Archive for January, 2012

Day 7:  Joaquin’s first day of School.


We got up early to make sure he looked great which he did.  We went as a family on the five minute drive. (at least we don’t have to warm up our cars anymore)  We parked at the school and all went inside to finish the process.  We had our slip which we handed to the office of the school.  Right away, I felt uneasy.  It seemed like they were confused about why we were there.  After waiting ten minutes, we were asked to go into the principal’s office.

AHHHH!! sniff...sniff


Inside, he explained that there wasn’t any room for Joaquin.  WHAT?  Then I thought that maybe we were confused and there wasn’t room for him, but there was room for Isabella.  NO, no room at all for either grade.  Then Jonathan says, “Where do we go from here?”  The principal said that he would have to contact the school center to see where the miscommunication happened, but they didn’t have room.  We were stunned.  Joaquin was crushed.  Isabella was just sleepy.  Haha.


So, we left to go home with Joaquin still in his uniform.  At home, we cried and prayed and prayed and discussed what to do.  I was frustrated and angry.  Jonathan was just perplexed.  I decided to email the principal who we were and why we settled in the section of St. Thomas that we did.  I tried to be pitiful, but understanding.  We both decided that they were just going to realize that there was nothing that could be done.  I stormed out of our house with the kids to go see the other school that Isabella could go to even though it was further away than Sibilly.

We arrived in a matter of fifteen minutes.  The facility was wonderful.  The vice principal was great and talked with the kids about how she knew that they were anxious, but that she thought everything was going to be just fine.  So, problem solved.  Both of the kids can go to this school.  I called Jonathan and said, “We looked and thought it was great.  Now I need permission to go and buy the furniture.  I can’t handle much more.”  Jonathan took pity on me and told me to make the final decision.  Off we went to one of the three stores to buy want we wanted.


On the way there, the principal of Sibilly called.  “Mrs. Hawkes, we can’t reach the school center.  I have talked with the teacher.  We will make room.  Bring him tomorrow in his uniform.  We will make it work.”  Thank you Jesus.  Thank you Jesus.   God is good and faithful.  We didn’t need to stress.  He just knocked down the phone system this week in St. Thomas for the schools.  He softened everyone’s heart.  He made room.  Glory be to Him.

God's promises.

Day 6:  The Day After the Storm.


So, I had a little breakdown last night.  I tried to get our kids registered for school.  They told us we were going to have to wait to see if there was availability.  So, we still don’t have the answer to the school question.  We are getting closer to having to return the car to the airport.  AGH!!!  Will we have to rent our car for another week and throw away money?  Also, my back is starting to hurt pretty badly.  Jonathan says I have a defective back and should check the warranty.  Haha  I was convinced that we needed real furniture for the living room instead of the plastic patio chairs.

This can't go on much longer!!


It was just too much.  The missing sofa was the straw that broke the  camel’s back.  I cried.  Jonathan was there to calm me down, but it meant that Wednesday needed to provide answers.


In the morning, we gathered up the kids and went to the school center since I hadn’t received a call back on Monday afternoon or Tuesday.  They said they had room for only Joaquin at the small school down the road from us.  That broke our heart and ruined our perfect plan.  So, they said Isabella could go to a bigger school that was a little further away.  Problem solved.  We told her we wanted to see the school first before our decision.  Since Joaquin was accepted, we decided to get his uniform.

Joaquin's choice

Joaquin's choice


Then we went furniture shopping at three different stores.  We were going to have to have a discussion about which direction we wanted to go, but given my breakdown, I was hoping for that night.  The two pictures are from my new favorite store, Silk Greenery, a beautiful store, with helpful, professional sales force.  The staff and the owner also care about the shopper not just the sale.  They are friendly and so informative.  This island is full of people who really want you to know your way around and are excited to hear why you decided to come to “this rock.”

Another option

Day 4:  Mother would be proud.


Today I took the kids to the Immunization clinic.  You need to have their doctor clear your kids before registering them at the school.  It was located at the hospital which luckily we knew where it is was.


At the hospital, I had my first real lesson on how to act like a local.  Locals here prefer you to say “Morning”, “Afternoon”, or “Good Evening”.  So, I walked up to a security guard to see where the clinic was.  I said, “Excuse me.  Do you know were the Immunization clinic is?”  Her response, “GOOD MORNING.”  I quickly responded, “Good morning.”  Then she said, “It is the second door on your left after you go through those double doors.”  So, I am trying to remember to always start a conversation with the appropriate saying.  Then when we were waiting for the doctor’s approval, I noticed that everyone person who walked through the doors into the waiting room said, “Good Morning” to the entire room, and the entire room responded back with the same salutation.


After the doctor’s approval (this also meant the kids didn’t need anymore shots), we drove to the center for the school registration.  We were told that they would have to check with the small school in our area to see if they had room.  Their class sizes are about the same as Red River except they don’t have combined grades.  Right now we are waiting a call back from registration to know if there is room.


Then we grabbed some lunch and went to the post office.  Ahhh, just junk mail.  Wow, it is amazing how fast junk mail can find you.

The end to a long day.


We finished up the day by having our first home cooked meal.  Typical, spaghetti, garlic bread, and greens.  We still don’t have a dining room table, but are making due with the patio chairs that Denise lent us..

Day 3:  Now it begins, a life with never ending sand.

The Fam


We had three long days of travel and “work” that we decided to just go to the beach today.  The kids played in the sand and surf while we watched on from our beach blankets soaking in the sun.  We took in the fact that this is a major reason for being here.  We had such a wonderful time.  The water was refreshing.  The sun was shining.  The kids were laughing.

Joaquin's rock collection which we made him leave on the beach.



We also realized that we need to pick up some water sports.  Paddling Boarding is number one.  The list also includes water kayaking, wind surfing, snorkeling, scuba diving, etc….


We went to Hull Bay which is about ten minutes from our house.  It is known as a locals beach.  I think that is because it is not marked very well.  We took a couple of wrong turns before we finally found it.  I know this will become one of our favorite ones.

Day 2:  How much stuff you take for granted.

Just the view while running errands.


We woke up with our gorgeous tropical view.  We rounded the kids up and set out to cross errands off our list.  We went to the Choice store to get internet.  Done.  We went to the Innovative store to get an internet backup.  Half Done.  We went to ATT&T store to get our new phones and new numbers.  340 is the area code here, and that is what we have now.  Done and Done.  We had McDonalds for lunch and dinner just to make things easy.  Then we went to the Kmart store to buy the “necessities” of life.  Two carts later, two tired kids, one cranky husband, we loaded up the car and went home to unpack our new treasure.  So, in summary, a long exhausting day, but very productive.  We had to buy hangers, all the kitchen supplies like measuring spoons and cups, and bathroom supplies.

Thought this was cute at one of the stores.



Day one:  We set out on our new adventure today full of hopes and dreams and germs.


Jonathan had had a terrible cold and had given me the same just days before leaving.  I also injured my back which made packing a little difficult, but thanks to some close friends and family, we were finally ready.


Man!  I thought it was stressful when you packed for vacation.  I haven’t really experienced the packing for a move, let alone a move overseas.  I know how to “go big or go home”.  We have the luxury of leaving our big pieces like couches, TV’s, beds, dining room table, and most of the kitchen at our house in Red River because we rent from my parents.  Ideally, we would purchase that home as well so, we can travel back and forth when we want.


With our eight pieces of luggage and our 15 boxes we sent through the post office, we hitched a ride with our good friends “The Robertsons” to Denver.  We were lucky that there wasn’t a huge snow storm like we have seen before when traveling to Denver between October and April.


We had curbside service which is nice with luggage and two kids.  We breezed through security.  I thought I was going to die with my back and head cold.  We flew from Denver to Boston and had a four hour layover.  Then we flew from Boston to St. Thomas.  (strange flights, but the most cost effective)


I have always said that the landing on St. Thomas is spectacular.  This time was no exception.  You are flying in on big 767’s onto a one runway airport.  Every time we have flown, you come in from the west, so, you see the island, but when you line up to land, you see just water on both sides.  As you descend, you start to think, I hope the pilot can see land or is this a water plane?


We had no trouble with our bags or receiving our rental car from Budget.  A side note for Budget, one of the women is from Albuquerque which is the biggest city in our home state.  So, she always remembers us when we rent the car.  Super nice.  This is our fifth time to the island.


We were met by our real estate agent from John Foster, Denise, who is the best in my book.  She came to meet us in case we couldn’t fit our luggage in our rental car which we would have had trouble without her.  We walked outside to a huge down pour of rain.  My first thought was, “Where did I pack the umbrella?”  On the island, rain is a good thing because at most of the houses there are cisterns for your water.  So, you want it to rain otherwise your cistern could dwindled down low enough where you would have to pay to have water hauled into the house.  We don’t want to find out how much that costs.


Denise led us up to the house that we have rented for one year.  It has three bedrooms on the first floor.  Then there is a one bedroom and one bathroom rental in the middle.  Finally, there is a studio apartment  on the lowest level for rental as well.  Our unit is on the top floor (aka has the best view).  Here was the criteria for picking this particular unit:

  1. VIEW
  2. Parking (there is ample parking and it is flat not common for the island)
  3. Three bedrooms
  4. Two Bathrooms
  5. Good School District
  6. Did I mention the view?
The View

Room with a view

So, we made it in, and thank God for Denise.  She gave us four pillows, four patio chairs, plastic cups, and a jug of water.  We moved our luggage in and went to eat at a local restaurant that we have been to before called Sib’s.  Really good hamburgers.  Then we made up the beds and fell right to sleep.