As you already know, my husband Kadin is from the Caribbean or the West Indies. He was born on Tortola, one of the British Virgin Islands. As a child, he lived on St. Kitts (Nevis and St. Kitts, where Kadin's mother is from, constitute one country) and St. Thomas, one of the U.S. Virgin Islands.
Since we began dating, Kadin and I have traveled with his family to the Caribbean islands a number of times. We've visited St. Thomas, St. John, Anguilla, St. Martin and Tortola. When we go to the West Indies, we pluck mangos and coconuts from trees and eat them straight away; you can either drink the coconut milk then and there, or pour it into a clear plastic bag and save it for later.
Each day in the late afternoon, we drive to one of the small, perfectly cinematic beaches and go swimming in the brightest turquoise sea you've ever seen. The water is calm, warm and so clear that you can see your toes digging into perfectly white sand as tiny waves lap at your waist. Sometimes we snorkel, and sometimes we just sit on the sand under a tree and talk.
We eat fresh fish for dinner and drink rum-based drinks; rum flows like water on the islands.
I wasn't a huge reggae fan until I became familiar with Caribbean culture. But now I love it. I love Gregory Isaac's Night Nurse and Damian Marley's Pimpa's Paradise. I love the steel drums. And the fact that everyone starts unselfconsciously moving the minute music starts playing.
Visiting the West Indies has brought a whole new meaning to the term "island time." There, nobody is on time. Ever. And here, my husband and his family are rarely on time. I've learned to roll with it.
I don't always understand the conversation because everyone speaks Patwa, but I like the way it sounds.
The distant family members, who I hadn't met before were unbelievably warm, kind and welcoming--except for great aunt Rose, who took one look at me and said, "Her hair can't hold no braids."
I could eat an entire platter of lightly fried plantains, which melt in your mouth like cotton candy, for every meal.
And my eyes can't get enough of the candy-colored or bright white stucco houses with stout columns, romantic archways and wrap-around porches.
I can't wait to take Sabine.