…and then we’ll take it slow. So as many of you who will be reading this blog know, Jonathan has been accepted to Ross University for the August 2012 term!! We are so excited about this opportunity and we have already seen God working to make this happen. You should all know that the decision to pick up and move to the Caribbean did not come easily. It has been 2 years of God preparing our hearts and minds for this LIFE CHANGING shift! I like to say that really he’s been preparing my heart for this for around 15 years. You see, my dad considered taking a job in St. Croix, Virgin Islands many years ago. For whatever reason, at that time I was totally willing to leave my friends and the comforts of “the states” to do that. Seemed crazy at the time! He decided not to take that position, but ever since I have had that on my mind. I’m convinced that God had begun stirring that in me those many years ago…even before I knew Jonathan! Our God is infinitely wise and all-knowing. It’s true that He knew you before you were born, knows the number of hairs on your head, and knows all there is to know about your future. The gravity of the knowledge that He’s had a plan for me and Jonathan and this chapter in our lives since before time began is overwhelming!
So I’m sure many of you have about a million questions about this, so let me answer the “FAQ”‘s (so to speak):
Rachel, what will you be doing? Will you be working? Are there American schools there??
I will not be working. At least for this first semester. The first semester is only 15 weeks and we will be in Freeport, Grand Bahama for that time. After that, we will be moving to Dominica, West Indies for 4 semesters. There are schools (and a performing arts school) on that island, so I may be able to pick up some private lessons there. It’s very difficult to get a work visa for the islands if you are a spouse of a med student because they know you don’t have “staying power”. Not to mention, with such a large population in such a small space, you will almost always be competing with “natives” and they will almost always win the job over you. So in short, I will be an island housewife (hence my new email address firstname.lastname@example.org). I will be taking care of Jonathan and Matilda, getting a fabulous tan, continuing my weight loss (hopefully), and beaching it up. I will also be taking on more of the administrative duties associated with our jewelry business and hopefully getting plenty of time to create some awesome pieces. I’ll be sewing and cooking and reading and relaxing. Just what the doctor ordered after 4 years of teaching middle school! In all seriousness though, I am a worrier and my body does not handle stress well. It makes me ill and unhealthy in ways. So I’m hoping that this “forced relaxation” will reset my body and help us achieve our “next in line goal” which is to start a family!
So what happens after the Caribbean? Can he practice medicine in the states? Will you guys ever come back??
No, we will never come back. We will stay living in paradise for as long as God grants us breath.
I’m joking! Ha! No, after Jonathan’s 1 semester in Freeport and 4 semesters in Dominica, we will be in Miami for 1 semester. That semester will be spent “polishing up” his clinical skills and studying for the USMLE Step 1 test (the first of many tests you have to take to get your medical license). After that semester he will be matched with a hospital affiliated with Ross University for a 3 semester clinical rotation. That could be anywhere, but we will be able to at least request our preference of locations. Unfortunately right now none of the affiliated hospitals are in Texas or Oklahoma. There is a large concentration in New York and in California and a sprinkling in several other locations. That placement will depend on our preference, his “specialty” (though he won’t officially have to declare that immediately upon entering clinicals), and of course which one the school matches him with. I am saying I would like to stay in the south which would mean Louisiana, Alabama, Georgia, or Florida. But who knows what will happen between now and then! Yes, he will be licensed and able to practice medicine in the states. Ross University is a US school based out of New Jersey. The school is in the Caribbean because the US has paired with these islands to provide more options for US medical school hopefuls while also providing quality and inexpensive health care to the people of these islands who would otherwise not have access to that at all.
What kind of doctor does Jonathan want to be?
We get this question a lot, so I will try to answer it like Jonathan would. Right now, Jonathan is really interested in surgery. He has had several observation experiences in the past few years and was involved with an internship last summer that let him into the OR to watch a wide array of procedures. He is really interested in the “future of surgical medicine” as it’s moving more in the direction of technology and robotics. He has been able to observe a surgery and actually manipulate a DaVinci Robot (google it!) and that totally wowed him! He has observed several Neurosurgery procedures and is very interested in that field. He is equally interested in Cardio Thoracic (heart and lung) surgery. Interestingly enough, he took an “aptitude” test which basically analyzed his interests and personality and the number one field that he “matched” to was Plastic Surgery! Hmmm… Everyone always says, though, that you never know what could happen. Jonathan’s dad Charlie went to school with a guy who wanted to do some kind of surgery and ended up falling in love with Ear, Nose, and Throat! Wild! So who knows. We say surgery now, but it could be anything…
Will you guys take your animals? I’ve heard they have to be quarantined?!?
Yes, we will be taking Matilda, but no, she will not have to be quarantined. Patrick will be staying here. This was another thing that God provided for us. Jonathan’s parents had a cat, Misty, who was 18 years old. She just passed away a few weeks ago. Effectively “opening a spot” for Patrick at Grandma and Grandpa’s house. He “moved” to Oklahoma City over Memorial Day weekend and will stay with them during our stay in the Caribbean. Matilda will have to have a giant panel of shots and tests run, but our vet will write us a health certificate which we will then fax to the Bahamian Embassy for a health clearance which we will show at customs upon arrival in Freeport and then Dominica. She may or may not be able to ride in the cabin with us like she usually does. We are in the process now of getting all of that squared away right now, so cross your fingers and say a prayer that all goes well with that! I can’t live without my baby girl!
I know there are several other questions to answer and I will answer them soon. I’m trying not to get sucked in to spending hours on end on the computer since there’s SO MUCH to be done! I will post again soon! Thank you all for your prayers and well wishes. We would not be where we are today without the love and support of so many great friends and of course our amazing families. We will keep you all posted as we turn this corner and start our new lives as Caribbeans!