July 29, 2010

We Can Do It All In Dominica

So far, in my 7 months here, I have been to many birthday parties, a baby shower, a bridal shower, and now a bachelorette party. Yes, we can do it all here in Dominica...it's just done a little differently. The bachelorette party was actually a surprise for my friend Kelsey who is getting married at the end of August and was held at our place. We decorated, had some appetizers and wine, and best of all, I think she was truly surprised.

Dominican decor: note cards, a sharpie, duct tape, string, and clothes pins.

The surprise! Kelsey is on the right...does she looked shocked?

I made pizza bites, chocolate coconut blondies, and a lemon cheesecake dip with apples and vanilla wafers. Some of the other girls brought wine, deviled eggs, and caramel popcorn. It was truly a group effort.
Anna, Margo, and Nina

Playing some games.
Nicole got the most right for the "Famous TV Couples" game and she won a lovely pair of red undies. We went for the gag gift approach since nothing here is really worth buying.

What was the most Dominican thing at the party? A veil made out of mosquito netting! Kelsey wore it with pride.

What a great night. We wish Kelsey and Jordan nothing but the best. They are such a great couple who have brought smiles to many of the people here in Dominica.

July 24, 2010

Kyle at InLightIn

As many of you know, I go to an outreach program called In.Light.In every Friday afternoon. We spend a few hours with the local children just playing and loving on them. It's one of the most rewarding things I have ever been a part of. Well, this past Friday was the last one of the semester and Kyle decided to come with me. I was so excited for him to see what I do at In.Light.In and meet the beautiful children that melt me heart. I think he was nervous at first since the kids can be a little overwhelming, but in the end he had a great time. Take a look...

A little game of Keep Away is always fun for kids.

These two kids tried endlessly to get the ball.

Gotta love these cuties.

Doing some coloring with the kids.

Here's the group, leaders and kids.

July 21, 2010

Thank you Dominica

It's been pointed out to me that I tend to say a lot of negative things about Dominica on this blog. Now, I don't completely agree with this, but I do I have moments of hatred towards this place which are intermingled with times of pure love. I guess you could say Dominica and I have a love/hate relationship. I try to enjoy this island, both the good and the bad, since I know months from now when Kyle and I are back in states, land of rush, rush, rush and keeping up with the Joneses, I will truly miss the simplicity of this island and our secluded life here. Now, to my moment of gratitude to Dominica...I just want to say thank you for an entire day in which I DID NOT SWEAT. Trust me, this is a once in a lifetime moment. For some odd reason, there was a massive cold front that swept through this little island of ours. It rained on and off all day and stayed cloudy from sun up till sun down. I even wore a cardigan this afternoon! I sat inside our house with no AC and no fan running and was actually chilly! I walked to and from campus without even feeling sticky! Can you believe it? Well, I hope this makes up for my previous negative comments about where we live. Now, I can't promise I won't have anymore "Dominica Days" when I want to throw in the towel and get back to my comfortable life in the states, but I do want to make it a goal to thank God more often for this amazing opportunity for both Kyle and I. So...thank you Dominica for this beautiful day. By the way, I wouldn't mind a few more of them.

July 19, 2010

Kubuli Canoe Races

About 2 months ago, my friend Kelsey tried to convince me to do these canoe races to which I had no interest in. After nagging a few more times and me saying no a few more times, she simply signed me up and said, "You're going to do the race and you're going to have a good time". Boy am I glad she forced me...it was such a blast and something I will never forget!
We had 3 teams of 4, all of them spouses of students. Here's the gang...

Me with 2 of the girls on my team poking, our heads out the window of the bus.

This is a church in the city of Soufriere, where the races were held.

Typical Dominican architecture.

Not sure what this lady is doing...flashing oncoming traffic?

Kubuli Beer sponsored the event. We even got a case of Kubuli to split just for participating.

I couldn't help but snap a photo of this guy. Check out those dreads!

This is my team. (From L to R: Kelsey, Margo, Nina, and Me)

This was our team huddled. I believe we said "Let's just try not to come in last place".

The Kubuli Canoe Races are quite a popular event.

What a great day! In true Dominican style, we arrived to the races at 11:30am in order to sign up by noon, as told by the race coordinators, so the races could begin promptly at 1 pm. We should have known this was coming...we were the only people there until around 2:30. The races didn't even start until around 3. We weren't told the wrong information, people are just slow and laid back around here. Ugh! Don't they know if you're not 5 minutes early, you're late? Anyway, the races finally began and there were a total of 3 separate races. Two of them were for corporate teams and one was for private teams (that was us). There were only 4 teams in the private race and 3 of them were us spouses. Long story short...my team came in second to last. We reached our goal of not getting last place! We were just glad to not fall in the water. We laughed a lot and made memories that will last forever!

July 17, 2010

Sunsets and Sad Goodbyes

Friday, Kyle took the evening off and we all went to Sunset Bay for dinner. We got there around 6pm, just in time for sunset and some photos.
As soon as I saw this view, I couldn't help but take a picture. Isn't this beautiful?

Alright, time for some fun...

"Everybody's goin' surfin', surfin' USA...I mean Dominica".

Aww, what a beautiful family. We miss you guys.

So happy to have some time with my husband. He deserves this break.

As the sun went down, the rain began to fall, but I just had to get a picture of my wonderful in-laws and the coastline behind them.

I think they loved their time in Dominica. Look how happy they look.

A kiss for my wonderful husband who sacrifices so much and studies day after day. Keep following your dream honey. You make me so proud.

If being a doctor doesn't work out...there's always modeling. Well, maybe?

Kyle tried to get a picture of me jumping off a rock. Here's "Take 1"...too early.

"Take 2"...too late.

"Take 3"...just right.

Alright, enough goofing around with the camera, time for some dinner. First up, pumpkin soup. This was absolutely delicious.

Now on to the main course, lobster and fish. We all left stuffed and happy!

On our way out we noticed some cacti that made Kyle and I miss the desert of Arizona.
This evening was the perfect way to end their stay in Dominica. It was so nice to have the 4 of us together again, just like the Sunday dinners we used to have.
Russ and Beth, thank you so much for taking the time to come visit us here in Dominica. We hope and you had a nice time and enjoyed this crazy little island. We will miss you and look forward to seeing you in AZ for the holidays.

July 13, 2010

Dear Google, Remember Me?

While living in Dominica I find myself using Google searches on a daily basis for quite random things. For example, on Saturday I bought a fish from the market to make fish tacos. When I say a fish I mean it had the head and tail on too. They did gut the poor guy first which was such a blessing. Anyway, as I set the fish down on my cutting board this morning I got to thinking, "I have no clue what I am doing". I mean look at this thing...

What's my next move? Google it, of course! I type "how to fillet a fish" in the search box and proceed to watch video after video of grizzly men perfectly filleting the fish they have caught. I now think that this will be a piece of cake. As I stand looking over my fish I can't help but think that I still have no idea what I'm doing. It had to be done so I dug in. I don't think I did too bad. I'll let you know how many bones we all choke on tonight. You might want to say a quick prayer for us.

Other Google searches I've done here:

  • how to light a gas oven without torching your eyebrows
  • natural remedies for mosquito bites

  • how to open a coconut without cutting your hand off in the process

  • how to make _____ without the key ingredient of _____

  • is it okay to drink milk that is bought off the shelf and not cold?

  • what can you make with______? (insert any random produce/grocery item they have here on the island)

July 12, 2010

Family, Fun, and Food (lots of it!)

As Russ and Beth start week 2 of their visit, I look back at the past week and think about all the fun we've had and all the eating we've done! Here are some pictures...

This is on Friday night at Pete's Ribs, a well-known local eatery with the students. It's cheap, yummy, and overall a good time. Their menu is basic: BBQ ribs, BBQ chicken, or fish, with a side of slaw or fries. I prefer the chicken, only because there are rumors the ribs are goat!!! I must say, they are a bit small for a pig or cow. Anyway, I took this picture of Russ and Beth at Pete's with some of my friends and their husbands.

While waiting for our food at Pete's Ribs, I couldn't help but notice the fabulous ensemble this local guy was wearing...red plaid pajama pants with a velour, 3/4 length, retro top that I'm pretty sure was meant for a female. Russ found his shirt so fascinating that he bought it from him for 5EC ($1.87 US). Poor guy! He probably only has a total of 4 shirts and he just lost a quarter of his collection. This shirt reeked of B.O. and a special kind of plant smoked by some people (if you get what I mean).

On Sunday, we decided to go to De Champs to watch the World Cup when Spain played the Netherlands for the title. I must say, I am not a soccer fan. In fact, it was probably one of the most boring things I have ever experienced. One hour and 20 minutes later and still nothing. Kyle even nodded off to sleep a few times. It was a fun atmosphere, but I was glad when someone finally won.

My friend Kelsey, who works at De Champs, saved us some front row seats for the game. It's good to know people in high places!

That evening, Kyle went back to studying while I was 3rd wheel with Russ and Beth. I took them to Red Rock for dinner, which is one of my favorite places on the island. I mean, just check out the view. It doesn't get much better than this.

This is just before we watched the sunset.

Here we are at dinner enjoying some delicious tostones.

Not much after our meals arrived did it begin to rain, and I mean hard. We all sat with our umbrellas trying to keep both our bodies and plates dry. Needless to say, we all got soaked! I guess that's a risk you take when you eat in the rain forest.

In addition to the dinners we've had out, I've also done a lot of cooking at our place. Hopefully Russ and Beth are getting a good taste of the local food and the ingredients we have to cook with here.

July 9, 2010

Island Tour

On Thursday, I took Russ and Beth on a tour to the southern region of the island. We stopped at a few of my favorite places in the area. Along the way Rosco, our trusty driver/guide, took us on a few photo-op spots and detours.

This is in the botanical gardens, under a banyan tree.

Have you ever traveled with Russ? Well, if you have or plan to, you'll know about his claim to fame...he has the smallest bladder in the world! Look it up in the book of world records. Anyway, in Dominica, there are very few public restrooms, or at least ones that are clean, so the entire island becomes a giant toilet for the men. It is one of my pet peeves about this place. I get sick of seeing men relieving themselves on the side of the road. Russ decided to join in with them and I just had to take a picture of it. You're really a local now!

This is Scott's Head. It was pretty windy, which made swimming in the bay difficult, and the bushes had grown quite tall along the trail to the lookout point, which made the view nonexistent, unfortunately. Not quite what I wanted to show them, but they loved it anyway.

As we were leaving Scott's Head we watched some locals pull in a net of fish.

I had planned to take Russ and Beth to Screw's Spa, but they were closed for a couple of weeks, so instead we went to the mineral springs at Tia's Bamboo Cottages. The water in nice and warm and great for your skin. As we all relaxed in the spa, admiring the lush greenery of the rain forest around us, it began to rain. Then, out of nowhere, it felt like someone poured acid in my right eye. I burned unlike anything I had ever felt before and I still have no clue what caused it. Needless to say, we cut our trip short and began the hour drive back.

This is a picture of Rosco showing me how all locals can carry stuff on their head. I was referring more to 10 lb. bags of mangoes or baskets of produce, but this little cup I guess will do. Nothing like a little laughter to cure pain. By the time we got back, my eye was about 80% better. I'm not sure what it was, but I was glad for it to go away. Kyle came home from studying for dinner and the four of us enjoyed a nice evening together.