Making the jump to island life

The Weldons, Haley and Ted and their three sons (from left) Theo (10), Spencer (9) and Nate (7), moved to the islands in 2010 so Ted could directly oversee work on his Sailrock Development on South Caicos. The family is involved in many community activities such as roller hockey.

 

As she readied her city-dwelling Chicago family to move to the islands of Turks and Caicos, Haley Weldon prepared herself for a distinctly different life. Sorting the treasured toys of her three boys into piles poignantly marked ‘taking’ and ‘leaving,’ she reminded herself that this was the right decision for her family. To her relief, it was just a few months after arriving, when the ‘taking’ toys found their rightful place amongst the sports trophies and academic awards on the shelves of their new home on Providenciales, that she knew the decision was more than right.

“I must admit I was concerned,” Weldon says as she watches her now ten-year-old son, Theo swinging an impressive forehand as he competes in a youth tennis tournament. Weldon and her husband Ted, a seasoned real estate developer, were afraid island life might lack the rich culture they were used to in the big city. “Art, music, theatre, dance…things Ted and I feel are important to include in our kids’ lives,” Weldon explains.

But within the first month, her fears were laid to rest as Weldon was invited to assist with a Turks and Caicos Friends of the Arts performance of “The Nutcracker,” where Theo played a toy soldier, performing alongside world-class dancers. “It was something he never would have been able to do in Chicago,” she says.

Nightly family dinners are another cherished element of the Weldons’ new-found life. “Commuting and commitments left us with little time to spend as a family, and getting that time back is something we will always value about our time here.”

Ironically, though, island life didn’t necessarily mean a slower pace. Ted’s Saturdays begin with calling out formations from the sidelines of the soccer pitch, and afternoons he adeptly swaps out aspiring future hockey pros from behind the glass. “All of a sudden he had time to do that,” Weldon says of Ted coaching the boys’ various sports teams.

And it’s not just the boys in the family who are lapping up the variety of sporting activities available on the island. Women’s ball hockey, mixed-tag rugby and kite-boarding are all sports Weldon has recently taken up. “What surprised me the most,” she says, “is that there are no age limits or parameters for what you can do here.”

Indeed, Weldon is taking advantage of it all. Over the past several months, she has co-produced a documentary, chaired a major island fundraiser, played side-by-side with an international rugby legend and even modeled for a local firm’s billboard ad. “You tend to forget how old you are,” she says of island life, “there’s certainly no pressure to ‘act your age’.”

The diversity of activities is also reflected in the friendships the Weldons have forged over the past two years on Provo. Breaking from the traditional relationships circling around work colleagues or children’s friends, Weldon describes her social network on the island as being more diverse than she ever imagined. “It’s refreshing to mix and mingle with people from all over the world and in such varied ages and stages in their life.“

From work and education to entertainment and social events, the Weldons keep a busy schedule. “Island life has been an adjustment for sure,” Weldon says, reflecting back to their arrival in 2010. “But exposing the boys to a whole different way of living has been priceless, as well as, an incredibly fun adventure for us as a family.”

Image: Eden Media