The best thing about being a teacher is being a grown-up and STILL getting spring break. I’m not in education anymore, but my friend Ally is, and she decided to spend her spring break on the island with me!
Those of you who are also expats know just how wonderful it is to hear from friends back home. You also know that it’s a hundred times more wonderful to have them come visit you!
I spent the days she was here showing her all the best parts of the island. If you have a few days on the island and don’t know what activities to choose, these are the things to do.
We managed to hit seven of Saint Martin’s 37 beaches in four days:
Airplanes at Maho Beach, SXM’s best-known tourist attraction.
We relaxed on Mullet Bay Beach.
Indigo Bay Beach is beautiful. Kito wasn’t too sure about the waves.
We decided to be ‘Mericans and get McDonald’s ice cream at Great Bay Beach in Philipsburg.
Plum Bay Beach had impressive waves the day we went. We tried to get a Little Mermaid-style splash photo…
We also went to Kimsha beach and Long Beach for a few minutes, but didn’t stop to take photos.
Naturally, we had to take advantage of the clear water at Mullet Bay and go snorkeling.
We spent some time in both of the island’s capitols, too.
Philipsburg is the Dutch capitol. Jack Sparrow apparently lives there.
Happy Thanksgiving weekend from the Johnsons! This was my first Thanksgiving outside the United States. Here’s how we celebrated it, expat-style.
Since Thanksgiving is strictly a U.S. holiday, nobody on Sint Maarten got the day off work or school. We weren’t too bothered by this; two of Ben’s classes have ended, so he only had to be at school for three hours. We spent the extra two hours in the morning catching some waves at the beach.
Usually, we run in a Turkey Trot (Thanksgiving 5K) on Thanksgiving morning. I have to admit that I felt a little guilty for not running on our family’s annual race day! Between my bad knees, the humidity, and the lack of Thanksgiving festivities, though, I was definitely happy to “settle” for boogie boarding to earn my extra Thanksgiving dinner calories.
Another tradition that I missed was the annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. Instead of that, I watched Phineas and Ferb in Spanish while Ben was in lab. Maybe I’ll be able to catch some parade clips on YouTube later.
The one traditional thing that I definitely did for Thanksgiving was cook! It was a little lonely to be in the kitchen by myself– usually, my mom, dad, sister, and I all work together to make Thanksgiving dinner. This year, we went to a Thanksgiving potluck with our church group, AUC’s Christian Medical and Dental Association. I made bread rolls and pumpkin pie. I didn’t have a pie pan, so Ben put a sign next to my casserole-dish pie that said ” πr2 .” I don’t know if anyone got it, but we thought it was funny.
Since there were three other people also making pumpkin pie (Thanksgiving calls for a LOT of pie, people!), I decided to make pumpkin spiced latte pie with chocolate swirls. You’re welcome, Starbucks lovers!
I actually got to enjoy three Thanksgiving dinners! It would have been four, but I missed the one put on my the AUC spouses organization because we rented a car that day and needed to get all our shopping done.
The first Thanksgiving dinner I had was the Saturday before Thanksgiving. My friend Stacy invited us to share in their holiday celebrations with their visiting family. She and her future mother-in-law made a delicious, home-cooked, Southern-style feast!
The second Thanksgiving meal I had was at lunch on Thanksgiving Day. American University of the Caribbean doesn’t give students the day off school, but they do give a free lunch with turkey, potatoes and all the traditional fixings!
The last Thanksgiving feast we had was the potluck with CMDA. There were about 30 people there– friends, neighbors, classmates, and people we’ve never seen before. There was a row of tables filled with aromatic dishes, and more dessert than anyone could handle. Yum! CMDA president Blake carved the turkey, Ben carved the ham, we said a prayer of thanks, and then we all sat down to enjoy the meal and the beautiful ocean view from the porch.
When we got home later, we Skyped my parents. Even though we missed them, my sister,who was in Wyoming for the holiday, and Ben’s family who are in various parts of the world, it was good to be able to talk to family and share a part of day with them, even if we could not share a meal.
What an amazing sunset. What a great day. We have so much to be thankful for: food, friends, family, video chat and email, the kids and coaches on the baseball team, our island paradise, school, church, and so much more… most of all, the saving grace of God. He is so good to us, and has blessed us more than we could ever imagine.