When my husband and I decided to uproot our family from Kentucky- from the only place, people, and life we have ever known- and move to a tiny island in the Caribbean, it was of course met with so many remarks to the tune of “Oh My Gosh, THAT’S AMAZING!”, “You are living the dream!”, and “This is going to be the experience of a lifetime for them!”.
Are all of those statements true? Well, the admittedly conceited and braggy side of me says YES, yes they are.
And clearly are why we made this crazy, illogical, “YOLO” type decision.
We know our kids will be better for the exposure to a new environment, people, culture, and history. And we know the experiences we have as a family while here will enrich them in ways that only travel, adventure, and taking risks can.
But if I pretended like I don’t have some major Mom guilt for choosing to live out this “dream” – that yes, it that of myself and my husband, and not my small children- well, I could replace Jim Carey in Liar, Liar.
Because my kids are some of those incredibly lucky, blessed kids that have a village that has surrounded them, raised them, and loves on them as fiercely as my husband and I do since the day they entered this world.
As the only grandchildren to three sets of doting grandparents, and the only niece and nephew to two uncles- they are loved beyond words, praised and celebrated beyond recognition, and spoiled beyond belief.
Add on extended family members and friends of myself and my husband’s that are also integral parts of that village- and to take them away from that base and foundation- well, hello Mom guilt. And daughter guilt, daughter-in-law guilt, sister guilt, and niece-cousin-friend guilt.
I’m Ashley, and I suck.
And yet, here we are on that tiny little rock. Because clearly, we went for it despite the guilt.
Am I certain in our decision as I even write this? Nope.
But I suppose that’s parenting.
Current Rock of Residence:
Having grown up in a small town in Northern Kentucky where she lived on the banks of the Ohio River and next to the fruit and vegetable roadside-stands her family owned, one would think of Ashley as country through and through.
And in some ways, she is. Because some days, all she pines for is a glass of her Momma’s sweet tea, some Garth Brooks on the radio, and a good bonfire with some beers to end the night.
But Northern Kentucky also meant growing up just down from Cincinnati, where a faster pace of professional sports teams, museums, theater, and a huge variety of dining and nightlife abound. And when she met a cute fine-dining chef sometime after college, she moved far closer to the big city lights and found a love for it as well.
So Ashley feels she has gotten the best of both worlds thus far in life- and is a somewhat confused but perfectly happy urbanized country girl.
And yet, after visiting St. John for the first time in 2005 with her Mom, she began to feel a pull to add one more lifestyle and location to her repertoire.
Countless visits later over the years (with that cute chef), and a honeymoon on St. John later, the teacher and the chef agreed.
They must move here one day.
So they did the only illogical, crazy, “Holy crap, how do we tell our parents we are going to do this?” thing they could think of.
They raised their babies in Kentucky for nine years, and then said “Let’s move us all from the only life, place, and people we have ever known and go live in the Caribbean.”
So after ten years of research and planning, and after selling their house, quitting jobs and closing a business, they managed to move themselves, their two kids, their Jeep, and a mere sixteen suitcases into a one bedroom apartment on St. John in the middle of a global pandemic.
And somehow, it’s working out.
When Ashley isn’t playing Mom and wife, she teaches kindergarten, and also thinks about how she used to write so much more in the past and get published by places like Scary Mommy and the Huffington Post.
She hopes you’ll enjoy her somewhat exaggerated and most definitely absurd story-telling of the comedic parts of her everyday life, and also have your heartstrings pulled when she gets all “Chicken Soup For The Soul” dramatic and serious on her tales of kindness, love, and the general goodness of people.
And if you do, she encourages you to visit her new little rock, with somehow- Skyline Chili, her Dad’s smoked ribs, and her Momma’s sweet tea in hand.
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