Saturday, July 26, 2008

Exploring the Sea

Early this morning, we went diving with a group of friends. I was a little nervous because I haven't been under in quite awhile--but I picked it back up pretty quick. The first place we dove was called "Carib Cargo" and it was a 200 ft. wrecked cargo ship. It was about 70 feet down and it was filled with tons of ocean life. We were actually able to swim through the engine room and the pilot house of the much fun! We saw eels, lobsters, tons of fish, and a SHARK! Anyone who knows me, knows that I am a little frightened of sharks but I did better than expected. We were swimming and next thing I see is our dive leader putting his hand up to his head and making the "shark fin" or "shark pose". I didn't know what to expect so I started breathing faster, heavier, and I grabbed for Jason's hand. Jason said I nearly broke his hand...opps! The shark was maybe 4 foot long and he was curious. He wanted to know what we were doing down there. He kept swimming past the group and then he'd disappear and then he'd be back again. We were proably 6-7 feet away from it....and I'm alive to talk about it. It was definitely not as bad as I thought it would be--and now I don't have to be as nervous because I've already seen my first shark. As we were surfacing, we had to make a "safety stop" which was at about 35 feet for about 3 minutes. We had to do this because we were so deep that we had to make sure that our body was prepared to be under normal pressure again. The higher up we got, the more we could feel the current and the waves. Jason got a little seasick and wasn't really feeling that well for the second dive.
Our second dive was at a place called "HMS Proselyte" and this is a famous dive site. There was a ship that sank 200 years ago and the only remains are 3 huge anchors and 13 large cannons covered in reef. It was beautiful down there...the colors were amazing. Jason went down with the group but had to resurface about 15 minutes later We saw tons of bright colored fish, coral, and some of the largest schools of fish! It was beautiful down there. I wish that Jason could have really gotten to explore this dive site. After about an hour, we surfaced and high tailed it back to shore. After we made it back to land, Jason was feeling better--I was really worried about him...usually I'm the one that gets motion sick! We filled our bellies at good ole McDonald's and then came home to take a nap. It was so good to get back in the ocean--overall it was a WONDERFUL day!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

My "Miss" List

Yesterday at lunch, we got talking about everything that we miss from back home. I can tell that it is getting closer to going home (23 days) because we seem to reminisce about home a lot more often. I thought I would share my "miss" list with everyone--it's good therapy!
*Four seasons: spring, summer, fall, winter * Thunder storms
*Fishing * Raking Leaves
* Burning Leaves * Sitting on the back porch watching the sun go down
* Grilling (we do this here, but on a tiny grill) * Dinner at the Davault's
* Hiking/picnics *Snow *snow angels/snowmen/sled riding
*fireworks * sno cones * baseball games
*football games in the fall * scarves/hot cocoa * seeing my breath early in the morning
* 24 hour restaurants *late night girl talks *floating/camping/camp fires
*roasting smores * hunting season (for Jason) * smell of cut grass
*interstates with the sun roof open *parks * washing cars
*walking the dogs around the subdivision *my family * tailgating
*hotdogs at the stadium *waterparks * free refills
*Target *family dinner * Sunday naps after church
*holidays with the family *hayrides * carving pumpkins
*walking barefoot in the wet grass *local radio stations *mom's cooking

--Ok, I guess that I should stop! I think I could go on forever. We miss everyone and everything from back home--but we'll be home before we know it.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

And To Think That I Have It Bad....

On Sunday, the spouses organization paired with AMWA and we had a beach day for the children in the Crystal Home. The Crystal Home is a mix between an orphanage and a foster home, located in the middle of Philipsburg. We had a few cars that went and picked the kids up and then we drove them back to Mullet Beach for a barbecue and some fun in the sun. The girls in my car were 10-15 years old and they were quiet at first...until I told them I was from the United States. They wanted to know if I knew "Hannah Montana" or if I have ever met her--she is a actress on the Disney Channel. They got a little disappointed when I told them no, but liked the fact that I knew stuff about her (thanks to my niece Ana...I've watched the show before). We got talking about their favorite things to do, favorite colors, foods, and anything else I could think to talk about until we reached the beach. Finally, we made it to the beach and we started playing with the beach ball and football while we waited on the food to be done. Jason and the dogs met me at the beach after I arrived with the kids. The dogs were an instant hit, especially with the smallest little girl. She loved getting them fresh water, cleaning out their bowl, and holding them. At the end of the day, the dogs were exhausted! They had been in and out of the ocean and up and down the beach all day--so they were ready for a bath and a long nap.

After a great day, it was time to pack up and take them back to the Crystal Home. The kids changed out of their wet swim suits and put on their dry clothes....and I realized how good I really have it. One little boy, maybe 12 years old, had a pair of jean shorts that looked like they could have fit two of him in the shorts. They were huge and he just held them up. He said that he forgot his belt at his house, but these pants were so big, I don't know how a belt was really going to help. I realized that I have a closet full of clothes that barely get worn, but yet I still buy clothes every time I come home.
After everyone was in their dry clothes, we realized that we had extra chips, cookies, and drinks. The kids asked if they could have some to take home and we said YES of course, but we thought we would just send everything with the Miss Eva (the mom of the home). The kids were stuffing their bags with drinks, chips, and cookies. They were planning for later....and when we asked everyone to put their stuff back in the main box so Miss Eva could disperse of it, they were hesitant. The smallest little girl kept trying to carry the huge box of food and drinks herself because she didn't want us to forget where the box was going. I was heartbroken just thinking about their lifestyle and how upbeat and positive these kids were. I find myself complaining when the electric goes out and I don't have fans or the air conditioner for a couple of hours...when these children have things much worse. It was a great day and it taught me that I need to be more appreciative and grateful for the things that I I am definitely trying to work on it!!

Monday, July 21, 2008

Alissa & Melinda's Birthday Weekend

Both, Alissa and Melinda got another year older on July 19th so we decided to turn the weekend into a fun birthday celebration. On Friday evening, we had a barbecue at Brian and Melinda's house to get the weekend started off right. We grilled hamburgers and hotdogs and we had birthday cake for the two girls. I baked each girl their favorite cake--Alissa's favorite was cherry chip with cool whip and Melinda's was strawberry with cream cheese icing. The cakes were both delicious. The night was a lot of fun--but it was only the beginning to an amazing weekend.
Saturday morning started off with us driving to the other side of the island to Orient Beach. Orient is one of the most popular beaches for tourists because they have parasailing, banana boat rides, jet skis, and anything else you could possibly want to do. We settled in to some chairs with umbrellas and we just enjoyed the day. On the beach, there is a local man who makes sand sculptures. This week it was a mermaid riding on a sea turtle with a dolphin. It was pretty amazing to see something so detailed made out of sand. Alissa and Andy decided that they wanted to parasail--which looked like a lot of fun. We decided that we would ride the banana boat. We had the girls on one ride and the guys on another ride. It was so much fun! It was good that we split up too because we were able to watch each other. I felt like I was a kid again!!

Jason got to enjoy the day like he was a tourist, which was nice. He didn't have to rush the day because he needed to study or because he had school work. The beach was great and it was so nice to be able to spend some quality time with my hubby. After Orient, we drove back home to get ready for dinner. We have had this weekend planned for weeks so there was no messing around. We showered, got dressed, and headed out to dinner. Dinner was at Big Fish by Dawn Beach. The restaurant was a tiny, quiet place right in the harbor. After waiting about an hour for our table, we finally got to sit down and enjoy one of the best meals that we've had while on the island.

It felt nice to spend the day in the sun on the beach with everyone, especially Jason, and then get dressed up and go to a nice dinner. With all the fun and excitement that we is unfortunately back to study time. Jason really needed this weekend to give him a boost of energy for the last exams and finals.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Another One Bites the Dust

Two block exams block exam and a final left! Jason took his second block exam yesterday and despite all the craziness that has been going on this block....he did really good! When he got home from his exams, we packed the beach bag and headed down to Mullet Bay for a little rest and relaxation. After our great day at the beach, we went to Lady C's for some "All U Can Eat Ribs". First, let me explain--there is this on going battle between the guys on who can eat the most ribs. So anytime we go to eat ribs they keep their rib bones separate and when they feel like they are going to explode, they eat 5 more and call it a night. Last night, the winner wasn't determined because some rib bones got mixed up and they lost track of their own stash. We had a great night with great friends....and the best part was there was NO STUDYING!!
When we came home, we had a few unexpected surprises. Our dogs had gotten mad that we were gone all day and decided to act out. Muzzy and Bazzle tend to misbehave if they feel like they aren't getting enough attention--I guess they don't understand how good they got it. We walk in our front door to find 2 problem areas. The first one was done by Muzzy--he decided that he was going to go to the bathroom on our living room rug. Yes, he is potty trained on his puppy pads but when he is feeling like a bad dog--he acts out. So after cleaning up his mess and punishing him, I notice another problem. This problem was done by Bazzle--he got in Jason's backpack and pulled out his cough drops. He ate the drops and shredded the paper all over the living room. Bazzle likes to dig through purses, beach bags, backpacks-anything he can sniff through and find something to destroy. They were on my bad list yesterday but I can't be mad at them long. They are my babies and I love them no matter what!

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Where did that come from?

Today was a day full of surprises...and not the good kind either. Around 1:30 am , Jason got up complaining that he couldn't breath and that his chest was tight. I just kinda blew it off because it was too early in the morning to be dealing with anything. At 2:30, 3:30, 4:30--he kept getting up complaining of the same things...shortness of breath. I was up all night with him on and off but I kept going back to bed. Finally at 5:00, I was really concerned so I realized how selfish I was and decided that something was really wrong. I have never really heard Jason complain so when he stayed persistant...I became really worried! We called clinics and hospitals and the earliest we could get in was 8:00am, unless we went into the emergency room. He decided that we could go in at 8:00am to the Maho Medical Clinic.
The Clinic was like any walk-in clinic in the states- except the fact that the nurses spoke with a very strong island accent. We walked right in and were the first patients that he saw....and he started with the questions. Jason told him that he was having a hard time breathing, his chest felt tight, and his fingers tingled ever so often. He examined him--perfectly healthy (minus a high blood pressure) and told him that he was experiencing panic attacks. The reason for the shortness of breath was because he was hyperventilating. Jason has always been a stress case and a worrier...but I didn't think that it would cause him to have difficulty breathing. So where did this come from? Yesterday he was fine...or at least I thought he was. He couldn't stop thinking about his upcoming exam, so while I was sleeping he was reviewing things and got a little overwhelmed. Anyway-Dr. Deketh taught him some breathing exercises to help in the future, prescribed him some anxiety medicine, and said to just relax.
Jason came home and took some medicine and seems to be doing better. He does good when he stops thinking, but the second he starts thinking about school- it starts all up again. This is something we are going to have to really work on controlling. We are going to try and make "stress-relief" a part of our daily lives. I realized today, more than other days, that he wants the best for his family and he doesn't want to let anyone down! He feels like he needs to take on everything...but we will be trying to change his way of thinking so something like this doesn't continue happening! We love Jason for Jason--not because he'll be a doctor, or a lawyer, or a trash man.....just Jason!

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Fourth of July....went off with a BANG!

Our July 4th started out with excitement from the second we walked out of our apartment. We made arrangements with a few of our friends to sail to Anguilla on July the 4th because they had the day off of school. As we took off walking to our shuttle that was waiting for us, Geneva was giving us the checklist of everything that we should have. Passports...yea, towels...yea, sunscreen...yea, I had packed the night before so I would make sure that nothing got forgotten and what did I do? I forgot to pack the tickets in our beach bag. The shuttle was waiting for us a little bit down the road so we had to get to the shuttle or he would leave us. We took off for the bus as Jason ran back to the apartment to get the tickets. We were hoping the bus would be a little bit late so we wouldn't have to hold the bus for Jason, but an island first---the bus was right on time and maybe even a little early. I explained to the driver our situation and he had no problem waiting but the longer Jason was away the more I worried that he would say it was time to go. When we saw Jason running down the hill, I was relieved. I had to sneak a picture from the side of the bus of him running towards was a great start to our first 4th of July on the island. We had to stop at a few hotels on the way to pick up some other people and then we were on our way to the "Lambada"--our sailboat. We checked in once we got there and made our way onto the boat. We removed our shoes and boarded the boat. The captain said the ride should be a smooth one with 3 foot swells in the channel. When we backed out of the dock, he requested the help of some guys to help raise the sails. Jason, Chuck, and Andy all helped pull up the sails, while the girls sat back and laughed at the boys and their facial expressions. Once the sails were up, then we were off to Anguilla. The ride was so relaxing! We had nothing to do but to sit there, enjoy the view, and do nothing. We went to the front of the boat for our ride to enjoy the wind, the sun, and the waves. It took a little longer to get to Anguilla than I had thought. I can see the island from the French side of St. Maarten so I thought it would be a lot closer than it actually was. I stood up the whole way there because I was hoping to see dolphins swimming along with the boat. No dolphins were seen but I felt like a little kid waiting to see something jump out of the water. When we were about half way between Anguilla and St. Maarten, the crew came through the whole boat passing out bread, cheese, and apples, so yummy! We didn't eat breakfast so we stuffed our faces and went back for seconds...well actually Geneva went back for seconds. She would wait until the crew went around to everyone and then she would go down and fill up cups full of bread, cheese, and apples for everyone. It was fun to watch the island get closer and closer....until we finally reached our destination, Sandy Beach. The sand on Anguilla was so soft, it was the softest sand that I have ever felt. We stopped at Sandy Beach to snorkel over a huge reef and to explore the little beach. We found a sea dollar, a jelly fish, and tons of bright colorful fish. We had a good time snorkeling but we wanted to explore the island a little bit before it was time to go so we headed over to the island. We walked around and took some pictures and then we were ready to get on the boat and head off to lunch. Before stopping for lunch, we passed by some caves on the coast of Anguilla. The scenary was amazing but by this time we were all starving and we just wanted to get to Roy's--where we were eating lunch. Lunch was served (chicken, ribs, or fish) on one of the beaches of Anguilla and then we spent about an hour playing on the beach until it was time to board the boat and head back to St. Maarten. The day was GREAT--even though I didn't get my fireworks! For dinner we went to Andy and Alissa's house for a barbecue and we called it a night pretty early. We were going to try and stay awake for the firework display, but we were exhausted after a full day of being in the sun. I missed my family, friends, and FIREWORKS this year....but I was able to experience a whole new aspect on July 4th----I keep telling myself "We are Making Memories!"