Wednesday, October 27, 2010

I be gettin' busy.

I skyped with my parents tonight (hey mom, hey dad), and they pointed out that we've been slowing down on our blog updates. On my part, it's not for a lack of effort, but rather that new events are fewer and farther between these days. We're settling in. For Denise, her life is preoccupied with either studying or hastily trying to relax, so her posts tend to either come as a study break or after one of the monthly exams.

I've been waiting until a few things are official, but I now have two significant updates.

One significant update ha, ha, ha!

I have been promoted to Island Thrift Manager. I'll be taking over for Eric in January. What this means, essentially, is that I have to keep almost all of the Island Thrift stock here in our apartment (Denise has remarked that it's like having a North American store right in our own home. In particular she's pretty happy that she gets first dibs on candy and stationary when it arrives. I think she's enjoying my job more than I am), and do the necessary paperwork every night. I also need to be managerial (who knew). I'm pretty excited about this, because it allows me to determine my own hours, it's a pay raise, and it's exciting to have a project to work on, and hopefully ameliorate, while I'm here.

Two significant updates, ha, ha, ha!
The second thing is that I've been hired as a homeschooling teacher for a first grade boy, as well as hopefully his three cousins. I'm particularly excited about this because it's a chance to get back into an educational environment. It's nice to be able to work on my career while I'm here. It's also fantastic experience for me, a good source of income, and provides a pretty flexible schedule. I start next week. I'm really looking forward to it.

Other than that, life is little changed here. Denise is gearing up to face her third exam on Monday, so it's a stressful time for her. She has, however, been rocking the shit. So no worries.

Our hockey team has been playing well but losing consistently. We're considering trading a draft pick or two to steal other teams' players.

And we still miss Canada. We'll be home soon.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Another one down.

Just finished this today, The Girl who Played with Fire. It's very similar to the first one. It's long, but I really enjoyed the pacing, the author drives you crazy by leading you along slowly and thoroughly. Well worth the read, but after tackling the first one.

Culture clash.

Yesterday I took a cab from my house to the campus. I do this every Wednesday morning, transporting Island Thrift's two tables and three luggage bags of stock back and forth. We have a regular cab driver named Roy. We've got an agreement with him, and he exclusively gives us rides for a fair fee (12 EC, or 4.50$ CDN, each way). Other cab drivers tried jacking up the prices on us, but Roy didn't, so we made an arrangement.

When he drove me in the morning, we got caught behind a dump truck on Moo Cow Trail, which was slowly moving between each house, blocking the entire lane, and taking their time with each garbage bin. The smell was horrendous; Roy stayed back fifty feet and still we could smell it. Roy, an honest, easy-going kind of guy, got really worked up about them. "You wouldn't find this shit anywhere else in the world," he told me. The garbage men have a terrible reputation for taking a long time and leaving a smelly mess everywhere they go. Honestly, it's a health hazard.

Meanwhile, we met our landlord the other day, who normally lives in Barbados. He's one cool cat. We invited him into our place, but he said that he didn't want to invade our privacy (this a nice change from our old Spanish landlord, who would refuse to take off his shoes, because of his Spanishness, and often peaked in our windows). He also apologized for how long it was taking to fix our Air Conditioning remote control, without which we can't turn the machine on. He talked about how services here should be much better, considering many of the technicians and other tradesmen are trained in the States, then come back here to work. He seemed to consider them an embarassment for Dominica.

Increasingly we've been seeing a kind of culture clash going on around us. Some of the people here are trying to shake off the image of a lazy Caribbean way of life. Most go along with the culture, which Ross students and spouses call "Island time" (meaning whatever you're trying to get will take a very long time to get to you, not necessarily because of geography, but because people here are in no rush to help you). Frankly, it's frustrating when you're used to North American customer service. There's no reason that most services should take as long as they do. I think that as the island develops from a third-world country, more and more businessmen are trying to change the culture of how people work here, and it's evident that they're exasperated. It's certainly an interesting dynamic.

Either way, it's comforting to know that we're slowly figuring out whom we can count on, and who will suddenly jack up their prices or take a long time to do a simple task. I hope that in the long run, those that work hard here are rewarded.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010


To follow up on the Nail Clipper (whom I did not end up shanking, btw)...

I am in a DIFFERENT silent room in the library.  Luckily, the Nail Clipper is not in here.  However, her evil partner in crime, the SUPER LOUD SLURPER is!

Seriously, this guy is taking about 5 tiny super loud sips of what I assume to be coffee every 30 seconds.  If it's too hot to drink, don't drink it!!!

Oh wait, he just now took a LONG loud sip...way to go little buddy.

It is possible that my patience is running lower the longer I am here.
It is also equally possible that I am just surrounded by an increased number of idiots. 

On a separate note, my little brother managed to break his ankle yesterday.  I specifically told him to wait until I was done school to destroy his body, but the kid doesn't listen.  His timing is actually excellent though, since I have a lecture on the foot and ankle tomorrow, including fractures!

- Denise - 

Monday, October 18, 2010

I'm seriously gonna shank a bitch...

In case I end up in prison, here is why:

I am at the library in the silent study room studying (as the name implies), and the girl next to me decided that now would be a good time, to whip out her nail clippers and start cutting her nails

We're talking about 4 clips a fucking nail....do the math....

I am seriously going to lose my mind, or she is going to lose some teeth.



Friday, October 15, 2010

A paint job and a hard-fought victory.

We're becoming dangerously popular. Welcome Kate, another Ross spouse with a rockin' blog.

Two things of note today.

First, about two meters in front of the Island Thrift tables is what I can only imagine is a generator. It is maybe two feet deep, three feet tall and four feet long, and makes a lot of noise. For some reason, they decided to surround it with metal bars recently. These bars don't stop anything, contain anything, and really have no purpose, except maybe to entice children to come climb a generator. Two days ago, a Ross employee spent an entire morning painting these bars white. He was very careful, very deliberate, as if this paint job were his masterpiece, or as if he were being paid by the hour. Yesterday he came back, and painted one section red. Again, very careful. This man is an artist. Today, I came by Island Thrift. Swear to God, the man had painted the entire thing white again. Singlehandedly, we are keeping the local economy afloat.

Second, the hockey team that Denise and I are on, "Coast to Coast like Butter Toast", won a game today! We'd got our butts kicked the first two games, and at half time we were down 4-1, but with a change of strategy and some sexy plays, we won 5-4. So exciting!

Monday, October 11, 2010

I'm back!

Dearest Blog and Blog Followers,

I have returned.  I spent some time off the edge of planet trying to play catch up for my exams today.  But, after I am done my anatomy practical this afternoon, I will be returning a part of my attention to this blog!  Yeah!!

My exam this morning went okay.  I don't think I smoked it, but all things considered, I think I did alright (will know for sure this afternoon when they release the grades).  By all things considered I mean 

- my weekend of debilitating back pain, followed by
- my weekend of debilitating FUN in Winnipeg (longer post + pictures to follow).

As Mark mentioned, I had some late nights this passed week (up until 2am on Friday and 4am on Saturday).  I try to make a point of not pulling such late nights, especially so close to the exam, but I didn't really have much of a choice in this situation.  I was pretty well prepared for most subjects, except embryology (which isn't even hard, I just ran out of time).

My walking-to-exam tune this time was Memories by Kid Cudi/David Guetta...on repeat...and Shots by LMFAO/Lil John.

I tried to embed the music videos, but it didn't work, so here are the links.

My walking-home-from-exam tune was Tiny Dancer by Ironik.

What else.......I guess that's it for now.  I'm gonna go jump in the shower to wash the initial exam-preparation-smell off of me and then go study some more for this afternoon's exam.



Saturday, October 9, 2010

Saturday market adventures.

First things first, welcome Adena! We now have ten followers. Hopefully the big bucks should start rolling in soon.

I made a solo trip to the market this morning. Denise was up until 3 am and has an exam on Monday, so getting up with me at 630 to go shopping was out of the question. She's been kicking ass and chewing bubble gum. Too bad she's all out of gum.

At the market, sellers announce the arrival of fish by blowing into a conch. I love the sounds of the market, as people joke around with each other, yell at each other, the sound of the conch blows from time to time, and all around you merchants are yelling deals at you. It's so exciting.

A conch.
There was a good haul today, but the new advent was sugarcane. Naturally it kind of looks like bamboo, but they strip it and sell it raw. You bite off pieces, chew it to get the sugary taste, and spit it out after a few seconds. Tasty.

On the way back from the market, the cab driver had his radio tuned to some cheesy classic love songs station, and he wailed along with the music. I along with 7 other passengers had no choice but to listen.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

One wicked storm.

Tonight there's a mad thunderstorm outside. We think it's off to the west, over the ocean, but it's lighting up the sky over the island. We're going to post this quick, lest we lose power.

See that big angry red swirl? We're near the bottom right.
We took a video, and managed to catch a wicked lightning bolt. Enjoy.


PS. Anyone who can tell me how to link videos directly onto our blog gets brownie points.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Whatchu doin'?

Denise left this weekend for Canada and returned yesterday, and I'm sure she'll write all about it soon enough. For me, I obviously missed her, and her absence made me stop for a minute and ask: what the fuck am I doing on this island?

I thought I might answer this question, though less in the philosophical sense and more in the literal sense. My plate is starting to fill up. Here's what the fuck I'm up to these days:

1. Working at Island Thrift two or three times a week - I'm enjoying this quite a lot; it's nice to get paid and read at the same time.

2. Volunteering at the Prep School twice a week - This is really the only way to eventually get a position as a teacher there, once one of the current teachers leaves the island or croaks. Despite this, I'm actually really enjoying being in an educational environment. In all the stress of the time and money invested in an education degree, and the pressure to start a career, it's easy to forget that I'm in love with learning.

3. Working at the Day Care once or twice a week - This is pretty recent and is still in the works, but it looks like I'll be working a couple hours a day at the after school care of the prep school. We do arts and crafts, homework, and board games, but generally it seems my job will be to tell kids to stop hitting each other.

4. President-elect of the Ross Spouse Organization - It looks as if my dream is coming close to being a reality. I apparently have an opponent who hasn't been seen in a month, and Thursday afternoon is decision time for the next presidency. I'm really hoping this other guy shows up, and I can challenge him to a debate right then and there. I'll be holding a victory rally after the swearing in ceremony. Drinks will be provided.

5. Standardized Patient, couple of hours a week - This is actually pretty cool. The school pays me pretty good money (15 US an hour - here that's ridiculous) to pretend to be sick with a mysterious ailment as students try to figure it out. Denise is annoyed that I won't tell her what disease mine is. Right now I'm training, but I should be starting the actual work in a couple of weeks.

6. Doing Spouse-y stuff - I'm slowly learning all the little tricks of this place. I've discovered that there's a free trip to Roseau (the capital) every Saturday, which is a nice way to save a good 30-40 US, and it's a much more exciting place than Portsmouth (plus they have a better Saturday Market). There's a secret room on campus with a decent selection of books, and Denise was very tempted to get The Other Boleyn Girl. Poor woman has to study and stuff. From time to time I go on one of the spouse trips around the island, although it usually conflicts with whatever I'm doing that day. As President I'll just send one of my advisors in my place.

So...I guess that's what the fuck I'm doing on this island. Oh, and a shout out to Kelly! Numero nueve!

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Dominica Exposed

This show is pretty brutal, but this is funny. The show "Man, Woman, Wild" did an edition of Dominica. The description of the episode?

"Mykel and Ruth go in search of island paradise, only to find themselves in a steaming jungle hell."

Enjoy. Most of the people here have had a laugh about this. Thanks to Katie for putting it on her Facebook wall.


Smolder smolder smolder.