Sacrifices.

This is the week! On Thursday morning, my best friend Kerri & I will be headed to St. John for a full 12 days! I am so excited to finally meet up with people I’ve been talking to for the past few months, to sign my lease, to go to my job interviews, and to just enjoy the island and share my love of STJ with my best friend. It will be amazing.

But. In preparation for this week, I’ve been thinking about the sacrifices that have to happen for my vacation and my move. One of the biggest ones, the one that I’ve been dreading, happens on Wednesday. My hedgehog Koko, will go to her new foster home. I thought about just getting someone to watch her while I’m on vacation, and then keep her with me for the month before my move, but it’s really just not fair to move an animal around so much. So, on Wednesday, Koko will be moving to Maryland to live with her foster mom for the next year. Let me tell you- it is going to SUCK. I’ve always been the judgey person that gets pissed off when someone gives up their animal for a selfish reason, but here I am! I registered Koko as an emotional support animal, so she could technically come with me, but I know in my heart that I can’t put that kind of stress on a tiny little thing. It’s too far, it’s too hot, there aren’t any vets…it’s just too much. So I held the tears back, searched for a good fit, and luckily found the perfect place for her to go. It is going to be so damn hard to drop her off and walk away knowing I very well may never see her again, she is a year and a half old and hedgehogs normally live around 3-7 years. My first one lived to be 1 year 4 months.

Placing Koko with a foster mom is a sacrifice that I have to make in order to pursue my dream. I don’t want to leave her, but I don’t want to give up on this. I don’t know if I’ll have another opportunity to move to the islands and this is one of the things I have to say goodbye to in order to say hello to something else. There aren’t many things you can do in your life without making some sort of sacrifice, and it takes a lot to figure out if they are worth it. I’m really not sure if they will be worth it for me, but I am going to figure that out.

There are a lot more sacrifices to come when I make the move, like not seeing my friends and family for such an extended period of time, being away for holidays and my birthday, and letting go of someone I love. It is going to be so hard, the hardest thing I’ve ever done- no doubt. There are just times in life when everything changes, and I have to make room for that change and all it will bring me. Wednesday is going to SUCK. Hopefully touching down in the islands on Thursday afternoon will make it a little easier.

So here’s to you Koko, thank you for the year and a half of happiness, adorable pictures, grumpy bubblebaths, conversation starters, and love that you have brought me. Thanks for being my girl, I will miss you more than I can imagine.

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Kenny Chesney & St. John.

Kenny Chesney and St. John go together like coconut and rum. Kenny has always been my favorite artist, and I totally credit him for my St. John obsession which started way back in middle school. Back in the day, we saw Kenny in concert every year, and I have the best memories from those concerts. We’d put on our jean skirts, boots, and pink cowboy hats and sing way too loud to every song, and even break out my choreographed motions to “When The Sun Goes Down”.
One year, when I was on vacation with my moms side of the family, my dad and my step-mom totally transformed my bedroom into a Kenny Chesney themed island paradise. All four walls are painted with a mural of the islands, a little tiki hut is painted with a sign saying “Chesney’s Beach Bar”, and song titles are written is silver paint in the clouds, like “No Shoes, No Shirt, No Problem”, and “Dreams”. I was raised on Kenny, and raised listening to his words about the islands, specifically St. John. Recently when I’ve been listening to his songs, I can’t help but smile and even just start laughing because I can’t even believe how well I relate, and how I’ve been listening to these songs for my whole life, dreaming about this life he has in the islands, and how it’s not a dream anymore, it’s a plan. Something I’ve been dreaming about since I was too little to wrap my head around what it really meant, is now happening to me. I never really took that dream seriously. To me, St. John was no more than a week-long vacation. Until all of the sudden I thought- wait. I can actually live there if I want to. And I do, so I am.
“Sherry’s living, living in paradise. Chasing something or running from something, she’s had a lot of lovers that were good for nothing and she’s thought about leaving once or twice, but she’s still in the sun and this laid back life. Sherry’s living in paradise.”
Be As You Are (Songs From An Old Blue Chair), has been getting me through my doubts. When I have moments that I’m scared shitless, or think that I’m insane and it’s never going to work, I scroll through my phone and click play on that album, and I’m grounded again. I have the opportunity, the resources and the support to make an actual dream come true. A dream that so many people have, and so little people can do in their lifetime. I would be crazy to give that up. So I want to be like Kenny who watches boats sail in and out of Cinnamon Bay, and Sherry slinging drinks at a bar down by the beach, and the girl in “Boston” who wears a Red Sox cap to hide her baby dreads. I want to be like them, so here I go.
A week from tomorrow I start my two-week vacation in St. John with my best friend Kerri, and during that vacation I will be signing the lease on my apartment with my new roommate Carly, and I will be going to two different job interviews. Interviews and lease signings don’t sound like like things you do on vacation, but when you’re moving to paradise, it just doesn’t sound too bad.

Why.

In my past posts, I think I’ve pretty much explained why I want to make this move, so I think this post will be more of a wrap-up of the beginning series of my blog. This post concludes “the who, what, when, where, and why of a 22 year old moving to the Virgin Islands”, and I don’t really know what is going to come next, but I suppose we will find out together! But for the sake of sticking to the point, lets revisit the “why”.

I don’t really know what I want to do next. I know what I want to be, a crisis pregnancy counselor, but I’m not ready to go back to school and get my masters, or get my license to be a counselor, which includes 3,000 hours of supervision to obtain…that is a big number for a girl who is exhausted from a 400 hour internship. If I just graduate in December and stick around Virginia, I would have to make the next move in my career. Whether it is entry-level social work, or continuing my education, that’s something I would have to decide in the next couple of months. I am really not in a place to make that sort of decision, so I think fleeing the country sounds easier.

I went through a breakup, or still going through it, and to be completely honest, I don’t know how to move on. I made choices that led me to this place, because I thought its what I wanted, but in the past couple of months of being back at school and looking back on the past two and a half years and the reason I made the choices I did, all I see is regret. I’m sad about the way everything happened, I want to fix it, but I did things that can’t really be fixed. There have been times during this past semester that I’ve felt like things are how they used to or I can have everything back that I let go of, but I know that is fleeting. Being around the person I let go of and realizing how much pain I caused because I didn’t know what I wanted and I made selfish choices while trying to figure it out, has made me ache for a time machine to go back and fix everything while I still could. It was never perfect, it wasn’t perfect from day 1, but it was ours. I’ll never know if it would have worked out, and I can’t let the unknown drive me crazy, but that’s kind of my thing. I like to sit around and think myself dizzy and have to stay in bed for 3 days because I’ve physically, mentally, and emotionally exhausted myself from getting so worked up. It’s super healthy.

Getting myself re-attached over the past semester was definitely not the best choice I could have made because there is an end date. But if I can spend a few more weeks, or even days or minutes with my best friend, I’m going to. Leaving is going to SUCK. It’s the choice I made and I have to believe that it’s for the best, but I can’t keep myself from crying every time I think of the day I’m going to say goodbye. I try really hard not to think about it because being miserable in the meantime isn’t going to help anything, so instead I just try to live in the moment that I’m in and trust that God will help me make peace with where I am in my life, and help me move on. So that is a big part of the why. I am happy right now, but whether I move or not, there is an end date to what I have. I made a choice that put me in this position, and all I can do is figure out where to go from here. I don’t think I can be ok while I’m here, and if I can move on I think I have to make a big change and totally occupy myself with something brand new…like living on a rock in the middle of the ocean. That should occupy some space into my crazy brain.

For the sake of my poor roommates who are going to walk out into the living room to see me sobbing over my computer while shoving Twizzlers in my mouth, I am moving on to the next subject! Part of the reason I want to move to St. John is really just St. John in itself. I went on and on in my “where” post, but God it is just a magical place. When I feel anxious or sad about leaving, I always try to take a second to just think about St. John and how much I love it there, and it is really calming. It’s really scary to be a 22-year-old moving 2,000 miles away from home, but I really love St. John. I have “met” so many people through Facebook that I can’t wait to hang out with when I get there, and I even have an awesome roommate that I can’t wait to see and see OUR APARTMENT! I won’t deny that I’m scared, but I know that I am going to be ok. I have people there, and the people in St. John are good people to have. I’ll be ok.

Honestly, I’m scared of what will happen if I don’t go. There are so many uncertainties in my life right now and I will have to face them all when I graduate in 41 short days. I don’t care if I’m running away, I don’t care if I’m not being an adult and making smart choices about my future. I would rather be a runaway than be miserable. I don’t want to muster up the little strength I have left to move on from my breakup. I don’t want to apply to a million jobs and go to interviews and climb the ladder. I don’t want to apply to graduate school, or plan out 4 years of getting my masters and license. I just don’t want to do it. I want to go away, I want to RUN away, because I’m scared. And you know what? That’s fine. I’m allowed to be scared because the things I have going on and coming up are scary. So if taking one year to myself to just GO and not sit down and plan out how my life is going to go from here is going to make me feel better and going to put me in a better place to make those decisions when its time, then I’m going to do it.

This has been a hard week and I’m sad and scared about the next few weeks, so I don’t have much positivity or interest to put into this post, but my life is a rollercoaster and since I’m feeling like I’m pretty much at the bottom of the slope, that means I’ll be going uphill soon. So stick with me, I’ll make sure I’m not crying over Halloween candy the next time I start writing. And in case none of this made any sense because I can’t promise I’m going to read this before I post it, when someone asks me why I’m moving, I always respond with, “I just want to take a year.” So that is the “why” to the people who don’t care enough to read into it- I just want to take a year.