January 31, 2011


I missed very few "things" from Dominica while we were home...I missed the people. This not only included my friends, but the kiddos we work with in Portsmouth. We hang out with them every Friday in a program called InLightIn and they LOVE it. We give to them and they have given us so much more in return. Next Friday will be our first InLightIn of the semester and this Friday we went walking around the neighborhood to let the kids know we were back. They were delighted to see us and greeted us with big smiles and hugs. I even got a kiss on the cheek from one of them...looks like Kyle has some competition.

Just a few of the beautiful faces of Dominica. Their big eyes and beautiful smiles melt my heart. They have so little and yet they love so much.

As we walked through the neighborhood, I was struck by the beauty. They don't have big homes, in fact, they are nothing more than wooden or tin shacks, but the colors are so bright and lively and the people still greet you with a big smile and a hello. The woman in the center picture, Honey, was so excited to see us and have her picture taken with her daughter and her amazing garden. Many of the locals have no photos of themselves or their family and for this reason they get a huge kick out of seeing themselves in the screen of the digital camera.

January 28, 2011

Dominica Apartment: Take 3

This is our 3rd place since we've moved to Dominica. The first 2 moves were by choice, the last one was not. It's a very long and complicated story and I'm not one to verbally bash over the Internet so let's just say that this move was unexpected and actually happened while we were in AZ and leave it at that. Thanks to some help from some amazing friends, our stuff was quickly moved and stored safely away. Kyle and I found this place online from AZ and we are very happy with it. It's called Passion Fruit, so Caribbean right? It is a lot smaller that our last place, and cheaper, but my favorite part about it is how close it is to Kyle's study place. I am officially done delivering meals (Woo hoo!!!). He can walk home in 2 minutes for lunch, dinner, or even to use the bathroom (haha).

Here are some photos so you can get a better idea of where we live...

bedroom closet

our balcony and view of the ocean

the kitchen

from the kitchen/living room (notice the ugliest "couches" ever!) looking into the bedroom

the office nook

looking into the bathroom

the bedroom

January 27, 2011

Yet Another Island Adventure

Tuesday I embarked on yet another island adventure. The spouses had a trip planned to Trafalgar Falls and a hot spring "spa". I have been to both of these things quite a few times, but I signed up to go anyway. Again, Dominica doesn't disappoint in teaching me something new.

Lesson #1: Flora and Fauna
(clockwise from top left)
Agouti (no, this is not a giant rat, although it looks like one), pineapple, waterfall surrounded by the rain forest, and a plant that the locals have a special name for (I'll let you form your own opinion)

Lesson #2: Skin care
There are many hot springs in the southern part of Dominica and I have now been to 3 of them. This particular one has a place for a mud bath. This mud bath consists of sitting in a pond of murky water, digging your hand into the ground, scooping up jiggly, gooey mud, and lathering it onto your body. As you can imagine, we all got a good chuckle out of this.

Lesson #3: Beauty
Although I know Dominica is beautiful, I can sometimes forget about it as I'm lugging groceries in the rain. With all the annoying rain comes lush greenery that is picture perfect. The only thing that could make the beauty more perfect is to sit in a tub with constantly fresh hot spring water flowing into it to keep you fresh and warm. That's exactly what all of us got to do. All that was missing was a glass of wine and a good book. It was relaxing refreshing all at the same time.

Lesson #4: Girls Just Wanna Have Fun
Now, I know this is a Cyndi Lauper song, but it really fits my life right now. I have so much fun with these girls and I think it's because we're all in this crazy adventure together and we're up for anything to stay sane. On this adventure it included sucking on slimy cocoa beans (ick!) and drinking warm, fresh coconut water (ick again!)

Great day with the girls!

January 25, 2011


Much like our refrigerator and freezer, our oven has gotten progressively smaller with each move. The brand of the oven is "Mabe". Kyle says, "This means maybe it will work...maybe it won't". So far I haven't had too many issues with it. I light the top burners and oven each time I want to use it, there's no pilot light, and I've yet to be singed. It does make a very loud hissing and humming noise every now and again. It just sounds like a small jet is in my kitchen. No big deal. There's no temperature like 350 or 375, it's just "1,2,3,4, or 5". I guess this means "warm, warmer, hot, hotter, and hottest". That's what every cook needs when she's baking cookies right?

January 23, 2011

Weekend Fun

This weekend was quite eventful! It started out with a "progressive dinner" with all the spouses. One of the new spouses thought of the idea as a way for them to see some different apartments. Most people move after their first semester when they realize what will work for them. With this dinner, in just one evening, they got a good look at a few options. The girls hosting had everything from chicken teriyaki to Jello shots. I made coconut chocolate chip blondies for my place and we finished the evening off with some night swimming at the pool. It was a lot of fun and a great way to get to know some of the new girls.

Saturday I spent the day at Batibou Beach, my favorite beach on the island. I didn't take any pictures, since you've all seen it many times, plus, I didn't want those of you surrounded by snow to be too jealous.
Saturday evening Kyle and I went to dinner with Luke and Megan, his girlfriend visiting from Tucson. It was great to finally meet her. I'll be seeing her more as the week goes on as I take her on a trip with the spouses and show her what we do around here.
Sunday it drizzled on and off so I stayed in, made pizza dough to freeze, baked chocolate chip cookies for some of Kyle's study buddies, and finished a good book. What a relaxing way to end a great weekend.

January 18, 2011

News Flash: We Won't Starve!

As many of you know I go to Roseau, the city 1 hour from where we live, to do the majority of our grocery shopping. The prices are cheaper and the selection is much better. This past Monday RSO did a trip so you better believe I was there, along with 5 vans of spouses. It is a very long day, but well worth the trip. We had a van packed to the brim with groceries and a couple of Pizza Hut boxes (it's the latest addition to Dominica). I had a long list of things to get, considering we had to restock a kitchen and I think, for the first time ever, I got everything on my list. It feels so good to be able to cook "real meals" and not eat PB &J's or ham sandwiches for every meal of the day. I think my other half is very excited about this too.

Here it is! Our incredibly shrinking freezer. With each move or fridge/freezers have gotten smaller and smaller. This is our freezer as of now and this doesn't even include the 20lb box of chicken I normally squeeze in here. Since there is no American chicken on the island until late next week, I had to buy a few individual packages to get us through the week. Meat, cheese, frozen veggies, and deli meat is pretty much all this puppy can handle.

Now you have a little peak into our crazy life here and you can all sleep peacefully knowing we won't starve, in case you were worried.

January 16, 2011

Unpacked and Back At It

After arriving in San Juan, we picked up our bags and this is what we found. They had opened all of our luggage. Considering we had two vacuum-packed pillows in the one suitcase, TSA had a difficult time getting all the items to fit back as they were. They decided to leave it open and simply tape the heck out of it. We looked like total hillbillies and were glad to check them in the next day for out flight to Dominica.

I've spent the last week unpacking and getting organized. I've also returned to the routine I had before we left...the pool, grocery shopping, cooking, hanging out with the girls, tutoring, etc. I must say it feels good to be back and it truly feels like we never left.

January 10, 2011

Back on the Rock

We are back on the island, or "the rock" as many of us refer to it, and it's very surreal. In some ways it feels like we never left and in other ways we have forgotten about how life is here. We've spent the last couple of days trying to get moved, unpacked, and situated, but these things take time around here. I'm sure we'll be pretty well settled come the end of the week. Kyle and I were both very happy to see our friends. They all welcomed us back with open arms. I certainly got used to America in the four short months we were there and I've had a few "meltdowns" already. I know with time I'll get readjusted and things will feel "normal" again. This is all I have to share for now. I have been very busy getting things in order and haven't had much time to communicate with friends and family back home. Once I get our apartment together and my duties as RSO president become less time consuming, I will post pictures and more about our life here in the days to come. We miss you all!

January 5, 2011

Returning to Island Life

As I mentioned in my last post Kyle and I are heading back to Dominica on the 7th of January, we don't get there until the 8th. These last 4 months at home have been bittersweet for us. Of course we enjoyed our time here and all the comforts of home that came with it, but we both know where we need to be in order to fulfill Kyle's dream of becoming a doctor. We are packing up our bags as I write this and I can't help but think about all the things we are going to miss about not just Arizona, but the States in general...

1. Sunday night dinners with Russ and Beth. It's been a tradition ever since I've been around and it started long before me. We love our time with them.
2. Monday night football dinners, themed meal and all, with my mom and dad. It's a new tradition, but one I hope we continue in one way or another. Oh, and I will miss all the other dinners we had with them (there were a lot!)
3. Soft toilet paper. Now you may laugh, but the stuff down on the island is like very thin cardboard. The good stuff is outrageously expensive and therefore our tushies suffer.
4. Centralized air conditioning. Other than the buildings on campus, no places have it and we are therefore constantly sweaty. We have small units at our place, but it's just not the same.
5. The last number flows nicely into my next thing I will miss...feeling clean. Since we are very sweaty there, I seem to always have a layer of ick on me. It could also be the mixture of sunscreen, bug spray, and sweat, but who knows.
6. Grocery stores, Target, Walmart, the mall, great restaurants, etc.

I'm sure you get the point that I will miss some very basic amenities and of course our family and friends, but what we have gained down there is worth more than any luxury you can get in the states. Kyle is learning so much in school and I am learning so much about myself and us as a couple. We will have an experience that very few people will ever have and a bond that is unbreakable. As I've said before, we've also made some life long friends and that is something no soft piece of toilet paper can ever replace. Dominica....we're coming back!

January 2, 2011

Goodbye 2010, Hello 2011

Well, 2010 has been quite the year for Kyle and me. For starters, we moved to a small island in the middle of the Caribbean (not an everyday event for most people), we've started a life on our own as we spent our first year of marriage abroad, and made it through Kyle's first year of med school. Yes, we did face some bumps along the road, especially when we had to take a semester off and return home to figure out why Kyle wasn't feeling well, but with great friends and family at home as well as some very special friends we've met in Dominica, we made it and got closer in the mean time. I have faith that everything happens for a reason and although the reasons are not known yet, I'm ready for what 2011 has to bring. Kyle and I will be returning to Dominica on the 8th of January and we are ready to get back to the grind and establish more of a routine. My New Year's resolution for him is to RELAX and take some time away from the books. He and I both need it. This next year we'll be in Dominica until August and from there we'll be moving to either Miami or Michigan. Once done there, in early December, we have plans to stay with my Nana in St. Louis so Kyle can study for Step 1 with as little distraction as possible. If you add that up, that's two countries and two states in one year. So, that's the plan...but, as the saying goes "We plan and God laughs". We hope 2010 was great for all of you and if not, here's to health and happiness in 2011.