“In one day you can make a choice that will change the direction of your life for the better. One day could land you in paradise…”
On Saturday (morning), January 29th I received a proposition (via phone). The following morning I purchased a one-way ticket to St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands. Here’s how it all went down….
What’s a Girl to Do?
I’d barely woken up, but was happy that I did otherwise I may have missed the aforementioned phone call from my girlfriend Chelcie (a friend that I met on Bangla Road in Phuket, Thailand in November 2014). “Hola chica. I have a proposition for you. My manager is looking for someone because my co-worker is royally fucking up. He wants to replace him and I told him about you.” My interest was piqued (mind you I knew what line of work she was in). “This is exciting, what do I have to do to interview for the position?” “You have to be down here by next Sunday.” “SUNDAY? OMG – that’s next week!” “I know, I know, but things move quickly around here chica. Trust me you’ll be good.” After discussing a few logistics (housing, the interviewing process, the job specifics, etc.) I sat with this invitation for a few hours and for good measure I slept on it. When I woke up the following morning I purchased my one-way ticket (via JetBlue for $206 + baggage fees ($55 – $20 for the 1st bag and $35 for the second) to St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands.
Was I nervous? Ummm, yes. I did what any other person that plays it safe did – I asked myself all kinds of questions (and answered them) to rationalize my decision:
Q: “Would I get a job? // A: Yes, I trust Chelcie’s word. I can sell myself, I’ll land this job.”
Q: “What will I do with my precious apartment? // A: I will sublet it, if not, I will simply pay the rent for as long as I want to hold onto it, then I will let it go when I am ready.”
Q: “What’s keeping me here?” A: “Nothing. I have no job (I’d just wrapped up an HR consultant job with a property management company). No dependents. No love interests. Go!”
Q: “What if it doesn’t work out?” // A: “Then I will return to Brooklyn refreshed and rejuvenated.”
That was that. I told only a select few – mommy, my sis, close friends, and a few cousins because I knew they wouldn’t attempt to deter me from leaving on such a whim. It wasn’t as if I needed their approval – I shared this news with them because I was excited about the opportunity and wanted to listen to their insight, words of wisdom, and encouragement before my departure.
Preparing to Leave
After sharing my news, I started packing. I went into my summer storage and started pulling out several pieces (way more than I needed, because I wanted to bring everything! How the hell does one pack for a one-way trip anyway?) I pulled enough clothes from storage to fit into two suitcases (small and medium) and into my trusty backpack that I bought with me to Asia. I packed the basics (under garments & toiletries), work clothes, and casual clothing. When each suitcase reached 50 pounds (the maximum allotted weight for checked bags) I stopped packing. I was pretty strategic in my packing and knew that what I packed would provide me with enough options to mix and match for quite some time.
One week later (Sunday, February 7th) I grabbed my belongings – two suitcases, my backpack, my laptop, and my DSLR camera – and headed downstairs to meet my BFF who was waiting curbside (with my godson in the backseat) to drop me to JFK to catch my 11:59 PM flight to San Juan, PR.
Faith, You My Boo!
I was excited. It was nice to be excited about something in my life for a change. 2015 tested my resilience so much. It forced me to reevaluate several things in my life and to find a relationship with the Almighty. I’m not on a religious kick or anything, but I have discovered faith and it feels pretty damn good. Before finding this faith I recall praying feverishly to the higher power asking him to show me why I should have faith. In fact I was angry – I stopped praying because I thought the higher power had forgotten about me. I swear He showed me why I had to trust him last year…. From suffering from a stress-induced auto-immune disease, to losing my hair, to financial hardships (I was threatened with eviction), to not being able to land gainful employment, to gaining weight, to losing weight – I was spent. Despite it all, even when I didn’t have faith my close friends and family had it for me. They prayed for me and supported me so much.
A few weeks back I recall a conversation that I was having with a friend of mine. I call her my Oracle because she’s so insightful and wise. She told me “you may not have faith, but faith sure has you.” Me? IT had me? I felt incredibly safe and secure. She was right – it was holding me down all this time, I just didn’t give it the respect that it deserved. Faith came through with a job when I was down to my last (who the hell lands a job days before Christmas to carry them into the new year?). Faith held my hand as I purchased my ticket (because I was nervous). Faith calmed the butterflies in my stomach when nervousness and self-doubt kicked in (because I was unsure). Faith told me that I was doing what was best for me (because I was). Faith told me that I would be OK … and you know what? Faith was right.
I checked my bags in and made my way to my gate where I would wait for about an hour before boarding my flight. JetBlue played itself. Those fucktards thought it would be a good idea to blast the air conditioner on a 3 hour (and change) flight to San Juan, PR. I was livid because I was pretty much freezing the entire flight and had a hard time dozing off. By the time I arrived in San Juan (around 4 something in the AM) I disembarked and went to juice up my phone. Due to the hour of my layover, I didn’t get a chance to explore Puerto Rico (like I wanted) so I chilled in the airport with an overpriced Quizno’s sub and The Breakfast Club (via iHeart radio – I love Charlamagne Da God) playing in my Bose headphones.
After a four hour layover, I boarded my final plane to fly to St. Thomas. I took my (window) seat and checked my phone for activity. As I did this, a douche bag clearly outside of his BMI plopped down next to me (I guess he left his manners in his hometown) and attempted to take the armrest that was between us, but I won that battle. My sleepiness bought the gangsta outta me – I stared him down and he retracted his chubby pink forearm. Before takeoff I drifted off into a deep slumber and wished the flight was longer than 45 minutes. That sleep was good!
I grabbed my backpack, laptop, camera, and travel pillow and walked off the plane. The heat hit me right away. It wasn’t that disrespectful, humid heat that makes you wonder if you’re being punished (typical NYC summatime weather). It was very warm (as the sun was glaring), but it breezy and comfortable. I continued to follow the other passengers to baggage claim where I expected to meet Chelcie’s friend for a ride to my new place, but Chelcie surprised me and met me herself. It was SO good to see her! I hadn’t seen her since early 2015 when she stayed with me in BK for a few days before going off to explore Asia and Europe for several months.
After hugging and catching up, we grabbed my bags and loaded them into the back of the van that was waiting for us. I didn’t get a chance to relax at my new place (an apartment that I currently share with Chelcie) because I went back into town with her (the cab was waiting for us) to explore. I took my sweatshirt off and tied it around my waist. I was going to walk around town in a wifebeater, olive green leggings, and all white Chucks. My second wind kicked in and gave me just enough energy to explore town for a bit while Chelcie was busy with work.
When left to my own devices I do things I probably shouldn’t do – like accidentally board a boat to St. John. Within two hours of being on the island, I managed to hop on a boat (which I was told was a 25-minute ride around the waterfront). Imagine my surprise when the boat slowed down and docked at a location foreign to me. I followed the other passengers to the dock and saw “Welcome to St. John”. Umm, this is not what I signed up for. I spoke to the captain and told him that I wanted to go back where I started because I wasn’t prepared for a visit to St. Thomas’ neighboring island. After a few minutes I boarded the boat before the other passengers and fell asleep. I had a nice tan by the time I made it back to St. Thomas.
I thanked the captain for the free ride back and went to visit Chelcie at work. She took a cigarette break so we could briefly walk around and prep for my impromptu interview with my current manager. Before arriving here, I sent an e-mail to him (as per Chelcie’s referral) a few days before I arrived – to let him know that I was interested in the sales position and we agreed to meet the day that I arrived. The interview went exceptionally well and I was asked to return the following Wednesday to meet with his wife. Two days later, I had the job – (Faith kid!!!)! I started on Monday, February 15th – exactly one week after my arrival to the island.
After securing my job I shared my exciting news with my girlfriend then bid her adieu – the beach was calling me!
I made my way back to my new place via a taxi and immediately changed into a bikini. I live across the street from the beach, but across the street isn’t what you think… St. Thomas is VERY hilly (which I didn’t know before arriving). To get to the beach near my residence I technically cross the street and walk down a hill to get to the shore. This walk takes approximately 10 – 12 minutes. I grabbed my beach towel, a tall drink (you can walk around with liquor here), my headphones, and my phone. I made it to the beach and was pleasantly surprised by the serene waters and powder like sand. Upon arrival I spread my beach towel, lathered on Shea butter (FYI, it’s rich in Vitamin E and makes for a superb sunscreen) and fell out. I was EXHAUSTED. I spent a little under 3 hours (stayed until the sun started to set (6:30 ish) then walked leisurely walk up the hill (took me 15 minutes).
Upon my walk I took in all the beauty that surrounded me. I was here. I was in mo’phuckin’ St. Thomas! It was surreal then and it’s surreal now. The vegetation, the sounds of unfamiliar birds, the sights of adorable little lizards, getting bit by ninja mosquitoes (BRUH – the amount of bites that I have on my body are scandalous), and the smell of the air.
I’ve been asked so many questions: “What exactly do I do for work? How has the adjustment to island life been? What’s going on with my place back in Brooklyn? How long am I planning to stay here? How’s the food? Do I miss Brooklyn? etc.” My subsequent posts will answer all of these questions and then some. I’ve met some really incredible people here in only two weeks. Stay tuned…. For now this Unicorn is in St. Thomas (and LOVING it), but my heart is still in Brooklyn.