Banking on you, 2018

2017 closed off as a challenging and crazy year for St. John, the Virgin Islands, and the Caribbean. Speaking to the happenings on the island of St. John.. months have now passed since Irma and Maria and it felt as if the dust had settled, just a little bit, in time for holiday festivities. Christmas and New Years came in hot. People dressed up, traded work boots for high heels, and came out for the annual Holiday Party at Mongoose, dubbed "prom," Santa came to the park and received his wish lists from children who lost all they had, and at least 3 large New Year's parties rocked downtown Cruz Bay as we brought in 2018. 

We may have drank a couple more bottles of champagne than usual, let our hair down a little wilder, because we knew we deserved it. But now, its a new year, and we are at a pretty amazing juncture in St. John history. We are well on our way to recovery- main roads are cleared, the beaches, flora, and fauna, are flourishing, boats are starting to grace the water, hotels and homeowners are rebuilding, real estate is selling, restaurants are busy, and shops are ordering new inventory. We have reached a time of comfortable knowledge that people will come, a constant word around town that "February looks good."

This is all hopeful and wonderful, exactly what we need, a little normalcy. But I am banking on St. John being better than before. I am banking on us residents being tougher, stronger, more resilient, and more proud of our island than ever. I am banking on us having a new sense of the important things of life, being more grounded, more concerned for our neighbors, more trusting in our value and in our worth, and more bold and passionate about our environment, our goals, our future. The visitors who have already come and are coming will see a new St. John, a better one than before, and 2018 is the year we do it. I'm banking on that. 

We're Open

As I write this 55 days have past since Irma. 48 days since Maria. It seems strange to break it down into days. Life is more in chapters. After Irma, in between, After Maria, when they cleared my driveway, when they cleared my road, when they fixed his roof, when we got a generator, when they moved so and so’s house, when town got power. Days seem inadequate compared to the accomplishments of the people around me. 
As always there are things that remain the same, but there is no doubt things have changed. 
We still have visitors, but currently they are government, non-profit, or private donor volunteers, and some amazing lineman. 
We still have conversations everywhere we go, but the conversation is different. Stories of people’s experiences… hidden under a mattress in a shower with no roof for hours, escaping from a collapsing house in the middle of the eye, concrete walls crumbling, trees 10 inches in diameter splitting… whisper around town. But, the stories of the people who hugged and comforted one another during the storm, great-grandmother’s glass bowl that did not move as an entire house crashed around it, a favorite blanket from childhood found amongst the rubble, people who rushed out of their homes to help those in need, these stories are more of a clamor than a whisper. 
We still have a problem with power, but now the problem is having it at all.
We still are bonded by a common love for our home, but now we are bonded by a common understanding of the fleeting moment, and the drive to bring our home back to where she was.

Our people are healing. And while it can be painful, an extreme situation usually sets the stage for amazing things to happen. We have fallen nothing short of spectacular. It’s almost as we are aware of each other again, we are inspired, we are driven. 
Our island is healing. She is bright green, that amazing young leaf green that only an island with 100% fresh leaves can have. Everyday you see evidence of her growth and her strength, the endless rainbows remind us of that.

As for Lime Inn, we have been open 4 weeks. It wasn’t an easy start.. cracked walls and the rebuilding of our kitchen, a noisy generator with a finnicky sense of humor, a tiny staff, minimal purveyor deliveries, lots Macgyver-ing, nightly sweet-talking the cops, full darkness as we exited our building at night, and a lot of ups and downs. But man, the guests have been wonderful. We will never forget the feeling you have given us. It was crazy, it was fun, it was cold drinks and hot food, it was normalcy and simple happiness. We can’t wait to keep that feeling of enjoying life, and eating great food going. See you soon world, we are ready for you.

Cynthia SwanThe Lime Inn