Drink Right, Keep Left

It’s time I, Meredith, admit to the world that I am the “proud” owner of an island beater! She was originally a 2003 Chevy Cavalier, she is now simply pieces of one. I bought the car from a fast friend we made when we first got to the island, she left island last week. Despite the new transmission & four new tires Nicole adorned the car with, it is not luxurious by any means of the word. The left review mirror is missing, but it’s okay because the left backseat passenger can just stick their head out the window to give me directions (which is convenient considering that is the only window that goes down). The air vents are missing their “grills” & therefore blow the frigid air at maximum speed (yes, the AC works THANK GOD!). The air vents are so intense that perhaps if the engine blows we will simply need a sail. The gear shift is nothing but a stick with the insides protruding, so in order to not seriously injure myself I have topped it with a rubber ducky, classy, i know. Other than that she does her job, gets us from point A to point B. **shipping the Pathfinder to the island would have cost the same amount that I bought the beater for**

Driving this chariot is nothing short of comical. If you know anything about the USVI you know that they are INCREDIBLY mountainous and the roads are not in the greatest conditions (potholes up to my nose).

Did you know that in the USVI we drive on the left side of the road? It’s not as bad as I thought it would be, in fact it actually makes sense, while I am safely NOT on the side of oncoming traffic my passengers may want to hold on for dear life. The road lines mean nothing to these people, there are no broken lines which you would think would mean no passing zones, nope, EVERYWHERE is a passing zone. While the speed limit signs SAY 10MPH, that means nothing, you keep up or you get passed (I get passed a lot). I’m never offended my this, especially because I never know how fast I’m actually going since none of my gauges actually work (when the “Check Gauges” light comes on, it is time for gas which is nearly $5 a gallon!!!). And one more thing, something that my dad taught me the first day I had my driving permit has never been more true, “The only thing a car blinker is going to tell you is that the car is not going to fly.” It’s true, the blinkers mean NOTHING.

But ya know what? We’re still loving every minute of it!

forever, for always, and no matter what

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Hall of STT Shame

Little by little the island is feeling more like home, the fact that we live here is settling in and things are just falling into place. It took six full days for us to no longer be the “new girls” on the island since Jess landed just yesterday and as it goes is already our newest friend-we have now been dubbed “the girls” (no doubt because they can’t be sure that our real names aren’t actually Gibba). We have made friends pretty easily, and as can be expected they are the bartenders from our new go to spot. Yesterday we were in Red Hook (the town we live in) applying for jobs when Potter saw us from the road and suddenly we were grabbing our suits and off to the Marriott pool bar. That’s the thing about the island, you have to just be up for anything, whenever. We spent the afternoon hanging over the infinity pool edge looking out onto the Caribbean, can you say perfection? It is impossible not to make friends on the island, we have been incredibly lucky to meet such amazing people so far! If a casual afternoon at the Marriott pool doesn’t make you feel like a local then the tourists taking pictures of you when you aren’t looking is certainly is, and yesterday the paparazzi was flashing away.
Note: after a long day (and a full dinner mind you) Gibba and I fell back into old habits, and with no WaWa on the island, indulged ourselves with a LARGE pizza with meat and banana peppers, NOM!
Waking up this morning knowing that our afternoon would be spent at the hospital waiting for our health cards we decided to spend the morning getting to know our neighbors. So, for $5 we rented snorkel equipment and swam through the coral reef in our back yard at Sapphire Beach, the fish are beautiful and the sea turtles were amazing! We really lucked out, they all seem very friendly.

As always, we miss home, we love our families and are still waiting for pictures of our pups.

Forever, for always, and and no matter what
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Caution: Iguanas love pink toes

Where to begin, today is day six on the island and day one with access to wi-fi, thank you baby Jesus! The past six days have been an absolute whirlwind of emotions and adventure. Our first day in St. Thomas started at 3pm and believe me when I say it was a shock, we fetched a cab, loaded our five pieces of luggage and pulled up to the “lovely” Bunker Hill Hotel. While our room was great, lugging nearly 400 pounds of luggage up the three flights of stairs was not. If you know anything about the island you know that Bunker Hill is not the place you want to be, and we were there for four nights! We knew not to expect luxury but the faces of every person we told where we were staying said it all, pure horror. The gunshots at 3am Thursday morning solidified the fact that it was time to get out of there! *Danger Beware: we have pepper spray.*

We learned our way around the island pretty quickly, after taking a tour of the island- provided by our hotel. We, along with twenty cruise ship tourists, learned about the history of the island, the greatest beaches, and where to find the world’s greatest banana daquiri! There are “Dollar Taxis” which are more or less F-250s with open air safari seating in the back, you simply throw your hand to the sky when one is passing, they slam on the brakes, you jump on and hit the buzzer on the ceiling when you wish for the driver to slam on his brakes again at your destination. We spent our first four days searching for a place to live, we looked at apartments, houses and condos all over the island but condo number seven turned out to be home. It is cozy for sure but living in Sapphire Village means two pools and immediate access to the 2nd most beautiful beach on the island, all in a gated community (our dads really like that feature). Without a doubt Condo 222 felt like home when we hung the Maryland flag on the wall.

While having a safe place on the East end of the island is a huge comfort, the next step is jobs! We have filled out applications at a number of restaurants within walking distance and hope to expand out to the larger resorts soon (once we have an island beater to get ourselves out there!). Here’s the thing, in order to work in a restaurant or hotel where food is served, a Health Card is required. I urge you to google what is required in order to obtain said Health Card, but I will tell you this, it is basically a parasite and ova screening…. (Am I being discrete enough?)

We have quickly become regulars at ITP, Island Time Pub, in Red Hook where the bartenders have been more than helpful! Everybody is so nice and wants to make sure we find the right place to live, that we don’t pay more than we should for anything, and that we get jobs at the right places!

One of the coolest things about the island is that every beach is public, there are certainly a few we have already learned are best to steer clear of unless you have a bulletproof bikini! So for now we will stick to our backyard, Sapphire Beach, where we can sneak through the marina and stalk all of the multimillion dollar yachts in order to potentially become besties with a few captains.

The island hospitality rubs off pretty fast, lastnight a couple we met up with from Salisbury (they have been here for seven weeks), treated us to dinner and drinks and when I insisted they let us split the bill they told us the story of the first dinner another couple treated them to as a welcome to the island. We will look at this as a sort of “pay it forward” and look forward to someday being able to do that for somebody else who decides to up and quit their jobs for the same adventure we are looking for!

We would be lying if we didn’t say that we are missing our home, family, friends & babies (Jax and Miles, woof) desperately! But with everybody’s support we are so excited to see what all of this will lead to!

forever, for always, and no matter what

Day 1

Are you ready for this? What are we even doing? Are we insane? These were the questions Gibba and I asked each other the last few days leading up to this adventure. The answers: absolutely not, we have no clue, and without a doubt. All we know is this is how all great stories start…..forever, for always, and no matter what