Ok. It’s time to go back to reality. Waking up at 5 a.m., motorcycle races at 3 a.m. (not that I’m apart of them, no I’m the lucky one trying to sleep while some dumbotrons think they should rev their engines down Fort Washington all night), our muggy apartment in the infamous city heat. You know that the reason kids have off in the summer isn’t because of the farm kids having to go home and help with crops as is the common misconception? It’s because the city heat was so fucking hot in the early 20th century that the rich families were like “Screw your education Victoria, you don’t need it anyways. We’re going out to the country so we don’t catch fire by just walking on the concrete.” And then all the schools were so empty the teachers had to be like “Whelp poor kids, looks like you’re free for a couple of months. Try not to get into trouble. See you in September.”
But I’m glad to be back from my honeymoon last week. Ari and I went to St. Thomas for a week and the island is, in a word, enchanting. It is so gorgeous. Just look at this picture and try to imagine that being a real place.
I was *there* and I can’t believe it’s real. I’m from New York. I didn’t know ocean water could be clear. I didn’t know sand could be soft and free of used condoms and cigarette butts.
Here are some things I learned on this very weird and special vacation.
1. Their main industry is tourism. Meaning, as our bartender so eloquently put it, “You can do whatever you want. They really don’t like putting white people in jail.”
2. St. Thomas is a part of the US but they reeeaaalllyy didn’t want to be a state. They voted last year and it was overwhelmingly “Thanks but no thanks.” In an info booklet we got, it said “We can’t vote for the American president. But we do have a representative for us….who also can’t vote. Eh, what are you gonna do?”
3. Jews have been on the island since early 1700’s or before. The first governor of the island was Jewish. They have a beautiful synagogue there with a sand floor. As our guide, Cantor Diane told us, that was an old tradition, since so many Jews came from persecution, to muffle the sound of people walking around while praying.
Like sure, you guys can build an ornate house of worship – but keep quiet OK?!
4. I decided before we left that I would only bring my phone for pictures. A whole week without e-mail, Facebook, texting, Snapchat, Twitter or wi-fi. And it was amazing. Sure, I would reflexively check my phone from time to time before realizing it was on airplane mode but we used physical maps to get around, we had only each other to talk to, we didn’t live document everything on Facebook. It felt rebellious. It almost felt wrong. “We are at Coki beach today. No one in the entire world knows we are here right now except for each other.” It’s a feeling that isn’t really captured on Shabbat when we turn off all electronics and just count down the minutes until we can turn on our Macs again. It felt adventurous.
I wish I could emulate that now that I’m home but it’s difficult. I find that we’re back to our routine. He’s playing 2048 or Facebook messaging his friends while I’m e-mailing my boss saying “Hold on…I’m listening…I just have to send this….” We’ll go out to dinner and I’ll text someone while we wait for our food. “Sorry, this is important. I just have to let her know that we’ll come by later…” and by the time I’m done, he’s checking imgur. It makes me profoundly sad. But at the time, I know it’s a necessity of life and as the months go on and Apple releases more and more, we’re only getting deeper and deeper in the quicksand that is constant technological connection and stimulation.
5. Wow that took a dark turn. Here, look at this pretty sea turtle! His name is Duncan. We got to pet him.
So there you have it. Sand, sun, sea turtles. Also rum. Rum everywhere and in everything. When you get off the plane; “Here’s a rum shot mon!” At the hotel; “All our drinks are rum.” At the COFFEE shop; “So that’s one ice mocha latte…would you like rum in that?”
It’s unbelievable. I vow to keep my honeymoon alive by continuing the trend and putting the caribbean flavor in everything. So if you’ll excuse me I have to go have some cereal and rum. Yum!