June 27, 2010

One Long Day

Saturday, I woke up at 7am, which is early for me, to go to Roseau to do some shopping. It was so difficult to wake-up and even more challenging considering Kyle and I stayed up until 1:30am playing gin rummy (it's our latest thing). Yawning the whole way to school to pick-up the transport to Roseau I knew I had to go or I'd be kicking myself the rest of the week. Anyway, the long trip was made completely worth it when I made a visit to the newest grocery store in town. It's called Save-a-Lot. Apparently they have them in the northeast where they are more of a discount grocery store. Well, here, it is like heaven. They have a REAL meat counter with pork, beef, chicken, and fish and none of the packages say "Parts" on them. Hallelujah! They also have a small produce section with quite a few fruits and veggies not to be seen anywhere else on the island. Around here, if it's not grown locally, they don't really have it. I realize this is how things in the US used to be, but this girl is used to produce basically whenever she wants them. We rarely think about the actual seasons of things at home, admit it. Back to my story...as I stood amongst the mass of people in the tiny produce section, I landed my eyes on some beautiful, fresh, green asparagus. I almost cried for joy, but I was quickly stopped by the thought of how expensive it could be. Even at home, I don't buy that stuff unless it's on sale. After 20 minutes of the clerks checking around and doing some calling, I was told 9.95 EC per pound. That's cheap! I took two pounds. I would have taken more, but I didn't dare want them to go bad. Wasting an item like that is a sin around here. Not to mention they only had 8 and I wanted to share with my fellow spouses. The funniest part was how the manager went up to each cashier and said, "This is asparagus", while displaying it to them like you would see on QVC. In addition to the asparagus I got zucchini, apples, pork chops, and stew meat. Such a treat for Dominica! With a smile on my face, I continued my other shopping...picking up pineapples, cucumbers, and lettuce at the market, and then making the long drive home. As I walked from campus, where we are dropped off, to our place, the beads of sweat were rolling down my face and the heavy bags were all digging into my shoulders and arms. About half way home, my bag of produce from the market tears and I nearly cry from exhaustion as my cucumber rolls around on the ground. I pick them up, march home, put away my finds, and leave again to go watch the USA and Ghana in the world cup. Well, you all know how that ended (boo hoo!) I went directly to church from there and then to a surprise birthday party after that. When I finally got home around 10 I couldn't wait to take a shower, relax, and wait for Kyle to come home so I continue my gin rummy winning streak. Well, most of that happened...he killed me in gin rummy! I didn't care. I was just happy to be home having a great time with my love after a VERY LONG DAY.

June 21, 2010

Today's the FIRST Day of Summer?

As I looked at my calendar today, I noticed that in the upper right hand corner of the box for June 22nd it said "First Day of Summer". What??? This is news to me. It has clearly been summer since the day we got down here, which was January 2nd. The weather has never been anything but sunny, hot, and humid and I have yet to have a sweat-free day. Now, over the years many people have said they love the Arizona weather, but hate that we don't have the standard 4 seasons. To them I say, "have you lived in Dominica or anywhere near the equator?" Clearly not. We truly have no change in seasons here. The only new season we get is Hurricane Season. Oh joy! Kyle says he not only forgets the date, but the month. I really felt that back in January and February. It was weird to see on the news that in Denver there was a blizzard while I fanned myself with a magazine and applied aloe to my sunburn. So, to those of you who are complaining about the heat, wherever you may be from, just be glad to know that it will end in a few short months when you will then be greeted by cool breezes and sounds of rustling leaves, unless, of course, you live where I do, where it will still be summer...forever!

June 18, 2010

The In-Laws Are Coming!

Russ and Beth, Kyle's mom and dad, will be coming to Dominica in just 2 weeks. Now, to most people, being on an island for 14 days with their in-laws would mean 2 weeks of pain and suffering, but not me. I LOVE Russ and Beth and I know we'll have a great time. Much to their dismay I have a calender penciled in with activities everyday. What they don't know is that some of those days simply say "drink wine and watch the waves roll in" or "sit under a palm tree while sipping a rum punch". I think we can all handle days like that. I do have a couple other things planned that will actually require us to move, like hiking to waterfalls and swimming in hot springs, but I know they are all for it. They will be bringing with them an entire suitcase full of goodies for us. I hope they know how much we appreciate it. As a disclaimer I am making it known that I have warned them how hot and humid it will be and how it might rain a lot and how they may get a few mosquito bites, but they insist they still want to come...Kyle and I couldn't be more excited! To my wonderful in-laws: see you soon!

June 15, 2010

This Past Week...

It has been 1 week since my last post and a lot has been going on. First, we celebrated being done with Mini 1 and Kyle's great scores on the exam. We did this by hanging out at the beach with some friends. In this picture is John, Luke (our fellow Arizonan), and of course, the Kyles.

On Friday, after some great time spent with the kids at In.Light.In., Meagan, Taylor, and I hosted a dinner party for 3 of the most amazing women I know...Jen, Anna, and Nina. These girls will all be leaving at the end of the semester and we are going to miss them terribly. They showed us hospitality and love from the moment we arrived in Dominica. I can only hope to be as sweet as them.

The weekend was pretty quiet, considering Kyle is back to the grind of studying. He did, however, come to church with me for the first time and I really enjoyed having him there. On Sunday I spent the day at Red Rock Beach and Restaurant with about 15 girls and some adorable little boys. It was the perfect way to spend a sunny day in Dominica.

Monday was the monthly grocery shopping trip to Roseau. Phew! That trip always takes it out of me. Think about all the groceries you buy in an entire month...now cram that all in one day. It is exhausting, but I always feel so happy when it's done. I get all the meat I need for the month as well. The real task is trying to squeeze all the food in the freezer. I try to buy frozen veggies when possible, since it's hard to consistently get fresh produce, but there's only so much room in our tiny little freezer. See for yourself...

Today, I spent the day at the salon, well kinda. I, along with some other friends, got my hair colored by Taylor. We didn't quite have the spa treatment like you would have at a salon in the US, we were at Taylor's house, but we did gossip and gab like girls at any salon would do. It was quite a lot of fun.

June 8, 2010

Propane Problems!

One of my biggest frustrations with living in Dominica is the darn propane. We use it for our stoves and ovens here and I'm not used to using it. In our last place I would have to light the oven and stove every time I wanted to use it with a match. It was always a big "woosh" of flames and I thanked God for not singeing every hair on my head, although I do think I lost a few hairs from my eyebrows a time or two. In our new place, we have a pilot light with both the oven and stove so I don't have to use matches, they just turn on as I turn the knob. We all have propane tanks either under the sink or on the side of our buildings. These wonderful little tanks, and I say that sarcastically, don't have any kind of gauge and can only be filled at a few places in town. The fact that there is no way to know how full it is, aside from estimating in your mind based on how muck cooking you did, is very frustrating and it never fails that mine goes out over a holiday weekend, meaning all stores are closed for 3-5 days, or as my meal is half cooked. Conveniently, the propane guy doesn't deliver on Tuesdays or Thursdays and quite frankly it's too hot and humid and the tank is too heavy for me to do it myself. What's the bottom line...take-out Chinese for us tonight.


This whole blogging thing is really quite new for me. I've always been turned off by the whole idea of writing about all the boring stuff in my life and sending it out there for the whole world to see. Don't you just roll your eyes when you read about someones Thursday: "We both worked and I made meatloaf for dinner"? How lame! Not that we all don't have days like that, I just don't want to read about them. Anyway, enough of my frustrations with bloggers.
With Kyle and I being so far away, I knew blogging would be the best way for our friends and family to hear about what's going on in Dominica and see some pictures. So far, it's worked out pretty well. I believe there are some of you who read our blog who we don't even know and those of you who are dedicated readers, I really encourage you to become a follower and LEAVE COMMENTS! I love nothing more than reading your responses to our posts. It helps me know I'm not just writing to the empty black hole of the internet. Well, I hope I am doing at least an "ok" job with this blogging thing. I want to give you all a sense of life here. If you have any requests for a post or any questions I haven't answered, please let me know. I'll be happy to fill you in!

June 5, 2010

Test Time is Upon Us

In just over 24 hours Kyle will take his first exam of this semester. It seems like it has creeped up on us and some how they have managed to squeeze in more information in the past 4 weeks than I currently have in my brain (no laughs please). He continues to amaze me as he studies daily from 8am to 11pm, managing to squeeze in a meal or two. One of my friend's husband described a student's life like the movie Groundhog Day. It was such a light bulb moment for me! They truly wake-up everyday to a never ending pile of material that they study over and over again. I don't know that you ever feel like you know everything. It truly would be impossible. No matter the outcome, I feel so proud of his hard work and quite frankly I am ready for the test to be over. For Kyle's sake, I just want one afternoon to hangout and relax. This semester, more than any other, I feel like we are roommates with opposite schedules. I was warned by other spouses, so I knew it was coming, that this semester is their busiest and most challenging. I have all the faith in the world in Kyle and I know these sacrifices we are making will pay off one day and it will make us a stronger couple. I wish him the best of luck on Monday and send out a prayer request to all of you for another 4.0 semester.

June 3, 2010

Our Blog Gets A Makeover

I decided that with the start of a new semester (actually we are about a quarter of the way through it, but who's counting) we needed a new look. I did love our page before, but something in me, which I believe I got from my mother, has always given me the desire to rearrange, rework, and change things frequently. This is something I think my dad can attest to after years of returning home from trips, only to find the house is a new color and the couch and tables are switched around. I hope Kyle knows what he's getting in to. Luckily, for him, we'll be renting for a while which inhibits my natural desire to paint every white wall a beautiful, rich color. So, enjoy our new look and as always please comment on our posts or just leave a note saying hi!

June 1, 2010

Pioneer Woman I am Not!

Alright, so I've lived down here in the jungle for a little over 4 months now and I have learned to adapt to live without some of the conveniences of home in exchange for some darn beautiful beaches and spectacular waterfalls. I do, however, believe I was getting a bit cocky in my abilities to quickly whip up meals with the few available ingredients at the market while still having time to tutor at the prep school, go to yoga, go on as well as setup trips around the island, and make it to weekly Bible studies and meetings. With my ego and my ambitions high I decided it would be a great idea to do our own laundry. It would be a good way to save money too. Plus, our new place has a tub (great for washing clothes) and a big balcony (great to get an ocean breeze to dry things) which would make this a simple task. So I thought...
I couldn't have been more wrong! I slaved an entire day bent over the tub trying to manually produce the same motions a machine would produce...swishing and swashing around and around. I must have done 30 pairs of underwear, 8 shirts, 10 pairs of socks, a few bras, and some small hand towels. After I did the "washing machine waltz" it came time to wring out as much water as I could from each article of clothing. I had blisters on my hands by the time I was done! Then I had to lay all the pieces out so they could dry as quickly as possible. I had Kyle's britches hung on clothes pins on the balcony (he appreciated that) and the rest of the stuff was placed neatly on top of 2 large towels on the floor in our bedroom so the air conditioner would dry them. When you live in high humidity, like 93%, it's still going to take DAYS to dry. Three days later, the items seemed to be dry...finally! One small problem...they smelled like pond water and were crispier than a piece of bacon put into a microwave for 15 minutes! Is it normal for a sock to stay horizontal when you pick it up? I didn't think so.
Bottom line, we called a laundry lady! She picks up at 8 am and drops of at 8pm. She charges 12 EC per load, which is a large grocery bag stuffed to the brim and beyond, and they come back smelling like fields of fresh daisies. I think she is my new best friend! My hand washing days are over!