Tuesday, April 29, 2014

The Final Countdown-4 Weeks to Go!

Welp...COMP is over!!  Wow I can't believe we can actually say that now...crazy!!  Jonathan was exhausted after his test, but he feels confident coming out of it.  I can usually tell by his body language how he did on his exams.  I think it's safe to say he nailed this one to the wall just like all the others before.  Now to tackle this USMLE Step 1 test!  He took Saturday through this coming Thursday off and will hit the ground running studying for Step starting Friday morning.  He is pretty stressed about this test.  He feels a lot of pressure to do well on it (I mean...it *is* our future I guess o_O).  I'm trying not to stress him out about it though.  I know he's going to do stellar on it.  He told me the other day that studying and preparing for the test wasn't his biggest concern.  It was staying as stress free as possible in the meantime...

This week is a break week for me.  After this week we have 3 weeks left of the Kindergarten Co-op and then we fly home.  During this week we will be breaking down the Treehouse classroom and moving it to a different location.  I think once that room is emptied out it will start feeling more real that we are leaving.  We will be making that room look like a bedroom again!  Also this week Jonathan and I will be packing the last of our barrels.  That entails actually packing our bags to fly too, because whatever won't fit in our suitcases has to go somewhere!  We will either be putting it in our barrels to ship home next week, selling it on Craigslist, donating it to a needy family in Portsmouth (or an organization), or giving it away to friends in need/want.  So the final 2 1/2 weeks here on the island we will be living out of suitcases.

This final month will fly by no doubt.  In the meantime, here are the #4's!

The #4 Thing I Will Miss About Dominica

inLightin and The Henry's.  I have 2 more Fridays left to say my goodbyes to this crazy bunch of Dominican kiddos and their mamas.  This experience has profoundly impacted my life for the better and I can't express how grateful I am to have had the opportunity to serve in this capacity.  These children have taught me about compassion, selfless giving, community, and how important family is. There have been weeks where I went to inLightin somewhat reluctantly because I was so tired from a long week...and it was those weeks where I left the most full.  My heart has been broken for some of these families and children.  But I have been equally blessed to see how the little things we've done to help and the overwhelming tenacity of these families have helped to pull some of these people out of hopeless poverty and into bright futures.  It was my pleasure to serve them these 18 months.  The Henrys specifically will always have a piece of my heart.  I truly know what it means to love someone with the love of Christ because of what they have been in my life.  I will miss snuggling with sweet Stacy, razzing Calvin, watching Joel and Johnson grow into fine upstanding men of God, and seeing Shernia bloom into such a beautiful, smart, caring young woman.  It has been a real treat for me to see their mother Junie evolve too.  She has moved from hopeless and destitute to someone willing, able, and anxious to help others.  It's a beautiful thing.  I am grateful for their influence in my life.  When I remember Dominica, it will be *these* faces that are in the forefront of my mind...

The #4 Thing That Will Be Awesome About Living in the States Again

Living in OKC for a hot minute.  I have never *lived* in Oklahoma City in my life.  I lived in Norman while Jonathan and I were in school at OU.  And we've spent LOTS of time and several extended stays in OKC.  But for the first time ever, we will be LIVING there!  I am so excited about this, because it's been 7 years since I lived in the same town with some of my favorite people.  I can't tell you how excited I am that I will only be a phone call away from *seeing* Angela, Rachel, Nicole, Bernice, etc.  It's gonna be glorious!  I'm kind of in love with how metro OKC has become.  I am very much looking forward to experiencing the city in a new capacity.  This is something that I think about A LOT actually!  OKC may or may not be somewhere we live long term.  I guess it all depends on where Jonathan lands his residency in a few years.  But for a hot minute, we get to live there and I could not be more thrilled...

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

The Final Countdown-5 Weeks to Go!

Happy Earth Day y'all!   Dominica is such a great place to learn about the Earth and how to conserve it and its beauty.  Had a great day with my little Kindergarteners, but I'm wiped out now!  At any rate...it's COMP week!!  Jonathan is in his final days of studying for his comprehensive final and he is SO ready to nail this bad boy to the wall.  After COMP he is taking 5 days off and then hitting the ground running...no maybe SPRINTING...with his Doctors in Training course.  That's a semi-self-paced course to help prepare him for his first official USMLE board exam.  He is excited about being done with COMP, but I know he's also starting to feel that pressure about Step 1.  Send him some prayers and good vibes this week!

Any-hoo...we are down to #5 in our countdown.  NOW is when things start getting VERY real for me.  By the end of this week we will have less than 30 days left here.  Crazy right?!?  So without further ado...#5!

The #5 Thing I Will Miss About Dominica

Jonathan time.  Seem like a strange thing to say I'll be missing??  Well, maybe it is.  Especially considering I'll get 12 unadulterated weeks with him after he takes his Step 1 test once we are back in the states.  But one of the things that has DEFINITELY been a perk about this Caribbean med school situation is that I get to spend a TON of time with Jonathan that I probably wouldn't have had the privilege of had he gone to a US med school.  I have lunch and dinner with him every single day and since there's not a whole lot of "outside influence" vying for our time and energy, when he's not studying he's with me too!  It's been really nice and I love that time I get to spend with him.  It's not always a huge quantity, but I know once clerkships start and then residency, my time with him will become much more sparse.  So I've enjoyed getting some time with him during these basic sciences.  It certainly hasn't been a vacation to live here in the Caribbean, but I'm grateful for the times, no matter how few and far between they've been, that we've been able to relax together and pretend we are on vacation for real..

The #5 Thing That Will Be Awesome About Living in the States Again

Family and Friends!!  Oh gosh, I can't express how excited I am about this.  We will be missing our friends here in Dominica a whole lot, yes.  But coming back to the states is going to be a uniquely wonderful event.

1) Because we are moving back to OKC!!  We haven't lived in Oklahoma since college and I am really looking forward to being close to my Oklahoma girls!  Right now we are waiting to rent an apartment or a house until we find out if this IVF successfully nets us a pregnancy.  If so, I'm parking it in OKC to be near family and my doctors.  If not, well...I will bounce around the country with Jonathan I suppose.  But at least I'll have the option of spending extended time with my girlfriends!

2) Because one of my besets friends is morphing into a stay-at-home-mom after this school year is over!! That means I'll get to spend lots of time with her and we won't have to work around her job!

3) Because we haven't lived near family since 2010.  Now not only will we be in the same town with the Womack family, we will be a short 1 hour commercial flight, 2 hour Daddy flight, or 3 1/2 hour car ride from the Harris family!  Oh I am SO excited about this.  We have both been craving family a LOT in the past few months.  Getting to go home over Christmas was wonderful, but it left us wanting so much more time when we left.  I am excited to be so close to everyone again.  So pumped to have coffee dates with Rachel and lunches with Angie and road trips with my Sara.

This is maybe what I am most excited about!

At any rate...by the time I post next week Jonathan will be done with COMP and we will be on a week of "Spring Break".  We'll be packing our barrels and suitcases, breaking down and moving the Kindergarten classroom out of the treehouse, and spending a few days together.  This time is flying by...35 days and we leave the rock.  So surreal...

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

The Final Countdown-6 Weeks to Go!

So it's the week of Easter already??  I love this time of year.  When I was a kid, Palm Sunday and Easter Sunday were two of my favorite days of the year.  In church on Palm Sunday the kids would get to wave palm branches around and sing songs, and then on Easter Sunday at our home church in Beaumont, Tx we would buy fresh flowers and bring them to a cross covered in chicken wire outside our church building.  All the church families would stick their flowers in the chicken wire and after a few hours the cross looked spectacular all covered in flowers.  My favorite!  I've missed the hype leading up to Easter here in Dominica.  And I've missed singing in the big Easter productions we inevitably do around this time of year at home.  Thankfully some crazy person at UBC is gonna give me a mic in August so I can sing on that stage again.  My heart is OVERJOYED at that prospect.  Can't wait to be back in my wheelhouse there again...

But anyway, only 6 weeks left on this crazy ride here on the island.  Jonathan is studying away, but the poor guy is SO ready to be done.  These are his last two weeks of studying before COMP.  It's really weird to be able to say that!  But these next 6 weeks plus 2 more once we are in the states are where the rubber meets the road man.  THIS is the big push to the end for Jonathan.  Wether you're the praying type or the "good vibes" type, would you send some up for him in the next 6 weeks?  USMLE Step 1 is literally the most important test of our lives.  His score on that test could mean the difference in hundreds of thousands of dollars in a salary eventually.  Not to mention his sanity in a specialty.  His score is crucial on this test and he is feeling that pressure head on.  Lately I've been praying for peace and stress relief for him because I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that his scores are going to be great.  It's just dealing with the anxiety that rides along with that test that's so scary...

But without further ado, here are the #6's!

The #6 Thing I Will Miss About Dominica

The Market.  Oh how I love Saturday markets in Portsmouth.  For me it has been those Saturdays that remind me how cool the place where I live is.  The culture is so rich and vibrant there.  I absolutely loved going to the market with Mrs. Lambert, the nutritionist here at Ross who is also a Dominican.  Getting to see the market and the vendors through her eyes was so incredible.  I've only got a few more Saturdays that I'll get to go to the market, so I'm hoping to snap a few photos to remember it by while I'm there.  I've learned so much about food and produce there.  I've sampled ethnic dishes, had authentically brewed Dominican coffee, and been so well educated on where to find the best fruits, vegetables, spices, oils, and honeys.  There are farmer's markets in the states, yes.  But they don't hold a candle to this Saturday market.  The selection and price is unbeatable.  I can come home with literally more stuff than I can carry for somewhere around $20-25 USD.  Incredible.  I will miss the blaring gospel music and the street evangelizing done by one of my favorite Dominicans, Max.  It's a Dominican experience that can't be matched and one that has helped me connect with the culture and the people of our little community...

The #6 Thing That Will Be Awesome About Living in the States Again

Grocery stores and cooking at home.  By the same token, something that I have missed dearly about living in the states is a good grocery store that ALWAYS has what you're looking for.  While living in the Caribbean I've had to get creative most of the time when it comes to cooking the dishes I like to cook.  Grocery stores don't/can't stock the way they do in the states here.  What that means is that each time you go in they have different things and sought after items don't stay on the shelf very long.  For instance I have only been able to snag one gallon of milk this semester and when I got it home it was pretty much soured.  Yuck!  I can't wait to stroll the aisles of a Whole Foods or even a Kroger with a list in hand and be able to get everything I need.  I can't wait to cook some chicken parmesan, some Mama Lasagna, etc., etc.  It's gonna be glorious!

So that's it this week.  I am really shocked that today marks only 6 weeks left.  CRAZY BUSINESS!  The next 2 weeks are gonna be a whirlwind...I just know it...

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

The Final Countdown: 7 Weeks to Go!

Under 50 days left...what??  Jonathan has officially passed Semester 4 with flying colors and I'm so proud.  Now only 1 test separates him from the USA and 1 more test separates him from being "one half doctor".  Such exciting stuff man!  He is in hard core study mode now.  Prepping for his comprehensive final is LOTS of work.  Med school in general is tough, but I really think these last 9 1/2 weeks are what really separate the men from the boys.  Basic sciences are butt kickin', yes.  But having to come up with a study schedule, maintain it, and retain all that information is where the REAL work comes in.  It calls on the table your perseverance, tenacity, and your organizational tools.  Your studies not only have to be quantity but great quality.  And you have to be able to assess that quality for yourself!  But Jonathan has amazed me so far on this journey with how studious he is.  He is incredibly smart, but a large part of why he's been so successful in med school is due to his ability to be an exceedingly good and committed student.  It's paying off!  We are 2 1/2 weeks away from him him being completely finished with all his requirements here on the island.  Then it's nose to the grindstone to crank out this Doctors in Training study program in preparation for his USMLE Step 1 test (the most important test of our lives).  Sheesh!

So here are the #7's!

#7 Thing I Will Miss About Dominica

My Kindergarteners.  This is a no brainer man.  Those 6 little peanut pies make my days so much brighter.  I am SO glad we decided to do this Co-Op.  There was LOTS of pushback when we first got started and it made me at times wonder if we were doing the right thing.  But despite all of that, I can confidently say that doing this was one of the highlights of my stay here in Dominica.  I kind of wish we'd done this back in August actually.  Jozlyn, Solveig, Lovise, Helena, Elliott, and Simay have spent 5 days a week this semester making me a better person.  They've honed some of my "mommy skills", they've challenged me, and they've impressed me far beyond words.  I have said before, that I "lacked the patience to be a Kindergarten teacher", but God apparently has a great sense of humor since He plucked me out of middle school band and placed me here with these little ones.  A little bit of my Granny Frenchy's craftiness and creativity has really shone through in me in these last few months.  I like to think she would be proud of what I've done here.  In a few short weeks it will be very difficult to say goodbye to these sweet little boogers.  I actually can't even think about it without getting that pang of sadness.  But I am SO proud of what they've accomplished and I know all 6 of them will go on to continue making me and their families proud.  To finish this #7 out, I thought I would share a little bit about what I love about each of them:

Jozlyn - Jozlyn is a fighter man.  She is tenacious and she does not give up.  She is determined.  There have been concepts that have not come easy to her over the past few months, but she has never given up trying to grasp them.  She works harder than anyone else and she's the perfect sidekick.  Where she is academically today is light years beyond where she was in August.  And that is due 100% to her commitment to learning and getting better.  I will miss her spunky little smile and hearing "Mrs. Womack!" screamed from all ends of campus when she sees me walking somewhere.  You can bet that if Jozlyn is anywhere within ear or eye shot of me, she is sprinting over for a hug or game of "tag you're it".  I love her happy and silly spirit.  She's such a special little girl!

Solveig - Obviously Solveig is very special to me because of my relationship with her family.  I've also gotten to see a very unique side of Solveig because of that relationship.  She has such a sweet and innocent spirit.  She is quick to empathize with her classmates and with me.  She is very smart, but she doesn't brag about that.  Instead she is the first one to help her classmates when they struggle. She takes pride in doing things correctly.  She is silly and fun loving and I love to watch her play with her friends.  She is so nurturing and kind.  I will miss holding her tiny little hand up the hill to and from the Treehouse for school and I will miss the little snuggles I've gotten to have with her when she's wanting just to be near me.  She is such a sweet little girl and a piece of my heart definitely belongs to her!

Lovise - Lovise has taught me maybe more than any of the others.  She has been challenging at times, but honestly in the best sense of that word.  When I said that my Kindergarteners have "honed my mommy skills" she is a very large part of that.  She has forced me to learn compassion and patience and to let things go.  She is quick to anger sometimes, but more importantly she is quicker to forgive. She is so loving sometimes that her desire to show affection just bubbles right out of her in the form of suffocating hugs, circulation interrupting arm and leg squeezes, and more kisses on my cheeks, hands, and arms than I can count.  She is always the first one to say "Oh Mrs. Womack you look so beautiful today!" and the way my heart feels when she crawls up into my lap to snuggle is second to none.  That girl is going places in her life and I'm happy to have had a small part in her growing up!

Helena - Oh Helena.  There is no other kid on the face of the planet like her!  I LOVE that about her.  She is original and she makes no qualms about it.  She's not interested in following the crowd.  She dresses and acts the way she wants to, and her compass is inside herself.  It's not swayed by outside influences.  I love that I can give her "constructive criticism" whether that be about academics or character and she really takes it to heart and tries to make the changes necessary.  She is an amazing listener and she forgets NOTHING.  She's forced me to be honest and to make my yeses, yes and my no's, no.  I love her little giving nature.  Nearly every day she has some little trinket or toy or piece of candy to give me.  She leaves me little pictures and notes all the time.  I am certain that little pieces of her will find their way into our suitcases when we leave and I'll be remembering Helena for many, many years to come!

Elliott - Elliott is a special little kid.  I'm sad I missed out on August through December with him in school, but these last 3 1/2 months have more than made up for that.  He is goofy and silly and always has a smile on his face.  His innocence and his gentle spirit are two of my favorite things about him.  He is so creative and such a great story teller.  He's the only boy in this gaggle of girls, but he doesn't seem to mind.  He holds his own and he's definitely "all boy", but he is so sweet with these girls.  He's very caring and empathetic.  Always trying to make sure they are taken care of and safe.  I will miss his sweet little hugs and those adorable little curls and his "Mrs. Womack can I please have some animal crackers?" question (which I hear nearly every day ;)...).  Elliott is a darling young man and I'm certain he will go on to do great and wonderful things with his future!

Simay - Simay is so quiet and gentle.  She has really amazed me this semester with what she's been able to accomplish academically.  Before January she was well behind the group in reading, and now all of a sudden she is one of the top 3 readers in the class!  She is such a sweet and beautiful little girl who loves playing Pokemon with Elliott.  I swear every drawing of hers is of a kitty cat or a unicorn and everything but EVERYTHING simply must be pink or purple.  She is definitely a little princess and I love that about her.  My hope for her is that her innocence will stay pure and untouched like it is right now for a very long time!

#7 Thing That Will Be Awesome About Living in the States Again

Setting up an apartment.  Oh how I have missed my home looking like MY home.  Living in fully furnished apartments here in Dominica (and in the Bahamas for that matter) leaves little to no room for "decorating".  And if you know me, you know I am a Better Homes and Garden, Pier 1, Pottery Barn FREAK.  Now, I know that setting up an apartment might come later rather than sooner for us.  For a little while until we know whether our IVF has taken we will be living with family.  It makes more sense for now even though I am literally chomping at the bit to have a space that is ours again.  My heart will be SO happy when I finally get to pull my leather couches and my peacock decor and my bedroom suite out of storage.  It's gonna be glorious!

So there you have it.  #7's already!  Still can't believe that we are this close to leaving.  My how time does fly...

Thursday, April 3, 2014

That One Time We Shot A Guy With a BB Gun...

My sister in law Nicole always says that crazy stuff happens to me and Jonathan because we are good at telling stories.  So tonight he and I were reminiscing about our first year of marriage and all it's debacles and I was reminded about a few particularly funny events that occurred after we moved into our first house as a married couple.  If this post seems totally left, field...you're right, it is.  But it made me laugh tonight so I thought I would share it with you... ;)

We moved into 415 Buoy when we were 23 and 25 years old.  Just a few months after getting married.  We moved out of a teeny tiny one bedroom apartment into this amazingly awesome rent house that I actually miss frequently...

And man, we had some good times in that little house.  Here are some of the highlights:

"Rachel can you cut my hair.  I think I want a buzz cut..."

  • So I get out the scissors and decide it would be funny to cut his hair as close as possible with the scissors first before getting the clippers after his head to even it all out.  I'm snickering the whole time I'm cutting and he has no idea what I'm doing.  I don't keep an eye on the time and then suddenly realize it's time to go to church.  We have to leave *right then*!  But Jonathan has a head full of chunks cut out of his frock and is looking something like a burn victim/cancer patient/fledgling.  I am literally DYING of laughter.  He goes to the mirror and stares agape at his head and says "What. The. Heck??"  And then he dies laughing too.  So we throw a hat on his head and go to choir practice.  People were...confused...to say the least...
"Oh crap...I think we shot him!"
  • We used to LOVE to watch the birds on our bird feeder in the backyard.  But it was always quite disturbing when we would find a dead (or half dead) bird lying underneath the darn thing.  It was also quite annoying to have to wrangle said dead/half dead birds away from Matilda when she would grab them and try to play with them.  We figured out that a neighborhood tomcat was coming into the yard and using our birds as play things.  We needed a plan...this carnage was just getting to be too much.  Jonathan's grandfather was apparently a beastly good aim with a BB gun back in the day and would scare the neighborhood cats out of his yard with it.  We decided to try our hand.  But we needed target practice.  So we sat on our back deck and shot the BB gun at targets like a couple of backwoodsy hoodlums.  We were both TERRIBLE shots.  I shot the top of the copper roofed bird feeder by accident and thought that was pretty cool.  It made the coolest little *ping* sound!  So we kept shooting at it.  The BB's were ricocheting off into who knows where.  It was so much fun!  Until...  We hear "OUCH!!" from the neighbor behind us.  He's been hit!!  So we scramble and HAUL BUTT into the house to hide behind curtains and wait for the paddy wagon to come and take us downtown for assault with a...deadly?....weapon...
"We suck at the BB gun.  We need live bait..."
  • We decided we had to lure this cat into the yard in order to actually hit it with a BB.  A live bird was obviously the best choice.  But our ideas there were foiled.  So we decided to take one of the dead birds out of the yard and use it to lure the tomcat.  What to do, what to do?  Ah!  Fishing line.  We strung that dead bird up by fishing line (you know...optical illusion...) right in the corner of the fence.  It was brilliant.  The thing hung there looking as if it were levitating.  SURELY this was our ticket to getting that pesky cat into the yard and interested for long enough for us to ping him with a BB and teach him a lesson.  Days went by.  No tomcat.  But the bird was still swinging there by his imaginary noose.  Until...  Our friend and neighbor Jamie came to pick up his lawn mower that we had borrowed.  The three of us were chatting in the backyard until Jamie's attention was stolen by "something strange".  He squinted at the back fence and shook his head and squinted again.  I thought "Oh no...he's seen it...".  And he says, "Um...is that?...I think...yeah I think there is like a dead bird hanging out of your tree back there.  What the..."  Jonathan and I are bug eyed.  How do we come off looking clever and not like a couple of kooks?  Jonathan says, "Oh, it's bait for a cat," and Rachel says, "Yeah.  We strung him up there so the cat would think it was levitating."  Nailed it.  He *definitely* doesn't think we're crazy...  o_O  We promptly cut the darn thing down and gave it a proper dead bird's funeral...
"The neighbors are saying there is some gnarly chicken in your driveway..."
  • We survived Hurricane Ike in that little Buoy house.  Well...the house weathered the storm while we hauled buns to OKC.  While packing up the house in a frenzy we thought "Meh.  Don't worry about the stuff in the freezer.  Even if the power goes out it will come back on in a few hours.  As long as it stays shut the stuff will stay frozen or at least cold."  So we left it.  When we returned 2 weeks later, the power was STILL out.  And our house smelled like...well...rotting things.  We had to do something.  So we staged a garbage can at the back door in the garage.  We wore surgical masks.  Jonathan would suck in a huge breath, hold it, sprint into the kitchen and unload as much as he could out of the rotten freezer into the garbage can, sprint back, and "tag me in".  Then I'd do the same.  Each time after a "run" we would stand there dry heaving in the driveway until it was our turn to make another run.  Finally we had a garbage can full of rotten meat and veggies and an empty fridge.  We quadruple bagged that nastiness and put it on the curb for the garbage men.  We showered and went out for dinner obviously.  We got a call from our landlord several hours later: "Ummm...I just got a call from one of the neighbors.  Apparently there is some 'gnarly chicken' in your driveway and it's made its way into other peoples' yards.  They aren't happy.  What in the world are they talking about??"  Well...we *knew* about the "gnarly chicken"...but how the heck was it in "other peoples' yards"??  We came home and figured it out.  A neighborhood dog was confused as to why we were throwing away this veritable smorgasbord of meat delicacies that had been aged to perfection.  He decided to tip our trashcan over and share the wealth around the neighborhood.  We could smell the "gnarly-ness" as soon as we opened the car door.  Rotten meat for the win...
Ok, ok.  I'll stop.  There are probably several other stories I can tell about living in that house.  But for now, I hope you're laughing as much as I did writing this.  What a trip down memory lane...

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

The Final Countdown-8 Weeks To Go!

 It's crazy how quickly time begins passing when you're closer and closer to something this big.  This past weekend I went into Roseau and placed my big bulk order with The Ruins for the coffee, tea, rum, and spices we will be bringing back with us.  Such a sweet little Rastafarian family they are.  I am doing some serious stocking up with them because their product is second to none and I won't have access to anything like this in the states.  I bought all this good stuff as Christmas presents for family and friends over Christmas, and now I get to do some purchasing for myself!  Last things on the "to buy in Dominica" list include a tie dye satchel from Janice and a couple of really big Kalinago baskets.  Then we can ship our barrels once the stuff from The Ruins comes in and we are set!  So without further ado, though, here is #8 in our countdown...

#8 Thing I Will Miss About Dominica

Being outside.  We are outside pretty much all the time.  We eat lunch outside, sometimes Jonathan studies outside, our breaks are taken outside...heck I even teach school outside from 1:00-3:00 every day!  I was sitting by the seaside the other day while my kindergarteners were working on math centers.  I was just looking out across the turquoise water, smelling the salty air, and feeling that ocean breeze whipping through the palm trees.  And I thought, "Wow.  This is something you only do in Dominica."  And it's true...I likely won't be spending much time near the ocean in the coming years.  I won't have the option of going for a quick snorkel, or a jungle hike, or just sitting by the ocean with a fresh pina colada in my hand.  As tough as it can be to have to walk both uphill and downhill both ways coming from the house to campus or vise versa (and I'm not exaggerating), I rather enjoy the cool morning air and listening to the birds.  I like looking out from just about anywhere I am and seeing the ocean.  I like living in an apartment that has only the bare minimum separation from the outside.  Waking up in the morning to the cheeping of bananaquits and hearing the rain hit our tin roof are sounds we're are unlikely to wake up to in the states.  So I will miss being outside as much as we are here.  A/C is overrated... ;)

#8 Thing That Will Be Awesome About Living in the States Again

HOT SHOWERS!  This semester (and the better part of last semester), for me and Jonathan, has been spent with frigidly cold showers.  Our landlord has had lots of trouble getting the right attachment for our shower head and thus we've been taking cold showers.  It will likely be perfectly fixed just about the time we leave, but alas...for now piping hot showers are almost foreign to us.  As a matter of fact, I'm certain I won't be able to handle as hot a shower as I used to be able to because of this.  We walked by a guy the other day and I turned to Jonathan and said, "Yum.  That guy smelled like clean clothes and body scrub!"  It's a luxury man!  Though it is nice to be able to send your laundry out in the mornings and it's on your doorstop that evening freshly washed, dried, and folded...it will be nice to have our clothes (and bodies!) smelling fresh ALL the time.  It was one of the things about going home in December that struck me.  Everything just smelled so good...so clean!  It's not that it stinks in the Caribbean...it just smells like outside.  Which sometimes is a really nice thing (hence what I wrote above).  But when your shower is freezing cold, you try not to spend more than about 3 minutes in there.  Wash your hair and your body and get the heck outta dodge before you get hypothermia.  Plus a quick cold shower never leaves you feeling very clean.  It will be so nice to have a hot shower every single day and to not sweat off that glorious smell of body scrub the minute you walk outside...

We are under the 60 day mark at this point.  We can't believe it!  Jonathan took his final for Semester 4 yesterday and should be receiving the scores for that any day now.  He feels really good about the test and I feel certain his score will be right in line with that 4.0 he's been hanging on to.  I'm so proud of him!  He is officially a 3rd year med student now!!  Just one more test between now and when we leave, and then the USMLE Step 1, and then he's no strings attached for a whole 12 weeks!  Of course he's planning lots of shadowing and surgery observations during that time (you just can't peel the boy away from medicine for too long!), but I'm excited about some nice QUANTITY unadulterated time spent with him over those 12 weeks.  We're almost there!

A Different Kind of Flair