Isn’t it the case that the hardest topic to write about is ourselves? When my husband and I were planning our wedding, we designed and built a website for our guests, which included the story of how we met and built a life together.
NEW YORK CITY
Thomas & Alisha first met in Fall of 2007 in Manhattan. Alisha was living in New York for the first time. Thomas had grown up within walking distance from Manhattan, just across the George Washington Bridge in Cliffside Park, NJ. Over their five years together, Thomas has shared with Alisha many of his memories of being the fifth of six kids in a quaint neighborhood near the Hudson River. Alisha, though originally from St. Croix in the U.S. Virgin Islands, grew up in Orange County, California. As the oldest of five in her household and also having four sisters on her father’s side, she enjoyed comparing notes with him.
Though the subject of marriage came up within weeks, there was never an official proposal. Alisha said that she’d need to know someone for at least five years before deciding whether or not marrying them was a good idea. That made sense to Thomas. He shrugged and said he would ask her about it again on their fourth anniversary. They both sensed that if they committed to a relationship, it would be lifelong. They dated on and off for a year, and spent their time together cooking, bike riding and recording music. They lived just blocks from each other in Brooklyn, and on many nights walked each other to and from each other’s apartments. One of the first times Thomas introduced Alisha to his extended family was at his sister Elizabeth’s college graduation party. It was a blazing hot summer day, there were tons of friends and family, and Alisha felt pretty comfortable. Thomas would have to meet Alisha’s family piecemeal, and travel thousands of miles to do it!
Initially, Alisha had only intended to visit New York, and as her second East Coast winter rolled around, she was ready to go to the Caribbean. By the middle of December she had arrived on her native island in a 6-passenger puddle jumper. She and Thomas spoke every day on the phone. When he Googled “St. Croix”, up popped an image of the sunny yellow Ginger Thomas – the US Virgin Island’s official flower – hosted on the website gotostcroix.com. Thomas took it as a sign. Within a week, he was planning a long-term visit.
During his stay, Thomas worked on St. Croix’s organic ARTfarm, went sailingwith Alisha’s father and discovered the best mangoes, bananas, carambola (star fruit) and guava he had ever tasted. Upon returning to NYC, it only took him a day to realize that the city was perfectly functional without him, and would go on as always. He packed his things and headed back to the Caribbean with his dog, Sweet Sweet Little Ramona Burma II. For three years, Alisha and Thomas got to know St. Croix – the land and the people, including Alisha’s father and other family. They did a lot of the things people talk about doing “some day.” They lived on farmland, raised a couple chickens, grew some of their own food, sat through some tropical storms and hurricanes, snorkeled, sailed, walked stretches of unpeopled beach, hiked in the rainforest and ate the freshest fish you can get.
They also did things that may not have been possible for them in a big city. They started an organic chocolate company called Sweetface – born on Alisha’s 30th birthday when Thomas made her a chocolate tart, and named after his nickname for her. Thomas continued to work for ARTfarm and helped build their greenhouses and other construction projects. He freelanced as a graphic/web designer and opened a contemporary art gallery called macheteMACHETE. The gallery became central to their lives, and through it they hosted a season of shows featuring young and local artists. Alisha played shows, worked as a Reiki practitioner and began study and work as a Transformational Coach. She also had the unforgettable experience of being in the Caribbean Community Theatre’s production of Cabaret.
The days seemed to blend into one another, each sunrise bringing another sunny day in the 80′s, fading into another starry night. At home they hosted parties and potlucks, and visited friends. In the pasture where their house sat, they could walk by the beautiful, red brown Senepol cattle and feed the horses carrots and grass. Their life on St. Croix reminded them of another place they loved very much – the Farm in Connecticut. Thomas had taken Alisha there several times when they lived in New York and craved the peace and quiet of the rustic outdoors. When they decided to actually have a wedding, the Farm seemed the obvious choice.
Eventually, the couple wanted to expand beyond their life on an 82-sqare-mile island. Though St. Croix holds an important place in their hearts and their future, it was time to seek more adventure. California seemed the natural choice. There would still be palm trees, and ocean, and warm, sunny days. Thomas was curious to experience the mythological Wild West, and Alisha would be happy to return to the flat, coastal highway, her younger siblings, her mother and her grandmother. They currently live in Los Feliz, with Griffith Park, Thai food and renown comedy shows all within walking distance. They love LA. Thomas plays in a band and works from home as a web designer while pursuing his passion for the arts. Alisha works as a Transformational Coach and as a copywriter at an ad agency.