The struggle for the study buddy…

Oh my goodness what a week this has been!  Hence my lack of post…by the time we find time in the evening to slow down, it’s just about all we can do to keep our eyes open!  So let me sort of organize all the events so that I don’t ramble for hours here…

Paychecks and Tyrone

There was much ado about my last paycheck from Pasadena.  Let me just express my great disdain for Amoco Federal Credit Union.  I won’t get on my soap box about it too much, though.  Suffice to say that nothing is more frustrating than knowing you’ve got a big fat direct deposit just SITTING at the bank and they won’t deposit it until the “date on the check”.  Of course if I wrote a check today and post dated it for next week, you better believe they’d be ripping that money out of my account as soon as they received the check.  Ugh!!!  Banks make me so mad!  But finally we got my final paycheck which was fabulous.  It’s the paycheck that’s gonna carry us through until we get that student loan refund deposited.

So what did we do with the paycheck??  We did some serious grocery shopping!  We happened upon a really cool taxi driver named Tyrone (he pronounces it with emphasis on the “ty”…I always feel like you all should know how to read it like I’m thinking it in my head…) at the casino.  No, we aren’t “going to the casino”.  It just happens to be both the hub of taxi drivers and the only “duty free” ATM on the island!  So after a convoluted mess about withdrawing from our account (I’ll save you that stupid, stupid story), we grabbed a ride with him.  He’s so very passionate about the island!  We told him we wanted to see about some fresh seafood markets so he took us to the International Bazaar.  That area is considered downtown Freeport…or at least the outskirts.  It’s a little heartbreaking actually…I must say.  It used to be the “cruise ship hub” before 2006 when two hurricanes hit the Bahamas.  The International Bazaar never really came back.  So what’s left is a few people selling their wares and a few fisherman selling stuff out of coolers in the back of their cars.  So Tyrone, in an attempt to I think at first shock us, took us over there to buy some seafood.  It didn’t shock me.  As a matter of fact I felt really blessed to be able to help out some of the locals by buying what they were selling.  We bought one grouper (which is a very popular fish around here) for $17 (mind you that grouper was filleted in to 8 large steaks…so essentially $2+ per fillet…) and 3 conchs at $2.50 each!  We have seafood markets at our disposal in Houston down by the docks in Kemah.  It’s usually fairly reasonably priced so “cheap fresh seafood” is not really something novel to us.  Though the “cracking of the conch” was definitely a sight to see!  I’ll post the video of Jonathan “eating the worm” which the locals call the “piston” (they also claim that eating it changes you from Clark Kent to Superman…I’ll refrain from speculating on that accuracy of that statement for the sake of all my readers…).  I told Jonathan that thing was probably the conch’s “man parts” but he apparently did some research and swears it’s not.  I’m not convinced…

Taxis around here are outrageously expensive, but more reliable than the famed “reggae buses”.  We talked to some students yesterday who were getting off a bus in Lucaya who had been taken by a bus driver to get gas in the van and run a few of his errands.  It took them like 15-20 minutes to get from Sunset Lodge (which is not terribly far away) into Lucaya.  A taxi driver can be propositioned to sort of chauffeur you all day.  They are at your beck and call if you want them to be.  We really needed that sort of flexibility from Tyrone on Tuesday while we were traveling all over the island running errands and stuff, but let me tell you we payed him royally (and he earned his keep…he actually helped us unload our groceries at the house!).  A bus costs you $1.25-$2 per person per leg just about anywhere you want to go (though some are more willing to “break their route” than others).  A taxi costs you at least $10 per leg, but it depends on where you go.  Understand also that this island is not that big.  At least not the part we live in.  So $10 from Taino Beach into Lucaya is kind of outrageous.  We won’t be calling Tyrone very often because we’re broke as goats, but he will probably end up being our once in a while grocery chauffeur.  Check out our pictures and videos on Facebook (and here) to catch a glimpse of him.

The Second Fish Fry and THE STRUGGLE FOR THE STUDY BUDDY

The next day (Wednesday) was the weekly fish fry. It also happened to be the day when most of the other students were arriving in Freeport.  So Jonathan has been communicating a lot on Facebook with the other Ross students and suggested a sort of “meet and greet” at the famous fish fry.  I’m not really sure if there was a definitive plan about how to actually “meet and greet” since none of us knew each other.  I have to say it was painfully awkward for a minute.  I wasn’t sure who were the cruisers and resort goers and who were the students.  Eventually there was sort of an assembly down by the beach.  Jonathan and I sort of had a perfect little spot overlooking it all.  I kept telling him “Hey, those guys look smart” or “Ugh…steer clear of that bunch” etc, etc.  So we sort of got to “survey” before actually diving in.

You see, meeting your fellow medical school classmates is more than just “meeting new friends”.  Honestly, other than this weekend, there probably won’t be many “social experiences” because all the students will be (or should be) buried in books.  It was sort of funny for me to be the in the position that I was in.  It was amusing for me to see all of them sort of “feeling each other out” trying to figure out who was serious and who needed to be avoided.  It is SO important to assemble a good study group in med school.  We’ve read that and heard that in LOTS of places, so this event was an opportunity to sort of attach yourself to the right people that are going to challenge you and compliment your learning/working style.  It’s a little tough considering it was basically a full on beach party!  Put lightly, it was very easy to see who was serious and who was along for the ride!  Apparently only 50% of the students in this first semester actually make it past “Freeport” and on to Dominica.  At first that was daunting to me, even though I am super confident that Jonathan is about to take this school by storm.  50% just sounded incredibly huge to me.  But there was definitely a little light shed on that number Wednesday night.  I keep telling Jonathan that “real world experience” helps us sort of have an objective view of this whole process.  There was a bar there and music and it was a lot of fun, but you had to be careful to present yourself appropriately.  The first impression is so important in this situation, because you have precious little time or opportunity to “fix” any kind of mistakes you may have made in your presentation of yourself.

At times I felt a little old around all these fresh faced undergrads.  Jonathan and I are, on average, at least 5-7 years older than most of the students.  Seeing them all doing exactly what I was doing (minus the whole med school thing) at 22 sort of takes me back.  It made me smile sometimes because I don’t feel that far removed from that experience in my life, but what a difference 5 years makes!  We did sort of end up gravitating to a small group of people.  It was fate I think! 😉  I happened upon one of the few “wives” who is here on the island (her name is Michelle) and her husband Matt.  They are around our age (I think 27-28ish) and Matt has been in medical research for a few years.  Michelle is working from home in communications, so she’s actually still working here on the island.  She’s sort of inspired me to potentially explore that option as I keep seeing advertisements for these online public schools.  It’s not band directing, but it would be teaching!  We also met Connor and his girlfriend Delancey (she’s only visiting this weekend and then headed back to South Florida soon), Dimitri, Raymond, and several others.  It was nice to finally put a face with a name (or maybe just a face with a Facebook pic).  Anything can happen I guess, but I was encouraged to see Jonathan connecting with Matt, Connor, Dimitri, and Raymond because they seem like guys that have their heads screwed on straight and have great personalities.  It was easy conversation (but for the earsplitting music and bad dancing all around us!) and we really did enjoy ourselves.  We are anxious to spend a little more time with everyone and I personally am anxious to see who Jonathan “ends up with” as far as a study group is concerned.  I can’t help but hope those guys will be part of it!  I was so blessed to meet Michelle too.  She’s a super sweet girl and I think the 4 of us have a lot in common, so I’m looking forward to building a relationship with the Wells for sure!

Making the switch…

Jonathan is actually at “pre-orientation” right now so this is the first day I’ve been without him.  I guess I’m officially a housewife now.  I have to be honest and tell you that I’m not sure it’s set in yet.  I realized that it’s been since like 1997 that I haven’t had a July-August-September that’s jam packed.  Usually the middle of July is filled with anxiety and preparation for me.  In the 90’s and early 2000’s it was in preparation for a new school year as a student and starting with marching band/basketball/volleyball.  From 2003 on, those months were filled with Pride practices, section leader responsibilities, moving in, auditions, etc.  Very stressful.  Since 2007, it’s been in preparation as a teacher for a new school year.  Which, as a band director, includes instrument drives, evaluation nights, teacher prep courses, setting up my classroom, meetings, inventory, scheduling and placement, receiving supplies, fielding parents, and the list goes on and on.  So I don’t think my mind and body have accepted the fact that NONE of that is going to be part of my repertoire (can’t shake that music teacher lingo!) in these next few months.  I’m not sure when I think that all might dissolve.  I think it will be when Marivy starts texting me (and she better!) about all the hot gossip around Keller 😉 , and I realize I’m not gonna be there this year.

But I will say that I did my housewifery duties this morning and actually got up early to fix Jonathan breakfast (aren’t you proud of me!).  After he left, I had a minute to watch Good Morning America (what?!) and I actually got to spend some time in the Word (again…what?!).  So I’ve decided that in addition to cooking breakfast, some serious P90X action, devotional time is going to be part of my morning routine.  I may even share some of my insights here!

I figure the only way to keep myself on track here is to check myself in prayer every morning.  I shouldn’t  be naive enough to think that just because we are finally here in Freeport that things are going to miraculously become easy.  They aren’t.  The onslaught of things that pummel us daily has not stopped, though our mindset is slowly but surely changing.  I’m changing.  I don’t feel like I need to even give credit to the negative by spewing it all over my blog.  It’s just so insignificant.  So what I will leave you with is the quote that’s been floating around in my head all week long.  Not because I’ve felt despairing at all, but because I’m reminded of how intensely I am loved…

“During your times of trial and suffering,
when you see only one set of footprints in the sand,
it was then that I carried you.”

 

Photo: We picked these local fruits called coco plums. Apparently they are edible but I think they kinda tasted like doody...

Nasty little fruits we heard were edible called “coco plums”.  I refused to try them after Jonathan described their taste as “like a rotten mealy apple”.  I really couldn’t think of anything worse…

Photo: Coming out onto Taino beach, about a 5 minute walk from out house

Our beautiful Taino Beach.  I am convinced it is the prettiest beach on the island.  It’s certainly the prettiest one I’ve seen!  On Wednesday Jonathan and I sat out on the beach talking for almost 3 hours (I have the sunburn to prove it!) and we were seriously the ONLY people there.  Incredible…

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My sweet little gecko hunter.  She’s about to become the most love puppy in the Bahamas because I think she may be the only (certainly ONE of the only) puppies who made it out here!

Photo

One of her latest finds.  Roaches? No.  Mosquitos? No.  Geckos? Yes.  And Matilda is a fiend at tracking them down!  Look at the proud huntress in the background.  Ha!

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Tyrone the taxi driver extraordinaire!  Next post I’ll tell you about the lyrics to a Caribbean song he sang to us.  Very funny…

Photo: A little preview of A Different Kind of Flair Caribbean style!  This is one of the 4 kumihimo bracelets I've made!  I'm in love...

A small preview of A Different Kind of Flair (the Womack women’s jewelry business) Caribbean Style!  This is one of 4 from my newest inspiration.  Very beachy huh?  Soon we’ll have our website up and running (that’s one of my jobs!) and I’ll link up to it here.  Love this one?  In a few weeks it’ll be up for sale!

 

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