Words by Risa Cox
I’ve always imagined sipping coconut water, lying underneath a palm tree on the windward side of an island while the ocean breeze blew through my curly, dougla hair. Now my daydreams have become reality as I relish in the year-round sunlight and snow cones that St. Vincent and the Grenadines has to offer.
I was born in Trinidad and Tobago but spent the majority of my life on the cold east side of the United States. The West Indian communities in Brooklyn, New York provided a sense of home away from home atmosphere with their roti shops and Caribbean accents. But when my parents moved my sisters and I to small town Jim Thorpe, Pennsylvania, the lack of cultural diversity was an understatement.
After I graduated Pennsylvania State University and married my Bajan-Vincy husband, we shared traditional recipes and embraced our similar cultural backgrounds. Our priority soon became our daughter whom we wanted to teach all the customs we grew up knowing. For her first Christmas we had wonderful Parang music playing throughout the household while we decorated our freshly cut-down pine tree. However, there was only so much we could show her at home.
Unfortunately, central Pennsylvania was not the ideal place for a family such like ours. One day I took my daughter to the park so that she could socialize and play with children her age. Filled with a ton of excitement she gladly said hello to every kid that crossed her path but sadly, none of them responded to her. As she proceeded to play alone, a Caucasian woman with a mixed daughter awkwardly pointed out that we had the only two “brown” children in the park.
I came to the conclusion that moving back to the islands was the best option for my family. Not only did my husband have a huge business opportunity but I also felt the move would benefit us as a whole.
My parents are still in complete shock that I have relocated, but poking fun at my mosquito bites brightens up our long distance conversations. I have been living in St. Vincent for a total of six months and it’s safe to say that I’ve fell in love.
The weekend trips to the beach, mouth-watering coconut water from the backyard, and constant warm weather are all positives. I try to indulge in as much activities as I can that the country has available. So far, I’ve been to a Popcaan and Konshens concert for Arthur Guinness Day, the Falls of Baleine for St. Vincent’s Independence Day, a Starlift Steel Orchestra Show for Christmas, Young Island to view fireworks for New Years, and various restaurants in town that serve local food.
Despite the lack of American fast food chains, and absent international airport, I enjoy the treats the small island presents.