adventures to come!!

Did I mention I bought a GoPro…get ready for VIDEOS! It’s been two years since I recorded a video…guess I’ll need to refresh on my vlogging skills!

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