Medical School @ Ross: Explained

Thank you everyone for your encouraging comments on Tuesday's post. I am continually amazed by the kindness of the blogging community. You all rock in my book!

It occurred to me that I should probably explain how this whole international medical school thing works. Attending Ross University is a little different than traditional American schools where you stay in one location for the whole 4 years, but it's similar in a lot of ways too.

So where are we in this whole process? 5th semester. It was quite the dilemma deciding where to attend 5th semester, but I am so glad we decided to stay in Dominica. Several friends, including Clare & her husband, decided to stay as well. So for me at least, life has continued as normal.

Chris stayed over break & had an extra week to study for the comp while other students were moving from state to state. In his first two weeks at the hospital he has also been able to do several exams on patients & other things that students in Florida or Michigan probably won't have the ability to do because of hospital regulations.

From here, we move back to California in August while Chris studies for & takes the Step 1. All medical students, no matter what school they go to, have to take this exam. It's a big deal because your score basically determines the types of residency you can get. The higher the score, the more desirable or elite the residency. {remember SAT's anyone? times 1,000}

Once he gets his Step 1 score back, Ross will assign him to a clinical rotation at an affiliate hospital somewhere in America. We can request a certain hospital or geographical location, but placement depends on a lot of factors. Chances are, we will be on east coast.

Anything beyond starting clinical rotations is still a bit fuzzy for me, and too far in the future to worry about. It took me several semesters to wrap my brain around this whole process.

Any Questions??


Back to Real Life

My time in Dominica is quickly coming to an end. I can't believe that in two months we will be moving back to America. Over the last few days I've had a few major realizations.

I've been living in la-la land for the last two years.
It's true. In the real world, people go to work. They do not wake up when they want, blog all morning, work on little projects & then go on awesome trips or get coffee or hang out by the pool. This isn't exactly what I do now, but it's not that far from the truth either.

Yes, I did earn a Masters degree while here which was no joke in terms of work. And yes, I do run Priceless Design Studio, which is a dream job. But for the most part I've also been able to have an extremely flexible schedule and do a ton of really fun things on a daily weekly basis.

I am not rolling in the dough from Blog Design.
Never, have I ever, been more in love with a job. I am so happy doing graphic and web design from home. However, as the sole income earner in our little family, it looks like blog design just isn't going to cut it. By no means am I going to stop designing, but I will have to do something else in addition to part time designing.

It's time to get a "real" job.
For me, this means using my degrees, working 40 hours a week, and going back to the world of education. I should be excited about this, but the truth is I am terrified. The job prospects for teachers in California these days is grim. Right now my best bet is going to be working at a virtual academy, which will pay about 25% less than what I was making before.

Transition is scary.
We are moving back to California on August 6th, and beyond that what will unfold is still a mystery. I keep telling myself that everything's going to be okay. Actually, I keep singing this in my head.

I need a new attitude.
Anyone want to lend me theirs? I'm only sort of kidding. If you've been reading this blog for very long you probably know that I'm a worrier. It's time to adopt a more Marley attitude.

It's generally blogger etiquette to keep the serious stuff to your journal.. so please forgive me for this post & know that brighter days will follow. Real Life happens, ya know?


Favorite Childhood Books

I know for a fact that my parents started reading to me from a very early age. But when I think of my favorite books from childhood, they aren't picture books, they are always chapter books. 

We had stacks of books everywhere in our house because I read hundreds of books as a kid. Picture me as a girl with glasses, unruly hair, and a purple t-shirt {tied on the side} who would rush to get her work done in class so she could get back to reading. It wasn't that I didn't have friends or even that I was shy, the books just sucked me in (like they do still!) and I could spend hours upon hours reading by myself. 

Looking through GoodReads for photos of these books that I most remember, the illustrations on the covers brought so many memories back! Since most of these books were not illustrated inside, I remember staring at the covers & those faces would be the characters who inhabited the stories in my head. 

The first books that I remember really enjoying were The Boxcar Children & The Babysitter's Club. These books were about kids my age, having great adventures. I don't think I read them in order, but I know I read them all! 
If you had asked me as a kid who my favorite author was, I would have definitely told you Roald Dahl. His stories were that perfect mix of magical & likely. I loved that the main characters were always intelligent children who had to outsmart their evil parent figures. The semester I spent at Oxford I wrote a paper on Roald Dahl and his storytelling.
These might be more obscure titles but The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle and The Witch of Blackbird Pond came to mind almost immediately when I was thinking of my favorite childhood books. In 4th grade I liked nothing better than a strong feminine heroine. I still love books with these types of characters, especially when we are talking about historical fiction. 

When my mom gave me this book I probably looked at her skeptically, but I am so glad I took her advice. The Hiding Place by Corrie ten Boom is the true story of two sisters who survived imprisonment during WWII. It was the first of many books on WWII that I have read, fiction & non-fiction, and started my obsession with reading about The Holocaust. 

This list could go on and on: C.S. Lewis, J.K. Rowling, Orson Scott Card, L. M. Montgomery, Judy Blume, Beverly Cleary, Laura Ingalls Wilder. These are the authors who inspired me as a child, who taught me to imagine & who kept me out of trouble. I am a better writer, reader, and blogger today because of these authors who dedicated their life's work to writing stories for children. 

What books stand out to you from your childhood?
Linking up today with Jess from Sweet Green Tangerine
& on Friday with Katie & Heather


Be sure to check out Flaunt Your Cause today hosted by Emmy June & Lindsay.
I'm sad to say that I don't have an official cause at the moment,
but these girls have inspired me to start looking!

Emmy June blog


Gone Shopping!

Today is my shopping day! No Ladies, we don't have Target or Whole Foods here, but we do have a Sav-a-Lot and Astaphans. Never heard of these? Me either till I came to Dominica.

Today I will go forage in the capital city for groceries. Before you knew me, I wrote a post on the Anatomy of a Shopping Trip. <---- Go check it out, I promise it will make you thankful!

p.s. Is anyone else as terrified of this as I am?

Thank you to Lindsey from Trial by Sapphire for the "Before you Knew Me" post idea!


A Little Color Inspiration

One of my favorite parts about starting a new graphic design project is choosing the color palette. After collecting inspiration for the design, deciding on a color scheme is the first thing I do. 

There are a lot of great websites out there dedicated to putting together great color palettes. If you follow me on Pinterest you probably have seen me pinning to a collaborative Color Inspiration board with Clare & Crystal.

Here are a few of my favorite places on the web to find color palettes:

     ➳ Design Seeds
     ➳ Color Collective
     ➳ Creature Comforts
     ➳ Photo Card Boutique
     ➳ Colour Lovers

Designers spend years and years studying color theory. By no means am I an expert on color, but I thought I would share with you a little of my own color inspiration today. 

What colors are you loving right now?


Thankful Thursday Post

It's been a sad week. My good friend Tarah moved back to the states yesterday and I'm realizing our time here is almost through. I've felt for a while now that Dominica is home, and it's going to be hard to leave. I've often heard that the best way to get through a rough day is by thinking of all the things you are thankful for.

1. Imported Starbucks coffee. By imported I mean C²W bought me 3 pounds of Starbucks in the states & imported it in their suitcases for me.

2. I have awesome friends here on the island, back in California, and across the oceans in Korea. They keep me sane & grounded while reminding me there is life beyond med-school.

3. We are officially in 5th semester of med-school! {Do you like the use of "we"? I may not be the one studying, but it's still my life!}

4. Adam Cat. My little buddy basically sleeps near me all day, wherever I am. Whether it's on my desk, under my feet, or in the window sill behind me. He keeps me company during the day.

5. The Internet & Bloggers. Seriously, without the blogging world I would be much lonelier. I love that even though I live on an island of only 70k people, I have been able to make friends from around the world. You guys make me happy! I have so much fun writing & designing posts {not to mention my awesome job designing blogs.}

What are You thankful for this Thursday?

Linking up with Cami from First Day of My Life on this Thankful Thursday.



Da Party Bus Experience

The day we arrived in St. Maarten, after hitting up the pool for a little tanning, lunch & drinks, we got gussied up for the main event: Da Party Bus. {Pronounced "DUH PARTY BUS."}

Essentially a school bus turned nightclub/bar/partybus, Da Party Bus was perfect for one last party before the wedding! The seats were removed in favor of lounge style benches down the sides to provide adequate space for dancing and/or use of the bright yellow stripper pole.

First stop on Da Party Bus was the airport to pick up some late arrivers. The bus driver also managed to side-swipe a car at the airport. What was surprising was when the party hosts jumped out the back with a release form on a clipboard. I guess this happens frequently when you drive a massive bus?

After picking up the last two at the airport we headed for the infamous Sunset Beach where commercial planes fly incredibly close to the ground to land. The beach area is not blocked, so you can stand underneath as planes land or take off.

What no one told me beforehand is how painful it can be to have hot sand blown on you at incredible speeds due to the exhaust of the plane. Our dear friend, the bride, was actually knocked over by the blast.

I read this sign AFTER standing on the beach as a plane departed. People actually die there every year. How this place is still open to the public is still beyond me. Must be the fact that it draws so many tourists. Stupid {drunk} tourists, like us.

From here, we went to an awesome rooftop Sky Bar complete with white sand and firepits. Sorry to disappoint but I didn't get any more photos. Most of these were taken with my iPhone because my dSLR was not going anywhere near Da Party Bus. Not when it had this warning on the front.

But I promise, we had an awesome night on Da Party Bus! Thank you Kristen!!


Vacation Read - The Sugar Queen

Generally, I gravitate towards more epic historical novels while on vacation like The World Without End by Ken Follet or Cane River by Lalita Tademy. I love having a thick book to really treasure during my endless hours of reading by the pool.

On my trip to St. Maarten however, there were a few roadblocks that caused me to veer from the usual.

  • no book stores in Dominica to visit pre-trip
  • no book stores past Customs in SXM
  • no kindle (my iPad will never visit a pool deck)
  • shorter vacation

Thank goodness for Clare, who had a stack of paperbacks at her apartment that had been handed down to her by various people. It was really picking bad from worse (sorry Clare.. I know they weren't your picks!), but I decided on The Sugar Queen by Sarah Addison Allen. What "sold" me was the main character is 27 years old - Not the cover.

My Review:

Josey Cirrini lives at home with her aging mother. She drives her to the beauty salon, takes her to social events, and in every way obeys her mother. One evening as she goes to hide in her closet to munch sweets and read romance novels, she discovers a local woman - Della Lee - hiding there.

Unable to get Della Lee out without giving away her secret closet, Josey allows Della to lead her on a somewhat magical goose chase. Family secrets are spilled, Josey begins to gain independence, and even falls in love.

The whole time I was reading this book, I was about 60% into it. I didn't have anything better to read, and the story was sort of interesting, but it just didn't do it for me. Honestly, it was almost as depressing as the cover, even with the bits of magical goodness.

Sorry for the poor report, but better to be honest about these things & save you from several days of reading boredom. Thank goodness I had Fifty Shades Darker on the iPad to keep me company in the hotel room at night! {and yes, I did finish Fifty Shades of Grey!}

Today I'm linking up with Blonde.. Undercover Blonde and The Nerdy Katie for Book Club Friday, as well as Sweet Green Tangerine for Best Vacation Reads from her weekly Book Chat linkup. Thanks Ladies!



My Memories of St. Maarten

I want to send a BIG thank you out to Leah, Kate, & Clare for guest posting for me while I was enjoying the beautiful island of St. Maarten. I had an idea of what to expect from getting a sneak peek of their posts, but the color of the water there truly is unbelievable.

We stayed at The Westin Dawn Beach and it was everything a 4 star hotel should be. Comfy lounge chairs, a swim-up bar, heavenly bed, and amazing food. This was my view for much of the vacation.

Kristen and Paul did an amazing job planning and hosting this destination wedding. From hand painted bottles of rum in the rooms, to Da Party Bus (more to come), to the most perfect beach wedding.. everything about the experience was thoughtful and lovely.

Not to mention how beautiful Kristen looked in her wedding dress. She was the perfect bride. I feel honored to have been invited to be there on her Paul's big day.