Confessions of a Laid-off Lawyer

Just Your Average Joe Blogging Away His Debt—In One Year or Less

First Impressions

with 10 comments

Total Black: $2,758.40
Total Red: $235,111.49

I’m back in New York after a short stint visiting the place I’ll soon call home.  And I think I’m going to love it there.  I’m moving to . . . drum roll please . . .

St. Croix in the U.S. Virgin Islands.  And it will certainly take a bit of getting used-to.

Firstly, they drive on the left yet all the cars are American-made so the drivers sit on the left too.  This morning, driving back to the airport for a 6am flight to New York, I’m sure in the dark I cut a few right-turns a bit too closely.  Thankfully there wasn’t much traffic that early.  Having to drive daily will take a bit to get used to and certainly driving on the left too.

Topography will take some getting used to.  The place I stayed at was right on the beach.  The porch of my hotel room opened out on to the sand.  I sat in a lounge chair and watched the sun slip into the Caribbean sea last night.  The soft and gentle island breezes caressed my body as I slept, tickling me with the billowing bed sheets.  And yet, a few hours earlier, while apartment hunting mentioned in Liming Around Town, I was on top of a mountain.  Three of the five apartments the second realtor took me to see were quite high up.  The other two were on the beach.  And even though the water called to me—the pull was almost hypnotic— and I could have enjoyed my breakfast each day looking out at the ocean from a balcony, I didn’t take either of the apartments on the sand.  Probably the multiple monstrously-huge dead roaches interspersed with tiny dead crabs all over the floors of both apartments had something to do with it.  Well, that and the price.  $1,300 for the balcony on the beach or $900 for an efficiency right next door.  And both were a stone’s throw from Frederiksted, one of the two downtown areas on the island.  And the proximity showed by the volume of beer cans littered outside in the grounds.  I like cleanliness and security more than I value a room with a view.  So the apartment I selected will be quite high up and away from the water.  Well . . . it takes about 45 minutes to traverse from one end of the island to the other so the water is never really “away” from anywhere.  So yes, the topography will take some getting used to.

Island time will also take some getting used to.  But that I welcome after four years in Washington, D.C. and then four years in New York.  I need to slow my pace and catch my breath.  That’s not to say I will slow my progress or my efforts or my goals.  But I need to be tickled by the trade winds each night and lulled to sleep by the repetitive crashing of the ocean waves in the distance.  I just hope I can keep my cool during those stressful times when different cultures clash.

Overall though I had really great first impression of my new home.  Learning to navigate the island will take a bit but that’s fine.  The people seem friendly enough.  At least formally so.  My stop at McDonald’s, referenced in Liming Around Town, was a bit of a reminder that black people are polite and slightly formal.  While in law school at Howard I learned that the “White way” is to walk into a space (office, store, etc.) and just mutter out your demands whereas black people tend to greet each other first and make a bit of small talk: hello, good morning, etc.  So my impatience with my iPhone situation and my rush to just get food, sit down, and find a plug—that all was not met well with when I walked up to the counter and requested a number six meal—without first saying good afternoon.

Just over two weeks remaining until I move to paradise for a year.  But before then, I’ll have my nose to the grindstone here in the city.  Damn near literally too.  I hadn’t been back in New York this morning very long when emails began to fly.  But I took my sweet ol’ island time getting back to the temp agency this afternoon.  Would have rather limed around my apartment instead.

Soon enough.

Written by Laid-off Lawyer

May 12, 2010 at 20:22

10 Responses

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  1. I’m not sure I can wait much longer for an update.


    May 11, 2010 at 12:34

  2. Bravo! Maybe you can get an “elbow” (full-time permanent) law clerk position there. It’s the Third Circuit so it’s possible.


    May 26, 2010 at 11:15

  3. Good god. Only you could make St. Croix sound like Topeka, KS. I can’t believe you complained there would be nothing to do. It’s the freakin’ Virgin Islands. Being able to enjoy the beach everyday is an enormous gift.


    May 26, 2010 at 23:17

  4. If I complained it was before my trip. Certainly nothing above smacks of a complaint.

    Laid-off Lawyer

    May 26, 2010 at 23:56

  5. Cool spot…I’ve vacationed in the USVI and loved it.

    However, the cost of living is huge. Also, I doubt you’ll be able to adjust to “island time” in the year that you’re there, especially coming from NYC. It is insane down there…

    Lastly, there is so much corruption down there it makes us look wholesome up here in the 48!

    But for a year…shit, that might even be worth it to go a bit deeper in the red!

    Do you get a higher salary there for clerking due to the high cost of living? If not, that sucks…

    My wife and I might very well be vacationing down there later in the year. We’ll probably stay on STT though, but who knows.

    One good thing, gasoline is supposedly cheap since they refine it right there, but it isn’t as if there’s very far to drive anyway.



    May 27, 2010 at 07:04

  6. What is the gay dating scene like there?


    May 27, 2010 at 09:53

  7. No idea…

    From my experience, the folks on the islands are pretty conservative/religious types, so probably not so good though.

    I go there with my wife though, so we’re not out cruising gay bars, assuming there are a few.



    May 27, 2010 at 16:41

  8. Well, there’s this article. But having lived two years in a town of about five thousand in Poland—I think I’ll be ok. Besides, thanks to Grindr, I already spotted one gay guy only feet away when I was visiting there. Snag with that iPhone app, however, is that it pulls in people from St. Thomas as well—and even as far off as Puerto Rico.

    Laid-off Lawyer

    May 27, 2010 at 21:21

  9. The Grindr reference is very funny, and they say there’s no such thing as sex addiction.BTW, Was there any gay scene in Poland?

    From Manhattan to St. Croix; what a change! Your mother is going to miss you.


    May 28, 2010 at 08:11

  10. Well, that was in the pre-smart phone days. Back when gay men had to walk up hills, both ways, through the snow, just to get to each other.

    But yeah, a few bars around the country. Warsaw, Krakow, Łódź. And even a bathhouse or two. But they were all slightly hidden. And “protected” by the Russian mafia. Probably won’t have that in the Virgin Islands.

    Laid-off Lawyer

    May 28, 2010 at 08:23

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