Saturday, September 05, 2009


St Eustatius! It’s an island, and I live on it. We arrived Wednesday night after a bumpy ride from St Maarten through tropical storm Erika. She tried to have her way with us, but miraculously our flight wasn’t cancelled. We were met at the air strip by Bongo and Frig, two representatives of the school, who magically had a pay-as-you-go cell phone for us as well as the keys to our house. Our living arrangements were coordinated by our friends Ed and Laura, who are the only other Mormon couple on the island, and to whom we are forever grateful. Laura even had food waiting for us when we got to our place – some fruit, milk, cereal, and homemade bread – which was completely unexpected and such a relief after our long day of travel. After dropping us off, Bongo promised he’d return the next morning at 10 to take us on the grand tour of the island. He did finally show up at 1, and we had a great time seeing the sights as he sang along to “Stand by Your Man”. Falsetto parts and all. I felt like a VIP.

Unfortunately, it’s been raining pretty consistently since we got here so we haven’t had the chance to see the town by foot yet, but Laura’s been chauffeuring us to and from her house to use their internet, and to and from the grocery store so we can eat. And to the cable place, and to our landlady’s, and to the internet provider, and on and on. So far, from what I’ve seen of the island, I’m really impressed. It’s not as primitive as I was anticipating. I think I had a fear that it would be like in the Poisonwood Bible, where an American family up and moves to the bowels of the African jungle, and the cake mix intended for their daughter’s sweet sixteen turns to concrete, and their chickens are eaten by carnivorous ants so they starve, and the wife ends up idolizing the only pretty dish they own, and that I’d be that wife, only it would be one of the picture frames we brought, since we don’t have any pretty dishes. And Jon would come home from school and I’d be stroking it and singing to it and stuff. But as it turns out, I can just BUY food, or BUY a picture frame, or a silly oversized Hannah Montana pen. When I found that out, it BLEW MY MIND. Granted, it all costs more than what you’d pay in the states, but I can deal with that.

The island is beautiful. We live at the base of a dormant volcano, which is covered inside and out with lush rainforest, and have a gorgeous view of the ocean and Saba, a nearby island.

We have a wrap-around tiled balcony with two sets of French doors leading out from our living room. The nearest beach is within walking distance, just West of adorable downtown Statia (full of historical Dutch buildings). Am I doing a good job of convincing people to come visit? I’ll just say it. Come visit. You’ll have your own room. We will spray for roaches right before you get here. You will hear bats at night and roosters in the morning. There are goats. Lots of goats, and cows. And lizards. HUGE ones. Iguanas, even.

I’ve got to wrap this up. I’m posting it from Ed and Laura’s house. We’re still working on getting our internet situation worked out and until then I’ll be bouncing back and forth from here and the school library. Thank you EVERYONE for your support. WE. ARE. HERE.


  1. I would love to visit the remnants of colonial enslavement and neo-colonial exploitation. ;) It's kind of expensive to fly down there, but I REALLY want to come and see you. And I've never even met Jonnypoo! I am DETERMINED to travel out-of-country within the next year, so be on the lookout for a reasonably-priced ticket in your direction, and notify me.

    I'm so glad you both made it down safe and are having an enjoyable time. I am SO happy for you, it's such a thrilling experience for you both! (and for the rest of us who get to read about it)

  2. YAY. you are there. I love it. Congratulations on your "not-so-primitive" surroundings. Fine, I'll come visit.

  3. I still can't believe you are actually living there!

  4. I`m looking for tickets RIGHT NOW! as we speak! I mean as I speak ... anything with less than 16 hours travel time is MINE.

  5. So glad you won't be having to stroke your picture frame. Love the mental imagery. Especially because I'm re-reading the book as we speak.

  6. Hooray, you made it alive!!! I'm super duper excited to hear about your adventures with Jon on the island! And I'm super glad I got to meet ya before you left.

    *squeal* I'm just so excited you got there safe and sound. :)

  7. Jess I could have told you that it wasnt going to be that bad. You're going to love living in a place that's as laid back as the islands. Enjoy it before you have to come back to civilization over here in the states. :)