My Heart So Full - Vacation Day One on St. John

June 5, 2014

Right now, I am on St. John, one of the U.S. Virgin Islands and last night and this morning these words from the John Denver song, Falling Leaves, keep on replaying in my head:

My heart so full of love for you/Sing praise for all I see.

I am very happy! I took a gentle yoga and art workshop last week, where I did some art and intention around the fact that I felt like I needed to go away into a "sanctuary" and recharge myself and so I am very thankful that we are on an island that is more like paradise and being one with nature, as opposed to the commercialism of say, Disney World.

(The Workshop Artwork-"I Am The One Who Rides The Storm")
#1 Thing You Must Do Directly Off The Ferry Onto St. John: Get a fresh smoothie!

There are smoothie places everywhere, but this place was so colorful that we had to stop and we were not disappointed. I got a coconut, banana, pineapple smoothie and I will never go to Planet Smoothie again! It wasn't as sweet as the kind you get at the big stores, but still very delicious!  
Then we checked into our cute, perfect little cottage.  Here is the view:

#1 Thing You Must Do After You Check-In: Take a NAP!

My mom and I were exhausted after getting up early, a taxi ride, a ferry ride, waiting for our hostess, grocery shopping, and a crazy car ride.  Exhausted!  My dad was itching to go explore, so he left to find a beach, but I slept for two hours and I am so glad I did-when one has physical and mental illness, it is so important to take care of one's body and pay attention to its tiiredness cues, even if one just arrived at an island paradise.  Otherwise, I would have been too miserable to really enjoy myself and isn't that what a vacation is all about?

#1 Things You Must Include In Your Dinner: Fresh Mangoes and Papaya!

Since I was well rested, I made dinner that night-a yummy chicken pasta salad.  The recipe originally called for shrimp and for lemon juice and some other ingredients, but when you're on the island you have got to go with the flow... It was still good though, nice and light for a sunny day. Who knew that pineapple juice and thyme would pair well together or that we would have picked out the best fruits on the island? Seriously, nothing beats cold, juicy, and sweet fresh fruit on a hot summer's day.

Some Things You Should Know About Virgin Island Food: Astoundingly, it is hard to find lemons, so recipes may need to be tweaked! Also, fish are very expensive, because of previous over-fishing and because there is a copper mine nearby that made a lot of the edible fish sick! Even here in paradise, there are sad reminders of how humans are destroying Eden. You will have to boil the water from the tap to make sure you don't get sick! Definitely do eat lots of fresh mangos and papaya!  Here in Georgia, mangoes are more well known-if you've never had papaya before, it tastes sort of like watermelon, but with the texture of a soft cantelope.  Only eat the pink part.
from the website, HowStuffWorkswith adaptations

YIELD Makes 6 (1-cup) servings
6 ounces uncooked medium bow tie pasta
1 tablespoon ground allspice
1 tablespoon frozen orange juice concentrate pineapple juice
1‑1/2 teaspoons vegetable oil, divided
1 teaspoon ground dried thyme leaves
1/4 teaspoon minced scotch bonnet pepper*
12 ounces raw medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
1large chicken breast
Nonstick cooking spray
1/2 cup fat-free reduced-sodium chicken broth
1/3 cup finely chopped green onions, green tops only
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup diced papaya
3/4 cup diced mango
  1. Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt. Drain; set aside.
  2. Combine allspice, orange juice concentrate pineapple juice, 1 teaspoon oil, thyme and pepper in small bowl; add shrimp cut up chicken and thoroughly coat. Spray large nonstick skillet with cooking spray. Heat over medium heat until hot. Add shrimp chicken; cook and stir 3 to 5 minutes or until shrimp are opaque. Remove from heat.
  3. Combine chicken broth, green onions, lemon juice, sesame oil, mustard, salt and remaining 1/2 teaspoon oil in large bow
#1 Thing To Do After Dinner: Go for a walk on the beach! 

I could not let the first real day of vacation go by without having ventured on a beach, so I convinced my parents to take us out for a night stroll on one.  The roads are not marked well, so we got lost several times, but we eventually made it to Maho Bay.  Even though it was dark, I still managed to get some beautiful pictures:

My heart so full of love for you/Sing praise for all I see. ~ John Denver

Link Love:

Shakesville - Fat and Happy

I will, however, note that I'm lucky. A very, very fortunate girl—blessed by chance, touched warmly by the fingertips of providence. The fates shine on me.

You see, when people tell me that no one who's fat can be happy, luckily, I don't give a shit.

[…]It remains a radical act to be fat and happy.

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