June 22, 2011

What's Next?

Many of you have asked us where we will be going after Dominica. So, here it is...

Kyle will have one semester that is sort of a bridge between the book work he's been doing for the last 16 months and the clinical rotations he'll be doing in the spring. There are 3 options of locations for him to do this semester which we refer to as 5th, he's done 1st through 4th here in Dominica. Here they are (along with my personal feelings).

1. Dominica (Heck no!)
2. Miami, Florida (maybe)
3. Saginaw, Michigan (hopefully)

If we don't want to stay here, we don't have to. That decision took about 1.2 seconds for us to decide. As far as whether we'll be in Michigan or Miami is for the school to decide. We'll know our fate by the middle of July and I'll be sure to spread the word as soon as we find out. We're leaning towards Michigan because of how much cheaper it is to live there, but Miami is much easier to travel to than Saginaw. Either location would be fine with us since the semester only lasts from September 12th to December 2nd.

We've also made the decision for me to stay back in Phoenix during 5th semester(that's right Mom and Dad, I'm coming back!). I will easily be able to work substitute teaching and it will be cheaper for Kyle to split rent with other guys. It's a great opportunity for us to save money.

Once he's done with 5th semester, we'll be moving to St. Louis (Alton, IL to be exact) where we'll be invading my Nana's house from December through February. I hope she's ready for new roommates! During this time Kyle will be studying for one of the biggest tests of his life...Step 1 of the USMLE. This score is important and we think it's best for us to be away from the distractions of Arizona. Instead, we'll be embracing a snowy Midwest winter, oh boy!

So those are our plans for the next 8 months. We'll let you know when we find out exactly where Kyle will be during 5th semester. Exhausted by our travels??? I am, but oh what a story to tell our kids and what a wonderful adventure this is!

June 20, 2011

7 Waterfalls

Well, I can check off another place on my list of places to go! First it was Bense Pool, now 7 waterfalls. I've been hearing about this hike for quite some time and I'm so glad I finally went. It's about an hour drive to the start site, you hike for about 4 hours, and then the driver picks you up at the end point. Throughout the hike you see lush green trees, rolling rivers, and of course 7 different waterfalls, each unique and beautiful.

The first hour or so of the hike consists of careful foot placement on squishy rain forest soil and precise grabbing of random trees to catch your balance. I may have had a couple of slips, but by the end we were all covered in dirt after a few slides down hills.

The rest of the hike is a mix of crossing waste-high rivers, climbing over boulders, and trekking through the rain forest. It's such an adventure!

Our guide pointed out each waterfall. Some were in the distance, but most were accessible and we were able to swim in the cold, refreshing pools below. Ahhhh, that felt so relaxing.

What a great way to spend a Saturday with friends!

June 19, 2011


Any man can be a father. It takes someone special to be a dad.

~Author Unknown

Kyle and I are unbelievably lucky to have such great dads. They are both funny, smart, and love us unconditionally, yet they are so different, which makes them even more special. We love them more than they will ever know.

I love my dad and Kyle loves his, but best of all we both adore our father-in-laws...how often does that happen? It's so amazing to share in each other's feeling towards our fathers. So, here's to you Rick and Russ...

Happy Father's Day!

We Love you!

Thank you for all that you are and all that you've taught us to be.

We are blessed to call you Dad.


Kyle and Heidi

June 16, 2011


I cannot think of anything that sounds less appetizing in this sweltering heat than EGGNOG, but I know someone who will take the stuff any chance he gets. My crazy husband!

While on a trip to our local IGA last week he happened upon a "juice box" version of the winter treat and he just couldn't resist. (This is a man who is nearly brought to tears of joy the first sighting of eggnog in our grocery stores each year.) That night, after coming home from a long day of studying, he popped the straw into the box and sipped away. He said it tasted a lot like eggnog at first, but ended with a weird milky after taste. Could it be caused by the fact that we found this eggnog on a shelf next to cans of beans, unrefrigerated? Perhaps. Nonetheless it was a fun treat to try, once.

June 13, 2011

Shop 'till You Drop, Literally

Since we only have about 2 months left here in Dominica I've been thinking about all the things I am going to miss...as well as the things I won't. One of the things I surely will not miss is the method of grocery shopping.

Back in the states grocery shopping is one of my favorite things to do. It's quite therapeutic, actually, and I love going in with my coupons, my list, and spending time carefully selecting each potential ingredient to a home-cooked meal.

Here, things are quite different. I know I've described the hunting and gathering techniques before on our blog, but it truly is exhausting and something I haven't gotten used to. We do have a nice grocery store in our town now, but it's constantly picked over and I find myself still needing to go to Roseau to get all of things on my list. On Saturday I went with some of the other spouses to Roseau (you know the city an hour away on a windy, bumpy road?) We all arrived early in the morning to campus with many large totes and cooler bags ready for the day, not so ready for the drive. After lugging our goods from store to store and from one end of Roseau to the other, we finally met up in an air-conditioned coffee shop to compare our discoveries.

Here we are outside of the coffee shop, waiting for our ride...sweaty, smelly, and yet still smiling.

June 12, 2011

Take a Dip!

What does one do of an evening when it's

unbearably hot and you cannot cool off?

Go Swimming!!!

This is slowly becoming a nightly event in the Hickman household. The water is relatively cool and there' nobody else there. Plus, Kyle and I get to hang out...always a plus!

June 10, 2011

Bense Pool

I've been to a lot of places on this island and have experienced a lot of different things, but there's still more to check off on my list. My first semester here I felt like I had so much I wanted to do and see, but I knew if I crammed it all into a few short months, I'd be twiddling my thumbs now. I've tried to spread it out and I'm now down to just 3 or 4 places to go.

One of these places was Bense Pool. I have friends who have been there many times, but for some reason I never made the trip a priority. Last Saturday I finally went and I can't believe I waited this long. It is absolutely beautiful!

On the drive up to the top...

On the hike down to the pool...

Victor was our fearless driver and guide. He knows Dominica like nobody else and always teaches us something new along the way. This time he broke open a coconut for us to snack on and drink from, showed us how to make soap from leaves, and how to suck on the pulp from a cocoa pod. I'm becoming a real jungle woman!

When you get to the pool there's nothing more refreshing, and terrifying, than jumping into the deep, cold pool below. I stood looking over the edge for quite some time and finally jumped screaming at the top of my lungs the entire way. The jump is probably only 12-15 feet, but it seems like 100.
(Don't worry Mom and Dad...it was completely safe. I promise)

Here are the girls afters a nice swim in the cold, fresh water, ready to hike back...

June 8, 2011

At the Beach

test on Monday + no class on Tuesday and Thursday +

no class b/c of a holiday on Monday + the usual no class on Tuesday =

Lots of time with my love!

We spent Tuesday afternoon with about 15 other students/friends at Batibou Beach. The day was pretty dreary, but the clouds kept the temperature down making it ultra relaxing.

Cheesy...I know...but I couldn't resist!

June 6, 2011

Test Day Traditions

Kyle is a man of routine. He gets up at the same time, studies in the same seat, and when it comes to test days, he's even more methodical.

Since his first test on the island he has worn this 49er's T-shirt. It has become his "test day uniform". Last night, when he couldn't find the shirt (for about 2.5 seconds) there was major panic in our house. Needless to say it was found and all is well.

Breakfast has become a routine as well. Now, I'm fine with making lunch and dinner for us every single day, but when it comes to breakfast...he's on his own (I like my sleep)! That is, unless it's a test day. One these days I gladly spring out of bed around 6:30 to prepare a full breakfast of his choice. Banana pancakes seem to be the winner along with some apples and sausage or bacon.

These traditions or superstitions may be crazy, but they're doing the trick.

(Along with countless hours of studying)

Best of luck on your test today Babe!

June 1, 2011


I realize I was born and raised in Arizona where it averages well over 100 degrees in the summer and it can feel like you're sitting in an oven come June, July, and August. Phoenix averages 7 inches of rain a year and reaches humidity percentages as low as 2% (that happened when we were home in May). These facts have allowed many people who live in the Valley of the Sun to say "it's a dry heat" when people question our sanity for living in the desert.

I'm now questioning my own sanity for living in a sauna! It's currently 88 degrees, but says it feels like 97, and the humidity is 78%. I'm literally melting. I honestly cannot stop sweating. I'm already a big water drinker as it is, but I can't drink it fast enough to keep up with the amount I'm putting out.

Note to family and friends in Phoenix: don't give me grief about how hot it is there, because I have no sympathy. As I walk to the store, you drive in your air conditioned car, as I cook in our hot box of a kitchen with a blow torch as an oven, you blast your a/c, and as you sleep under your ceiling fan, I have a floor fan blasting on my body only to wake up in a puddle of sweat.


I apologize for the complaining, it's something I'm trying to work on here (clearly not very hard), but the weather is something I will truly NOT miss about this island and I think it's made me go a little crazy. Trust me, there are plenty of things I appreciate about this place, but the sauna-like feeling is not one of them.