Saturday, January 31, 2009

Beach Boys

One of the best things about living on an island is the easy accessibility of the beaches, especially when the dogs need to get some exercise. They have really gotten used to the beach walks...and I like it because they can run around like crazy and I can just watch. They still aren't fans of the water--the waves are too big for them. It only took getting drenched one time by a huge wave for them to learn! A few times a week, we head down to the beach for a little doggy exercise--the other times it is just on the road. I would take them to the beach more often but when they go on the beach they have sand everywhere! They immediately get thrown in the shower so they don't get sand everyone in the house.When it is time for the walk and I get out their leashes, they go crazy. They are so ready to get out of the apartment. When they get their leashes on, they tug so hard that they almost choke themselves...they get so excited. When we get to the edge of the golf course...as long as there aren't any other dogs around, they get off their leashes. The second the latch raises on their leash, they are off to the races! They run so fast to the closest tree, rock, coconut, or patch of crazy weeds--it's almost a battle to see who can mark their territory the most.
The island has definitely gotten the dogs and myself used to the freedom that the beach allows. We stay at the beach as long as they are running around like crazy pups but when they start digging and laying in the sand, then it is time to head home! They have definitely turned into my beach boys--I think we're all going to miss the beach walks! I'm not going to miss sand all over my floors, but I will miss seeing them run like crazy through the sand! It's a great picture--my boys happy and excited running all over the beach marking their territory,the warm sun with a cool breeze, and having the ocean in the background! It will be a sight that will be missed!

Thursday, January 29, 2009

I Was Just Trying To Help....

The back tire on our car has been gradually losing air, so today I drove the car to school so I could try and air up the tire. School has a nice little air machine--but today for some reason the air wouldn't build up strong enough to fill up the tire. Jason suggested that we run into the gas station to fill up the car. He doesn't want me running errands and going places with a semi-flat back tire. We pull into the Shell station in Simpson Bay and find a section of their parking lot designated to free air. We pulled right up to the station and got out to do a little work on the car. Jason had said he would like to check the fluids after he aired up the tires--since we were there we might as well check everything out. As Jason was airing up the tires, I popped the hood and put the stick that holds up the hood in a hole on the inside of the hood. Jason got a chuckle out of my effort...I didn't put brace bar in the right hole and the hood was barely open. I could barely see anything under the hood, but I was determined to help out. Jason showed me the right way to prop the hood open and then he went back to airing up the tires.
I go ahead acting like I know what I'm doing...I start opening these containers under the hood. The first one was the windshield washer fluid--I opened it, saw it had some liquid in there and closed the lid. I started feeling good about myself...I was starting to figure out a little about car maintenance. The next container was for the radiator fluid. Little did I know but when the car has been running the pressure builds up inside the radiator and the fluid gets hot, real hot! I proceed to twist the radiator cap and ......PSSHHHH. Scolding hot radiator fluid came gushing out of the radiator--you guessed it, all over me! Hot radiator fluid exploded all over my sunglasses, my clothes, my hands, and in my mouth. I immediately scream, drop the radiator cap, and head to the edge of the parking lot. I'll spare all the details, but I wanted to make sure that I didn't let the radiator fluid stay inside my stomach so I made sure that it didn't. My sunglasses and my clothing was covered...I looked like I had walked under a water sprinkler or something. My clothes weren't the thing that worried me the most--it was my hands. My hands were burning--they felt like they were going to get big blisters all over them. My hands definitely got burnt, especially in between my fingers. Jason had no idea that I was going to try and help out...if he would have then he would have warned me to not open the radiator. Jason was worried about the radiator fluid in my eyes and in my mouth and the potential harm I could do to myself---so I was forced to sit in the car while he finished up. After he was finished, he closed the hood and we started home. Jason didn't seem very thankful and appreciative of the effort that I put into helping out with the car--he was worried about me. He said I was stressing him out...exams are Monday so he's stressed out anyways, but I guess this was just the icing on the cake. I was given strict instructions to head out for Ladies Night, enjoy myself, and to not do anything that might cause him anymore stress! When we got home, he splashed water in my eyes and made me drink a lot of water...just to play it safe. I'm fine--my hands are the only thing that are little sore (like I just burnt my hand on a curling iron.) I thought I was being a helping hand--we could hurry up and get done doing car things and get home and relax for a little bit before he had to go back to school. Because of my 'helping' we actually wasted more time and he had to start studying after he made sure I was ok. Next time, I'm staying in the car!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Marking Things Off Our "To Do" List

83...82...81... 80 days from now we'll be packing up and moving back to the states. St. Maarten has always been 'just a place to live' while Jason is in medical school but the closer it gets to moving, the more we realize how nice the island actually is. People actually come to the island for vacation, rest and relaxation--and it is about time that we start seeing the island as a place for us to enjoy! We've always had things that we said "we'll do that before we leave" and the time has come for us to start marking things off our list.
1. Shark Dive
The shark dive is something that always got pushed to the back--partly because I'm TERRIFIED of sharks! Well, the shark dive has been scheduled! Next month, we're going 60 feet under water to feed hungry sharks, some as big as 10 feet long. Yes, I'm nervous but I have always said that I would do it before we leave and the time has come. I will have video and tons of pictures of our shark feeding experience--I need evidence of my craziness!
2. Watch boats leave and come into the harbor
The Yacht Club is a little area beside the bridge where we can go sit and watch the nice yachts come in and out of the harbor. We always admire the huge yachts when we drive over the bridge, but Jason has never seen the bridge up close and personal. Next week, we're going to sit and watch all the nice yachts and sailboats.
3. The Westin brunch
The Westin, a nice hotel on the French side, offers an all inclusive brunch with all the food anyone could possibly eat. The hotel has a very nice pool area that we'd like to hang out at after brunch. The brunch is only offered on Sundays--so when Jason has a free Sunday, we'll be heading to The Westin.
4. Saba--a neighboring island
Saba is an island that we can get to after an hour long ferry ride. They have a hike up the side of the island, called Mt. Scenary, and the peak is in the clouds. The hotel on the island is called the EcoLodge where everything is 'green'--no electric or running water. The hotel is placed right in the middle of the rainforest and on the side of the mountain--so the view is amazing! I have been dying to get there...our trip there got cancelled with Hurrican Omar. I'm still trying to stay positive, but this will be a hard trip to plan this semester!
5. Heineken Regatta
The Heineken Regatta is a huge sailboat race that has part of the race around St. Maarten. We've always wanted to possibly work or ride along on a sailboat in the race. Hopefully this year, we'll be able to be part of the regatta. This race will by St. Maarten the first weekend of March so we're trying to get some things lined up now so we can participate.

Our list goes on and on--but we're trying to make the most out of the rest of our time here. Memories are waiting to be made and we have 80 more days to make them!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

It's Times Like These That We're Going To Miss

Saturday after the Welcome Breakfast, a group of us decided to take advantage of a great day and head to the beach. Since Orient is one of our favorite beaches and also one of the furthest beaches to drive to, we decided that we would brave the traffic and head over to the French side. We went to our usual location, found a good deal on some loungers and umbrellas, and that is where we spent the rest of our day. We usually do some fun water sports and explore the beach, but Saturday was spent just relaxing. Jason was a little hesitant on spending his second Saturday on the island at the beach but afterwards he felt rejuvinated and well-rested. After the beach, we decided to try a new restaurant called Layla's. Layla's is a restaurant on the French side and is right on the beach. We've always seen the entrance but never thought about trying it....and since we leave the island in 3 months we are trying to try new restaurants. Layla's has the best atmosphere--the only lights were white lights strung through the palm trees and the moonlight. Saturday was great...Jason really needed to get away from school and take a breather!
It's days like this that we're going to miss! We're really trying to find a good balance between exploring the island and school. We have a few things that we still want to do before we leave, but trying to find the time to do them is going to be a chore.

Starting The Semester Off Right

This past weekend was super busy, a lot of fun, and a great start to our 5th semester! Friday night was the White Coat ceremony for all the first semester students and the induction into the Honor Society for some of the 5th semester students. Jason was one of the students that was inducted into Alpha Omega Phi. Each of the students got to write a few things that they would like to say to the incoming first semester class. Jason's words were something like this " First, I'd like to say thanks to my wife for all the love, support, and for the countless hours she spent quizzing me over the bugs and the drugs..." I think my face turned a few shades of red--but I am grateful for a husband that recognizes the amount of support it takes while he is in medical school! It was a very sweet gesture and it was greatly appreciated...especially when all eyes should have been on him and his hard work.
The ceremony lasted about two hours and then we headed to the afterparty at Bliss. Bliss is a night club that is right on the water. The atmosphere is very relaxed, modern, and fun. We had a great meal--followed by some great dancing. It was our very last white coat--and we made sure we enjoyed ourselves! We had a wonderful time!
Saturday morning was the spouses organization's annual get-together....The Welcome Breakfast. The Welcome Breakfast is a time for all the spouses, new and old, to get together and get reacquainted after the break. At the breakfast, we all go around and introducing ourselves, our spouse, and our semester. For the 5th semester spouses, everyone cheers!! It was finally my time to say " We're 5th semester!" The breakfast ended in our spouses group taking a picture and taking a picture of our 5th semester spouses.
We've made some great friendships in the last 17 months and it is going to be hard to finally close this chapter and move onto another. I'm sure a lot of us will keep in touch in the years to come!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Happy Birthday Camille!

Happy 26th Birthday, Camille!
Today is Camille's 26th Birthday--I didn't get to properly help her celebrate because today was a little busy so I thought I would give her a little birthday shout-out! To help my family and friends back home get a better picture of Camille, I thought I would give five things that I think of when I think of Camille.
1. Louisiana--southern accent
2. Exercise guru--gym/walking partner
3. Fountain soda addict--1/2 coke, 1/2 diet coke
4. Ironing queen--she loves to iron
5. White envelopes--her technique used to stay organized
Happy Birthday, Camille! I hope you have the best birthday and I wish you many more to come. You're a wonderful friend and I'm glad I got to help you celebrate your 26th birthday!

I FAILED!

Thursday morning I experienced failure --my car's inspection test. Let me start from the very beginnning so I don't leave out any details. About 8:00am, Camille and I headed over the hill to Philipsburg so I could get my car inspected. Each year new license plates have to be bought, inspections have to be up-to-date, and insurance has to be purchased. I had the insurance, but the inspection expired so I had to do it before it got too late and all the places would be crazy with people that waited till the last second. We arrived at the inspection center, paid the money, and drove the car around the building to the inspection tunnel. It was inspection time!!

I got to the tunnel entrance and got a little nervous. There were ramps that I had to put my car on--I'm not the best judge of where my tires are compared to the ramps. I didn't want to run off the ramps and bust out a tire or anything. With a little help, I finally got my car straight up on the ramp. He then put a black gate across the front of my car and started giving orders...lights on, brights on, left signal, right signal, horn, brake lights, reverse lights. I was struggling to understand the orders and act them out quickly so he wouldn't have a reason to take points off and fail me. I even had Camille roll down her window so he could help me figure out the tasks I was suppose to be doing. He then opened the black gate and had me keep driving on the path. He wanted me to drive along--starting and stopping so he could test the car with some computer program. The last driving test was to gas it fast and then slam on the breaks...no problem. Finally, he asked me to put my hand break on and open my hood. He looks for a split second, closes the hood, and mumbles something about a battery clamp. He marks on the paper "FAILED" and then explains to me that I have a break light out, but that's not the reason he is failing the car.

He failed me because the car didn't have a battery clamp...a what? Who knew a battery had to have a clamp on it?? He continues to direct us to the closest auto parts store. We pull out of the inspection tunnel in shock. We started cracking up--brake lights are not a concern but a battery clamp is a must. Now, I must admit that I'm not a mechanic so the clamp might have some significance, but enough significance to fail my dependable little 'dragon' car....I'm not so sure! We found a battery clamp and head back to the inspection center. I showed him my clamp, he wrote passed on my new inspection sheet, and told me that I had to pay another $10.50 to get the car re-inspected. I literally didn't do anything--I just showed him the clamp I had bought and he passed me. I asked him if he could put it on my battery for me because I don't have the right tools available--he declined. I now have a battery clamp inside my car, not on my battery, but riding along in the middle console. But don't worry--I have a street legal car!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Congratulations!

We just found out we're going to be an uncle and aunt again! We are getting a new nephew in May. Jason's younger brother, Andrew, and his wife, Holly, are expecting their first child. We are so excited for them--we can't wait to spoil the new little guy!
Congratulations Andrew and Holly!

Friday, January 9, 2009

The Beginning of the End

Our first week back was a little bit hectic! We had to get back into our daily routine, which is pretty hard when we've been out of our routine for the past few weeks over break. It didn't take long to get busy, but we did get to enjoy ourselves this weekend. Early Saturday morning, I woke up and got together some of the things that we no longer use to take to the 1st Semester Yard Sale. We figured it would sell more if we sold some now and then again at the end of the semester, rather than waiting till the end to try and sell everything. We sold a lot of our stuff...books, some kitchen stuff, and some odds and ends. After the yard sale, the Welcome Back BBQ was at Mullet. We couldn't and didn't miss the opportunity to get some free bbq, see some friends, lay in the sand, and get some sun. It felt weird to be at our last Welcome Back BBQ...our time on the island is wrapping up. The semester just started, but a lot of the things we do will be our last ones on the island....it is just the beginning of the end.

We had a great day at the beach...it was a great way to bring in the semester. This first week flew by and I'm sure the future weeks will fly by too. April 18th will be here before we know it--our island paradise will no longer be our home. We have a few visitors coming this semester and we're excited to act like tourists and mark some fun activities off our St. Maarten bucket list. It will be sad when it finally comes time to close this chapter of our lives...until then we will be enjoying ourselves and making as many memories as humanly possible.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

We Made It....Safe and Sound

On January 4th, we left Missouri for St. Maarten for the last time! Jason is in his 5th and final semester on the island! We have been really busy the past couple of days with school, work, and trying to get back into our routine so I haven't gotten around to updating our family and friends. I know, I know--I really need to work on it!
Here are a few updates on our little family:
Jason is enrolled in Pharmacology II, Behavioral Science II, Medical Ethics, and ICM5/6 this semester. He has a crazy schedule this semester...tons of shelf exams, cumulative exams, and eventually the Kaplan exam(has to be passed in order to get permission to take his STEP 1). He takes his last exam on April 15th, which will give us two days to enjoy the island before we fly back to the states.
I'm still taking classes for my MBA--only a few more months until I've completed my degree. I have a busy work schedule this semester...educators aid, a patient for the student doctors to interview, and 'servicing' and completing hours for Jason's work/study scholarship.
The dogs are definitely glad to be back on the island, running on the beach, and enjoying the warmth. Muzzy is taking medicine now for seizures, which occur because he tends to be a bit on the nervous side. He has been seizure free for a few weeks now--thanks to the medicine! Bazzle is on a diet--he gained a little over a pound over Christmas break. We've decreased the amount of food he eats and increased the number of walks...I'm not sure he enjoys the new changes!
We've had a busy, but uneventful week! I will definitely do better at updating everyone! This weekend is the Welcome Back BBQ at the beach--so I'll try to get a few pictures.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Christmas Break

Our Christmas break was WONDERFUL and much needed! After the Christmas cookies and ice skating adventures, it was time for Christmas Eve and Christmas get togethers. We celebrated Christmas with my dad on Christmas Eve. All of the siblings were together for the first time in a long time--it was nice to see everyone! We had a great lunch with an amazing coconut cream pie, the boys played some wiffle ball, and opened our presents.We left shortly after lunch because the weather wasn't cooperating and we had a two hour drive back to our house. We made a pit stop at my moms house to get our Christmas pajamas and then headed over to my sisters house. I still had a few presents to wrap, actually all my presents to wrap, so Ana and I went to the basement to work on our wrapping.
We love spending Christmas Eve and Christmas morning with her kids...they really enjoying waking up to see what Santa has brought them. Christmas morning started when the kids woke up...and they were so excited. Brock's big present was a huge train set with tons of trains. Ana's big present was a labtop--she's definitely getting too old. It was so cute to see him run over to the train set saying "Santa brought me a train table!" This year Ana found out that Santa=parents so she was great at getting Brock excited over Santa! We spent Christmas morning playing with the kids and their new presents!
After lunch, we headed down to the Davault's house. The Davault's are our other family so we definitely wanted to spend some time down there! We spent the evening playing games, watching movies, and playing RockBand. We had so much fun that when 2:00am rolled around, Jason just threw on his hunting clothes and headed out to go duck hunting. He hunted every spare chance he could get...he is slightly addicted to sitting in freezing cold weather watching birds fly over his head!

After Christmas, we felt the days starting to tick away! We realized we had a lot more things to do...or should I say we had a lot more restaurants we wanted to eat at. We spent the last few days getting everything ready to come back to the island. We had a great time back home--uneventful, but very relaxing. It was nice to sleep in or just lay around watching episode after episode of Gilmore Girls. We weren't ready to leave Missouri, but we were excited to get back to the island and finish up the last four months! We had some great memories during our Christmas break!