Saturday, April 30, 2011


Welcome Emily! It's about time you joined our blog. Glad to have you here, and I find your own blog lovely, thoughtful, and charming. Also welcome Gemma, an old friend of Denise. Welcome Carly, who is not only my boss, but an all-around pretty cool person. And finally, welcome Stephanie, whose Boston accent is music to the ears. We are now 34. Pretty soon we're going to have to figure some sort of practical use for all of you.

Dominica is a strange place. It's a place of extremes: One day I'll be frustrated and defeated to be here, another I'll wonder at the forces that brought me to this beautiful island. It's an country with daily reminders of poverty, the stress of academia, and a local culture of entitlement, but also of naturally stunning landscapes, a tight-knit community of expats, and a local culture of resilience. It's both exhausting and exhilerating. Across the board though, in the relatively short time we've been here, there's been noticeable progress.

Recently an IGA grocery store opened in town. This sounds commonplace to those who have never lived here, but for us it's a game changer. The other day we bought milk. Actual milk. We haven't had fresh milk on the island the entire time we've been here. Of course we always spend time bemoaning the lack of products here, but when you see that big ol' bottle of the good stuff on the shelves, you have to be struck by the logistics of getting it here. The milk is from Chicago, which means it had to travel from Illinois to the Caribbean in bulk, refrigerated, in time for us to consume. It's a beautiful thing.

I tried to explain what it's like to Jocelyn, my sister, who didn't get why it was such a big deal. There are grocery stores everywhere back home. Not here. Here, when we walked in for the first time, the lighting, the availability of products, the atmosphere, all of it made us feel like we were back home. I told her to imagine how Tom Hanks in Cast Away would have felt if he walked into an IGA. Exactly the same.

I know Tom. I know.
On the same note of progress, we've finally moved. We've gone from a long walk to campus, a sketchy neighbourhood, and a clear starry night sky, to a short walk, a much safer neighbourhood, and an ocean sunset view. Not too shabby, but now we have to downgrade from a king sized bed to a double. Ouch.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

25% Finished.

I am now well into my 2nd semester break and am ready to reflect on what a mess the semester was.


Overall, this semester was the most stressful time of my life.  The only other time that comes close was when I settled my ICBC claim. In both cases, the pay off was the only thing keeping me going.  I was so close to throwing in the towel so many times. 

Also this semester, I officially burnt out, something I had managed to avoid during my undergraduate degree.  Burnout, according to Wikipedia, is “a psychological term for the experience of long-term exhaustion and diminished interest.”  Yep.  Sounds about right.  It can also be divided into different phases…

1. A compulsion to prove oneself 
(I was born with this one…can’t blame it on the burn out)

2. Working harder 
(And harder and harder and harder)

Every second is precious...
3. Neglecting one's own needs 
(Showers?  Who needs showers?)

4. Displacement of conflicts - the person does not realize the root cause of the distress
(Mark claims that I would melt down over trivial things…like not being able to open my pudding cup…I have no memory of this)

5. Revision of values - friends or hobbies are completely dismissed 
(Check and check)

6. Denial of emerging problems - cynicism and aggression become apparent 

7. Withdrawal - reducing social contacts to a minimum, becoming walled off; alcohol or other substance abuse may occur 
(Reducing social contacts? Absolutely. Becoming walled off? For sure.  Alcohol or other substance abuse? Only if Fun Dip counts...)

8. Behavioural changes become obvious to others 
(I guess so…mind you, most of those around me were going through their own phases 1-7)

9. Depersonalization - life becomes a series of mechanical functions 
(Wake up, coffee, stare at computer, panic, watch How I Met Your Mother, go back to computer, panic again, more coffee, etc etc etc)

10. Inner emptiness 
(That sounds really emo…but true…)

11. Depression 
(Don’t think I got this far…)

Burnout is paralyzing.  Truly paralyzing.  I will try my darndest to avoid it in the future, but given my career choice, that may be harder than I would like.  Doctors have the highest burnout rate of any profession.  I’m a smart girl though, and I’m sure I’ll figure it out.

Mark has already blogged about all the changes they made to my class this passed semester, so I won’t run through them again.  Rather, here is a concise summary of semester 2:

Things that ruled:
- Cruise with Mark’s parents
- Picking a wedding venue (though we can’t book it yet)
- Hiring a wedding planner
- Hiring photographers
- My mom sending me Keurig coffee & bridal magazines just in time for finals
- How much I loved being a tutor
- Getting a new apartment

Things that sucked:
- The schedule changes
- The exam changes
- Pretty much everything Ross related
- Our friends moving back to North America
- Getting fat (I eat my feelings when I’m stressed)
- The airline losing our bags at the beginning of the semester

So!  There it is!  I am done my first year of medical school.  Don’t have my final exam grades yet, but I don’t think I’m in ANY danger of failing (especially given the rad pep talk Jocelyn gave me the day before). 

This is Joss giving me a pep talk, including a live performance of "The Climb" by Miley Cyrus...that's the metaphorical mountain on the right...

Hopefully, I go into my second year a bit wiser and a bit more patient.  But not too much…gotta keep the sass.


Speaking of things that suck, I am still marrying Mark.

No caption will do this photo justice.
Speaking of things that rule, thanks to our awesome wedding planner, we have hired a photographer couple (Jeff + Cat) that we adore.  We had a Skype date with them before we sent them a deposit.  To be fair, given their portfolio and facebook page (including a link to a “Who’s Line Is It Anyway?” clip) we were already sold going in.  It took about 10 minutes for Jeff to (jokingly) insult me…not a record or anything, but impressive.  We couldn’t be happier with our choice.

Since most of the wedding planning is on hold until we can officially book our venue, I don’t have a whole lot of decisions to make.  I have been looking at wedding dresses, MORE colour schemes, bridesmaid dresses, and all that jazz.  My dream dress is, frankly, out of my budget.  I am okay with this.  Ideally, the dress I get will still be lace, and fitted, and beautiful.  Here are a few dresses that I am currently in love with…in no particular order...


Most people we know went home for the break/for good.  A lot of people went out drinking the night of the final…even those that had 3am taxis arranged to go to the airport.  

Some of my favourite island ladies....Kaylan, Sarah, Maggi, Steph Brown, me, Steph Blonde
PHOTO BOMB!  Mark & Sandeep (from Port Coquitlam, BC).  I don't know the dude's name on the left...

For the first 3 days after my final, I pretty much stayed home in bed while Mark went to work.  On the 2
nd day, I watched 12 episodes in a row of Say Yes To The Dress….that was too much, even for me.  We had Easter Dinner with our friends Stephanie & Diana, our new friend Nick (an incoming 1st semester who got here early) and my classmate CJ.  

Nick, CJ hiding in the back, Diana, Steph, Mark (and his sangria)

Stephanie gave me my first ever Silly Bandz, which I had secretly been wanting since the beginning of first semester (it’s a pink heart).  Our Easter dinner wasn’t turkey with stuffing and mashed potatoes, but it was still delicious!  And the company was great.  The highlight of the night might have been watching some 4th semesters start a bonfire…with their class notes…in the middle of the street…  

So mesmerizing...
At one point they threw a local centipede…follow this link to see a picture…into the fire.  Ten minutes later, the evil thing crawled OUT of the fire like nothing happened.   So disgusting.  They threw it back into the fire a couple more times.  Eventually, we heard a loud POP noise, which we all like to think was the centipede and not an air pocket.  Before you feel sorry for the bug, please know that they are the evil spawn of Satan.  If you don’t step on them the right way, they will coil their bodies around your foot and bite you on the top of it.  They can be fatal to some people.

Tomorrow, we are going on an island trip with the school.  Then we come home to finish filing our taxes and start packing.  A very glamorous life we lead.

Yeah, I took that....no big deal...
Look at Mark's shiny white muscles...

The post almost reached the length of Mark’s posts!!! Sorry people! 

Blog to you soon,


Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Top 10 Reasons my Boyfriend/Fiancee is better than your Boyfriend/Fiancee

He doesn't get grumpy when I repeatedly kick his ass at Dr. Mario, and other video games.

He holds back my hair when I'm sick.

(I am NOT including a picture for this one...)

He likes to help me with wedding planning (or at least pretends to).


He surprises me with tasty treats.

"You put the spoon in the pudding..."

He does all our laundry so that I don't have to and can keep studying.

And he looks just like this when he's doing it...

He doesn't get mad when I forget to take my clumps of hair off the shower wall after I shower (ladies...you know what I'm talking about...).

Clump of hair monster says ROAR!!!

Whenever we disagree on how cold the A/C should be, he lets me win.

He smells nice (usually).

He gets up before me on exam days to make me fresh squeezed orange juice.

Look at Mark's pretty bracelet...
And the #1 reason my boyfriend/fiancee is better than your boyfriend/fiancee...

He pays for, downloads, and watches Say Yes To The Dress with me.



Tuesday, April 19, 2011

A second semester synopsis.

Alright (cracks fingers), here we go. We have five shout-outs to get through, so bear with me people. First and foremost, welcome Marika! Not only have you actually been a member for quite some time, and somehow slipped through the cracks of our nutso tracking system, but you comment on our posts and relate to things, so I don't know how we missed that one. Our bad. Glad to have you here, though. Welcome Jen (1 of 2), whom we're assuming is Denise's cousin based on the other blog you follow. Congrats on all the wicked cool things that have happened to you in the last year. We both miss the company of you and yours. Welcome Jen (2 of 2), who was literally in the same boat as me a few days ago, has a rockin' blog, and is generally a pretty cool gal. Welcome Isa, who (if I remember correctly) pretty much cleaned my clock in a poker game a little while back, thereby scaring me from ever gambling again (except for when I did, and lost 100$. Dammit). And welcome Nikki. I'm pretty bad with people's names, but a little bird told me that you'll be coming down soon enough, and then I'll have the chance to meet you. Good luck on all your planning, and we'll see you soon. All told, if you count Monique's as two people (which we of course are going to), then we have a delightful following of 30 people. What an ego trip.

No two people should have all that power.
As ever, if we've forgotten to give you a shout out, let us know. It's our pleasure.

As I write, Denise is beating the crap out of the stupid exam process at Ross, slapping it into submission. As Katie recently mentioned on facebook, the anxiety of the medical students' schedules tend to spill over onto their spouses lives, and I feel a mixture of nervousness for the process that Denise has gone through, and relief that the break is just around the corner. I thought it would be prudent to review how this semester went, from a spouses perspective anyways.

In hindsight, we were thoroughly unprepared for how shitty this semester would be. To be fair, we had been warned from the start that second and third semesters are far harder than the first and fourth, but we were still pretty blindsided. Because I like lists, here are four reasons why this semester sucked balls.

1. The General Curriculum

It's an established trend now that Ross makes the curriculum gradually more difficult until your final semester, when they want to shoo you away to make more room for other students and their money. Strangely enough for Ross, this makes sense from an educational perspective; it's better to ease students into a process before destroying their soul with too much information. Despite the warnings, the work load definitely took it's toll on Denise: she was up far later most nights studying, she had a vastly larger amount of things to learn, and generally I didn't see her as much, which adds to both of our stress levels. Beforehand people mentioned it, but I think I was pretty undersold on this point, so for those who are entering second semester: it sucks, expect to see your spouse less, and do your best to avoid a hernia. Our understanding is that third semester is more or less the same - we're just hoping that being used to this makes it easier.

Those empty eyes look so mean...
2. Damn you, recession.

I started this semester with like seven jobs or something. My schedule was pretty busy, which would have allowed me to make enough money to keep myself calm, and to stave off boredom. Because of this, I had to back out of a few plans (such as my aspirations for higher office). However, soon after coming back to the island, I lost my job teaching a private family, due to the fact that they tried to lower my wage despite my qualifications. Soon after that, Island Thrift was served notice to produce legal documentation or skedadle, and so a second job was gone. This was rough for me, because I lost two very regular sources of income, as well as about 25 hours a week of time spent on an otherwise boring island. Fortunately I was able to retain my place at the Prep School (the one job I really love), I got back an old gig as a Standardized Patient (I pretended to be sick), and managed to do the odd job with Island Thrift, as we make our way back to being a store (see previous post for hilarity). All in all, I found myself increasingly bored, and I struggled to fill my time with meaningful projects. This has turned around in recent weeks (see below), but for a couple of months I was having a rough time.

3. Wedding Planning

When I proposed to Denise over Christmas break, there was much merriment, and cause for celebration. It didn't take long to realize, once we arrived back here, that we were in a bind: Denise had waited a long time to start planning her perfect wedding, and now she would have to do it from several thousand kilometers away. I've never fully understood the desire to have a fantastic wedding, but for Denise it's important; she cares a great deal about creating a beautiful ceremony, as well as accommodating our friends and family. We'll only get to do it once, hopefully, and I knew Denise won't accept anything but the best we could get. But suddenly, we're having to choose a venue without ever being able to see it. We're having to choose colour themes without seeing them in person. We have to pick meals without tasting them. The list seemed endless, and the going was slow. For a good month, our wedding was not the subject of excitement but of anxiety, as she lamented her inability to properly plan, and grew frustrated with having to rely on others to report on the condition of her dream wedding. A couple of months ago, she decided to hire a friend of hers as a wedding coordinator, and we haven't looked back since. She's made our decisions much easier, clarified a huge amount of our questions (some of which we didn't even know to ask), and been a comfort, simply knowing that we have a source we can rely on close to home. If anyone ever needs to organize a wedding from abroad, we highly recommend using a planner, and we've only had her services for a few weeks.

That watch is so delightfully ominous.

4. The Guinea Pig Effect

All in all, I don't know how Denise does what she does. She has to pack so much information into her head that it boggles me. In two semesters, I am absolutely certain that she has absorbed more information than I did in five years of university (what with my intense English and Education degrees). And despite all the challenges she and other medical students face, she somehow gets some pretty sexy grades. For some reason, though, Ross has felt the need to fuck with her day, and this has pushed her nerves to the limit.

It should be noted that this paragraph will be a bit of a rant against Ross' method of testing. Feel free to skip.

As if Denise (as well as every other medical student) hasn't had enough on her plate, the Ross administration has been using her semester as guinea pigs several times over. I grant you, experimentation is expected and even healthy in a large educational institution; it keeps the system innovative, and adapts to necessary demands by the students. But some of the changes they've been making are baffling, amateur, and downright malicious. I try not to be a douche and talk too much about my profession, but it is very clear to me that no one on the Ross staff has an Education degree; or, at least, no one who makes decisions about assessment ever consults anyone with an Education degree. They've changed the testing system, as well as the process to challenge results, to a new method that is drastically detrimental to students' learning. Their exams switched from classic pencil and paper, where students can control the ebb and flow of the questions, which would better test their actual knowledge, to a computerized system where you can't change your answer, nor skip backwards or forwards. The result is a test that assesses not how much you know, but how well you do at computerized questions. This would be well and good if their computer tests matched the computerized tests administered by independent exams like the USMLE, but they don't - the USMLE has a much simpler and logical format. There seems to be a culture within the Ross administration that believes that students don't need to be consulted about decisions that can drastically alter their marks. I would bet every dollar I have (admittedly a very small sum) that overall student grades dropped significantly more than normal because of this testing. I doubt Ross would ever admit it though. There is an alarming lack of transparency here, and for that matter, ethics with regards to the assessment process. Rant done.

And so the semester has gone to shit. There is, thankfully, a silver lining. Recently I've turned my free time into an excuse to go to the gym, which I've been doing alarmingly regularly. I've also made a much greater effort to be more social, which I think I'm gradually succeeding at. On top of that, the possibility that Island Thrift could reopen soon is getting stronger. Finally, Denise and I will be moving apartments, to a place where we'll have a lot more neighbours (not that we don't love our current neighbours, they're just rarely home), and live in a less sketchy part of town that happens to be right next to a delicious shwarma restaurant. I'm not sure if there's a silver lining for Denise, except that we're about to go to Vegas. And Vegas, after all, is her happy place.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

How to start a business in Dominica.

So you want to start a business here, eh?

You'll need the courage of Chance, Shadow, and Sassy to guide you through this harrowing process.
If you've heard that bureaucracy in Dominica is a nightmare, I assure you it's true. What seems like a pretty simple process is a veritable obstacle course of patience-testing demands. A process that should take barely a week takes several months. But if you ask a local employee, here's all you have to do:

1. Register your company name.
2. Acquire the appropriate work permits.
3. Register with Inland Revenue for taxes.

Easy peasy. Here's what you actually have to do:

1. Register your company name.

Woah, slow down there partner. You're a little too eager. Think you can just go online or something and figure out what to do? Goodness no! You'll have to head down to the capitol Roseau from Portsmouth. So fork up some cash, get a transport or a taxi, and spend an hour getting your butt down there. Oh, and don't even think about phoning them, because they won't answer. If you want to, you know, try to figure out where the actual building in which to register your company actually is, be prepared to ask a few locals: there aren't really any comprehensive landmarks or, you know, sidewalks in Roseau, and the office is up a completely unnoticeable set of stairs. But somehow, you manage to get there. Poof, voila.

I hereby spare you the clusterfuck of finding the cursed office.
Ok, you're there. Hello registrar lady. Oh...all this trouble to get here and all I really needed was a Word document? Couldn't this have been available online? Right, shit, sorry forgot about where I am. Ok then, so I just fill this out and bring it in? No, no, of course not. Needs to be signed in front of a notary public. Sounds fair. What? What the fuck is deed paper? I'm sure it's very nice, but I don't know what you're talking about. It has to be printed on "deed paper". Sure I'll take your free sample, appreciate it. So in the meantime, while I'm here, guess I might as well take care of steps two and three...hmm? Right, of course, can't do those without finishing step one. Ok, peace out.

After you've finally completed the form, and were unable to find this phantom "deed paper" anywhere, you print it on the nicest paper you can buy, and head on down again, spending your time and money on a taxi or transport.

"Boom." You say to the registrar as you sit down at her desk and place the document in front of her.

She lazily stares at the papers before her. Boredom seeps through her entire being.

"This is not deed paper," she says to you.

"Yes, but it is very very nice paper. Feel how thick it is!"

She stares at you for a minute. "I need to ask my supervisor." Then she leaves for five minutes. You notice that the ceiling is just as nondescript as you imagined it would be. She returns. "It's ok, we'll take it."

"Well thanks, that's nice of you."

She thumbs through the form. "Uh-oh."

Exhausted apprehension swells inside you. "What?"

"These pages should be double sided."

You look at her and shrug very slowly. She stares at you, her ennui threatening to destroy your soul by osmosis.

"I need to ask my supervisor."

"Right on." You wait five minutes. Behind you another employee chuckles at something she reads online. Good times. Your worker returns. "We'll glue them."


"We'll glue them. So they're double-sided."

"Great! I really, really appreciate your cooperation." You then watch her slowly glue the pages together, aligning the corners juuuuuuuuuuust so. They leave no stone unturned here. Finally, satisfied with her craftsmanship, she looks up at you. "And where is your twenty dollar stamp?"



"Your twenty dollar stamp."

"I don't know what that is."

She sighs. "It explains it on the form."

What form?

"Right...ok. Where can I get one?"

"There is a post office five blocks towards the bay. Turn right. Ask them."

"Great, thank you. This is very helpful."

So there you'll go, walking towards the bay, about to discover that they have all sorts of stamps of insane costs here, the purpose for which you doubt even the Prime Minister understands. But there it is in your hand, a stamp worth about 7.50 US in your hand, as you return to the registrar.

Strange, it feels just like a regular stamp...

"Ok, thank you," she tells you.

"Not a problem."

"Now I need your registration slip."


"Your registration slip."

"You're filling out my registration."

She does not appreciate your sass.

"You need to pay for registration."

You look at her. You just spent twenty bucks on a stamp for something that won't be mailed anywhere. "They explain this on the form don't they?"

She nods.

"Where do I pay this?"

"Walk five blocks towards the bay. Turn left, to the courts."

Here we go again.

Twenty minutes later, you've acquired a receipt from a long line-up, which leads to a desk that says only "MARRIAGE AND DEATH CERTIFICATES", for a cool 90$ EC. You march proudly back to the registrar.

"Boom," you say a bit more timidly this time.

"Ok," and she gets to work.

"That's it?"

"Sign here." I can do that, you think. Your John Hancock is applied. She hands you a fancy shmancy business certificate, and you are now the proud owner of a fancy shmancy business certificate. You then waste another hour getting back to Portsmouth.

Oh, the delicious taste of victory.

2. Don't let it get you down, dear entrepreneur.  The government wants you to give up; they don't take no sissy business applicants. This is not for the weak hearted, so man up and get 'er done. Next up: work permits.

You're not allowed to be employed in Dominica without a work permit (cough cough), so you'll need to get yourself one. By this point you're inclined to believe that nothing will be available online, but you check anyways...and of course there's nothing. Ooh! A phone number for the Labour department... nope, no answer, ok then. Alright, saddle up partners, we're heading back down to Roseau for something that should take ten minuts online.

You said it Johnny.
So, you've spent an hour and however much money it costs to get down there, and you're not really sure where to go, but most people you talk to seem to think that the Ministry of Labour is a good place to go. In you walk and find the office on the second floor, which they've mysteriously labelled the First Floor. Hmm. Strangely enough, someone there is very helpful. She sits you down, takes out a badly photocopied form of the application for a work permit, and walks you through it. Not terribly difficult: Take your original Resident Permit, attach it, along with a letter from your employer and from the Commisioner of Police, oh and 200$ US, and wham bam thank you ma'am it's done.

"How long should this process take?" You ask her.

"Oh they usually process these in about two weeks."

You find out later that day that most people here wait 7 months to get theirs. She was close.

And so you take the long road back, forking up more time and money. You head right for the Police station in Portsmouth. The officer behind the counter is laughing and talking to a friend. The second she looks at you she seems bored.


"Hi there. I'm applying for a work permit and it says I need a letter from the Commisioner of Police stating that I haven't committed any crimes. Am I in the right place?"

"Um...yeah, yeah. Ok let me see." She looks around her. There isn't a single computer to be found, but piles and piles of slips of paper, and super old looking ledgers. She picks up one paper that says:

"______________________ HAS / HAS NOT committed a crime in Dominica.

Signed, Portsmouth Police _________________________________________"

She asks for a licence, and writes your name. Then she seems stumped. She looks around her again, as if to find a supervisor. She finds none. She looks back at you.

"Have you, um, have you ever committed a crime?"

You shake your head.

"Even been arrested?" She holds her wrists together to let you know what it looks like to be arrested in Dominica.


"Ok...ever been to court?"


"Alright then." She signs it, staples it and hands it over. Excellent screening process, Dominica. And why not? After all, I'm very clearly not a resident here, and they have no way of checking either way. "Please bring this down to Roseau to Police Headquarters. They'll make it into a letter." Damn it. Roseau? "Oh, and please get a 20$ stamp."

"Right you are."

Back to Roseau with you, assuming you have a letter from your employee. For those not keeping track, by the time you get there, you will have spent about 300$ US in taxis, 15$ US in stamps, and about seven hours on the road. Once there, you make your way to the Police Headquarters, strut in innocently, and place the sheet from the Portsmouth Police on the counter.

"Boom," you say with gusto. You've even supplied the 20$ stamp with it.

"We need a 50$ stamp."


Out you go, down to the bay, into the post office, back down the street, into the police headquarters. This is about the point in which you submit to the all powerful will of bureaucracy. They've broken your spirit. You place the extra 30$ in stamps on the counter.

"Ok. We will process this now. It should be ready in three hours."

"I can't stay here another three hours."

"We'll keep it here until you come back to Roseau."

This must all be a scam to keep taxis employed, you think.

Smug bastards.
Not so be completely destroyed, you head to Inland Revenue. The work permit fight will have to wait for another day, but you can do some reconaissance on how your business, if it ever begins, can get taxed by this model of efficiency.

3. Oh God. We're almost done. Lordy this sucks. Alright, onwards and upwards.

You walk into the Inland Revenue agency.

"I'd like to start a business and this is where they sent me."

The worker looks at your business registration, stands up, and gets a form.

"Please fill this out, bring it back with 100 EC, and then you'll be registered."

You stare at him. "That's it?"

"Yes sir."

"You don't need me to like, ride a horse while I fill this out or anything?"

"No sir."

"You don't need any stamps."

"No sir."

You slowly back away, glaring at him. What is this magic? You get the hell out as fast as you can.

At some point you'll have to return, but for you the battle is essentially over. All that's left are the formalities, and the slow regathering of your manhood. The Dominican system has just had its way with you, several times over.

Now all you have to is actually start the business.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Cuteness cures everything!

Quick, Wendy! Don't think about where you are, look at these. Get better soon!


Saturday, April 9, 2011

One career, two cadavers, and a soundtrack

A speciality, or a life?

We just finished a Reproduction and Skin unit.  I have been kind-of-sort-of considering a career in Obstetrics and Gynecology.  I was hoping this block would shed some light on it for me. 

There was one lecture that I thought was so cool (that also happened to be taught by one of my favourite profs here).  It was called “Assisted Reproduction”.  We learned about some of the reasons why a couple might have a hard time conceiving a child, why women peak in attractiveness at 22 years old (too late for me…), and why it might be wise for me (and my female classmates) to go ahead and freeze some embryos now…just in case we are too busy to actually meet a man down the road (I have luckily (?) dodged this bullet).  We were also taught (AGAIN) that once a woman turns 35, her eggs start getting stale, and her chances of having a normal healthy baby drop steadily.  I looked into what the training is to be an infertility specialist, thinking that this might be a good career for me.  Turns out it is a 4 year residency in Ob/Gyn followed by a 3 year fellowship in Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility….so….assuming I start residency when I am 28, do a 4 year residency and then a 3 year fellowship back-to-back, I am looking at beginning my REAL career when I am….35 years old!  Damn it!  So, I guess I will at some point have to decide…do I want to help other people have children, or have children of my own?  

I'm hoping my answer lies somewhere in the middle, but I can't be sure...

This is an internal debate none of my male classmates need to have…stupid boys…

There is no "stroller Ken" doll...

The end of cadaver labs

I had my last cadaver dissection of medical school on Wednesday, March 30th.  I think most students feel the same way about cadaver lab.  “Oh man….I got lab today.  That sucks.  It’s 3 hours where I could be studying….and now I’m going to smell like formaldehyde all day.” It wasn’t until I was done my last lab that I got a little sad about it being over.  As much as I hated the way my hair absorbed the scent of cadaver, I can’t deny that I learned a lot more from cadaver lab than I would have learned through lecture alone.

I attended a “Ceremony of Thanks” on March 31st (Mark came too).  It was a ceremony to honour all the people that had donated their bodies to our lab for us to learn from.  A few of the profs spoke, one of them almost crying as he recalled his first dissection ever.  It was very sweet.  Some of the students shared poems and stories.  Since you get a new cadaver each semester, each student should have dissected 2 different bodies during their time in Dominica.  One student at the ceremony talked about how he liked to give his cadavers a life story (we are told nothing about them except their age and cause of death).  He said that in his first semester, he had a female cadaver who died of lung problems.  He named her Gladys.  In his second semester, he got a male cadaver he named Harold who died of heart failure.  In his mind, Gladys and Harold met when they were teenagers, fell in love, got married, and grew old together.  Gladys died first, and then Harold died shortly after of heartbreak from missing her so much.  I thought that was such a sweet way of approaching our first encounter with death as medical students.

From the Disney movie "Up"...one of my all time favourite movies...

Getting through the funk

On a final (and more cheerful) note, I thought I would share some of the music that has been keeping me going lately.  I have a study habit whereby I listen to certain songs for certain subjects.  For example, for cardiology last semester, I was really big into And I Was a Boy From School by Hot ChipSo, during exams, if I get stuck on a cardio question, I start singing that song in my head.  This serves the dual purpose of keeping me calm when I would otherwise be freaking out, and jogging my memory through my association of the song with the study material.  So far, it has worked out pretty well.  Sometimes songs are SO GOOD that they overlap more than one subject…but that’s okay.  Here are my Top 3 Reproduction & Skin Songs…

(click on the artist name to link to the videos)

Mark and I plan on blogging soon about the new grocery store that opened on the island…stay tuned!  It’s just in time too, as the postal system seems to get slower and slower whenever anyone sends us anything.  That being said, I FINALLY got a box full of goodies from my mom just in time for finals!  Nom nom nom.

A new dress, matching shoes, dried mango from Starbucks, and K-cups for my Keurig coffee maker.