Lessons Learned

St. Thomas
Hans Lollik insland, just off St. Thomas, USVI. Zach Stovall

My takeaways from the Caribbean rarely make much sense. And sometimes they get me in trouble. Years of driving in the Caribbean told me I was a great driver. Police here at home tell me I’m not. What? I was only on the sidewalk for a few yards!

And then there are the takeaways I still struggle to wrap my head around. Like arriving in Cancun with cash taped to my waist and a distrust of everyone — fears spurred by my relatives. Yet what I found in Mexico were people who put family first and who respect elders in ways even my own Italian family members would appreciate.

It’d be easy (and correct) to sum up my time on Aruba as the life of a beach bum. Yet that experience continues to shape Facebook reminders that my Aruban friends hail from all nations and races. Meanwhile, Facebook updates from my friends in the States — the world’s great melting pot — are decidedly less, well, colorful.

I don’t have answers for any of this. The depth of the Caribbean baffles me in the best of ways.