So Close, Yet So Far Away

Written by: MARINA RICCI

 

This week I was faced with what I would hashtag #islandproblems (that is, if I hashtagged, or more importantly, actually knew what that even meant). Though mine were different than the common rock life dilemmas such as the occasional cow on the loose who makes a run for it on a two-lane, pothole-laden, hilly road (usually followed by an elderly couple in a sedan in hot pursuit trying to corral it back into its pen). Personally, most of my usual island problems involve the birds that have screaming fests outside my window between the ungodly hours of 4:30 – 6:30 am. Don’t even get me started on the rooster.

cows rearview_WWLOR

But today, I was faced with the weighty decision of whether or not I was willing to drive a whole 7 minutes to get some lox (essentially a fillet of brined salmon, although lox sounds much more appealing. And yes, I realize I am lucky to have lox anywhere on my rock at all). I had food so it wasn’t an emergency, just a seductive craving. And though 7 minutes doesn’t sound like a distance worthy of debate, when you’re living on an island, distance becomes relative. Back in Chicago, I wouldn’t bat an eye at a mere 7 minute drive. But there, I knew for a fact that I would be able to find the store open and quickly buy all the things I wanted/needed. Here, it’s a bit more of a risk.

People from back home always ask me how many grocery stores we have. To put it in perspective, on my rock there are about 20 different grocery stores (and by “grocery stores”, I really mean small markets) to service roughly 10 people (to put it into a manageable ratio for example’s sake). From where I live, I have a grocery store about 30 seconds away and another one about 2 minutes away. While they don’t always have what I want, the close proximity and convenience of these stores makes me think twice before venturing out further. When I first moved here, I had no problem going cross country all the way to the west side of the island and back, sometimes even twice a day (I’m cringing now as I write this). Now, I really think hard over whether driving an extra few minutes is actually worth it or not.

Here is a sample of instances that may warrant a 7 minute grocery trip and which ones definitely will not when you live on an island:

Worth the trip:

  • You’re down to your last piece of edible food and the nearest grocery store charges $10 per item for absolutely everything it sells.
  • A hurricane is forecast for tomorrow and you need provisions.
  • You NEED dragon fruit. (If you’ve never tasted dragon fruit, trust me – you NEED it!)
  • There’s a spin class next to the grocery store and they sell açaÍ bowls that make you feel like a health goddess (even if you skip the spinning).

Stay home:

  • Your fondness for cheddar cheese-flavored pretzels makes it difficult to get off the couch. You’re on an island, there’s always tomorrow…
  • Ice Cream. No food that melts instantly in this heat is worth $10 a pint. Grab an ice cube and move on with your life.
  • Chocolate. See above.
  • Rice Pudding. Nevermind. Scratch that. This one it totally worth it. Drive!

*click for image credit

Sometimes I worry island life is encouraging my overall laziness, though I’m hoping that my hesitation to brave the drive is not due to apathy but rather due to not wanting to waste time and a desire to “make every moment count”. So I’ve come up with the rule that if it’s early, if I’m well hydrated, and if I’m fully rested, I will embark on the journey. With my water bottle in tow, I’ll drive out to mid-island and relish in the stores and sites that I don’t see very often because I’m too busy living life and not just buying stuff in order to be able to exist within it. And then I’ll come back to my hammock to suck on some more ice cubes. #lifeisgood

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Marina Ricci

About Marina Ricci

Marina lives on the island of St. Croix, an island she didn’t even know existed until a few months before her big move. She traded the big city life of constant email checking and snow removal for driving on the left side of the road and water shortages, and she wouldn’t have it any other way.

These days, Marina spends her mornings hoping there aren’t any new friends waiting for her in the bath tub, but loving the experience of watching all the different animals and people interacting all together on the largest of the US Virgin Islands.

Life is a dream and Marina hopes she doesn’t ever have to wake up again. When she’s not sharing her stories of daily life on here, she updates her blog on her island adventures at www.stcroixbeachbum.com.

Current Rock of Residence: St. Croix, USVI

Island Girl Since: 2015

Originally Hails From: Chicago, IL

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4 thoughts on “So Close, Yet So Far Away

  1. I like your sense of humor and share your tendencies to never drive anywhere except for emergency situations such as

    a need for chocolate ( though I usually store up so much I don’t have chocolate crisis)

    medical ( I did have to drive 15 minutes to our small clinic twice)

    no wild papayas around bearing fruit;mango tree isn’t producing because of drought;i can’t live on limes. and we are out of all food.

    a party –dinner out.( either better be good!)

  2. Amazing how the distances get longer once you are on a small island. At “home” the nearest grocery store was 10 minutes away, and I stayed in my own quadrant of the city, which was probably about 200 square miles, except for critical needs, such as the “right” eye specialists were in the opposite quadrant.
    Here, where the island is only 6 miles across, it is a BIG DEAL to go to the grocery store on the other side of the island, and we phone ahead of time to see if what we want is in stock.

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