Late November, 1999
Nevisian Paradise
Garrick's Pasture
Nevis, West Indies

Greetings from Paradise
"Thanksgiving Among Friends and Boxes"

Dear Friends and Family,

Hope all is well with you. We think of you often. We had our first thanksgiving among the boxes, less than three weeks after we moved and hardly completely unpacked. Lee shares our thanksgiving with you: Since people her do not normally celebrate the holiday and they work on Thursday we decided to celebrate on Friday. We had twelve people, one other American the rest British and Nevisians. Had a great evening with all of the traditional dishes. Started around 6:30 and went to mid-night. All in all, great time with some really nice people.

Last story, our neighbor Alexis stops by. In addition to his regular job filling diving tanks with oxygen, Alexis fishes one day a week. Last week as a house warming gift he brought us a snapper and parrot fish. Today he brought us two big fish for baking. Total cost about $7US. We now have a standing order with him for fish each week. When Greg comes later this month, Alexis is going to let us go out with him on one of the days when he goes fishing.

Well, so goes it. Things are still hectic at the house with six to twelve people here daily, drilling, sanding, painting etc., etc. The house is livable, but lots of finishing ups and a few minor adjustments that require a new cabinet door here and a screw there. The greatest thing holding us back from finishing our unpacking are the little medal shelf holders that hold up the adjustable shelves. Nevisians haven't used them before, so they are not available locally. All 200 pegs are coming from the US by fed-ex this week, maybe! By the end of next week, our office, the two storage rooms, exercise room, completely painted with windows and shutters will be finished so we begin to move the remainder of the items out of the living room into their appropriate habitat. The house is phenomenal and we are in awe of the quality of the craftsmanship. There is pride and skill in what Meridith and his crew have created.

Amidst the tumult, there is the friendly chatter of the crew, the mutual respect and friendliness of the contractors and the beauty of the sea and mountain which are always beckoning us to take a look and enjoy. Tomorrow, we give ourselves a break and go to the beach for most of the day. We begin and end each day, looking at the stars, the sunsets, the sunrise, listening to the birds and feeling the gentle breeze. We enjoy our outings, especially the exchanges with the local people, who continue to amaze and overwhelm us with their kindness, wisdom and acceptance of us into their village and land.

The children, especially, want to come over. We have already had Spencer, Denrieke and Deanza for lunch. Deanza is seven. We met her the first time a year and a half ago when she baked us cupcakes before she even knew us. Quincy, our neighbor, comes over every day after school with two or three friends for a hug, a sweetie and he his friends help us with small chores. All the workers and kids are fascinated with our refrigerator which has the ice dispenser on the outside. Everyone wants a drink. Lee and I are getting a kick out of it too, it's our first one.

We feel truly blessed and think of each of you often. So if during the business of your day, you feel a soft breeze and thoughts of us, we are probably thinking of you. Hope that you had a joyous thanksgiving and a peaceful winding down of this millennium.

Love, hugs and kisses,
Later (as they say here),
Ruth