12/22/2010

May He Rest In Peace

I've been putting off this post.  Chris's father passed away last Friday.  It didn't seem right to skip that fact, but I wasn't ready to write about it either.  Today was the funeral.  It's a rainy day in Southern California and the cemetery wouldn't allow a graveside service, but there was a memorial at the funeral home.  It was as nice as a funeral can be.  Chris gave a speech, and it broke my heart to hear him talking about his father.  So, here's to the man who taught my husband how to be a good husband and someday a good father.

 

12/07/2010

need a break?

Thanks to my mom, I am now in love with guided self-hypnosis/relaxation mp3s.  I have several of Andrew Johnson's mp3s as apps on my iPhone, which I love.  But, you can also get them in iTunes.  I'm happy to share the ones I have.. if anyone is interested.  When you have 13 minutes, try this relaxation.  Listen to me: you won't regret it.



 

12/06/2010

Wherever you are, is just fine.








Wherever you are, is just fine. You can get to wherever you want to be from wherever you are. It’s time to stop measuring where you are in relationship to where anybody else is. The only factor that has anything to do with you is where you are in relationship with where you want to be.
~ Abraham-Hicks

12/05/2010

Santa Baby


A selection of Tiffany gifts this season.  For your viewing pleasure, enjoy the background music.


Santa Baby Lyrics
$200

$100

$2,650
$925



Woes and Wine

This week has been rather stressful for us.  Chris's dad is in the ICU with congestive heart failure and a collapsed lung, among other things.  It's also the last weeks of the semester, and Chris has a major test tomorrow and then final exam next Monday.  We are hoping he can stay and finish out these tests, but family will come first. 

On a more positive note, I went on a wine cruise yesterday with several of the spouses.  We had a blast, snorkeling and swimming off the side of the boat!




12/01/2010

Design

My latest blog creation!  Stinking cute, right?


11/30/2010

WHS

Wet Arm Syndrome: What happens to your left arm when you carry an umbrella and ten pounds of groceries on your right.  
 


11/28/2010

All You Need is Love

Cover by Lynden David Hall of the original Beatles song.




Nowhere you can be that isn't where you're meant to be.
It's easy.
All you need is love.


11/27/2010

Island Thanksgiving

I am Thankful For..
My Family
My Husband
New Friends
Malcom's Meat
Time
Rain
The Internet
Air Conditioning







11/23/2010

Moo Cow Mud Run

I have my own personal mud run 2 or 3 times a week. Also known as: My Walk to Campus.  This picture is what Moo Cow Trail looks like on the average rainy day, like today.  I wish I had a picture of what it looks like on a really rainy day to share with you.  Just imagine the puddles overtaking the entire road, and flowing downhill.  It never occurred to me that when we moved to the Caribbean, we were actually moving to a tropical rain forest, but that is exactly what Dominica is.  A tropical rain forest.  Betcha didn't know that!

The good news is that very soon, we will be leaving Moo Cow for Lizard Trail!  Chris and I decided to, well more like Chris gave in and let me, move closer to campus.  It's going to be more money per month, but we are going to get a much nicer apartment with air conditioning in both rooms, real couches, and a walk in closet!  A far cry better than where we are now.  Anyone remember my Bad Bed post?  This is a big improvement!

Scuba Steve

To become scuba certified, you have to do something like 10 hours of book learning, and then 7 different dives/levels where you prove your underwater skills.  I got stuck at numbers 3 and 4.  One of the skills on this dive is that you have to take off your mask underwater and replace it.  After that, you have to take off the mask underwater, swim for one minute, and then replace it.  I could barely let water in my mask before freaking out on the first two days.  After 3 instructors.. and 3 dives.. I did it!!   Or in the words of my scuba instructor, "You owned that skill!" I guess the third time really is the charm!

11/20/2010

Dominican Snow

Yesterday a local says to me, "Put away your umbrella, it's just Dominican snow!"

Do people who live in snowy parts of the world use umbrellas to keep it off them?  Or do they just let it fall on their clothes and melt?  I guess I've been rather weather-spoiled living in California.

11/15/2010

Booties

Thank you Target Online for showing me your fabulous collection of rain boots!  I think I need a pair for my long, muddy walks to school on rainy days.  Especially since they are only 24.95, and BOGO!  The only problem is, which pair?!



11/14/2010

It's in the water..

Mmm... yummy. 
What's for dinner?  Anything that doesn't need water to cook!

11/13/2010

Babysitting in Dominica

Dear Diary,

Today I got up when I felt like it, and then checked my email and facebook.  Then I talked with Kristen on Skype.  I heart the fact that I can video chat with her even though she lives in Egypt and I live in Dominica.

Then I made some mac-n-cheese for lunch for Chris and I.  If someone would have told me that I'd eat mac-n-cheese once a week here, I would have laughed in their face.  My standards for an acceptable lunch have dropped dramatically in the last 2 months.

After lunch, I sat and watched Harry Potter while updating the RSO website.  Would you like to see it?  http://rossmedspouses.wordpress.com/
I updated the About RSO page, and the Sponsorship page.  It's my new duty as website director of RSO.

Then I went to Erin's house to do hair for the big 4th semester banquet.  I made Carolyn pretty and drank mimosas.  It was wonderful girl time.

On my way home I got a phone call from a 4th semester student who is here with her daughter.  Her daughter was sick, and couldn't go to the banquet.  She wanted to know if I could come right then and babysit.  I'm a sucker for helping people.  I said yes.

So now I'm here babysitting.  I put lovely little Clara to sleep over an hour ago, and have been spending my time making a new blog layout for SpacyStacy.  It's quite fun for me.  I'd be happy to do other people's blogs too.


I've still gotta make the header.  And perfect it.  Also, you have to imagine the background with about an inch less green on both sides.  I've learned that you have to make the layouts extra wide for the people who are lucky enough to have those really nice extra wide flatscreen monitors.  The rest of us see about 20% less of the green.  Anyways... this is how I spend my time. 

11/11/2010

Grad School in Dominica?!

After a whole lot of consideration, I've decided to get my Masters in Educational Technology during my time here in Dominica.  At first I thought I didn't want to do anything this year, but the more I thought about it I realized that the reason I didn't want to do anything was because I am burnt out on being a classroom teacher.  It's not that I don't like teaching kids, I do.  It's more everything that comes with it: the politics, the parents, and the never ending paperwork.  The best part of my job in the last few years was getting a Promethean Board, and learning how to use it in the classroom.  I started to enjoy making the lessons more than teaching them, and certainly more than dealing with the peripheral crap.  The way I see it, getting this masters is going to open a lot of doors to me (outside of the classroom).  With a Masters in Ed Tech, I can try to get a job at a company like Promethean as a trainer or developer, or I can work in a school as a trainer or in their IT department.  I really think that technology is the future of education.  Whiteboards will soon be as obsolete as chalkboards.  I'm actually super excited to move forward in my career, and am thankful that I have the time to begin that here!

11/09/2010

AC

It's amazing what a little air conditioning can do to raise my spirits. Sometimes I think I go into a little "heat coma." My forehead gets all sweaty, I feel the hot air pressing down on me, and I just don't want to move. Turning on the AC is like turning back up my energy. Too bad it costs so much to run!

11/08/2010

The Countdowns

This weekend there was a party for the 4th semester spouses because they are in their last semester here and will move back to the states at Christmas.  They are counting down the days.

5 of these wonderful girls are leaving :(

It was pointed out to me today that I have 400+ days left on the island.  So I'm not exactly in countdown mode yet BUT it is only 41 days until I get to come back for a visit!  I can't wait for a Red Cup, Chipotle, and In-n-out.  Our tentative holiday plans look like this:

December 20: Overnight in Miami ((Starbucks at Airport))
December 21-24=3:  Los Angeles
December 24-29:  Atwater
December 30-January 2: San Diego
January 3-4: Upland
January 5: Los Angeles
January 6: Overnight in Puerto Rico ((One Last Starbucks))

I would love to see friendly faces if your Holiday plans mesh with ours!

11/04/2010

TMI? Probably..

                                                                                                                    
Top 5 Theories to explain my Recurring Diarrhea:

5.  Our water comes from a river
4.  Absence of hot water in the sink
3.  An intestinal parasite
2.  Lack of expiration date on most food
1.  The Shacks!


11/02/2010

Back in Action

We made it through Tomas unscathed.  The only thing that stopped working was our internet.. but even that may have not been hurricane related.  After a very frustrating 3 days without internet at home, I decided to check my network preferences.  It said that there was no Ethernet cord connected.. so I switched the cord I was using for a different one, and sure enough the internet popped back on.  Was it the hurricane or was it the cats chewing through our cord?  It's a toss up, and maybe a little of both.  All that matters to me is having my connection back.  It gets really lonely here without the internet.  I don't know how the people did it in the 70's and 80's!

In my internet deprived boredom, I started playing around with Photoshop and old photos.  Here's a quick before and after of a picture Chris and I took when we were first dating.

Before


After

In other news, my very smart and dedicated husband took his second mini yesterday.  I get so nervous it feels like I'm the one taking the test, not him.  But he did great!  Yay!

10/30/2010

Hurricane Tomas

Never have I ever been so close to a Hurricane before.  Tomas is knocking on our door.


You can see Dominica is inside the "scary" circle right now.  Funnily enough, it's not raining outside right now, just windy.  Although, it does look rather foreboding.  They shut the school down and sent everyone home.  We are pretty lucky, and our apartments have a generator so at least we will have power tonight.  Wish us luck!

10/23/2010

Emerald Pool and Carib Territory

 Dominica is rich with waterfalls and natural pools.  This week we went to a really nice one called Emerald Pool.  In the picture, it's hard to tell, but the water is a beautiful emerald color.  And it's Freezing!  You can jump off the rocks, go behind the waterfall, and climb back into this little cove.  This was definitely one of the easiest hikes I've done so far!  After that we went on to the Carib Territory where the original island people have lived for thousands  of years. 

 There were women sitting outside the huts hand weaving beautiful baskets.  The really large ones you can see in the background were $50EC or about $18 US.  Apparently basket weaving is their only source of income and they do it for a living. 



We ended the day with a stop at Pagua Bay.. the most luxurious restaurant in Dominica.  Nothing more relaxing than a cocktail overlooking the ocean! 

10/20/2010

Screw Spa in Dominica

A Spa? In Dominica?  Don't get too excited.  Screw Spa is not your typical put on a bath robe and walk around and get a mani-pedi place.  It's actually a series of natural sulfur hot springs.  That's why it's screwy!  Ok, ok, bad joke.  Actually, I was worried that it would smell more than it did. The first pool you go in is really hot.  Like when you were a kid and burned your feet hopping up and down in the too hot bath water, but you get used to it.  When you feel like you are about ready to pass out you can run up the stairs to the cold pool.  From there, there are 2 other warm pools: one like a jacuzzi tub, and one like a nice warm bath.  And when you are finished the staff brings you a plate of fresh fruits and water. 


If anyone ever decides to come visit me (hint, hint!) I will gladly take you to this wonderful place.  I know that I mostly have bad things to say about living here, but I think if you were coming for a vacation instead of a permanent home it could really be very nice.  As far as I have heard there are two seasons: rainy and wet, and one temperature: hot.  There are rumors floating around that in December and January it gets cool enough at night to wear short sleeves or maybe even a light jacket.  We'll have to see about that.  I'm skeptical.  Just think, after a little saving, this could be YOU sitting under a fountain in a natural sulfur spring! 


10/18/2010

The Real Spouses of Dominica

One of the best things about living on this rock called Dominica is making friends with the other spouses who live here.  They are always coming up with new reasons to get together and hang out.  I think we all know that to be a good support to the med students, we have to have supports of our own.  I can't imagine living here without the other spouses.  It would be terribly boring and lonely.


10/10/2010

Every Sunday by Peter Pezzelli


A lot of life changing things have happened since my last post, nearly two months ago.  Sadly, I have only finished one book in that whole time.  It seems backwards that moving to a Caribbean island would have slowed down my reading pace, but boy has it!  Not to worry, my appetite for books is coming back and I have the time to indulge myself.   


Review:
I always love books that are original.  The main character’s dead father narrates this sweet little story about an Italian family who puts their lives back together after his death.  Not exactly chic lit, Every Sunday is more of a rainy day feel good read than anything else.  This was the perfect book to help me get over jet lag and heat laziness.  

Bad Bed

Dear Dominican Landlord,

I know that your life must be rough, owning an apartment complex and all.  I'm grateful for our third floor walk up with the mini-fridge, florescent lights, and solar heated shower.  I don't mind that we don't have hot water in our sink, that the cable goes in and out, or even the patio furniture posing as a living room set.  What I'm having trouble with is this pathetic excuse for a bed.


Even the cats wake up with a crooked back.  It is slanted heavily to one side, rolls away from the wall during the night, and I swear I can still feel the springs through the egg crate.  This bed is making me wake up with pains in my side, neck, and lower back.  It is giving me headaches.  Please find it in your heart to replace our bed immediately with something like this.


Very truly yours,

Katie Price

10/05/2010

Very Rainy Dominican Week

It's rained in Dominica before.  It's rained in California before.  Never have I ever seen rain like this for so long.  Sure, every now and then you might get an intense thunderstorm with a downpour.  The rain here though, it goes in every direction, it pounds, it pours, it dumps.  Yesterday morning when I left the house I literally had to splash through the river our road had become.  There were no puddles to walk around because it was one large flowing stream.  Now the rain has let up some, but it's been continuously coming down for the last 48 hours.  The only bonus is that the mercury has dropped.  Ironically, I'm still just as wet as soon I head outside : /

9/27/2010

Dominica is a Developing Country

Evidence:

-cows on the road
-crater like potholes
-rivers of mud
-brown water in the sink
-no hot water in the sink
-limited food supply
-frequent power outages

Conclusion:

Always be prepared.

9/19/2010

It's Sunday Again Already?!

There's a saying here at Ross that the days may go slowly, but the weeks fly by.  How true that has been!  My week was full of outings and adventure.



Monday:  I got up early for the free shopping trip to Roseau.  The Ross Spouse Organization pays for a taxi to pick us up at the school library and then drive us to the capital of Dominica, Roseau, which is an hour away.  We stopped at the Coke Factory where you can get a case of soda for about 1EC a bottle, which is great but they didn't have any Diet or Coke Light.  Too bad so sad.  Once we got to Roseau our wonderful driver Bruno took us from store to store, helping us load up our groceries as we went.  I wish I had gotten a picture of the van on our way back.. it was jam packed with bags!  The other great thing was that we each got dropped off at our apartment when it was over.  So you could buy as much as you like, not as much as you could carry.  I spent about 1,000EC which my handy dandy converter tells me is 370US.  I know this sounds like a lot, but I basically bought what I thought would be what we need for the month, other than produce.  Hopefully I guessed right because the next Roseau trip isn't for a month!


Tuesday: I went to the prep school early to meet with the director because she said she had a tutoring job for me.  It is such a tiny school!  So, so different than Fairmont.  The director then talked me into volunteering once a week, hinting that if I did I would get tutoring jobs.  I agreed and she sent my phone number to a parent, and I got an afternoon job.  I have dreamed of this situation for years!  How great it would be to tutor in the afternoons for money, but not have to teach all day.  I'm so lucky!  I'm not going to make the same rate as in the states, but I will make 5 times as much as any other job I could get here.. so I'm happy.  The rest of the day I hung out with friends and went to the pool!

Wednesday: Our laundry came back.  There aren't laundromats here, so when the bags are full I call up Hermina and she comes and picks up our laundry and drops it off the next morning.  It costs about 7US dollars a load.  Everything is folded nicely and smells great when it comes back!


Wednesday was also our trip to Bense Pool.  It was a short hike down to an amazing pool and waterfall.  I made a video from the trip, but what I didn't get on tape was the natural water slide that you could take down from above which shoots you out at the waterfall.  It was a really fun adventure!



Thursday: It was ridiculously hot.  I spent the majority of the day hiding out in the CAC playing board games.  The CAC is like a rec center, with big TV's, pool tables, video games, and mostly importantly: air conditioning.  Then it was off to the Scuba Social, and then the girls game night/clothing swap. 


Friday: Up early again to go to the Moucherie Rum Distillery.  The tour was okay, they showed us the 19th century machines they use to crush the sugar cane, and the boilers they use to extract the alcohol.


The best part was the end when we got to do a tasting.  The guide brought us to a table of Rum and let us try whatever we wanted!


Saturday:  Bright and early we took a cab to the market.  Very oddly, there is next to nothing in produce at the local stores, you can only get it at the Saturday Morning market between 6 and 10am.  I came home with a huge bag of fruits and vegetables for less than 10US dollars.  Pretty awesome.  I even found basil!  So we had creamy pesto pasta for dinner last night, and it was delicious.  Also, I went to a "garage sale" where the 4th semesters who are leaving in December started selling the things they aren't taking with them.  I scored on a rug, bug spray, and several kitchen gadgets.  Mostly importantly, an oven thermometer because my oven is measured in Celsius.  Now, if I could only figure out how to turn the oven on...

Today/Sunday:  I was pretty excited about going to the beach today, but about noon it started with the thunder and lightning.  Hurricane Julia ruined my plans.  Knock on wood, hurricanes usually pass right by our little island and tend to hit the more northern islands, but we still get plenty of rain as they go by.  Instead of beaching, I spent time Skyping my mom and Kristen and then went to the CAC to play some games and watch a movie.  Then I made some yummy homemade cheesy chicken and broccoli rice for dinner.  My dinners have improved dramatically in the last few weeks as I collect more spices and staples in my cupboards. 

All in all, it was a great week.  Chris has his first test tomorrow, and is still up studying.  Wish him luck!

9/11/2010

Birthday in Dominica

  I've celebrated my birthday in many places at this point: Atwater, Azusa, England, Claremont, La Habra, Orange, and now Dominica! This was definitely the wettest birthday on record.  Actually, I can't recall any other birthday where rain was involved at all.  But it was also my first birthday in years where I haven't had to work!  Last year, I was pretty much at school until 9 pm becuase of Back-to-School Night.  No fun!  My first order of business was.. Iced Coffee!  Without a coffee maker, it's been a luxury to have a coffee these days.
  Half way to the university, there is a wanna-be coffee shop called Rituals.  It even has the green starbucks-esque font lettering on the front sign.  When I got home, the maid was just going into my apartment.  So, while the maid mopped, scrubbed, and cleaned, I Skyped with Kristen in Egypt.  (If anyone wants to ever Skype me, my name is: katieolsonprice.)  I enjoyed my afternoon reading all the wonderful birthday wishes.  Then it was time to get ready for Chris's White Coat Ceremony.  Knowing there is NO shopping on the island, I had picked and brought a new birthday shirt with me.
  We headed off into the rain for his ceremony.  The White Coat Ceremony is when the medical students get their first official white coat, which symbolizes the professional aspects of becoming a doctor.  The students read an Honor Code, which is basically an oath to do no harm, and are pinned.
  I kid you not, they played "We are The Champions" while the students were going up to be pinned!  It was a true Laugh Out Loud moment.  The Prime Minister of Dominica was there, and gave a short speech.  Apparently, he is the youngest head of state anywhere in the world right now.  We had a few snacks, ducked out of the rain for a while, and as soon as it cleared we headed home.
  We had to pop in to Rituals on the way home to wait out the rain again.  By the time we got home, I was done with walking in the mud for the day.  We ordered in from The Tomato, which is one of the more expensive, but really yummy restaurants here.  All restaurants deliver in Dominica, even the coffee shop!  I had penne pesto for dinner, and Orlando Bloom Chocolate WOW Cake for dessert.  Supposedly, while they were filming Pirates of the Caribbean here, the crew would frequent The Tomato and this was Orlando's favorite cake.  All in all, it was a good birthday.  Not quite as extravagant as in years past, but I'm learning that sometimes simple is just as satisfying.  :)