Wednesday, January 27, 2010

SO Pool Days

Every Monday and Thursdsay the University Club, an SGU resort, has the pool open for the significant others of students. We are referred to as SO's (significant others) on the island. The pool is awesome and one of our favorite things to do. Emma has quickly learned to cooperate while I drench her white body in sunscreen because she knows that it means we must be going swimming. On Monday I found her in the living room picking up spilled sunscreen off the floor and rubbing it all over her face (my fault for leaving it in reach). I then asked her, "are you excited to go to the pool?" She replied, "uh, huhhhh"and patted her white cheeks. Can't wait for pool day tomorrow!!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

House Guests of Another Kind

Last night after coming home from the white coat ceremony I gently put Emma to sleep, completed my nightly getting ready for bed ritual, and then crawled into my clean, crisp sheets to get some shut eye myself. I turned on the air conditioner, with my handy remote control, and moments after finally getting comfortable heard a crinkly noise in the room. Just as I lifted my head to find out what it was this massive cockroach came shooting out of my A/C unit and landed on my bed. I immediately jumped up and danced to the living room in my undies. "JEROD, there is a GIANT cockroach on the bed, could you pleeeease come and kill it." I shouted. He rolled his eyes, set his anatomy book down and came to my rescue.
Once this disgusting insect was in his sight he turned to me and said, "Oh, he is pretty big isn't he? The good news for you is that he landed on my side of the bed." Just as he went to remove it I said, "wait...we have to get a picture of this thing." I composed myself long enough to get the camera and with shaky fingers got this shot. Believe me this picture does not do it justice. I didn't dare get any closer, this creature was intimidating and there's Jer to my left whispering,"careful...slow...don't let him jump away...." After assuring that his squished body actually got flushed down the toilet I went back to bed. Only I didn't sleep. I had the creeps big time. I lied awake in the fetal position starring at the air conditioner. Every noise put me on edge and there was no way I was letting Jer turn the A/C on again later. Being hot was a sacrifice I was willing to make because I was sure it would happen again. When Jerod finally came to bed he was laughing that I was still freaked out. I simply stated,"I have not let the tiny red ants crawling on the walls get to me. I have dealt with the long-legged spiders on the corners of the ceiling. I was rational when I awoke to a huge millipede crawling across the living room floor, but I swear if another coakroach comes flying out of our A/C unit and lands on this bed I will not be able to handle it!" The good news, our landlord is having a professional come and fumigate. Apparently they spray about once a year to keep the creepy, crawly things outside where they belong.

Monday, January 18, 2010

"Today is the beginning of my medical education and training as a physician..."

Tonight was Jerod's White Coat Ceremony. It was forever long but exciting too! The keynote speaker, a highly recognized MD from the United States, gave an excellent speech that included topics such as the patient physician relationship, ethics in patient care, and palliative care. I thought his talk was interesting from start to finish and he gave awesome advice to the aspiring physicians. After his address each students name and country of origin was read while faculty members assisted them into their white coats. Next the students stood to recite together the schools honor code/professional commitment. The best part of the night, besides Jerod getting his white coat of course, was the food they fed us following the ceremony. I wanted to stand in line again and again!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Called to Serve...

I've never had a clear idea of what it means to be a part of a "branch" instead of a "ward" in our church. I have always grown up around plenty of active members in an organized, well-functioning ward. My eyes have been opened. We meet in a small but sufficient building that overlooks Grand Anse Beach. If I had to guess, I would say that there is around 30 active members whose testimonies are still growing. While it is extremely hot to sit through each meeting, the spirit is strong and I have a deeper understanding of the phrase, "the gospel is one and the same wherever you go."
Our first Sunday Jerod was called to be the Gospel Principles teacher to new converts and less active members. I was asked to lead the music in Sacrament Meeting. Today, our second Sunday, I was called to be the first counselor in the Young Women Presidency. I will have a few short months to be trained in this position and then will train and assist a Young Women President that will hopefully be a Grenadian, rather than myself. Presidency positions here, whenever possible, should be held by a local so that that the branch can function when the students aren't present. The current Young Women President, who will be heading home soon, met with me briefly today and her words of encouragement were this, "you have a tough job ahead of you." I pray I can be up for the challenge!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Beaches, Banks, and Busy Bees

As you can see on Sunday I posted some pics from our first week here. By the time I figured out how to get them on my blog I was too tired to make any comments. Obviously there are pics of Emma playing at the beach and a few of the pictures were taken on campus. Now I feel so far behind on blogging I don't even know were to begin.
Over the last week we have been busy bees trying to find a car, changing our US dollars into EC, getting things unpacked, shopping and more. Sounds easy, right? Wrong! Let me explain. Everything you do here just takes more time in general. This is simply due to our limited knowledge of how things are done here on the island and to a lack of modern conveniences.
We learn new things everyday. Like, if your at the bank and you get a call on your cell or you need something out of your car, its okay to leave the line and then return to the same spot when you finish talking. Also, at the bank you must have 2 forms of picture ID to exchange money so don't wait in line for a half an hour if you don't have both with you. Finally, if your driving and you feel like stopping in the middle of the road to answer your cell, count your change, or talk to the street vendor, this is perfectly fine. Others can just wait or go around you if possible.
As far as modern conveniences go, I really miss my microwave, dryer, and dishwasher (things often taken for granted when they are so easily accessible). So please, next time you need to heat up left overs, dry a shirt in a hurry, or clean your dishes after a large home cooked meal, give your appliances a big hug for me and then thank them for making your life a little easier.
Okay so today's post may sound like I am a little bitter about being here and I want to make it perfectly clear that this is not the case. I'm just trying to give you an idea of what it's like to live in the Caribbean. It's just a big adjustment and huge lifestyle change. Grenada is absolutely beautiful and I love going to the beach whenever I feel like it. We have also met some amazing people. One of them being our neighbor Mary Ann, who makes us homemade popsicles and has been lending us her car until we have our own. Jerod's friend, Blair has also been extremely helpful, showing us around and sharing his car too. Also most Grenadians love children, which means Emma gets a lot of attention wherever we go.
Well I can think of many more random things to blog about but for now it's late, I'm tired, and every experience is starting to blur together in my mind. A good indicator that it's time to stop typing and fall asleep to the sounds of Grenada (I'll blog about sounds here another time.) Goodnight all!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

My Guardian Angel

Today my post is dedicated to my beloved Aunt Pat who passed away early this morning after a 2 year battle with cancer. At the moment I feel it necessary to say a few words pertaining to her rather than our Grenada adventure. Unfortunatly I don't have a picture of her with me, so those of you that know her will understand why I chose a butterfly. Patty's contagious laughter, unconditional love, and inspirational example will be deeply missed. Though I am extremely saddened abouth having to miss her funeral and haven't been there to be with my family, I know that this is where she would want me to be. This moring when we received the call I shed a few tears and then was overwhelmed with feelings of relief and comfort. Relief for Patty's sake and comfort that I know came directly from her. I then went about the day as best I could trying to get our home set up. This evening after coming home from dinner I began to sob. I cried so hard I felt like the air was being sucked out of my lungs. It is difficult to lose a loved one, especially when you feel it shouldn't be there time to go. Patty however, one of the lord's most faithful servants, knew that it was right. I believe that she has been called to heaven for a much higher purpose and that she will continue to do many wonderful things, one of which is to be my Guardian Angel as I navigate my way around this new land.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

And So Our Adventure Begins...

Yesterday, late evening, we arrived in Grenada tired and wondering what would happen next. Our experience getting here was a bit frustrating. We did not get to take all of our luggage and the airline lost Emma's carseat. However, on a happier note, Emma was very well behaved. On the flight to Grenada she spent most of the time sitting with another first term SGU student, April who was seated behind us. A missionary couple from the branch was there waiting to pick us up and take us home. Luckily they had a truck with just enough room for the luggage we could bring. Once we arrived at the apartment George, our landlord, came out in his underwear to help us unload. His mother Joyce handles all the living arrangements. She stocked the fridge with water, OJ, cheese, butter and bread so that we had something to eat for breakfast. We were so grateful for the food. Although Emma was extremely tired she had a rough night. Needless to say I ended up sleeping in her bed with her and have decided that I am jealous of her mattress, it is much more comfortable than ours. Too bad Jer and I can't fit in a twin size bed!

In the morning Joyce picked us up, took us to get drivers licenses, and then dropped us at the grocery store. She came back to pick us up in an hour. Emma went right to her and she loves the dogs that belong to George and Joyce. Later we were able to get a hold of another students wife who drove us to our friends car that we will be borrowing until they get home from break. We went for a short drive and then came home for dinner. The sun goes down at about 6:30 so we didn't want to be driving in the dark since we are unfamiliar with the island.

Once home Jocye brought us an old cell phone loaded with minutes for us to borrow until we can buy our own. We had no idea that she would do so much for us and are forever grateful for her kindness. She has gone above and beyond to help us settle in. I love her already! I will not lie, there have been a few short moments when I have thought to myself "what am I doing here" and "I changed my mind, I am going home." It is scary to be in new place and constantly have to wonder about the unknown, but everytime I've been worried about something it just gets worked out. It is very hot and humid here which makes it difficult not to keep running the A/C, but at the grocery store today we were reminded how expensive everything is here when we payed the bill for $835 EC! Well this is the story of our last 2 days and what an adventure it has been so far. Please, if you read our blog, keep in touch. We would love to hear from you. Stay posted for more ridiculously long stories to come!