Tuesday, March 29, 2011

The elusive sunburn finally catches up to me, and it turns out I'm ok at hockey.

First thing's first: Welcome Swati! We look forward to having you as a neighbour, where you can come knock on our door and tell us in person what you thought of our posts. Because, you know, we love attention and stuff. Our family of followers is now 25, not to mention the ever increasing faithful who creepily, and consistently, read our blog without telling us. You know who you are.


I finally got a sunburn. Not the worst, but my face and arms are pretty thoroughly red. We played the final hockey game of the semester last Saturday, and I forgot to put sunscreen on. It's really a testament to my ginger-ness that even under cloud cover, I can look like a tomato afterwards. I would like to thank my parents for my genes.

It happened to be the last game of the semester because it was the playoffs, and we happened to lose. While this is not a surprise to anyone who knows our team (we're not terrible good), the way we lost made me proud. The team we played, we had previously lost 14-6 to (or something like that), and we were expecting another blowout. For the majority of the game though, we were winning. We had a two goal lead with ten minutes to go, but then the superstar on their team (Dave, don't know if you read this, but what's up) scored three goals straight near the end, and we couldn't recapture the lead, despite a close buzzer beater shot that missed by maybe a foot. The final score was 8-7. A heartbreak, to be sure, but it's very promising that we played so much better this time around. Our team has definitely improved, and hopefully next semester we'll be much more competitive. For myself, I've improved quite a bit - I think I scored maybe three goals last semester, and this semester I scored ten (seven in the last four games). I'm definitely looking forward to hockey next semester, and now have a thorough motive to rock cardio at the gym.

If that bandana were actually red hair, this is what I look like right now.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

49 days later.....

So…it appears as though I haven’t blogged since February 5th….my bad….luckily Mark has been keeping y’all up to date.  However, there are some VERY important things that Mark routinely fails to blog about.


In my last post, I talked about how I ordered a bag from ModCloth for being awesome on my neuro practical.  Well, Steph and I were waiting and waiting for our tracking number….it never came…so, Steph emailed ModCloth and it went something like this:

Steph: “Yo, where our bags at?”

ModCloth: “Uhhhhhh…I dunno…srry!”

Steph: “I’m gonna smack you…."

ModCloth: “The bag is out of stock now…here’s all your money back plus a 20% off coupon”

Steph (and me): “Grrrrrr for not sending our bag/Yeah! for wicked customer service”

WELL!  Steph and I got a very pleasant surprise when a mysterious package appeared on campus.  Turns out our bags WERE sent out!  Customs on campus tried to make us pay $250EC (about $95 CDN/USD) for the bags.  Steph, being the rockstar that she is, laughed in their face and told them that that was more than we paid for the bags (which was $0 since they refunded us).  They lowered it to $130EC (about $50 CDN/USD). 

Moral of the story: Good things happen to those who wait for 8 weeks for a package they don’t think is coming.  Shout out to Steph for dealing with all the shananigans!


Since my last post, I have had 1 midterm and 1 lab practical.  The lab practical I had the day after we got back from the cruise…I didn’t study AT ALL on the cruise, despite my great intentions and taking the books with me.  I still ended up passing the exam though!

My neuro midterm (which I wrote before the cruise) was okay (delayed cruise photos below).  I didn’t get an A, but I MIGHT be able to finish the course with an A if I rock the final.  The neuro midterm was our first test at the new computer examination centre, which I HATE WITH A FIREY PASSION!  They have it set up so that you can’t go over your exam at the end.  If you finish early, you just sit there until everyone is done.  It’s stupid and unfair and I hate it.

Ours was the big one...I think the little one is totally impressed.
Quaint little Bonaire in the Netherland Antilles....worth going to, for sure....
Me in line for Starbucks in Aruba....I almost lost my mind......it was as good as I remembered.....
Mark being a total dweeb at Starbucks in Aruba.......that's right ladies, I'm marrying this man....voluntarily......
Our future vacation house in Aruba...no big deal....y'all can come visit if you want.....
Not a shabby life...
So many fishies swimming under our boat!

Bask to school.....
My digestive & renal midterm went better.  I got my A, which was a pleasant surprise.  I still hate the computer exam.  It is near impossible to pace yourself appropriately because you don’t know what questions are coming up (vs. a paper exam where you can flip through the entire exam and decide how to divide your time).  Although I got an A, it was a very low A, and would have been MUCH higher with a paper exam.

A girl can dream...

I have 4 more exams and the final in the next 24 days….I am trying very hard not to pull my own hair out…


Mark and I have picked a venue.  By Mark and I, I mean I sent my mom, maid of honour (who got engaged on Valentine’s day, and I am her maid of honour!), and wedding planner to check out 4 venues for me last week.  I spoke to each of them separately, and they all agreed on a single venue…no competition.  Nothing compares to this venue.  Until the contract is signed and I KNOW it is ours, I am NOT going to say what the venue is….stay tuned!!

Also in wedding news, since I can’t do a whole lot from here, I have been playing with COLOUR SCHEMES!  I originally was set on turquoise/purple/gold, but with the venue being what it is, I might change it up.  Take a look and tell me what you think/any suggestions would be muchos appreciato:

Turquoise + Purple
Wasabi + Pumpkin (a fancy way of saying green + orange)

Cream + Blush + Pewter

Ivory + Platinum

As many of you suspected before I started medical school, I have developed an interest for pediatrics.  This semester, I was Assistant Clinical Coordinator for the Pedes Club and have been appointed Vice President/Treasurer for next semester.

On March 19
th, my friend Kaylan and I organized and ran a health clinic in a small town about 15 minutes from campus.  Local kids come by, get free check ups from the Ross students, snacks, drinks and a bouncy castle.  There is a legitimate pediatrician on site in case any of us find something abnormal (which happens pretty often).  It was a huge success (I think) and we saw something like 130 kids.

We so popular.

Ji Yeon (current president), Kaylan (future president), me, and some little rascals.
The dude in the front row with his arms crossed looking uber mad is my fave.

This morning, we had Sports Day, where local kids come to Ross Campus and get to rotate through various sports stations (tennis, basketball, ball hockey, volleyball and soccer).  There was a lot of drama and confusion leading up to it, but the day went pretty smoothly, despite the weather totally not cooperating.  It was a straight up downpour for a big chunk of the day.  The kids obviously didn’t care (except for the few little girls who were worried about their hair getting poofy), but us adults were unimpressed by mother nature.  Made for a beautiful sunset tonight though.

Okay…well, I feel like that is an adequate catch-up post…sorry for being a total lame-a-saurus rex and not blogging more!

From Toy Story 3...if you haven't seen it yet, go immediately....a real tear jerker...

Sunday, March 20, 2011

To the left, to the left.

Denise and I have been house sitting this place for a friend, the last week or so. We weren't able to stay there for the first few nights because Denise needed to stay close to Picard in order to study for her mini (which, by the way, she slapped around pretty thoroughly), but this week we were able to spend a few nights up there. We also, perhaps more importantly, were given access to their car.

The house is gorgeous. It used to be a bed and breakfast with three rooms, but then got converted to a house for a family. They have three cats there, and one dog who lives outside. There's a porch that runs all the way around the house, so you can get a lovely view of the mountains, or of the ocean, or of Guadeloupe, the neighbouring island here.

It's been nice having a car. I can feel all manly picking Denise up and dropping her off places, I can help people run errands, all sorts of crazy stuff. Of course, since it's Dominica, the car is driven on the left side of the road. Surprisingly, having the car physically on the other side of the road isn't what messes me up. That part's simple enough, and for the first few drives I had to keep muttering to myself "Stay left...stay left..." Turning is also kinda weird, since you have to rethink who has the right of way (not that it matters here, people just give 'er). The weirdest thing is that all the gadgets on the dash board are flipped. So if I want to switch lanes, the lever for it is on my right, not on my left. Many a times I have tried to switch lanes and have turned on the windshield wipers instead.

I also feel as if Grand Theft Auto has trained me for this. Driving in this country is like passing an obstacle course: there are pot holes, chickens, stray dogs, goats, cars parked in the middle of the street, the car ahead of you will suddenly stop to talk to someone, there are no speed limits, there are no comprehensive laws on parking whatsoever, the roads themselves can be barely a single lane, and all the while you have to keep muttering "Stay left...stay left...". In the end, though, Denise and I will be bummed to have to give the car back.

Denise and I will likely be house sitting for another family over the break. Really, it's just nice to stay in a nice place for awhile, and have access to a vehicle.

This is a video of the place, as well as us driving back into town. It's 4 minutes long, but if you get bored, you can click on one of the S-Club links on the side:

As a side note:

Our blog has recently, inexplicably, become very popular in the States. In fact, we have already surpassed our monthly record for views in March, and it's only the 20th. While we would like to think it's because we're really cool and articulate, detective work showed that, for some reason, Americans were googling the word "Conch" a lot lately. And, for some reason, it brought them to a post of ours back in October, with a picture we ourselves took from Google. We're averaging about 40 hits a day on this one post, because of this one picture. If we get any more attention, at some point some one will notice that almost none of our photos are ours, but are taken from Google Images. Gulp.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Welcome to Three-way Calling.

Before I begin, welcome Candace! Our family continues to grow at a rapid pace.

This will be a short one. Denise has finished her mini, so expect a post from her soon. Meanwhile, we're house-sitting for the parents of one of my students from aftercare, and their house is absolutely worth blogging about. Stay tuned.

I had the pleasure of trying the latest and greatest from the world of Skype. I highly recommend doing the 7 day free trial of Group Calling. Tonight, I spoke to both my mother and my sister (Winnipeg and Vancouver, respectively) simultaneously, and convinced them to pose for this shot:

I think after the one week it's 10$ a month, but only one person in the conversation needs to subscribe. Well worth it, as far as I'm concerned.

This = wicked for families abroad.

Thumbs up.

Friday, March 11, 2011

My pedagogy leaves no stone unturned.

In aftercare today we split the kids up into two groups. Friday is baking day, and it can get hectic trying to keep the attention of a dozen kids, ages 4 through 10. On the advice of our principal, we divided the students into the younger group (4-6 year olds) and older group (8-10), taking the first group on a walk somewhere while the older children prepared the food. Then we'd do the old switcheroo to allow the younger kids time to actually bake whatever we were making (M&M cookies today), and I'd take the older group on a similar outing. So I took all the young'uns outside to start.

"Ok kids gather round."

The kids milled about the schoolyard.

"Seriously kids get over here."

They formed as good a semi-circle as 5 year olds are capable of.

"What are we doing Mr. McLean?" asked the youngest girl.

"Well, I'll tell you...we're going to the beach!"

The crowd erupted in a chorus of "yays".

"What are we going to do there?"

"Something very important." Shit. What are they actually going to do there? Time to make something up.

"Now pay close attention. You each have to collect three different rocks...and it's important that they're all really different from each other."

"YAY!!!" They all jumped up and down around me.

Phew. Off we went to the beach, not a minute away.

We headed down, and I gave them a specific timeline for the special rocks they were to collect. They had ten minutes to find the differentest rocks they could. Back and forth they scurried, looking for a rock that somehow did not resemble the previous one they found. When we got to the limit of the beach, I asked the kids to show me what they had. Most had 5 or 6.

"Guys, these are some of the most amazing rocks I've ever seen! Unfortunately, you can only take 3. Sorry, them's the rules. So make sure that by the time we get back to the school, you toss the ones that don't make the cut. I'll be checking!"

We walked back slowly, with the sun behind us. I watched the kids stare at the rocks in their hands and try to figure out which ones were more different than others. Meanwhile, the girls tried to walk as close to the waves as possible without getting wet, shrieking and running away when it got close.

It turns out that spending a beautiful afternoon getting paid to walk along the beach, with kids who are convinced that you have some important plan for them, is not a bad way to pass the time in the Caribbean.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Sweet harmonizing.

Before I begin, a couple of orders of business. First, Denise apologizes from the depths of her soul for being MIA. It's been a pretty stressful time, the last few weeks, and she has been preoccupied with learning how to save lives one day. She promises to blog soon. Also, welcome Linda and Candice! Linda, you are charming and very attractive (both genetic traits), and Candice, I look forward to meeting you sometime in the next year! The super-cool club grows to 23.

Onwards and upwards.

So I've gone on a mid- to late- 90's music kick in the last couple of days, downloading such hits as "1979", "Give me One Reason", "With or Without You", "Sex and Candy", and "Crossroads".

This single was the first album I ever owned, I think.
The bingeing wasn't helped when I joined some friends at West Central, a restaurant literally in the middle of the western side of the island (no nearby town to speak of), for a birthday gathering. Incidentally, because we were so far from both Portsmouth and Roseau (what with their crazy high populations and light pollution), the stars were phenomenal and maybe the clearest I've ever seen.

When we get to the restaurant, the guy who runs it is this big laid-back black guy, waiting for us to arrive on the front porch. I automatically assumed he was a local, which would have been surprising since there aren't really any decent restaurants on the island that aren't owned by expats, but when he started speaking it was pretty clear that he was from England. Whudda thought? I always forget that people from other countries live here without being associated with Ross.

Anyhow, the man is really into R & B, and was playing us some of his random favourites over the sound system. Towards the end of our meal, the list cycles to Boys II Men, and suddenly the entire table gets quiet. Seven grown men and one woman are suddenly up to their ears in nostalgia, remembering the awkward fumblings of middle-school dances. As we're half way through "The End of the Road", I turn to the guy across the table from me and say:

"Well, damnit, now I'll have to download some Boys II Men."

He's quiet for a minute, and then he responds.

"Honestly dude, you should be pretty ashamed that you don't already have them."

Mike then shows the entire table his lengthy discography of Boys II Men albums on his iPhone (Mike is an avid reader of this blog who, for some reason, refuses to follow it. Big shout out to Mike!). 

Apparently I'm behind the times. Meanwhile, my iTunes library expands.