Monday, June 30, 2008

Our First Kayak Race

On Friday, I got a skype message from Geneva asking if me and Jason if we would be interested in joining her for a kayak relay race on Sunday. The team needed a total of three people and the team needed to be mixed so it was crucial that we both agreed. Jason was a little more hesitant but after some serious persuassion, he agreed. All we knew is that we wanted to go and enjoy ourselves, but as competitive as we are....we wanted to succeed. We went to bed at a decent time on Saturday night and woke up Sunday morning feeling refreshed and ready to race.....not really. We actually had to hit the snooze button a couple of times and forced ourselves up when we had no more time to waste. We put on our suits and headed over to Kim Shaw beach in Simpson Bay for the race. We got to the beach a little early because we wanted to try and practice before since Geneva was the only one to ever be in a kayak. We have been in canoes before floating down the river, but the river and the ocean are very different. The river has a strong current to push you down the river and basically the only thing that we had to do was steer and stop. The ocean has waves that push you in towards shore, but the course went against the waves. We had no idea how much of a workout we were about to get, how tired we were going to be, and how much fun we were going to have. We practiced a little bit, but not too much because we didn't want to wear ourselves out and not be able to perform to our fullest ability. It came time to call roll and make sure all the teams were present. The team names started....Team TriSport...here, Team AUC...here, Team Battling Barracudas......WHOOOOO! That was us! We had came up with a fun and creative name and most everyone else kept there team name basic and simple. After the roll was called, the course was mapped out for us. One player, Jason, started out on the beach with paddle in hand and he had to run to the kayak in the water that already had a player in it, me. The race was 6- 1km laps and everytime we did one lap we would have to get close to shore so one player could switch out with the other player that was waiting. Ok---so here we go! "On your mark, get set, GO" and we were off. Jason was the first person to the kayak and things were looking good until we realized that we were totally off course and we were going to miss the mark. We had to come to a complete stop, reverse a little bit, and take off again so we could go around our mark and not be penalized. We got back on track and off we went....Jason switched out with Geneva and off we went. The switching and the paddling kept on for what seemed like hours. By the time the kayak made it back to shore for a partner switch--we were never so glad to jump out and give our arms a rest. It was pure exhaustion, especially since we had a kayak close behind that was constantly trying to pass us. We finished the race with Geneva jumping out of the kayak after the last leg and sprinting up to the time clock. Our time was 42 minutes and 5 seconds....














Not bad for a team that had very little kayak experience. All that mattered to us is that we kept our space between us and the group behind us and.....we didn't get last place!! We were so proud of ourselves because we didn't give up, even though we wanted to a couple of times. Kayaking is much harder than it looks and we have a greater appreciation for the sport. After the race, we went out for "brunch" and came home and took a nap! Jason had studying to do so his nap was a little shorter than mine but after the hard workout the nap was much needed. It was a great time and I think we'll be doing more things like this in the future!

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Half-way Point

So far, so good! We have officially made it to the half-way point of this semester and of our total time on the island. We have approximately 9 months, 2 weeks, and 3 days left on this island......not that I'm counting or anything! I have a calender on the refrigerator that gets marked off first thing every morning. I enjoy knowing that we are one step or actually one day closer to starting life. I know that "technically"our life has started but I look forward to the day when we have our own house with grass that needs cut, flowers that need planted, and mail that needs collected every day from our mailbox. I can't wait to decorate our house, paint the walls, and rearrange furniture when we think the house needs refreshed a little. I know that we are on the island for a purpose and one day it will be all worth it, but until then we are trying to enjoy the island. First semester I think we were in shock and didn't really explore anything more than study all day and all night. It was a huge adjustment but now we've realized that we won't be on the island forever and we should try and make the best out of it. Jason is still studying like crazy, but he's trying to balance school with a few more extracurricular activities. This semester we went to a "Wine and Cheese" event where there were different wines and cheeses from all over the world with a few hor derves. There was wine from France, Italy, Spain, California, South Africa, Australia, and New Zealand. We aren't big wine drinkers but we figured it was a once in a lifetime experience to be able to sample some very expensive wines, eat some moldy cheese, and watch the sunset over the ocean.....so we decided to live on the wild side!





The cheeses were uneatable, the hors derves were good but available in small proportions, and the wine was strong! So needless to say, the night ended with us making a stop at McDonald's...we knew that we would be able to fill up for cheap! We tried to act sophisticated throughout the night but we still were a couple of people from the country who would much rather prefer a cheeseburger and a diet coke from McDonalds. Maybe one day we'll be a little more high end and enjoy the finer things of life.....or maybe we will stay just the way we are.
Anyway.....as much as I look forward to breaks and the day when we will move off the island I'm really finding myself having a great time. There are so many more things that I want to do and see before we leave so we've got to get busy!

Sunday, June 22, 2008

"SURPRISE!!"

Before we left in April, my sister told me that the kids were having a joint birthday party in June. This got the wheels a turning. I've never missed their birthday parties and I wasn't going to let the fact that I live on an island halfway across the world stand in my way. I talked to Jason and he came up with the great idea of cashing in my frequent flyer miles and surprising the family for the party. I told no one I was coming, except my mom and my sister, so my mom could pick me up from the airport and my sister could make sure that Ana was home when I got in from the airport.
When we got to the house, I had my mom ring the doorbell and made sure that Ana answered the door. I was so ready to surprise her....I've never kept a secret this long and it was killing me. My mom walked up to the door and rang the door bell and when Ana answered she said, "Something was delivered my house in the mail and I think it belongs to you." and then I stepped out of hiding. Ana couldn't believe it! She was speechless at first, then came the scream and a few tears of joy. The sucky plane ride was all worth it....I got to surprise my family! We hugged and hugged and then when I stepped inside I noticed that my nephew was kept awake so he could see me too. He was playing with his trucks and all he could say was "Sashley look at my truck!" I was glad to be home and with my family...I wish Jason could have gotten to come home with me.
The day of the party was full of errand running and craziness. They had a huge inflatable jump room with a slide coming out of it for the kids and a huge yard for everyone to play in. The party had the "Cars" theme, since Brock is in love with race cars and Ana was a great big sister and didn't really care one way or another. There were so many kids there running around having a great time jumping around, having water balloon fights, and just being kids. My trip was filled with pedicures, eating out at as many restaurants as I could, a baby shower, softball games, soccer practices, afternoon naps, and running around like crazy. I had a great time but by the end of the trip I was ready to get back to the island and see my hubby! It definitely does not feel the same when you go back to the home you used to know when you've started a new home somewhere else. "Home is where your heart is" is definitely true....but where is my heart? I miss my family terribly, but I have made a new home with my husband. Our new home is on the island of St. Maarten in a small apartment building called Lagoon View, foreign appliances, and a full size bed that becomes a twin size after our dogs take up their half. We've made our home with each other......but I look forward to the day when our home can be a little closer to our families.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Happy Birthday To ME!!







My birthday was June 6th and because it was right before the block, Jason couldn't help me celebrate. That didn't stop me...the girls decided we would go out on my actual birthday and then I could celebrate with Jason and our friends that are also in school after the block. We started out taking advantage of happy hour at Kissing Fish. It was a lot of fun....maybe a little too much fun. I had a great birthday- so thanks to everyone who helped me celebrate.
After block, we threw a birthday party for Chuck and I at Brian and Melinda's house. We had the party the day of the block so everyone could come and enjoy themselves after taking the stressful block exams. We provided hotdogs and hamburgers and everyone that came brought a sidedish and something to drink. Melinda even made birthday cakes for Chuck and I. His favorite dessert is cookie cakes so we got cookie birthday cakes with homemade icing. They were delicious!! Silicon mats were put inside the cookie pans so the cake would come out a lot easier.

















Jason kept telling everyone that they would get "Siliconoma" a disease from eating the cake cooked on the silicon mat. I guess no one cared because those cakes were gone in no time. He just got done with an exam full of diseases so I guess the "words of wisdom" were still flowing after his exam. It was a great day-first birthday as a married woman, first exam of third semester finished, good food, great friends, and the adventures of living on and island.....can't get much better than this!


Saturday, June 7, 2008

Wedding Bells






We were married April 26, 2008! Jason's family flew in the week before the wedding, which was great because we got to really enjoy their company. The week before was busy with favors, decorations, and all the last minute details that come with a wedding so I was definitely glad to have a few extra hands. The night before the wedding all the girls went to the reception hall to decorate and when we finished at 1am it was time to sleep and get ready for the big day. The morning of the wedding was relatively calm and I was not as nervous as I thought I would be. Heidi, our hairdresser, came and did all the girls' hair and Belladonna Salon sent two ladies to do our makeup. I can remember getting nervous as everything was finished and it was time to slip into the dress. My sister decided she would get dressed first so she could help me put on my dress. She realized about an hour before the wedding that the bridal store had given her two left shoes. Panic filled the room! She called the salon, explained the problem, and bolted to go and get a new pair of shoes. The bridal store dyed a new pair of shoes for her and had someone blow drying them when she walked in. She made it back in time to get me in my dress and send me down the isle. I got dressed, took some pictures, and made my way outside. I can remember being in front of the wooden gate and hearing the bridal march and having a flood of emotions fill my body. I didn't think I would cry or get emotional....but it happened. I couldn't help myself, especially when I saw Jason waiting for me with a huge smile. The ceremony was something that I hope I never forget. Everything was perfect....the ceremony, the weather, the location....everything!










Our friends from the island (Brian & Melinda and Andy & Alissa) drove to Missouri to come to the wedding. It was great to have them there and share our special day with us. The drives were long and painful but the memories they helped us create were priceless.....hehe I wonder if they will agree. We had so much fun and it will be a great story to tell our children one day!






Our New Home


I just figured this whole blogging thing out so I'm just going to recap the past 8 months of our lives.

Jason and I--along with our two dogs Bazzle and Muzzy packed up and moved from our small Missouri town to St. Maarten, an island in the Caribbean. Jason got into medical school--little did we know what the next few months would bring.

1st semester: Jason had an exam one morning and because he had been studying so crazy I told him to sleep in a few more minutes before his test. I made breakfast and we were trying to enjoy the morning as much as possible until Jason went out to check on the car....something he did a lot because our apartment wasn't in the best location. When he came back inside he told me that our car wouldn't start. Jason started panicing because if he was late then he just lost that time for his test...not a good thing! So I take it upon myself to run through the neighborhood trying to find other students that lived close to see if they could give Jason a ride. All the students were gone for the morning and that is when we both started freaking out! I was running around Beacon Hill in my pajamas asking anyone I could find for a ride. I finally asked some construction workers across the street and the one guy that knew English let me borrow his car to get Jason to school. By the time we arrived on campus, we were both dripping with sweat from running all over and having no air or no window to roll down in our borrowed car. When I got back, he said as payment he would like some homemade cookies so I doubled the batch and thanked him. We also went out another morning to find our car door stolen....that's right our CAR DOOR!
2nd semester: After returning back from break and having our backyard broken into and our big iron table and 6 chairs stolen off our back porch, we decided it was time to move to a
safer part of the island closer to school. We found a really cute place right beside campus that we decided to move into. Oh---our car got sent back to the guy we were leasing it from because he charged us $1500 for a door and we thought that was crazy. We broke our lease so we started off the semester being carless. Being in walking distance was something we really wanted, especially since we didn't have a car. The semester flew by for me because we were getting married over the April break. The girls threw me a surprise bachelorette party one night before the end of the semester. They told me we were having a "going-away party" for Kelly and when I arrived everyone yelled "Surprise"...I was totally shocked! I had no idea, I usually have a good sense about suprises but not this time. I got my own cake, tons of gifts, and great friends to spend the evening with. It was a great time with the girls! I couldn't believe how much everyone did and that they were able to keep everything a secret! I have made some great friendships while being on the island and I will never forget these times. It's times like this when i look at my life and consider myself incredibly lucky!

Semester 3:We are now "Mr. and Mrs. Conway" We got married over the break and three days later flew back to the island for third semester. So far this semester is going good, but the first block is June 9th so it's still a little early to tell.