Michelle McBride and Frank DeCoste
Michelle McBride and Frank DeCoste

Dominica's mysterious yet enchanting beauty, and charming and alluring people, continue to captivate the hearts of many who relocate to the island and call it home.

Frank DeCoste, retired from the electric utility industry, and Michelle McBride, retired massage therapist, fell in love with the island upon their first visit in September 2021.

"We were looking for an island to settle on. Initially, we were going to Grenada but had some travel issues because it was during pandemic times," Michelle told The Sun. "We decided to come to Dominica instead and immediately fell in love with it."

"Literally, immediately", her husband, Frank, chipped in. "I think we knew we would live here while walking from the plane to collect our luggage."

The couple moved to Dominica from Jackson Beach, Florida, in December 2021, three months after the first trip.

As Frank puts it, "I read the book Black and White Sands by Elma Napier. She wrote 'an instant, inexplicable love without rhyme or reason', meaning she loved the place more than she could say, but she could not say why. I think that is kind of how we feel," with which Michelle wholeheartedly agrees. "If I had to sum it up, I would just say I liked the vibe."

The move to Dominica naturally required some adjustment; for Michelle, this meant becoming familiar with driving the island's roads.

"That is definitely at the top of my list," she chuckled, "driving was the biggest adjustment." Because, as the two explained, the roads in the U.S. are much wider and straighter. They describe their time on Dominica's roads as' adventures in driving.'

For Frank, the most unexpected element was the genuine, kind nature of the Dominican people.

"What took us by surprise was the people," he said. "No place we have ever gone have we met more friendly, loving people than Dominica. We've got dozens of stories of how perfect strangers helped us when they had no reason to. That was our culture shock."

To this end, Frank and Michelle integrate themselves into their community and are hands-on with returning the authentic Dominican charm.

"I just try to give back in any way I can," Michelle confessed, "if it is food, a ride, or sharing some of my health knowledge."

"We love giving a helping hand," Frank expounded, "we give rides to school children, those who need to go to the health centre, those who may have a heavy load/produce, etc. We are also part of the Calibishie Tourism Council and always want to adjust to the Dominican lifestyle."

Regarding changes they have noticed here, both cite the airport development project as the most visible.

"That area in Wesley that has been deforested, that is very sad to see," Frank lamented, "some of that was beautiful, untouched forest, but now it has been stripped down to the dirt. I feel bad for the people of Westley who have to deal with that day in and day out."

"The big white trucks which drive in the area," Michelle added, "tear up the road, and every week we find a new area in the road that is ripped."

DeCoste and McBride also recounted their post-mask mandate removal era as it also had its level of adjustments.

"That was a challenge for us. We meet people wearing a mask, we know what they look like, and then the mask mandate went away, and we had to re-meet all these people," she said.

The couple's impression of the country has also evolved during their time here.

Frank said, "Without a doubt, we love it more."

From Michelle's point of view, "Each section of the island has its different personality. It is a small land in a massive ocean, but there is much to explore here. I feel like in two years, we have hardly even scratched the surface."

Frank and Michelle, satisfied with their move, remain excited to continue discovering Dominica, the land they now call home.