Pinterest A Grateful Life Lived: The First Glimpse of St. John

Saturday, July 26, 2014

The First Glimpse of St. John

     On July 13, our family packed up and headed to the airport to begin our grand adventure on St. John, USVI.  St. John is located below Puerto Rico and in the Caribbean.  Thus, it was my perfect island escape, and a real chance to rest and relax for the week (RELATED: Island Rest)!

     Because of ticket-booking confusion, the five of us kids flew separately from my dad and Teresa, my stepmom. Our flight was originally at nine a.m., but got bumped back to 10ish.  There was a real possibility we wouldn't make our connecting flight in Charlotte, but we pulled a "Home Alone" and sprinted through the airport, receiving annoyed glances from our fellow passengers when we finally found our seats.  The plane was seriously being held just for us!  Rather than receive their scowls, I chose to lavish in the special treatment and widely grinned as I found seat 21 (RELATED: My Journey to Eugene).  Perhaps, I reasoned, I could sign autographs while we taxied to the runway.  But something told me the line would be pretty short...

     Anyway, the island of St. John does not have an airport, so we flew in to St. Thomas and were greeted by my dad and Teresa-- who were extremely grateful we made the flight!  The small airport was basically open air, and I immediately tossed my sweatshirt in my bag and pulled out my sunglasses: It was beautiful!  I soaked in the much needed sunlight and sea breeze as we taxied to the marina where we would catch the five thirty ferry to St. John.  It was only four though, so we grabbed some drinks and found a spot at Tickles Dockside Pub to watch the ill-timed (for our family) Fifa World Cup Final between Germany and Argentina.  The family ordered some food to tide us over until dinner, but I grabbed the turkey sandwich I'd packed that morning.  I figured the lunch meat wouldn't be good much longer anyway, and I'm all about instant gratification when it comes to hunger!  I also bopped over to the small grocery store next to Tickles to grab another snack, where I was formally introduced to one of the greatest crimes in the Carribean: The food prices!  Oh my goodness: a jar of peanut butter is literally $10 and forget about finding a deal on fresh fruit and vegetables.  I purchased a small cucumber that just happened to be $2.  It was a good thing we had packed a giant suitcase full of snack bars, cereal and other non-perishable goods that we'd bought at home.  That saved us quite a bit of money, but I will warn you, fellow travelers: allot a good chunk of cash for food expenses when visiting the Carribean.  Be prepared to spend $25 on your shrimp salad that would be $8 in the states.  Believe me, and be all the wiser.

     Around 5:15, we boarded the ferry and waited as our luggage was loaded.  We snapped some pics and we found our seats.  All the while, we stared at Tickles in silent agony, hearing the cheers and boos from the World Cup fans at Tickles.  Suddenly, we heard a tremendous amount of yelling.  The restaurant went wild!  I impatiently tried to load the internet on my phone, desperately trying to figure out who scored.  It was Mario Götze, of Germany.  I had wanted Argentina to win the game, but realized that by that time, when we'd actually loaded the score, their were less than five minutes left and it looked hopeless for Argentina.
     Upon arrival at the Westin, our concierge confirmed the fact first thing: Germany had won.  I suffered a momentary blow, but can't say I was too invested in an Argentinian victory.  After all, my bracket was done for long before the final, and I was far too busy looking around the resort to really care about the game then.
     The Westin St. John Resort is one of two resorts on the island-- the other being Caneel Bay-- and it definitely lives up to its stellar reputation.  We were greeted with a white sandy beach and tropical lemonade.  The staff offered to take us to the room on a golf cart-- which were all over the place on the resort-- but a couple of us opted to walk to the room, in order to check out the resort.  The pool area was complete with ample chairs and umbrellas, free books to check out, a poolside bar and a restaurant area overlooking the bay.  The landscape was pristine, and the lounging iguanas made it all the better.

 We passed the large and well-equipped resort gym before we made it to our villa that was tucked back amidst the palm trees.  We were so blessed: It was an amazing place to stay for the week.  We had 3 bedrooms and a pull out couch in the living room.  The atmosphere was so relaxed and the size of the villa allowed for us to have our own space, but be close enough that we really bonded and had a lot of fun together.  Plus-- the biggest perk of the villa-- we had a private pool, hot tub and grill area in our gated courtyard!

     By that point, it was pretty late, so I headed to workout before the facilities closed and then we took a quick trip to the grocery to get some pizza for a quick dinner.  After a full day of travel, we were all exhausted, not too concerned about missing a night of the "island-fare" at that point.  Although, I did get frozen tilapia rather than pizza.  What can I say?  I do LOVE seafood (RELATED: My Favorite Foods).  We had a great dinner together, planning and discussing the next day's events.  But we all crashed pretty early and I for one was extremely grateful for the heavenly bed with six pillows and soft, light bedsheets.  Before lights out, I told God one more time just how thankful I was for the chance for such an amazing adventure.  "Help me rest in you God," I whispered, "I really want to get all I can out of this week, so open my eyes to what your doing.  Help me trust you."  With that, I dozed off to sleep, ready to begin the awesome week that was ahead!
(RELATED: Photo Recap of My Vacation to St. John)
(RELATED: Visiting Indianapolis)
(RELATED: Hiking to the Base of Engineer Mountain)

Stay tuned as I journey through my vacation to St. John and share my pictures, reviews, stories and adventures from the trip.  It was definitely an unforgettable trip and I can't wait to share it with all my readers!


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