Thursday, July 3, 2014

The Countdown Begins

Hello Everyone out there in Island Babble Land. There is a Kittitian who calls into WinnFM every day without fail and says, "Hello everyone out there in Radio Land," so I had to steal his line. (Maybe I listen to too much Kittitian talk radio?)

I encourage all of you to listen to the radio stations here but don't just listen to one. Listen to a few to get an unbiased view. I guarantee that'll you'll learn something new nearly every day and most of the stations have online links so you can listen anywhere in the world. Here is a decent list of most of the stations: Radio Stations in St. Kitts

Anyways, if somehow you didn't know or find out already, we're leaving St. Kitts in December for good or for a long time at least. I couldn't make an announcement publicly until we made sure everything was in order. My wife, Julie saw a great opportunity in the U.S. at another university, Lincoln Memorial University College of Veterinary Medicine and after much discussion we decided to take it.

The school is in eastern Tennessee in the Tri-State corners of Kentucky, Virginia, and Tennessee. The area is very rural and exactly what we had in mind as a place we'd like to set down some roots. The school is starting a brand new Veterinarian School and therefore will be an interesting and hopefully satisfying challenge for Julie, who is always seeking new challenges.

And just to clear things up as to why we're leaving, it's not because Julie doesn't like her work here. She loves her job at Ross University and the people she works with. Work for her is not the determining factor.
Myself on the other hand, work is a factor and that's because I can't legally work in St. Kitts. Sure, you have people who find under the table work but not in anything that I'm interested in.

Before I moved here, you may recall I was a newspaper reporter and cattle farmer. Williamson's Wee Brae Farm

Writing the blog has kind of satisfied my writing itch but with Clara, our eight month old baby, I haven't really been able to give the blog it's rightful attention. The island is a different place for a young father and I can't just get out there and immerse myself in St. Kitts culture, people, and environment like I used to.

Farming is something that I miss and is an activity that I find very satisfying. Julie has an amazing horse that she can't even ride because she's being boarded in Philadelphia.  I often look at the animals being raised here in St. Kitts and can't help but critique the farmers' techniques. I understand it's a different country and culture but the potential is so big here if people had the right leadership, guidance, and support. Anyways that's another topic.

Also as a new family we want to be closer to the rest of our families to share Clara and her beautiful moments with them. Ultimately I believe family and friends should be the highest priority besides God.

Julie, Clara, and her parents at Spratnet

Julie, Clara, and my parents at Lobsterfest.

I can't help but feel sad as I write this post because I realize that the days are counting down now. December is at least five months away but there are so many things I want to experience still in St. Kitts. Even though it's a tiny island it has a lot of diversity and much more to see than what most people see on the surface. I pride myself that I've scratched a lot further than just under the surface too. So many photos and moments to capture still. (In fact I've started a To-Do list.)

I'll miss so many aspects of St. Kitts and others I won't. I'll miss the people a lot. We've met so many great people here Kittitians and expats alike. Take the expat population for instance; The diversity just in this group is incredible. I have friends that are South African, German, British, Australian, Guyanese, French and many more from many other places. For the most part it's been easier to make friends with expats than it would be in the U.S. because for one we're all in the same boat here and secondly, most of them are well traveled and interesting people like ourselves. ( You can judge the interesting part of that statement about us.)

This photo above is us on Christmas celebrating a British Christmas Meal with some of our friends.

The value and diversity the expats bring to St. Kitts is immeasurable and I'll miss sharing stories about their worlds and travels a lot. You don't find many Americans who are well traveled or who are open to other cultures. As a melting pot it all gets blended into blase' culture where people are expected to assimilate.

The Kittitians and Nevisians I'll also miss and they have many great qualities. I'll miss the devotion and emphasis the average person here puts on it's small children. I can tell you that since I now have Clara I've become a lot more popular and liked by strangers. It's not like that in the U.S. We see babies pretty often and I guess we are more standoffish or private than Kittitians in that sense. I can't go anywhere here without a stranger, usually women who find her completely adorable and it brightens their day to see her. 

We're like celebrities at the grocery store and downtown. I've had many women ask if they could have her jokingly, I think. I don't have to even watch her because the women in public see everything that she does. " Naw, she gawt somethin in she mouth," or "She hair in she eyes." This can also be bad for me because I'm constantly getting "advice" like "Oh she need socks she gonna get sick," and mind you it's 88 degrees. They also sometimes think I'm babysitting because I'm a guy and there's a pretty strong gender role line here. They'll say, "Oh you helpin daddy, goin shopping, you babysittin?" Nope, I tell them and anymore I just say, "Yep, everyday." 

So many other things I'll miss that I can't even get it all into one post. I'll miss "Good Day," or "Good Afternoon," being said by nearly every single person you cross paths with. That smallness and politeness here is a great trait. The society is very excepting of expats for the most part and I find it easy to blend in to everyday life too.

I'll of course miss the land, the water, the plants, and animals, all unique to here. One thing I learned very early here though is that people come and go all the time and that's something you have to get used to. This time it just happens to be us leaving.

In the meantime, please continue to follow the blog, welcome our new contributing writer, Heidi, who brings a lot of knowledge to the blog, and I'll continue to write as often as possible.

Recently, I did get a chance to learn some more photography skills and I'll be posting more photos on our photo page so check them out and let me know what you think.