I am late today coming off cloud nine!

I was a client of O’Stad Printing when Fernando Schouten suggested me to write a column in the newspaper his sister Sonia Schouten was editing, in the back part of the printing plant.

I went home. I wrote a column. I committed to write one very week and that was the beginning of my writing career. Sonia published it that same day, and sent me home to write some more.

It only proves that when the student is ready the teacher appears.

My writing at the time fulfilled a need, I felt no one was listening to me, that I had no voice, and writing was  way to remedy that. It worked.

My late husband Roger Coster was a great supporter, he called himself reader #1. The good people at the NEWS were great including Mauro the graphic designer and Erick the photographer.

And David, my son, was a fascinating inspiration, as I watched him grow up on the island.

Basically the island Life column in the NEWS was a love song to Aruba.

I was blindly in love with the island and the people I met, I found everything fascinating and being a story teller by nature I wanted to document every word, every cool scene.

I found joy in cracking the code of this island revealing its many treasures, understanding how things work here. And you know that shared joy is double joy.

So once a week I talked about something I experienced and enjoyed. And shared it in the NEWS.

I wrote the island life columns from 1992 to 2004, then I ran out of steam, and my column evolves into Bati Bleki.

As an immigrant to this island, I had a burning desire to integrate, and belong, and the column provided the perfect framework.

I think my mission has been accomplished. I integrated. I belong. I am an Arubiano original.

Then a few months ago on the way to the archive, Karin Swier said let me take a look and the end result is the book.

I’m telling you, all you need in life is a bunch of good friends.

So Karin edited with great enthusiasm, Kiki laid it out beautifully, Debbie proof read with great attention to detail, Tina catered the launch party, and Jodi dressed me.

I hope the book give you joy, as much joy as I had writing it, and as much joy as Karin had editing it.