Our five hour flight out of winter and into perpetual summer was uneventful, which is good. Cheers to Sun Country for offering cheap, affordable flights direct from Minneapolis to St. Martin! Piper was an absolute trooper and drew smiles and amiable comments from fellow passengers.
Upon disembarking, we blew through customs with a breeze, which was a relief. With the help of some island porters (one of whom asked for a larger tip) we hauled our mini-mountain of luggage to the curb where we were picked up by our new friends, Karla Stephens and Cheyenne and Michael McGlue. Karla and Cheyenne are fellow spouses of AUC students and the three of us have been corresponding extensively via email and Facebook the last few months.
The Daniel’s and McGlue caravan drove us to our new Condo at Rainbow Beach. It was a short drive but still long enough to introduce us to island driving. (We also learned a new vocabulary phrase: “Island Car”. Any vehicle that still drives but is otherwise falling apart is called an island car. Missing a mirror or a door handle? No problem, mon! I think we’ll own one of these cars sometime soon.)
At the gates of Rainbow we waited for our landlord to arrive. The security guard refused to let us in, which is alright I suppose. He was just doing his job. While we were waiting it clouded up, got dark, and began to rain.
Our initial impressions of our condo were… not good. When we first entered we were in the parking garage which is dingy and dank. Of the two elevators, only one worked. And the staircase was dark because most of the lights were either burnt out or all together missing.
We had been up since 5:00 am after three hours of sleep, we were tired and cranky and hungry. Piper had held out remarkably well all day but now she was reaching the end of her rope. What I wanted most was to eat and go to sleep, and I’m pretty sure we all felt the same way. Problem: We had no food. And, the grocery stores were all closed because it was New Year’s Eve.
Karla and Steve Daniels to the Rescue
After we’d dumped all our luggage in our new condo, Karla informed us that we were invited for dinner, that her husband Steve had been cooking all day, and that a few other couples were there waiting for us. The Daniels, like us, are members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, or Mormons. To help welcome us they had invited over a few other couples who are also good friends, some of whom are LDS.
I have to be honest. I was grateful for the offer of food. But being sociable was about the dead last thing I felt like doing. I looked at Cari and could tell she felt the same way. I looked at Andi and Tanner, tired and feeling out of sorts in a strange new place. None of us felt much like being gregarious, but saying “No Thank You” was really not an option. So we went.
And I’m so glad we did! The food was yummy and it felt fantastic to just sit and do nothing, and as the evening progressed and the conversation flowed more freely, our spirits changed and I could feel the dark clouds of negativity lifting. Piper started out cranky but soon began to play with Elijah, Ethan and Eric (Karla and Steve’s boys). By the end of the evening we were all feeling grateful for the Daniels and their generous hospitality.
And to one-up themselves, they also sent us home with a large bag of food and supplies to tide us over until the grocery stores opened up in two days on Monday: Milk, Cheerios, bagels, cream cheese, and a few other peculiar essentials we were missing such as toilet paper and hangers.
When we got back to our condo (don’t really feel like calling it “home” just yet), we opted to unpack instead of waiting to do it on Sunday. Around midnight we all fell into bed and quickly found ourselves deep asleep.
What a day.