I am one week from leaving my beautiful home in St John, Caribbean after living here for nearly four years! I will be joining a yacht in St Thomas bound for Valencia Spain! I am getting VERY excited. In response to an email I sent to my family, one of my cousins wrote me to ask the name of the boat and a few other details to see if her husband knew of it.  While the sailing community is extremely small, and my cousin is extremely connected, I still thought it was a long shot.  Of course, a few hours later, here’s his response:

“How exciting. I believe I know the boat well. If it is the one I am thinking of I did a bunch of work on her about 6-8 years ago when she was in Mystic for the summer. I do not remember the captain’s name, but if the same one is on board he was very nice.”

I sent my Captain an email and he remembered my cousin very well.  This was comforting.  As cool as my parents have been playing it, I am sure they are happy to know that a family member has at least met my Captain!

Yesterday was a stressful day.  My trusty Jeep that has been my faithful companion for the past two years suddenly decided to act up on the day of three scheduled test drives.  When I started old “Gringa” up (yes, that’s her affectionate island name), her typically quiet engine started to roar like a diesel truck.  After a few searches on the internet and my roommate holding the phone up to it so her brother could listen, we determined that I must need an oil change.  Of course on Saturday in the Virgin Islands no mechanics will work, and the auto parts store was only open for about 1.38 hours.  I was still able to get the filter and oil and do the change. I even had enough time to spare to re-package and return the $45 adjustable wrench I had purchased to do the job! I was holding my head high, feeling extremely handy and industrious – albeit greasy – and then I realized that the sound was not going away. I added an agent (picturing James Bond strolling around my engine fixing problems) to the oil to try to thicken it. Nothing.

I was forced to cancel all of the test drives by slyly telling them I had a potential buyer.  I am going to wait until Monday to get a diagnosis from the mechanic, but if all else fails my lovely roommate has agreed to help me sell it while I’m away.

During this chaos I called my dad.  As soon as he picked up he could hear it in my voice, I was STRESSED.  I was scrambling around trying to get the top dollar for all of the possessions that I’ve acquired here over the past few years. I was worried about what would happen if I didn’t get it all sold before my departure date.  He was able to talk me off the ledge, giving me total peace of mind with the following reminder:

In a few weeks money will be the farthest thing from your mind.  You are financially stable already and you will be entering an even more secure job. Money will be so far from your mind, not because of that stability, but because you will be experiencing so many new things that money cannot buy.  Everything you will be seeing, tasting, smelling will be a new and invaluable experience.  All of the possessions you own are replaceable.  The things that have true value are the sentimental items, and those you should hold tightly to.  All the rest of it can be replaced.  The possessions you have acquired are already bought and paid for and if you cannot find a buyer, give them away. There is no point in squeezing an extra penny that you don’t need out of your friends!

I felt a huge weight lifted when we got off the phone. I realized how amazing it is to have grown up surrounded by such generous people.  Both of my parents would do anything for anyone and do so often.  I feel so lucky to have been raised with those values instilled in my core.

OK, that’s as deep as I need to go. I am off to do some hiking with friends.  We are going to check out a giant waterfall and then hit the beach – tough life, I know!

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John Caribbean

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