During my first couple of days here in St. John when I was still freaking out about my decision to move here, I met with my friend Megan. I met her and her family on the beach in July, and they have been there for me with quick and honest answers to my 9 million questions throughout the process of moving. When I texted her telling her I was about to lose my shit, her response was “Coffee on Tuesday, I’ll pick you up at 8:30.” I’ve mentioned this before, but those are the kind of friends that are invaluable. I needed to be told to calm down, that everything I was feeling was normal and that I was fine, and I really needed coffee.
Everyone has heard that it takes 21 days to make or break a habit. Megan told me over and over again that morning that I needed to stick it out for 21 days. I was ready to get on a flight that day, and in my head I was thinking HAH yeah, 21 days is not going to happen. Well, here I am. Day 21.
In the past 21 days I have gone from dragging myself kicking and screaming to the airport, deeply regretting making this move, to feeling sad when I had to leave St. John just to go over to St. Thomas for a couple of hours. I feel envious when I’m walking with friends who have been here for a while and they stop to talk to almost every person on the street. I love that the locals here know everyone and always have a second to stop and check in with their friends bustling through town. I’m getting to a point that I know more and more people and I am starting to become a familiar face which is really fun and exciting. I went to a workout class the other night called “Cardio Hip Hop TWERKshop” which was just about as fun as the name. I went with a couple other teachers from Gifft Hill where I substitute teach, and we even had a couple of our students in the class which was amazingly hilarious and adorable. After hip hop we went out to sushi, and it all just felt very normal and real. I’m working out with friends and then going out to dinner, then going home and taking a shower and packing up for work in the morning. It’s all becoming just everyday living and this isn’t like a vacation anymore.
I struggle to budget my money and to only go out during happy hour, and my next goal is to only eat out once a week. It’s tough because I don’t have a car yet, so stocking up on groceries is definitely a challenge. *Spoiled girl alert*- I’ve never paid my own rent before so budgeting now isn’t like some life skill I’m trying to learn so that way I can be prepared for the real world- nope it’s like girl you better not buy that pina colada if you want to make your rent. Sure, I’m 22 I should probably have come to terms with this by now but it’s life and not everyone is on the same growing up schedule so don’t judge me ok?
I was talking to my roommate last night about shopping and how we miss just being able to run up to target to get clothes, but how we’re also probably saving a lot of money. We talked about the towns we grew up in and how different they are from St. John. Loudoun County has about 350,000 people, and Ashburn has about 50,000. St. John has around 4,000. I have spent 22 years in a places with hundreds of thousands of people, a Starbucks on every corner, a Target within 15 minutes of whichever direction I drive. I am so used to the accessibility of everything and not needing to plan out how and when I am going to get something I need, I am used to just getting in the car and getting it. It’s just not that simple here, especially since I don’t have a car yet (can you tell I’m getting impatient?) I’ve test driven a couple and reached out to a ton of people but I’ve been told it just is not going to happen on my time and that I need to be patient and just let it happen. Common theme down here. It’s an adjustment and it’s hard, but it brings me so much appreciation for this life I’ve been blessed to be able to live. I get to experience a totally new lifestyle and break away from what I’ve known for my whole life. I love where I grew up and I am so happy to know and love Ashburn, but I also know that I have room to know and love other places too.
This morning, my friend Krista who is a teacher at the school (also a dance class/sushi go-er) texted me telling me she was in the shower all lathered up when her water shut off. 15 minutes later and it hadn’t turned back on, it was off to go use someone else’s shower- all at 6:30am when she has a class to teach at 8. When she walked into the teachers lounge this morning I asked her how her morning went and she said, “You know, I’m just going to find it humorous instead of stressful because like, Jesus didn’t take showers so I’ll be fine too.” WORD. I met Krista at the school and we found out that we got here 1 day apart, her on the 1st and me on the 2nd and we are both from Northern VA. It was one of those things that was like within 5 minutes of meeting we were both like- yeah ok you’re going to be my best friend and hang out with me all of the time sorry you don’t have a choice see ya at the Westin tomorrow. Two NOVA girls, ending up on the same little island, just figuring it all out. It’s fine- we got this. Jesus didn’t need to shower before work or buy sundresses from Target so we’re going to be ok too.
St. John is a different world and I am definitely still the new girl trying to figure it all out. The best thing about being the new kid is that almost everyone else has been the new kid too and they remember exactly what it was like. Now, there are some locals that may let that slip their mind and be a little less than overly helpful and charming, but for the most part everyone is willing to help, talk, give advice and most importantly, just listen. It’s nice to be heard and understood by people who have been there, and I’ve found a lot of that. It’s really, really nice.
So there is my 21 day update. Thank you Megan for telling me 21 days is nothing and that I could do it- I did! Thank you to Krista, Veronica, Bri, Lindsay, Carly, Jenny and everyone else for just being my friend- oh and to PANAYI who carried up my 67.5 pound suitcase up my stairs when I was 9 seconds away from a full on breakdown. I still owe you many drinks for that one. Thank you to this little island for letting me call you home. 21 DAYS!