Stranded On An Island With No Place To Shop

My husband and I recently took our four year old little girl to Disney World. It was a jam-packed incredibly exciting week filled with activities galore. We had everything perfectly scheduled and even planned for our last day to be spent at the mall to get several of the things we are unable to find here on island (e.g. indestructible dog toys, fancy shampoo, shoes that fit my daughter, etc.). We were so exhausted, though, from the five days prior that we had absolutely no energy to get to the mall, especially as we realized it was the last Saturday before Christmas.

So the shopping idea was scrapped, and here I am today without my nice shampoo and without a new toy for my crazy-chewing-destroys-all-other-toys dog. I spent all day yesterday compiling a shopping list, looking for direct flights to nearby cities (aka any place with a mall), and strategizing how to get all the items back in my luggage and through customs. Now I’m really feeling regret for having not gone shopping when we had the chance.

Oh, island living, how I hate love you. The convenience of running out to the store to buy the item I need at that exact moment I need it no longer exists for me, so I have to plan and plan, and schedule my shopping around trips either already arranged or newly created exclusive shopping trips (which essentially just means I have to spend money to spend money…lovely). Ree is in Toronto as we speak on a shopping trip.

So here I am angry with myself for not getting it done when we were at Disney and realizing the price tag for trying to get to Miami. The flights alone make me want to cry. I find it entertaining at the end of every trip when the flight attendants on AA say, “Thank you for choosing American Airlines. We know you have a choice in which carrier to use…” I’m always tempted to ask them, “Could you please stop saying that? It’s, actually, not true at all.” And then go off on a crying tangent that they are the only airline that travels to Miami and they are incredibly overpriced!

I have, however, finished my shopping list and, unfortunately, it did make me a little home sick. No. You’re right, more like mall sick. So I wondered if you might take a stroll with me on my sad journey reminiscing about the things we cannot get here (or worse, pay way too much for).

fashion & home

  1. Lovely accessories that make each outfit unique.
  2. Fashion trends, which I’d be lucky if I could get to a store in time to try.
  3. Oh, how I love pretty stationery!
  4. Seasonal throw pillows, intricate lamps, antique frames…sigh.
  5. Pretty office supplies, who doesn’t love the Container Store?
  6. Delicate undies. I might even settle for granny panties if I could get them on island.
  7. Any size, any fit, any brand of jeans and, I can’t forget t-shirts.
  8. This is what 8 years of renting will do to you, you dream about painted walls!


  1. Starbucks, starbucks, starbucks!
  2. Healthy breakfast on the go.
  3. Artisanal cheeses.
  4. Skim milk. Nope, you won’t find that here.
  5. I once purchased a $20 bag of cherries, which I haven’t seen at the stores since.
  6. This one’s for my daughter. No teddy grahams, no graham crackers, poor child.
  7. You’ll almost always find strawberries, but you’ll almost always pay $10 for a small carton.
  8. For all the Canadians out there, this one is a special shout-out from Ree.
  9. Sweet lord, there’s no sweet corn!
  10. Take-out Chinese! Sorry, I meant good take-out Chinese.
  11. A bagel! Any kind of bagel with any kind of cream cheese. I miss NY!

and just a few more…

  1. Bakeries.
  2. Farmer’s markets, but I’d take unlimited supply too. Lesson learned, never plan a meal around produce. It’s better to create the meal after you’ve discovered there are no more tomatoes on the island.
  3. I sincerely miss a warm and toasty Champagne Sunday brunch.
  4. Fresh flowers.

Alright, now that that’s done, I’m all good. Pity party is over. Off to schedule my shopping trip. Next time you’re at Starbucks, would you mind sending me a picture of your coffee? I’ll just live vicariously through you!

Are you an expat? What do you miss most from your home country?



fashion collage images: {1} accessories, {2} trends, {3} stationery, {4} home, {5} office supplies, {6} lingerie, {7} jeans, {8} painted wall

food collage images: {1} Starbucks, {2} breakfast, {3} cheese, {4} milk, {5} cherries, {6} teddy grahams, {7} strawberries, {8} Tim Hortons, {9} corn, {10} Chinese food, {11} bagel 

other collage images: {1} bakery, {2} farmer’s market, {3} brunch, {4} flowers

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  1. 1

    I had no idea you lived in Barbados! I would say I’m jealous, but then read the rest of your post. I never really thought about the limited access to everyday things on an island. I would go crazy without my Target within driving distance. How often do you plan trips for shopping supplies?

    • 2

      You’re so lucky to have Target right there. Oh the possibilities! LOL! I get back to the states about three times a year, and then if we travel elsewhere we normally have things shipped to our hotel (too expensive to ship here). We have become really good at packing, and using every inch of space in our luggage all while staying under the 50lbs. It’s silly really, but somehow we’ve made it work. Thanks for stopping by!

  2. 3

    Hi! I’m visiting from your SITS tribe. Despite your post content, I’m still jealous of you living in Barbados! Although I understand your expat feelings too. I did a year of grad school in Nanjing, China and definitely got tired sometimes of being an XXL, not fitting into women’s shoes, etc.

    • 4

      Hi Amanda! Yay, for our SITS Tribe. China must have been amazing, but I heard the exact same thing from a friend who visited there. She’s only a size 6 and had a hard time shopping. That’s just crazy to me!!! I guess every place has its ups and downs. Thanks for stopping by!

  3. 5

    Hi! I’m Diane from your SITS tribe! Sorry to hear about your troubles, but to echo Amanda, I am quite jealous of your adventure. I can certainly send you any pictures you want of Starbucks. Any particular beverage combo you fancy? Looking forward to reading more!

    • 6

      Thanks for stopping by Diane! It has been quite the adventure, and we’ve certainly learned a lot, which I’m incredibly grateful for. My favorite drink is a soy chai latte, LOL!!! That would be just too funny to get a picture from you. Have a great week!

  4. 7

    Stopping by from your SITS Tribe, and WOW! I’ve never thought about the difficulties of being an expat on an island. It still sounds pretty glamorous, but I’m sure there are a million challenges that I’m not thinking of. Glad you got to enjoy Disney World, though!

    • 8

      We knew going into it that shopping would be a challenge, but sometimes it gets exhausting having to always load up on things we can’t get. I have a friend with three kids who just returned after Christmas from the states and had 10 suit cases. Can you imagine?! Expats, and especially island expats, have mastered the art of packing=) Thanks for stopping by and can’t wait to read the Lyons’ Share!

  5. 9

    Stopping by from your SITS Tribe! My sister lived on the island of Domenica for a bit and faced some of the same challenges. We sent her stuff and she missed a lot of comforts of home. Right now its snowing in NYC so Barbados sounds kind of nice. Really looking forward to reading your blog.

    • 10

      It so funny that we always want what we don’t have;) I’d love to be wearing sweaters and boots right now, but I know after a week of bitter cold I’d be so over it!!! I miss NYC so I’m excited to start reading your blog and getting nice reminders of my time there. Thanks for stopping by!

  6. 11
    • 12

      You are so right!!! I picked up a local frozen bag of sweet potato fries the other day expecting to find loads of unwanted ingredients in it, and it simply stated: Sweet Potatoes. I was so shocked I bought two bags in case they ran out later!!! So many things here are fresh and wholesome. It’s fantastic! Still wish though that we had the same farmer’s markets I used to see in NYC;)

  7. 13

    You live in Barbados? That is amazing!! I have been there before many times and I have lots of friends that are from there (my family is from Jamaica) The water there is beautiful (as I am in the middle of a huge snowstorm here in NY) 🙂 Visiting from your tribe. So nice to meet you, love your blog!

    • 14

      Thanks Nellie! We have a lot in common because I used to live in Brooklyn (love that place) and my brother is still there. I read about the snow storm…here’s hoping NYC gets an early spring! I’ll be there in April/May and am really excited to get my city fill. Thank you for stopping by and really looking forward to reading your blog!!!

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