The daily grind of life can quickly dust up my perspective. I find it all too easy to grumble about potholes, expensive water deliveries, and the impending summer heat. And there is always a fellow St. Thomian ready to listen with an eager ear and commiserate with a story of their own. But how did I get here? When did I manage to forget I’m living my dream and slip back into my monotonous work-gym-grocery-errands life? When did I forget that I moved here to live a slower life, to go to the beach every weekend, to laugh more? When exactly did I start making paradise my parahell?

It wasn’t until something blocked my view that I was able to shake out of my fog and come to this realization. Something appeared right in front of me and reminded me that I wasn’t seeing or thinking very clearly. Luckily, I didn’t see THE bright white light, but instead, was awakened by another blinding light: the smiles of my best friends from college. They booked a weekend stay to come visit me and it wasn’t until I started to look at my world through their eyes that I remembered: I’m pretty much living the dream…

My friends gasp when they spot Emerald Beach as we’re exiting the airport and I’m reminded that the beach next to the airport (the one I never even think to go to) is breathtaking. And that most people don’t even see a beach when they exit an airport. 

The boring streets I drive to work on auto-pilot are suddenly transformed into scenic highways, deserving of photographs. 

My friends giggle when I explain cisterns and how we collect rain water to drink and bathe with. I’m reminded of how I love being more environmentally friendly and living closer to the earth down here. 

My friends’ “Oh, my God!”‘s when they see Secret Harbour startle me. It’s the beach that I go to regularly, the one I taught my dog to swim at… This beach? ‘Oh my God’? Oh, yeah… it is quite pretty. I forgot that the sloping palms and turquoise water are unique and warrant such enthusiasm.

My friends give surprised snorts as we watch a girl prance around White Bay in a shark costume and I remember how cool it is that people are allowed to feel free to not to be “normal” here and that stuff like this makes Saturdays all the more interesting.

My friends curiously peek at someone’s fairytale wedding while we are having dinner and I remember that not all everyday dinner spots are beautiful places that people want to get married at. 

After traipsing through the Baths of Virgin Gorda, my friends declare, “This is the best weekend of our lives.” It’s here I gasp too, seeing it all again, as if for the first time.

–   –   –

Living and working here, we all lose sight every now and then of the incredible setting we’re fortunate to call home. Having visitors did the trick to snap me out of my routines and remind me of what an awe-inspiring place I’ve chosen to live.

hammock_WWLOR

What’s that quote again? I think it goes something like, “It’s not the amount of breaths you take, it’s the moments that take your breath away”?

Well, it turns out I forgot that St. Thomas is a breath-taker. I just have to open my eyes and allow it to.

Written By:

Sarah Dillie

Current Rock of Residence:

St. Thomas, USVI

Island Girl Since:

2012

Originally Hails From:

Florida

Major life choices should probably be reserved for the times you’re not looking at friends’ Facebook photos longingly – particularly when you have a friend that lives in the islands. But jealousy for backyard beaches and year-round sunshine proved to be quite a motivating factor for Sarah, one that defied logic and required immediate action. She booked a ticket to St. Thomas, telling herself it was “just for three months”… Two and a half years later, she’s picked up a job teaching preschool, a salty boyfriend, and two stray dogs. Their little abode rests in the hills above Bolongo resort, where every Wednesday, she and her dogs can be heard singing along to Iggie’s infamous Carnival Night – their inescapable island soundtrack from down below. When not freaking out her neighbors, she can be found channeling her creativity into her teaching, running earthquake drills during actual earthquakes with the best of ’em.

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