This is a very exciting post for me. To many people, this won’t seem like an accomplishment, but I am very proud of myself.

Quick  Review!

I graduated May 12, 2012 with my doctorate degree with $200,000 in student loans. I had never felt so depressed about graduating as I did the day I opened my “debt envelopment” and read that massive number. Despite my best intentions to start paying off my loans immediately upon graduation, instead of waiting out my my “grace period” …I did not do this. (Word to the wise, if you CAN, do it! The sooner you start paying..the sooner it will be paid off…simple right?). I think about how much further along I would be had I not wasted those first 6 or so months. Ah well, you live, you learn, and you pass it on. I started paying the moment  I “had” to start paying…which was November and December 2012.

Here I am almost exactly 4 years to the date of graduation and 3.5 years since I started paying off my loans… and I am excited to report that I have dipped UNDER 100 grand!!! Wooo!

As I have explained in previous blogs, I did not pay my loans in an organized and sensical fashion the first, about, 3 years. The last 10 months, I have been paying off loans, or putting extra towards the loans with the highest interest rate and, slowly, working my way down the list. Yes, $99,394 is still A LOT of money…but it is also A LOT of progress in such a short amount of time.

According to my calculations, I have just over two years left of these pesky loans and then this huge burden will be lifted and I can start paying for other things I want, haha.





BUT, I have been forced to learn SO much about loans, money borrowing, budgets, interest rates, monthly payments…and you can’t put a price on that 😉


My happy place

Everyone hatenniss a happy place. It could be the beach, maybe a vacation spot, a restaurant, the library…any place where you are content and able to put aside life and just….be.

For me…it is on the tennis court. I am so happy when I am out on the court playing tennis. It’s that one thing a week that I consistently do.

The past couple days I was in a tennis tournament. While, yes, I was extremely nervous and scared, I was so happy to be competing out there on the court.

I feel extremely blessed that I had such great friends who took time out of their Thursday and Friday nights to come support me.

Thursday I played in mixed doubles. We were supposed to start at 7pm, I think we walked on the court sometime after 9 and got off after 11. My friends could have easily said “its too late” or ” I need to go to bed” and that would have been TOTALLY understandable…but they didn’t. They stayed up past their bedtimes to cheer me on. Thanks guys.

Friday night I played women’s doubles. One of my friends brought work there to still be able to support me since my match was before the work day concluded.

The last tournament I was in, I was pretty adamant that friends do not come watch me. I was too nervous and scared. Well, I am over that now and grateful to everyone that came!

It’s fun having something you can do when you at 5, 25, 105. Tennis is a lifelong sport and I am so excited to be “back in the game” if you will.

Tennis has been a good way to meet other people on this island where we already have a common ground. I have met so many people that I probably would never had met off the court and that’s part of the beauty of tennis.




By the way, I lost…but I had SO much fun. And really…isn’t that the point?

My Island

I’ve reaIMG_2033lized I have had a lot to say about the downsides of the island..but I haven’t reported on too many good things..I do like living here..honestly!

To the left..this is sometimes my gym…all year round. This is one of the beaches on the island where (on my few and far between days off) I like to do TRX classes. How many other people get to strap their TRX bands to palm trees, feel the ocean breeze as you work out, and take your mind off the pain by taking in the morning views? Not too many people that’s for sure!



IMG_2889You can go to the beach ALL YEAR LONG. We don’t have “beach season” and “summer”. Any day, week, month the beach is always an option…and that is pretty sweet. Need a quick tan for that wedding back in the states? Go to the beach for an afternoon or two and give your tan a little “booster shot”.







This my what I wake up to daily. I open my eyes and without even getting out of bed I get to admire the beauty of a sunrise. It does not get old. Almost daily Blake or I look at eachother and say “look at the sunrise!” with same awe as we did the morning before. St. Croix is the eastern point of the United States. We are among some of the first people to watch the sunrise every day. Pretty cool!





Here is another one of our view. It’s just too pretty for words. I am so lucky.


Those are some of the greatest things about living on island..the simply beauties of the world that I get to be a part of.

A few other fun/silly reasons I like living on an island in the Carribean:

  • I don’t have to have the nicest car, or even a nice car at all. No one really does. “Island cars” are real things. This saves a bunch of money.
  • Because it is nice all year round, I get to spend almost all my time(besides work) outside. Most restaurants and bars are open/outside. There are very few activities that require you to be indoors.
  • I complain A LOT less about being cold. Don’t get me wrong, I am cold right now as I write this on a mid April night in the Caribbean. To me, it cools down at night during the “winter”. Nothing a sweatshirt or a blanket can’t fix!
  • People like to visit! As we all know, I hate being away from family and friends. Living in a vacation destination, my friends and families are a lot quicker to jump at the opportunity to come see me. YAY!!!

My number one, favorite thing about living on this island is getting to spend every day with the love of my life. I am grateful every day for him.

The Price to live in Paradise

Okay! It’s been a hot minute since I posted. Here goes.

The price to live in paradise: It can be quite hefty.

I have been on island one year and one month. In that brief time, I have had several good friends leave the island and many factors have played a part:

  • Job Satisfaction
  • Family
  • Convenience
  • Money (both in jobs and cost of living)
  • Or maybe simply it was always a short term thing

Let’s talk about the first one real quick, as I see it a lot. Why is it so hard for professionals to find happiness in their jobs down here? The equation seems so easy. Well, when one of the main variables are missing, job satisfaction is not achieved. Imagine if several are missing? Sounds miserable.

Some people have the ability to move to paradise and not have to work as hard as they once used to. That is awesome and definitely a goal of mine. Many of us don’t have that option right now and are forced to get super creative to find job satisfaction while maintaining a particular lifestyle in this paradise.

Not everyone has the patience, time, or resources to “get creative” while pursuing job satisfaction and unfortunately this leads to a very large turn over on the island. 

Second is family. Both maintaining the family you have and the thoughts to expand your family. Being away from aging parents and close siblings can be so hard. It is something I struggle with often. If you read my family post, you know family is extremely important to me. Likewise, expanding your family down here can be super exciting, but very scary too.

Money. Ah, the root of all evil. Paradise can be expensive. Nothing else needed here.

Some people move down here knowing its temporary. It could be for the season, for a year, or simply for a week. However long, goodbye is inevitable.

It’s hard saying goodbye, and unfortunately, it is another price you pay to live in paradise. There are constant goodbyes.

We just said goodbye to yet another great couple of people. They are some of the very first people I met when I moved to this island and happened to be my next door neighbors.

I am a firm believer that if you are not happy with something in your life then fix change it. I am happy my friends are moving on to, hopefully, bigger and better things, but they will be sorely missed.

I am sure that the longer I am on island the harder my goodbyes will be.

For me, I will continue to work on being creative to maintain happiness  and continue to “pay” the prices of paradise to prevent myself from having to be the one who says goodbye. I will continue to say goodbye to people that I have created many memories with and I will continue to make to new friends.