Yesterday marked two years since I packed my life up and moved to a little island in the Caribbean. January 2nd brings reflection and gratitude to my heart and soul because I am reminded about a choice that I made to put myself and my happiness first. The past two years have been amazing, terrifying, blissful, heartbreaking and everything in between, because I have learned about life. And for that, I am blessed.
I wanted to do something to acknowledge the anniversary of my move, but after a full day of work and a crazy amount of holiday partying, the best option seemed to be coffee and sunset. I got off work, grabbed my favorite frozen coffee from Cruz Bay Landing and headed towards North Shore Road. When I got in my car and picked up my phone to play some music, I thought for a second about what songs I was listening to this time two years ago, or any of my favorite “St. John” songs. I was in a tiny parking spot at customs and there was someone waiting for my spot so I just gave up, pressed shuffle, and went on my way. After “Thunder” by Imagine Dragons was over, I almost forgot I wanted some tunes to reminisce on, when “Merry Happy” by Kate Nash started playing through my speakers. It was one of those moments when I just had to laugh out loud at how crazy and mysterious the universe is. Out of the thousands of songs shuffled on my iPhone, the most perfect song to bring me back to that time in my life played through my speakers. The first time I heard that song, I was sitting at Beach Bar by myself, on the 4 day trip to St. John I took by myself to see if I really wanted to move here. I didn’t know anyone, I was mostly just thinking I was going through temporary insanity, but there was just something in my head, tirelessly telling me I needed to move to St. John. I sat there alone during off season, probably drinking a painkiller, when Kate Nash sang “I can be alone, yeah, I can watch the sunset on my own, I can be alone.” I remember smiling as I heard that song because it seemed like some sort of sign from the universe that I could definitely handle moving to an island alone, because if Kate Nash can watch the sunset on her own then I could too. Then, over two years later as I headed to the beach by myself to watch the sunset, that song came on again- and all felt right in my world.
During my second year on St. John, the main highlights that stand out to me were my job and my home. I had the perfect job and the perfect schedule. I was able to nanny for two great families with amazing little ones and I never dreaded going to work. I don’t think anyone really believed I even had a job because I basically just got to play and snuggle with babies that made my heart so full. I worked three days a week, and three nights a week. It was the best of both worlds. Half of the week I was free during the day to be productive, go to the beach, or sleep in, and half of the week I was free to go to happy hour, go to karaoke or out to fun dinners. I was so insanely happy. I also lived alone for the first time. I had a tiny shoebox house, but it was mine and I loved it. My fridge was covered top to bottom with pictures of my friends and family, my huge box TV played the same 5 movies I owned over and over again, and most of the time my sink was filled with dishes but I didn’t care, because there was no one there to yell at me about it. I paid my rent every month on time without anyone reminding me, I cleaned when I felt like it, and I locked my door every night before I went to sleep and never felt unsafe from being alone. I had the perfect job and the perfect (to me) home. What could go wrong?
Two category 5 hurricanes proved to me what I already knew- this life is transient and unpredictable. I lost most of everything I had, my job, my home, my clothes, my pictures, my books, my keepsakes…things I had built up and collected over pretty much my entire life, just got washed away with the storm. But, all that I lost were just things. I can buy new clothes, and print new pictures, and find a new job and build a new life. I was safe during the storm in Virginia, my friends on St. John were safe, and we are rebuilding. The beaches are beautiful and the foliage is green. I was extremely lucky to find a new place to live, and although I don’t yet have a full time job or steady income, I have been working plenty of hours and I have been able to support myself, so I am doing just fine.
My second year on St. John went from having a near perfect life, to losing most of it, to now- starting the process of building it back up. A few months down the road, if I still haven’t regained the stability I once had and I have to move on to the next adventure, then that’s what I will do. If I am lucky enough to check back in with y’all from St. John on January 2nd next year, then I will reflect back on this post knowing my worries faded and it all worked out again. Either way, I am blessed to have spent the past two years on St. John, made incredible friends and memories, and experienced life and lessons that I don’t think I ever would have faced without moving to this little island. Again, I am blessed and grateful for my friends and family who encouraged me, questioned or doubted me, supported me or trusted me, because I wouldn’t be here without all of that. Thank you to everyone on St. John who made these past two years great and unforgettable. Well, mostly unforgettable…due to the talented bartenders at Dog House Pub and their heavy o-bomb pours.
Thank you for checking up on me and my little adventure. Cheers to two years!