I would like to take a moment to share a very important event… My Arrival to this Beautiful Country!!
My whole experience with Saint Lucia has been a bit surreal. It all started with an idea that I wanted to start my career working in the America’s (Caribbean included) before working around the world. I put that thought out there, then stepped out on faith. That’s when the magic started to happen.
I verbally spoke with my internship supervisors (via Skype) for the first time Monday, September 16th. The following Sunday, September 22nd, I was in Saint Lucia. Luckily my bags were already packed and ready to go (I was ready to hop on a plane, a boat, or sprout some wings September 1st!).
I bought my plane ticket Monday night and spent the rest of the week scrambling around town to finalize some business on campus for this trip. I had to spend a significant portion of my budget on some last-minute requested vaccinations; purchasing a few required traveling items (electronic adapter replacement, food, etc.); writing two proposals for the work I would be doing as an intern and as a consultant for school; submitting a few grant applications, and registering for my final culminating experience courses (both taking place in country). A lot of work to cram in literally four days.
By the way ~ I added an international travel recommendation page here. You can also find it listed under the home tab. Feel free to add any additional recommendations in the comment section.
Upon arrival, I was picked up by a MOH driver and his wife. Not only is he a superb driver, he and his wife were completely welcoming. They have been an instrumental support system since I been here and I truly I appreciate their love!!! I was given a wonderful welcome experience as we drove through the beautiful island from southeast to northwest (No, not Kimye’s daughter). We even made a few stops on the way to sneak a few pictures at a lookout point and picked up a few wilks (conch) in Dennery to eat later. We had such a great time on the way to drop me off to my apartment, I was invited over to dinner that night. Truly a beautiful family!
I finally arrived to my apartment that is owned by another beautiful family. It was a 2 bedroom, 1 bathroom apartment that was situated under their family home. That was a great arraignment since I didn’t know anyone in the country at the moment other than these two nice families. Should anything go wrong at home, I was literally 5 feet away. It was quite affordable (compared to the expensive rentals for foreigners) and was very comfy. I learned about agriculture since they like to grow their own food and had a number of fruit trees in the yard (yummy). Not to mention there was a killer set of stairs I had to walk up and down everyday. I eventually turn those stairs into my personal gym in addition to the monster hills with steep inclines around the neighborhood.
I spent a few weeks in this apartment until I discovered we have some family friends from Saint Lucia. They are still here in the country and invited me to stay with them (free!). So I went from having a whole apartment to myself to a room at a home-stay The space change didn’t make any difference to me since I spend a large portion of my time sitting on the bed, staring at my laptop working as the fan blast warm air at my face. This opportunity could not have come at a better time because my funds were running out quicker than I planned. I did not anticipate the extremely high prices for everyday items such as groceries, toiletries, and basic necessities. Usually when traveling to countries outside the more developed regions, local items and food are affordable. Well not here. Even the local items are more expensive than the imported items and that’s expensive. Did I mention that nearly everything is imported? Let’s not even talk about the VAT (Value Added Tax). Well, I finally had a culture shock and it was an expensive one at that! My favorite part about my underwhelming bank account was the news of my awarded grant money paying off my tuition instead of going into my bank account. (That was primarily my fault, but it still did not help in my situation). This home-stay is truly a blessing and I am beyond thankful! (I am still taking advantage of the steep terrain for my personal trainer–I have to stay in semi-shape!).