Sunday, January 30, 2011

Flying fish and flying v's.

Denise and I have been complaining to one another that life is pretty boring right now. She has been mired in preparation for her practical (written on Friday, we're awaiting the results with bated breath (for an excellent explanation of why it's "bated breath" and not "baited breath", look here: http://itknowledgeexchange.techtarget.com/writing-for-business/baited-breath-or-bated-breath/)), while I have been spending quite a lot of time playing Zelda: Twilight princess. Strangely, discussing my latest sword upgrade does not make for interesting conversation. Fortunately, two new developments have made life slightly, if not exponentially, more exciting.

Firstly, I went to the Portsmouth market for the first time since we returned. I was excited to find out that tomatoes and breadfruit seem to be back in season (for those not keeping track: tomatoes and breadfruit went out of season like two months ago. The impression I'm getting is that there are multiple seasons for several foods throughout the year), but more importantly there was a new kind of fish. The flying fish!

Weeeeeeeeeee! Chomp chomp chomp.

I didn't even know flying fish was available in Dominica. It's a big deal in Barbados (it's on their currency), but I assumed that Dominica was too far north. I've had battered flying fish before, and it was tasty, but I'm excited for this one because I bought three pounds - about 12 small fish - all of which will have to be gutted. Denise, whose background is far more interesting than mine, already knows how to do that, and will be teaching me soon. Yum.

Secondly, our hockey season started today. We happened to play against a pretty aggressive, obnoxious team, but did pretty well despite the loss. I have higher hopes for this season than last, after our team was dismantled by a series of crappy miscommunications. It's pretty exhausting, playing in 30+ degree sun, so I'll have to get in shape. That is, unless, they get going on that indoor rink here. Then we can do this:

Quack! Quack! Quack! Quack!
We've got another game come Tuesday. Hopefully we'll rock it.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Accents and the like.

First off, a familial shout out to Fay, who - according to the biography provided - is a cousin of Denise's from Guelph. Welcome to the group Fay, we are now 19 strong. Woot!

Every day I spend two and a half hours running the aftercare program at Ross Prep school. I like it, even if it's a glorified babysitting stint; it allows me to use some of the things I learned in education, and it keeps me from getting rusty. Plus I just enjoy the kids' company - there's a lot of different personalities going on here.

A couple of days ago I had to hang around at the school for an extra half an hour, because one of the boys' parents was MIA. He's a local kid, whose parents enrolled him in the school because it's the best education you can get on the island - the public schools are understandably underfunded. In class, he has no accent to speak of, but when I heard him call his mother on the phone, he slipped into a very heavy Caribbean accent. It hadn't occurred me (quite naively) that anyone would want to slip into Caribbean accent; I've always dismissed it as goofy (a product, I'm certain, of the many Bacardi Rum adds where Caribbean dudes are just drinking and havin' fun wit deir accents). For this student, I would imagine that his parents would not appreciate hearing him speak with a North American accent while at home, no more than an American or Canadian would appreciate having their child speak the Queen's English at dinner.

Meanwhile, a colleague taught me today some of the dialect of the locals. I've heard some say "wa" in the middle of a sentence, though I didn't understand what it was. I just learned that it is from the french "oui", meaning "yes". So when someone says: "Yes, I go to da store, wa, da store", I now know, for the most part, what they're saying. The opposite? "Na".

I still have far more difficulty understanding the accent (dialect?) here than most - I've always had trouble with it. Perhaps it's my weak brain power. Denise can catch almost everything, so sometimes she translates. It makes me look like an old man.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Let's crunch some numbers.

Holy balls. Blogspot is way more advanced than I thought. Denise and I, in our endless self-interest and egotism, were checking out our own blog and stumbled on pages upon pages of data about our blog. Check this out:

This is the all-time list of page views of our site, broken down by country of origin, browser, and operating system (hurrah for the Oxford Comma). How cool is this?!

Statistics of note:

- Canada is by far the leader, but our friends in Dominica are giving it a run for its money.

-The vast majority of our readers are using Mac computers (to be fair: Denise, myself, my sister, my brother, my parents, Denise's brother, and Denise's best friend all have Macs).

-Andreas, unless you told many others about us, you visited us 14 times while hanging out in Finland.

-We have a bizarrely strong European following, and we are baffled by the numbers coming out of the Netherlands.

-To those who bolstered our numbers in America, I assume you are those expats who recently left us. We miss you dearly, and are happy to know you're reading this. Or, you know, it could be prospective Ross students nervously patrolling the Ross Spouse Organization's blogroll for advice.

Which takes me to a nice segway:

It seems that the vast majority of views for our website were referred to us by the Ross Spouse Organization. I knew that I should have seized power there when I had the chance...

In conclusion: this post has almost no substance. Denise and I were just excited (/ a little bit creeped out?) that blogspot automatically crunches numbers like this for us.

I'll try to come up with something more tangible next time.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

The brain sucks, but most other things are okay...

Hi all,

As Mark has already said, getting back was NO FUN.  I had a post started on my old computer discussing this at length, but since I don’t have that file on my new pretty computer, and Mark has already mentioned it, I will move onto other things.

As mentioned, here is my pretty new computer…

She is so pretty and skinny.  She weighs next to nothing, which is good for my back, and allows me to fill my backpack with other things, like 5 shades of lip gloss and 20 coloured pens.

School this semester is kind of lame so far.  We are doing a Neurology block (= the brain).  Although this theoretically sounds cool, I actually am finding it amazingly boring.  There are the occasional sub-topics that I get excited about (like sleep, and bilinguilism), but all in all, looking at picture after picture of the brain and learning where everything is in it makes me want to punch myself in the face.  Hopefully, I don’t have too many patients with brains.

What studying neuro feels like.

It also doesn’t help that I am behind (which can be blamed in part on what a mess the first couple of days were when we got back).  If you were to ask 10 medical students whether or not they are “caught up”, 9 of them would tell you they’re behind and the 10th would be a liar.  But I am more than just behind at this point…I am behind on being behind.  I’ve devised a very ambitious study schedule that should have me caught up by the end of next week.  However, I suspect that other things will get in the way between now and then, and I will stay behind for a couple of weeks still.  Oh well.  As long as I pull it together in time for my exam (February 14th), it is all good).

Mark and I celebrated 1 month of engagement/2 years and 3 months of dating on the 18th.  Seeing as how there is nothing to do, we just went out for dinner.  I had a lab session that night from 7-9pm anyway, so it was pretty much the lamest month-iversary ever.  When I got home, we watched Ocean’s 11…and I fell asleep half way through.  Like I said…super lame.

Speaking of Ocean’s 11, Mark and I booked our trip to Las Vegas for May!  We are going to a friend’s wedding where Mark is a groomsmen.  This will be my 4th time in Vegas and Mark’s first.  Mark has this fear that we’re going to be walking down the street and random people are going to recognize me and share crazy stories about my other 3 trips there….I don’t think it will happen…I use a fake name in Vegas anyway...
My favourite city in the world.

And speaking of weddings,  we are honing in on a date and venue.  It’s pretty hard for me to plan a wedding in Vancouver from down here, but luckily my awesome mom and my awesome maid-of-honour are making the trips around town for me.  I trust their judgement completely, so I have no real concerns.  Also, I have found the dress of my dreams.  It has everything I wanted in a wedding dress…it’s lace, it looks great from the back, and you can see my shoes.  Like I said, this is the dress of my dreams and NOT necessarily my dress…I absolutely plan on trying it on though when I go wedding dress shopping.  If it looks the way on me I hope it will (and if I can negotiate the price a little), there is a very good chance that this will be the dress.

Designer: Monique Lhuillier, Collection: Fall 2011, Style: Amaranth, Cost:....shhhh.....

That’s all for now!  Hopefully I will have more positive things to say about school next time.

Don’t hold your breath though.

Friday, January 14, 2011

We did not have fun getting back.

Hey there gang. I have two people to shout out to. First, queendna, not sure who you are - from the look of your blog you're looking to head down here, or are already down here. Either way, welcome!

Second, a very belated shout out to Christine Young! Apparently in the rush for people to follow our site, she was left behind, and no one was the wiser. She thankfully informed me of this over coffee, though she seemed upset:

Scowl scowl scowl.

So welcome both of you!

Our trip back was understandably shitty, and it has been stressful here until the last day or two. We got about two hours of sleep the night before we flew (the trip was eight or nine hours), so we were pretty much comatose by the time we arrived at our Barbados hotel. We slept fourteen hours, to the refreshing sound of the beating waves. This was the last time we would relax for awhile. That all went to shit when our taxi driver yelled at us for leaving our hotel room late, then told me to calm down when I argued back. Damned smug Barbados taxi drivers...

We landed well and got our taxi, but one of our pieces of luggage was put on standby, so we had to wait another day for it, with assurances from the airport that it would be shuttled to Ross free of charge (we should have known better, without prejudice I can say that they're almost all lazy hacks there). The next few days produced a volley of stressful conversations with airport authority, and to make a long story short: due to a series of lying and/or lazy and/or incompetent employees at the airport, Denise and I had to wait two days to send a taxi driver I to the airport, only to have him wait two hours for an employee to get off their coffee break, and return our bag to us with a charge of 80$ US. I was more than happy to pay the money to the driver - I consider him a friend and he's honest. But the idiots at the airport are an embarrassment to this country. The Prime Minister once even yelled at the staff there.

Meanwhile, we've been trying to get back into the rhythm of things, with quite a few obstacles. Denise had some trouble with the tech guys on campus, but that was thankfully resolved. Unfortunately, I had to quit my homeschooling position, because my employer and I could not reach an agreement on payment.

Other than that, life has started to return to normal. I'm enjoying more free time in my schedule because of losing that job, though I'm sad that I won't be teaching Rayhan anymore. Island Thrift has calmed down and I'm all caught up on the work that needed to be done. Denise is getting back into her study habits and is catching up from everything she missed in the first few days of anxiety.

Tomorrow we'll be heading to Roseau, and it'll be the first time Denise will have been there. Supermarkets and decent stores await, after an excruciating 1 hour drive on a narrow winding seaside road.

The next post will hopefully not be so bitter. It is strangely good to be back here, despite all the crap we went through the first few days.