Sunday, March 29, 2009

Arrivederci

The time has finally come--Saturday was our day to finally enjoy our 5th semester party! The 5th semester party is a party that the class throws at the end of each semester for the students that are finishing up their basic sciences. This semester the party was at the Sonesta Great Bay, a hotel in Philipsburg. The hotel was very nice--it is right on the beach and the view is amazing!We headed over to the hotel around 11:00am so we could enjoy some sun before we were allowed to check into our room. We decided to get a hotel room for Saturday night because we didn't feel like driving back over to Cupecoy after the party. HUGE THANKS to Camille and Stuart for checking in our pups--Muzzy needed medicine and Bazzle needed food! She was kind enough to take care of our pups so we could spend the night at the hotel. Our friend, Frank, decided to share the room with us. Neither one of us was too excited about the price of the room, so we were more than excited to split the cost. It was so nice to enjoy the pool and act like we were on vacation--I especially enjoyed ordering food and charging it to the room! We enjoyed a few games of beach volleyball, the pool, the sun, and just hanging out with a few of our great friends we've made in the past 20 months. Around 4:30, we headed in to start getting ready. Did I mention that we had a bathtub in the hotel room?? I couldn't wait to take a bubble bath or two during our stay! After Jason showered and I soaked in a bathtub, the girls all gathered in one room and the guys in the other. Our rooms were right next to each other so it worked out pretty well. After hours of blowing drying, hot rollers, bobby pins, make-up, and TONS of hairspray--we were ready to enjoy cocktail hour. The 5th semester party committee did a great job of picking out yummy appetizers and dishes that worked well together for the main course. After dinner is when the fun part started....the dancing! Early into the night, the DJ played songs that we danced to back in middle school and high school. We had so much fun dancing to older music--we were one of the first people out on the dancefloor. As the night progressed, the music got more current. The DJ was one of the students in Jason's class--he is really good at putting the music together! We danced all night long...literally! We started around 8:30pm and didn't stop until 12:00am. I had to rest my feet during a few songs, but not Jason! He didn't leave the dancefloor the whole night. He was a dancing machine....The dancing ended around 12:00am with us getting in a circle, holding arms with the people beside us, and singing "Don't Want to Miss a Thing" by Aerosmith. It was pretty neat to be standing arm in arm with people that we started out on the island with 20 months ago and now it is time for us to say goodbye. After the party, we weren't sleepy so we decided to play cards. Everyone came over to our room and Chuck taught us how to play Boo-Ray.
Boo-Ray is similar to Spades in that different cards trump other cards. We played cards until the wee hours of the morning and when our eyes wouldn't stay open any longer, we called it a night.
The weekend was so much fun...definitely a great way to celebrate the end of our 5th semester! We've made some great friendships, grew in our relationship, and matured so much in the past 20 months! The party was a great way to celebrate everything...Arrivederci

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Shark Hotel...

Today was the day....the SHARK dive was scheduled this afternoon at the dive site named SHARK HOTEL. The name alone sounds scary, much less actually diving it. The day started out good--I wasn't thinking too much about the dive because I had a pretty busy morning. Around lunch, we both started with our first round of Dramamine. We heard the boat ride to the dive site was pretty long and a pretty good distance from where the dive shop was located. Melinda picked us up and drove us to the dive shop in Simpson Bay. When we arrived at the dive shop, it was time for the second round of Dramamine and a pill that is suppose to help with anxiety. My nerves really set in when we got to the dive shop and had to start putting the regulator and the BCD vest on the tank. We strapped on our tanks and headed out across the beach to the dive boat--the dive boat we were using was a new one. They had just purchased a new one so it was our first time on the new one. As I'm walking out to the boat, I notice a nice picture on the back side of the boat. It is a huge shark eating a dive flag....not what I needed to see right before I was going to be face to face with a man eating beast! I tried to block it out of my mind as we were loading the boat and drivivng our way to the dive site. Finally, it was time to put on our tanks and fall into the water. Jefferson, our dive instructor, kept calling out names so they could fall in...Chuck, Geneva, Cody, Jason, John, Melinda, Brian, Alissa, and then finally me! I wanted to fall in somewhere in the middle of our group so I would have people around me. He knew I was scared so he decided that I would be last so he could go in right after me. I sat on the ledge and couldn't make myself fall in. It felt like I was back on the high dive at school again--there is something about being scared and still having to force myself to do it--it is definitely a feeling that I don't like! Well, I finally did it! I fell in and started descending to the bottom--I tried to keep my eyes on Alissa because I didn't want to look out into the blue and see swarms of sharks. When we finally made it to the bottom, I started looking around for Jason and there it was....a shark right in the area where we were going to be laying. I remained as calm as I could be but I wanted to be close to Jason so I started crawling as fast as I could so I could be beside him. I was crawling and not swimming because we were given more weight than we needed on previous dives. We had to stay in a certain position to watch the shark feeding. We had to lay on our stomachs and hold onto a concrete block--the current down there was pretty strong and he didn't want us moving around too much. When we all settled at a concrete block, I was the last one on the edge and all the sharks would swim right beside me. I guess I had a scared look on my face because Jason switched me so that I could be in between two people. Once Jefferson started getting close to the food box, sharks seemed to come from every direction.
I was actually surprised at how calm the sharks were and how calm I was. He would put a fish on a small metal stick and then swim in front of us so we could see the shark open his mouth and feed on the fish all within a foot away. It was pretty cool to see how they interact with other sharks and to see how graceful they seemed! The biggest two sharks we saw were Spot and Scratch. Both of these sharks were females and were very easy to identify. Spot had a big spot on the top of her forhead and Scratch was wounded in her left eye and left blind. These two sharks were about 7 feet long!
Another thing that I liked watching were the small fish that stayed with the sharks. I think they are actually there to keep the sharks clean, but watching these funny fish stay up with the sharks was quite comical. They would have a nice slow pace until Jefferson would dangle a dead fish in front of the shark and then the shark would pick up the pace to catch the fish. The tiny fish following the shark would swim so fast to catch up and then realize that the shark slowed back down so it would slam on the brakes and resume the slow pace again. It was pretty funny! At one point Jefferson swam over to me....brining the whole swarm of sharks....and a shark tooth. He layed it on my concrete block--it was so neat. I've always seen a shark tooth before, but to get an actual tooth off one of the sharks that I saw on the dive was pretty awesome! Jefferson fed them about 7-8 fish and played around with the sharks and about 40 minutes later, it was time to resurface. We made it back on the boat and we were freezing...cool wind on our wet bodies was not a good mixture!

I was modeling my shark tooth! I'm so glad we did the shark dive because it was an amazing experience. I definitely have a different feeling for sharks! We made some great memories--just another great day on the island!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Sign, Sealed, Delivered

The Dragon Car is SOLD! We put our car up for sale a few weeks ago and when we had someone interested...we were super excited! Well, the couple test drove the car and liked it! We spent this past weekend exploring the island and seeing new sights because we knew we had to hand over the keys today!

Jason wanted to wash the car before we handed it off...I snuck in a few pictures of my cutie cleaning the car!

We signed the bill of sale and handed off the Dragon Car! A huge pressure has been lifted off our shoulders--it's a little stressful to know we are so close to going home and we still have a lot of stuff we need to get rid of. The car was the biggest thing on our 'for sale' list and now that it is sold, we are officially one step closer to go home.

I'm not going to lie--it is a little bittersweet. This was our first car as a married couple and now that it is gone, it is actually starting to sink in that we don't have too much longer on the island. I'm definitely excited to see what the future holds for us but the island has been our 'firsts'...our first place together, our first car, our first year of marriage, and our first LARGE sum of debt accumulation! Change is a little intimidating, but it's coming whether we are ready or not....the car was just the first step!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

March Madness!

Today is March the 18th...the beginning of March Madness!! The NCAA tournament starts today so the next few weeks will be filled with basketball 24 hours! Since we both played basketball in high school, we are interested in the NCAA tournament. We thought it would be fun to fill out a bracket. We both filled out a bracket so we could see who knew the most about the different basketball teams...nothing wrong with some friendly competition. We are going to keep track of the points accumulated through the wins so we can determine the overall winner. We haven't set up the prize for the winner, but I'm leaning towards cleaning the house and making dinner. I figured I do this anyway so I'm not really out too much if I lose! I think I have a pretty good chance of winning...I have a few big upsets listed and I have MIZZOU going pretty far! I'm so ready to watch some basketball the next few weeks...the tournament begins today at 12:00, so let the games begin!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Rent-A-Teacher For The Day

Today was day 3 of spirit week--crazy hair day and rent-a-teacher day. Here is a picture of the whole class and their crazy hair...pretty cute! Earlier in the week, we set the asking price of $100 for the kids to be able to rent us for the day. We sat the price pretty steep because we were hoping that the kids wouldn't bring money...but they did! I walked in this morning to see the kids collecting and adding up the money that all the students brought in. When we counted the money and told them they they brought enough to rent us both for the day, they informed us of all the things they were going to be making us do. No homework, no quizzes, extra recess, watch a movie in the morning, and make us jump of the high dive and swim laps in the afternoon. The whole day was crazy--the kids really took advantage of controlling the two teachers for the day. After lunch, I had to run home and put on my swimsuit because they were forcing us to do some swimming. The time had come--I like to swim so I figured it would be a nice change. The first thing they made us do--jump off the HIGH DIVE! It doesn't really look that high but when I climbed the stairs and walked to the edge, I realized just how high and scary the high dive is. It took a little bit before I jumped off, but I eventually did my first task.After I jumped off the high dive, they had us swim laps and do stations. We had to jump in, swim to the other end, get out and do stations (20 crunches, 20 jumping jacks, lunges, 15 pushups) and then jump back in and swim to the other end for more stations.
They followed along with us when we were in the water-they were making sure that we were swimming the different strokes and keeping up a good pace.
After we did our laps and stations, it was time for a race and one last jump off the high dive. The students got two life saver rafts and had us sit in them and paddle ourselves to the other end.
Once we made it to the other end, I felt like my arms were going to fall off. Now I know why the students complain every Friday during swimming period!!
The day was great--I think the students really enjoyed a day to boss us around for once! I'm glad spirit week only comes around once a year--no more lap swimming for me!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

St. Patrick's Day is always something that I never really got involved in back home, but still enjoyed the small things about the holiday. I woke up early and decided to start the morning off right--nothing better than green eggs, ham, and toast with green butter. I would have much rather preferred green pancakes--but we didn't have any batter. Breakfast was actually really good!Even the dogs enjoyed some green eggs for their breakfast--they needed to enjoy St. Patricks Day too!

After breakfast, I threw on my clothes--making sure to have green on and headed over to school. It is spirit this week at school and each day is a different thing--today was pajama day. The kids really got into pajama day but a few of them forgot to wear green! I started walking around the room and softly pinching the kids that didn't have green on. The kids looked at me like I was crazy. I tried to explain St. Patricks Day in the United States...you wear green or you get pinched but they weren't really understanding. I tried to get some of the teachers (most are from Canada) to help me explain, but they had never heard of the pinching thing either. I found this totally crazy--I thought everyone knew on St. Patricks Day you HAD to wear green. There is some sort of law or something that states on March 17th all citizens must wear green and if not then they are responsible for any bruises that are a result of a pinch from another law abiding citizen. Maybe not, but I remember laying out my clothes for school the night before because I didn't want to forget to wear green! So funny! After we explained to the kids how we celebrate St. Patricks Day, we passed out green stickers for them to wear so they could be more festive. The day was a lot of fun...I miss being a kid and celebrating special holidays. After school, I had to go to the Win-Air office to take care of some issues. We were planning on flying to Saba this weekend and when we researched tickets, this weekend was the cheapest. When I went to purchase them online--it said I had to buy one ticket at a time. I wanted two, but I figured that I would buy one and then go back in and buy another...WRONG! I bought on for the special price but when I went back in to buy the other one, the prices doubled. I started getting nervous because the only reason we were going to spend a day in Saba was because the flights were relatively cheap. I messed with it online for the longest time and eventually gave up! I just decided to go to the office--I walk in and she tells me that they only offer 4 seats at the discounted price and then the rest of the tickets will be full price. I couldn't find two tickets on any of our free days so she offered to give me my money back...the only problem is they want a $25 fee. I guess a $25 fee is better than nothing...so as of now, we are not going to Saba unless I can find two specials on a day that Jason can take off! Still crossing our fingers on the Saba trip, but as of now--we aren't going!

St. Patricks Day was great--I got to experience it with a great group of people. I also got to share some of my fun things that my class didn't know. I have to admit--it was kind of cool telling them things that I do and have done since I was young. It was very neat to see the excitement on their faces when they heard about St. Patricks Day back in the states!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

When Life Gives Lemons....Make Lemonade!

This week--the island has been giving us some road bumps. The weather this semester has been a little cooler and a little more windy than previous semesters. It's been nice because the air conditioning doesn't have to be used, but it can put a damper on beach days. Not only has the weather been cooler, but the electric company has been struggling with their daily operations. The electric company, GEBE, has been having some problems with the electricity and water. The electricty was off for about 14 hours one day last week and then today the water and electricity was off for close to another 12 hours. I didn't realize how moody, grouchy, and irritated I get when I wake up early due to silence--no electricy means no fan!! I'm not physically capable of sleeping without a noise maker, so I immediately woke up when the electricity shut off. I woke up and switched on the generator (thank goodness for a generator)and then decided to check the water. A lot of times when the electricity goes off, the water goes off along with it. I went into the bathroom, turned the faucet on.......no water! We keep spare water bottles for times like this, but it definitely isn't the best way to brush our teeth and wash our face. No electricity and no water isn't the best way to start off the morning, but I wasn't going to let a few lemons sour my day. Get it--lemons are sour. Ok, ok--enough of being a jokester! But seriously I couldn't just sit home all day and let a little dark clouds, some rain, some wind, no electricity, and no water ruin my day!
I ate some lunch with Jason and then headed out to Melinda's house to play some dominoes. It was a pretty crappy day, but it was a great day to stay inside and relax. I packed my tea (warm tea on a cold day....nothing better!) and headed out to Melinda's house. Melinda's parents are visiting the island and love playing cards and dominoes...

I must admit--I'm slightly addicted to Mexican Train dominoes and all different sorts of card games! We played dominoes, snacked on some cookie dough batter, and just relaxed....ALL AFTERNOON! Relaxing indoors and playing dominoes was a great day to spend a Sunday afternoon. Without the circumstances that were dealt today, I wouldn't have gotten to work on my dominoe skills. I think I definitely turned the lemons that were given today into a yummy lemonade!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Happy Birthday, Sis!

Today is my sister's birthday--this was a birthday that she wasn't too excited to see another year added to her age. For those that don't know--my sister is 12 years older than I am so we didn't get the chance to live under the same roof for very long. I can remember growing up, throwing on my MIZZOU clothes, and heading up to Columbia to spend the weekend with her and Chris. Seeing her on the weekends, showing me off to her friends, and going to football games with her really made my week! As I got older and started college, she allowed me to live in her basement. During those few years, I was super lucky! I got to get very close with my niece Ana (Brock wasn't born yet) and finally live under the same roof as my big sis! Since college, I've started a life of my own but I can't help but look at my sister and her life and wonder how I can follow in her footsteps. She has created a beautiful family, has a successful career, and has a life that most would love to have....and she did it all at a VERY YOUNG AGE.
I wish I was home so I could help her celebrate her birthday--I'll have to help her celebrate when we get home next month.
Happy Birthday, Ange! Hope you have the BEST birthday!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

More Hands On

On Monday, it was finally time for Jason to go and follow around the local anesthesiologist. He was really looking forward to it...he was hoping he would an interesting procedure. Not only did he get to see one interesting procedure, but he got to see THREE! He went to the hospital in Philipsburg from 8:00am-12:00pm. He wasn't working with the doctor for a long time, but it was enough to see some procedures. He walked in the door and I was following him around the house like one of the pups...I was so excited to hear about his day.
The first procedure he got to see was a C-section. He got to see his first baby be delivered--how neat! I couldn't stop smiling...seeing another life come into the world sounds very surreal, but Jason wasn't as excited as I would have liked him to be. Lets just say--we'll be waiting another few years before he'll get to experience delivery first hand. The patient was delivering her second baby via C-section so she knew what to expect. He said that he mostly stayed up by her head throughout the procedure, but seeing the doctor cut layer after layer made him realize natural birth is probably the best route. I kept wanting to hear details of the birth, but he quickly moved on to the next procedure.
The next procedure he got to see was an orthoscopic knee surgery. He found this surgery to be pretty cool. They made two small holes on either side of the knee cap, used some sort of camera, and fixed whatever was broken. I didn't find this one too exciting, but he was amazed at how small the holes could be for the doctors to get inside the body and fix the broken pieces.
The last procedure he got to see was the removal of a cyst inside a man's hand. I didn't get much information out of this surgery. He wasn't following around the surgeon, so his sight was limited. He just kept making sure the vitals were good and the amount of drugs given were the right amount to keep the patient comfortable/without pain, or unconscious. He really enjoyed being hands on.....sortof.
According to Jason, anything is better than studying in the library!!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Regatta Weekend

After the Saba trip, we planned a full 3 day weekend. Friday morning we headed on the French side to do the extreme ziplining. We had down the smaller course a few times, but we didn't what to expect with the larger course. We loaded into a truck and drove up the steepest hill where we started the extreme course. The zip lines were so much longer--if you look at the picture below, you can see the zip wire spread across the two mountain sides. We had a really good time--some parts were a little nerve racking, but we survived! The last picture is Jason zipping across on the line...very cool! All you can see is his long legs...haha!After zip lining, we were going to try and hike to a new beach that we haven't been to--Petite Cayes. The weather wasn't cooperating...it got really dark, rainy, and windy. We bailed on the hike and ended up going to find the blowhole at Cupecoy Beach. We decided the weather wasn't going to stop us from seeing the sites...the waves were crashing into the rocks and that's when we saw it! The guys went and sat with their legs over the blowhole.
Saturday morning was the day that we followed the Heineken Regatta. We purchased tickets with a local company that had catamarans that went out and followed along side the race. Right when we got on the boat, a man comes up to me and says that his wife knows me...I don't recognize her?? Well--she said she reads our blog. Her and her husband are from Baltimore and she recognizes me from the pictures on the blog...woo hoo! I love blog stalkers--I told Marybeth I would give her a shout out! So here you go--Thanks for reading Marybeth!After we got out to the path of the race, the boats started the race. It was pretty amazing to see the boats turning corners with the crew sitting on the different sides to help with the turning.
The race was pretty amazing to watch--the boats looked so graceful gliding across the water, but they were filled with frantic crews working the sails up and down. It was nice to be up so close and personal to the boats. The boat trip dropped us off right around lunch time, so we grabbed some lunch at Buccaneer Beach Bar. Nothing tastes better than a cheeseburger on the beach, especially after spending a morning on a sailboat.
After lunch, we headed to one of our favorite beaches--Baie Rouge.
Saturday was a great day--we got to be upfront with the boats participating in the Heineken regatta and then rest and relax at the beach after. We had so much fun with our friends, our family, and each other. It's times like this that is going to make the island hard to leave. Some great memories were made this past weekend!