Monday, June 21, 2004


Four years ago today, I boarded an American Airlines flight in Portland, Oregon with a one-way ticket in my hand. I was bound for a brand-new life in a place I'd only seen in a guidebook. It turned out to be everything, and nothing, I imagined it would be.

Boyfriend had come here two months earlier to get things set up for us and make sure we could make a life here. He emailed me 24 hours after his arrival. He'd already made contact with the place he hoped would become his employer (and it was, 5 months later) and searched the want ads for job opportunities for me. He sounded excited and hopeful and romantic--and that was all I needed to hear.

Initially I thought I might follow in about six months time, but we'd never been apart for more than three weeks at a time (when he'd been on the road) in our five years together. When I read that first email, I kicked into high gear. I picked a departure date two months after his and got to work.

Friends, acquaintances and coworkers got such a vicarious thrill out of our move. They'd ask where I was moving, I'd say, "the Caribbean" and the response was always the same: they'd smile, their eyes would light up and they'd say (something like), "How lucky!"

Sometimes I remind myself of that when I don't feel lucky...when instead I feel stuck. Sometimes I smile when I think back to how exotic this place seemed to me in my early days here.

I arrived at 10:00 at night. Boyfriend picked me up in his friend's black Jeep convertible. (We had our own vehicle a week later.) We were driving on the 'wrong' side of the road. It was warm and humid. We drove along the waterfront, with downtown shops to our left and the harbor to our right. Eventually we began to climb a hill, and later an even higher hill. We went up a long, very steep driveway. Finally he came to a stop. He said, "We're here. This is your new home." 'Home' turned out to be a 2-story, 4-bedroom, 3-1/2-bath house with brick-colored ceramic tile floors, high ceilings, a balcony that spanned almost the entire front of the house, separate balconies off the bedrooms, and a view of the eastern part of the island below us and St. John, Tortola and Jost Van Dyke in the distance. It was the first 'band house' the club rented and we (as the hosts) had the master suite with our own bathroom. The other musicians weren't scheduled to arrive for another week. We walked out onto the balcony and looked out at the view. Boyfriend has a certain laugh that means he's really happy. He laughed in that way, wrapped his arms around me and said, "Welcome home." And I knew in that moment that I was...and it had nothing to do with the house.


Blogger Tonya said...


This was nice.

9:19 AM  
Anonymous msg said...

What a nice start to a new life.

11:11 PM  

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