Search This Blog

Saturday, April 20, 2013

FLASHBACK: Homecoming in the VI

CARNIVAL SPECIAL!!
 
In honor of St. Thomas Carnival 2013, I'll be giving away a copy  Marina Melee to a random commentor to this site (leave a comment below to enter to win!) AND electronic versions of Marina Melee are FREE to download from April 20-27, 2013!!

Leave a comment below to enter for a chance to win a copy of Marina Melee
or
Go to www.swashwords.com to download your free electronic copy!
Offer valid April 20-27, 2013

Drawing for the winner of the print version of Marina Melee will be on Sunday 4/28/13

April 2013

I've disappeared for a few weeks--sorry about that! Things here are hectic, what with the semester winding down, book signings at the boat show (which I'll blog about in Waterblogged later this week), agility, and my own studies as I complete an online TESOL certification class (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages).

This week in the TESOL class, one of my assignments is to write an essay about an experience (something pleasurable, having difficulty liking someone, or a sad event) using a variety of words to describe the emotions involved, and being careful to select words with the most accurate nuances to reflect how I felt.

After much thought--really, nothing really inspiring in the assignment--I decided on the first option, something pleasurable. The word pleasurable, to me, reflects a calm, soothing, enjoyable experience. Something pleasing. Nothing pleases me more than going home to St. Thomas. I always feel better when that plane lands and I see Brewers Bay, UVI, and step out of the plane into that lovely blast of hot tropical air. (I'm deliberately omiting the smell of the ever-malfunctioning airport wastewater treatment plant...I'll just pretent the wind is blowing offshore when I arrive.)

To help me recall the emotions of my homecomings, I reread my blog post from our last visit in June 2011 (has it been that long? Yikes! Time for another visit!) The words and memories brought on a wave of nostalgia and I decided that was worthy of a repost. So, here it is...a walk down memory lane to St. Thomas and homecoming.


My "Alma Mater by the Sea," the University of the Virgin Islands

June 2011

Matt and I are having a great time catching up with old friends and meeting new ones as we get ready for Monday's book signing. Whenever I've been away from my adopted home for too long, I worry that people will have forgotten me, I'll have forgetten people, and it will all be different - I'll be a tourist.

Within minutes of arriving, I knew I'd worried needlessly. Something happens to my heart and mind when I see the western tip of St. Thomas from the plane, my soul breathes a sigh of contentment. (Yes, that sounds corny, but it's true. I can feel a sense of peace wash over me.) By the time the wheels touch down on the end of the runway, and I'm looking at the familiar and comfortable sights of the Willie Mac, the UVI dock, and then the MacLean Marine Science Center, I know I'm home.

The first thing I do when I arrive home, is say hello to my "adopted" father, Patrick - the father of Donna, my "twin" - as our professors called us during our college days. No matter how long I'm away or how many times I change hair length or color, Patrick recognizes me immediately and greets me with a hug. Welcome home.

Catching up with the Sabinos and Roy on our first night in, I felt like I'd been away on vacation for five years, and was now back where I've always been meant to be. Chatting with Sean and Carol at the "new" Pirate's Chest was like continuing an ongoing conversation without skipping a beat in the intervening years, and entering the Radio One studios for the VI Charter Yacht League's radion show, "On the Water" with Erik Ackerson had me flashing back to the old Radio One over the Marianne store, hosting EAST's "Naturally Speaking" show with Julie on Tuesday mornings while Tex, Nicky, and Leo watching from the booth, and sitting in with Fatty's "Marine Scene" show early on Saturday mornings, shivering in the tundra-like new studio in Frenchtown.

Later, we "crashed" a beach wedding to spend time with Geoffrey--just another day in St. Thomas. Driving down to the Marine Science building and visiting with Steve was like returning to my "real" life, the time since I left just a tangent I ran off onto. I'll get back on my true path soon.

I can't express what a relief it is to me to know that, no matter how much things change in my home, the fact that it is still home doesn't change. The book signings are an exciting event that I'm looking forward to, and I'm thrilled with the interest and support of friends old and new. Nicole kicked into her ever-efficient PR mode and hooked me up with the right people to get some short-notice publicity, thus the radio show with Erik, event notices in the Island Trader, and the fabulous article that appeared in this morning's St. Croix Source (thanks, Lynda!).

http://stcroixsource.com/content/arts-entertainment/showcase/2011/06/26/st-thomian-returns-first-novel

With a welcoming embrace like that, how could anyone NOT think that the Virgin Isands are the most warm, friendly, and accepting place in the world? As George learns upon his arrival in Sao Jorge, saying "good morning" goes a long way toward becoming part of the fabric of island life. Once you're woven into it, you may not be from here, but you're here now. Stay a while and you're one of us, forever more.

Welcome home.