Thursday, October 30, 2008

Happy, Happy Halloween

I can't believe Halloween has finally made it--we have made it to another day that is highlighted on the calendar. Today, I had to substitute teach at a nearby private school and I got to enjoy all the Halloween festivities! I woke up early this morning because I was excited to see what the day had to offer....all while wearing a cute costume. I didn't even let the alarm clock wake me up. It felt like I was an anxious kid again....kinda silly I know!! My costume was a death widow--I had a hoop skirt with spiders all over it, gloves, and a veil. I really enjoy getting into the Halloween spirit--any chance to feel young!
I had to walk a little way to school--not that far--but every person I ran into gave a funny smile or made a comment about my outfit. What is wrong with people these days? Can't a 24 year old girl dress up for Halloween? I wore my costume proudly to school...I wasn't going to let anyone burst my bubble. The kids were adorable...everyone was all dressed up. We had a few witches, a gothic ballerina, a vampire, Jack Sparrow, pirates, mummys, and all kinds of crazy costumes.

The day was filled with a lot of Halloween activities....I really enjoyed myself! I can remember when I was younger and dressing up for school or to go trick-or-treating--it was always something that I looked forward to. My favorite costume was Jasmine on 'Aladdin'. My mom took me to the fabric store and we picked out the color of silky material that I wanted and she sewed my was beautiful. I was the prettiest Jasmine that any 9 year old could be--I thought I was pretty cool that my mom made the costume homemade AND the fact that my belly got to show! Jason's most memorable costume was when he was 10 and he was a vampire. He got to paint his face white with fake blood coming down from his mouth and his fake teeth. He loved his cape the made him invincible. He would wrap himself up in his cape and then stretch out his arms as wide as he could and take off running like a crazy man....I just laugh trying to picture this! I bet he was the cutest little vampire--if I only had a picture of him. We both got to go trick-or-treating in neighborhoods that were familiar--we got so much candy it was ridiculous!! Filling up a pillow case instead of a plastic pumpkin means that too much candy was being passed out AND eaten. Walking up to front doors with their front porch light shining, holding out our bags, and saying trick-or-treat was definitely great childhood memories for us. I know that if we were back in the states our front porch light would be ON and we would passing out candy to all the kids!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

It's Time For Some Football

AUC started up a flag football league for the guys interested in running, sweating all over themselves, and ripping flags off of their opponents. Jason decided this would be right up his he signed up! He figured having weekly games would be a good stress reliever and an even better study break. The league plays every Wednesday in Philipsburg and this week I decided that I would show my support and go and watch him play. I was under the assumption that flag football was just a friendly game with very few accidental, rough plays.....and boy was I wrong. Some of the guys take the game a little too serious and it gets pretty rough! They were pushing, slapping, tripping, ripping clothes, and even occassionally tackling. I had a great time watching him play...but I was constantly holding my breath everytime he caught the ball because I was scared he would get hurt. He didn't get hurt (knock on wood) and he caught a touchdown pass--YAY! Their team ended up losing, but had a great time! Studying is more important than working on their plays and they just play for fun and to get a good study break.

I had a great time watching the game and cheering on Jason and his team...I would have gotten more pictures but my camera wasn't taking the greatest pictures with it being so dark. I'm glad that school offers fun activities like this for the students to be a part of because it makes things feel a little more like home and gives the guys a little stress reliever!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Time to Carve....

Halloween is Friday--can you believe that it is already the end of October. Before we know it, we'll be back home for Christmas in snowy weather....ahhh we can't wait! Until then, we are trying to make the best out of every holiday season.....things that we normally get to enjoy with our families! It can't be Halloween without pumpkins, haystacks, mums, colorful leaves, and cool weather---but being we live on an island that doesn't have seasons--our Halloween will be slightly different this year. There are pumpkins on the island, but they are expensive. Usually pumpkins back home last for a week or so after they are carved--the cool weather helps them last. Well here--it is warm so the pumpkins might last for a few days before being filled with tons of bugs and totally falling apart. We decided that we would take a more logical approach. Jason didn't care if we carved a pumpkin or not....but I wanted to. I went to the store and bought a honeydew. Honeydew melons can be hollowed out and carved very similar to a pumpkin. Jason had quite a bit of studying to do--so he didn't know when we could carve our honeydew. He wasn't acting too excited so I had just decided to carve it by myself. He surprised me by walking in the door this afternoon and he was ready to carve....he is such a good sport! He decided that he would hollow and clean out the melon and I would make the face.
After Jason finished hollowing out the melon, it was my turn to start carving out the face. I was a little nervous how things would turn out because we don't have the best knives....but they worked just fine.
Carving the melon really helped get me ready for Halloween...and it was easier than carving a pumpkin!! We stored the carved melon in the refrigerator until it got dark and we could display it on our front door step.
We don't have haystacks or mums to place around the carved we had to improvise. We sat the melon on a big leaf found on a lot of trees on the island and instead of sitting mums beside it, we used tropical flowers. Our house now has a carved melon on the front door step--but don't worry we blow out the candle before we go to bed so we don't create any fire hazards. I think carving the melon today really helped get us in the Halloween I'm ready for some trick or treating!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

My Hubby....the Grill Master

Thanks to some great friends--Jason is able to cook dinner a few nights a week on our handy little gas grill. He isn't going to let the fact that we live in an apartment complex--with no deck--stand in his way of grilling. He just puts the grill right on the walkway...luckily we don't have very much traffic! He marinates the meat of choice before he even leaves for school so that it can take in all the flavors before dinner time. He has even created his own marinade which is made of most of the spices and liquids he can get his hands on. He just throws tons of things on the meat....and it comes out super yummy! Most of the time--we grill chicken, burgers, hotdogs, steaks, and anything else. Grilling makes things taste so much better! Jason is completely obsessed with his grill! He is the only one that cooks on it.....or should I say--the only one allowed to cook on it!
My hubby definitely thinks he is a grill master! I have to admit--he usually makes a yummy meal! I can't complain because it is one less thing that I have to grill on grill master!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Netherland Antilles Day

Netherland Antilles day was Tuesday and we decided that we were going to enjoy the day--neither one of us had school! Gotta Love No School Days...woo hoo!! The day started off FULL of adventures....Jason went to the doctors office(nothing serious)and I decided to take the dogs for their morning walk. The island was super hot that morning--but we still made good time! When we got back up to our house, Muzzy was exhausted and started acting disoriented. He was falling all over and shaking. Muzzy had overheated on the walk and started having seizures...we immediately picked him up and ran him to the shower. We held him under the cool water and when that didn't seem to be working, we dumped cold, refrigerated water on him. The cool water helped lower his body temperature and seemed to make him feel better. He had a rough morning and I'm sure he slept for the rest of the day!
About an hour after our morning drama, Andy and Alissa came to pick us up--we were going to spend the day at Orient Beach with some friends. We head out and once we got about 20 minutes down the road.... car dies in Sandy Ground (not a real nice neighborhood). The guys got out to look under the hood and decided we need to let the car sit for a little bit. About 30 minutes later, the car still wouldn't start so we decided that we would call Brian. Brian lives on the French side and he has a powerful car--so he could tow us back home. After an exciting towing time...huge hills and tow ropes really don't mesh!! We finally got back to Cupecoy and we decided to take our car. We all piled into our car, crossed our fingers that nothing else would happen, and headed to Orient Beach.
We made it to Orient Beach and the rest of the day was full of rest, relaxation, and memory making! We lounged around in beach chairs, ate some lunch, and enjoyed some yummy beach drinks! You can bargain with just about everyone--so I was determined to get the best possible deal on everything. We got 2 beach chairs, an umbrella, a side table, restroom, shower, and a drink(whatever you wanted) for a heck of a deal!
Our chairs were right beside the water sports hut--and we couldn't pass on the banana boat ride again. The banana boat has been upgraded to a red shark--even cooler if you ask me! The guy came over and was giving us his prices...he said "I usually charge $20 a person, but for you guys I'll accept $15". Being the bargainer that I am said "We have a lot of don't think you can do it for $10 a person?" He went and talked to his boss and came back--it's official we were going to be riding the red shark! I think I even did a little squeal and jump because I made a successful bargain!
We had so much fun....bouncing over all the waves! None of the girls fell off once-- which is kinda surprising for as much as we were laughing! The guys couldn't let all the girls have all the fun so they decided to give the shark a ride! They got on their life jackets and requested a good ride...and I think they got it. I'm not sure they stayed on the shark for more than 3 minutes at a time--everytime we looked the guys were slipping and falling off. The day finished great--it was nice to have a holiday, even if it wasn't one we were used to back home. Holiday still means no school--so we were determined to make the most out of the day. Yes, the day started off a little crazy we have to remember....We're Just Making Memories! Good or Bad memories are still memories......

Monday, October 20, 2008

Breakfast Burritos...YUM!

This past week--the spouses organization met to make breakfast burritos for one of our fundraisers. Breakfast burritos are a huge hit at the school--eggs, hasbrowns, cheese, with the choice of bacon, sausage, bacon & sausage, or veggies all wrapped in a jumbo sized tortilla and topped with sour cream and salsa. The breakfast burritos are the one fundraiser where students will clap when they hear the scheduled breakfast burrito day. They get really excited for the yummy burritos. We even have some people that will buy 4-5 burritos and take them home to freeze them. For the spouses, making breakfast burritos are a great time! We are all so crazy--making eggs, cooking the hashbrowns, warming tortillas, making bacon, preparing everything, wrapping the burritos, and labeling the burritos.

There were tons of spouses available to help make the burritos--and it was great!

No one felt overloaded or worked to the bone...we had time to chat, get drinks, or whatever because there was always someone available to take over at any given moment. After the hurricance, we were able to take the burritos to the school and sell them. The students were definitely ready--80 burritos sold out in a little over an hour!! I think they were ready for a good meal after being out of electric for a few days.

The spouses organization is doing a great job of making everyone feel included and keeping everyone busy--or at least with the opportunity to stay busy. There is always beach/pool day, birthday parties, fundraisers, fun trips, luncheons, game nights, etc. I'm making some great friendships while on the island, especially since we all have massive amounts of spare time. We all know the reason for being here--to better our lives--but sometimes it can be rough! It really helps to have other girls that are going through similar situations!


Sunday, October 19, 2008

Today is Going to Be a GREAT Day!

After Hurricane Omar, the damage, and the aftermath that the island had to deal with, the general mood of everyone is a little on the down side. The paper read yesterday that it could be two weeks before the island is back to reliable electricity and who knows about the water system? Of course with this kind of news, everyone is seeming a little blah. We had to experience another huge upset after Hurricane Omar....the Mizzou vs. Texas game!

Mizzou was suppose to have steak for dinner (longhorns are beef, right?) but instead got hooked pretty good. The game was a rough one to watch, especially with a Longhorn sitting in the corner watching every great catch and touchdown that Texas was able to get. We ended up coming home to electricity and tiny drips of water--so I did the few dishes that were dirty and flushed the toilet, just in case it didn't come back on. As long as I have electricity-I'm a happy camper!
Well I woke up on the right side of the bed--slept all night with electricity and when I woke up still had electricity AND water! I'm not sure how long the problems with GEBE (electric & water company) are going to last but I have to admit that sleeping with the airconditioning on last night sure felt good and being able to flush the toilet immediately felt pretty good too! Breakfast was next on the agenda and since the power has been off--there is nothing perishable in our refrigerator. I tried to stay positive and we had a buffet of food....dry cereal, oatmeal, toast, and Jason's favorite--cold pizza. Lunch and dinner should be the same wonderful buffet of food--soup, spam, or anything we can find in our shelves--with the possibility of some meat (I could go grab some of our meat that we stored in the deep freezer, if the electric looks like it could stay on).
So today has already started out GREAT....and it is only going to get better (until I see some of my Texas friends). I am very fortunate and blessed and it is about time that I started showing it!

Friday, October 17, 2008

No Electric+ No Water = Miserable

Ok, I thought the 125 mph winds and the crazy amounts of rain were the worst part of the hurricane....well I think I'm changing my mind. We have been out of electric and water--pretty much since the night the hurricane hit. Lucky for us our apartment has a generator so it ran up until yesterday evening....until it ran out of fuel. Having electricity to help keep the refrigerator and the air conditioner running makes the world of a difference. Two nights now with no electric and water has made us feel miserable. It is so hard to sleep when it is so hot and quiet--we gotten use to having the air conditioner and a fan blowing on us at night. Needless to say, we have gotten very little sleep and we feel like we have been ran over by a semi-truck! I asked the apartment manager today when our generator would get refueled and he said there was no fuel currently on the island. Our water situation is about the same...none existent. Thank goodness we filled up extra buckets of water to help us flush the toilets. We are trying to be very conservative with flushing the toilets because it takes quite a bit of water to flush one time....and it looks like the water isn't going to be on for awhile so we need to conserve our water. This is making a very unpleasant smell in our hot and steamy apartment! I tried to light an apple cinnamon candle--but it didn't cover up any smell, it just made a new yucky smell.
Our generator has since been refueled and I have been able to check emails, work on school work, and turn on our air conditioner. A lot of our food has been thrown out because it has defrosted and gotten warm. Some of our food was taken to our friend's house--she lives on the French side and they have not lost electricity and they have a deep freezer.
As of now, the talk around the island is that the electric will not be back on until next Thursday. The power plant on the island is covered with seaweed and the power grids were knocked out. The water situation is very similar....the water for the island comes from the ocean. The water plant, apparantly, filters the water from the ocean and the large amounts of seaweed are clogging the filters. Either way--we do not have electricity or water and being the fact that we live on an island (where supplies need to be flown in) slows down the repair process.
We are doing good--experiencing a hurricane is the first for us so each adventure is a new one. We are trying to remain upbeat and positive--please keep us in your thoughts and prayers! I think we still have a LONG road ahead of us.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Thank You GOD....We Survived!

Just a little update.....
Hurricane Omar developed into a category 3 hurricane and hit St. Maarten late last night ( it was 60 miles away). We turned the air conditioner on all afternoon(too cool the whole house down) and used as much water as we could(laundry, dishes, showers) because we were told the water would be shut off at 8:00pm and the electric at 10:00pm. Knowing that we would be without....really didn't help the situation too much. We could at least prepare, but it was still very nerve racking. We tried to fall asleep pretty early because we knew it would be a rough and loud night, especially with no electricity and no fan! Around 1:00am we finally couldn't lay awake in bed anymore (it was so loud) so we got up to check things out. Little did we know that our house was flooding. The rain was hitting against our front door and windows so hard that we had water all through our living room. We were soaking up water and ringing it out in the shower for a few hours. Finally, we controlled the water from coming in by putting plastic bags in the cracks so the water would run off and away instead of running into our apartment.
We decided there was nothing more we could do so we tried to lay back down and go to sleep--almost impossible when the wind is so loud it sounds like it is going to rip through the apartment. Our airconditioner sounded like it was going to get sucked out of the wall--so we talked about what we would do to cover up the hole. Luckily, our airconditioner stayed in tact and we didn't have to patch any holes with trash bags and scotch tape. We finally fell asleep and slept in until 6:00am this was so warm with no fan or air conditioner that we couldn't stay in bed any longer. We woke up to a beautiful St. Maarten day--the sun was shining, the temperature was warm/hot, and no water or electric. Looking out --no one would have even have noticed we just experienced a hurricane.....the island appeared to be back to normal. After calling our friends to check on them, we decided that we would take a walk down to the beach to see how big the waves were and to see if there would be any damage.

There was tons of damage...the golf course was flooded so bad cars were unable to stay on the road and they had to drive on the grass of the golf course--dodging trees, rocks, and anything else that had washed up during the storm. Trees were knocked down everywhere--and unfortunately some cars were damaged. There was so much sand on the golf course that we figured the waves must have been breaking up on the fairway. The damage done to just our little section was horrible and I'm wondering how the rest of the island looks. We still have no electric or water and we are not sure how long this will last. Fortunately for us, our apartment building has a generator(which we discovered this morning) so hopefully it runs long enough that our food will not spoil in our refrigerator. We all had a very chaotic night with very little sleep....but the Conway family is safe and sound! Bazzle, Muzzy, Jason, and myself all experienced our first hurricane together. We were very fortunate--nothing major happened to us, our friends, or the school. Jason showered with a bottle this morning and headed to school to study--as of 9:00am he was the only one studying in the lecture hall. He is determined to not let Hurricane Omar, a category 3 hurricane, stand in his way of studying!! That is my Jason....gotta love him!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Hurricane Omar

Monday was the first day that we heard about Omar. Omar started out as a tropical depression that looked like it was on path to hit St. Maarten. Because of its status, I didn't think it would develop into anything larger so I blew it off. We have had plenty of rain/wind storms and I didn't think I should prepare. Well....Omar has grown from a tropical depression to a category 1 hurricane. Yesterday, the weather channel issued a hurricane warning for Puerto Rico along with all the Caribbean islands, St. Maarten included. This got the island stirring--and got me thinking how unprepared I am. Jason's school was cancelled today, along with all the other schools on the island, so everyone could go out and prepare for Hurricane Omar. I decided that I waited long enough and I headed out bright and early this morning....I didn't know how bad the rush would be so I got to the store right when they opened. Bottled water, canned meat, canned fruit, bread, crackers, peanut butter, nuts, chips, and anything else I thought we could eat without electric or water was thrown into my shopping cart. When I got home, I filled zip lock bags with water and put them in the freezer. They can keep our food cold just in case the electric goes out.I washed all my laundry--just in case we had no water for a few days.I filled up all our empty water bottles and our large Crystal Light pitcher in the refrigerator. I feel a little more prepared--Hurricane Omar is expected to hit St. Maarten tonight or early in the morning--and we are just praying that it isn't too severe. Hurricane Omar is not the main source of panic--it is the flooding, loss of electric and water that worries me. I'm not sure how long I could go without electric or water.....probably longer than I think, but I don't really want to find out.
Please keep St. Maarten along with the Conway family in your prayers-- I will try to post again and give updates as soon as possible.
*Don't worry about us--we have enough Spam, Vienna Sausages, and Peanut Butter to last us awhile!!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Taking Advantage of a Good Thing!

Monday nights from 4-6 at a local wings are 25 cents! Of course, we couldn't let a good thing get unrecognized, so we decided that we would go and explore. Not only was Monday night wing night, but it was also right after the final behavioral exam. Everyone was feeling a little relief--so a group of us headed out for some wings! There were three different flavors we could pick from--bbq, buffalo, and jerk--and they were all yummy!

We ate, ate, ate, and when we didn't think we could eat anymore....we ate a few more wings. An hour and a half and 80 wings later....we decided to push away the plates and stop eating. (80 wings were for everyone, not just Jason and I). We ended the night at Brian and Melinda's house. They have a homemade ice cream maker so we enjoyed chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry ice cream. It was yummy! It was a great day--one class is officially over for Jason, 25 cent hot wings, and homemade ice cream!!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Happy Birthday Geneva!

Our island buddy, Geneva, turned 26 years old on Friday and we helped her celebrate by going out for a birthday dinner. Pinapple Pete's was the place of choice--and a good one at that!! When we arrived, the place was packed! We had made reservations because we had a large group, but we showed up with a few extra people and we had to play a few rounds of pool until we could get another table. The guys really had a good time....and the girls enjoyed getting pictures of their men in action. We had a great meal with some great friends. We even splurged and got a piece of apple pie and icecream to share....we figured that was our birthday cake of the evening.

Happy Birthday Geneva! We had a great time celebrating with you--we're going to miss birthday parties like this when it finally becomes time to leave the island!