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...

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