Living in Paradise/Life in St. Maarten - Tom Bissonnette Photography


This past January life as we knew it took a slight detour. My wife took a new professional position at the American University of the Caribbean, which is located on the Dutch side of the island of Sint  Maarten.

With a population of 33,609 on an area of 34 km2 (13 sq mi), it encompasses the southern 40% of the divided island of Saint Martin, while the northern 60% of the island constitutes the French overseas collectivity of Saint-Martin. Its capital is Philipsburg. 

My wife, Bette, is the Director of Library services for AUC.  I have been travelling back and forth from the U.S., since she moved here in January.  So far I have had the opportunity to see and photograph some of the island.  What I have learned over the past few months is that the people are extremely friendly, take life at a different pace and the natural beauty of the island is amazing.  What I have also learned is that when you live on an island you give up many amenities that we are used to in the U.S.  As my wife says, she misses, in order, her garbage disposal. dishwasher, gas stove, reliable electricity and water, the  ability to change o your environment, Market Basket, and I come in a dead last. 

During my recent stay on the island, which is during the off season, (very hot and humid) life is extremely slow.  Many businesses and restaurants closed for vacation.  Once October rolls around the pace of life will pick up.  

During this stay I have also had the opportunity to volunteer my time working with the Hillside Christian School in Cay Bay.  An island, private school, catering to the educational needs of a large number of students.  I have been mentoring the new Principal and Asst. Principal who are both in their first year as administrators.  I have also gotten a chance to meet the teachers, observe their teaching in the classroom and interact with the students.  This has been great as it has given me a purpose for being on the island.  It is very different when you live and work on an island compared to when you might visit for a few weeks of vacation.  

The island shares it's beauty on a daily basis.  I hope you enjoy some of my photographs from my stay here in Sint Maarten.