Thursday, August 18, 2011

Last birthday before I'm married/divorced/widowed...

Mark and I are at the Barbados airport right now.  A surprisingly well-equipped airport: cafe, food court, free wifi, plenty of electrical outlets.  A perfect place to blog before our flight to Toronto...

You beautiful, bi-lingual beast...

It was my 26th birthday on August 7th (for those of you playing along at home).  I know what you're thinking...."Celebrating your birthday in the Caribbean!??  That's AMAZING!!!" Right? WRONG!  It probably would have been amazing for anyone other than a Ross student.  I had 3 exams within 10 days of my birthday.  Being an August baby, this is the first time EVER I've had to worry about school during my birthday.  Usually, I'm on summer vacation, chillin' like a villian.  This year, not so much.  There, were, however, a few highlights.

Mark made me an amaze-balls breakfast.  He did all the grocery shopping the day before and got up before me and got it all ready.  Then we ate it while watching an episode of Sex and the City.

M&M pancakes, scrambled eggs with cheddar cheese, blackberries, blueberries, strawberries (berries are a huge luxury here, btw), bacon, toast, fresh squeezed orange juice and real milk....yes....winning....

Video Gaming:
Breakfast was followed by video games.  We played Super Mario Bros on the Wii.  He have now beat the game.  We beat every level and collected all the star coins (including the bonus star world).  I think video games are an under-appreciated way for couples to bond.  It's all about teamwork and sacrifice and being awesome.  We plan on buying a new Wii game when we are home this break.  If anyone has any suggestions, let us know.

Your balloon, my lady.

The remainder of the day involved studying, a panic attack, a review session, and a melt-down...in that order.  

Proper Celebration:
We celebrated my birthday properly after 2 of my 3 exams.  Mark and I and some close friends went to a restaurant called West Central for dinner and drinks.  It was relaxing and lovely and exactly what the doctor ordered.

Me & Steph...isn't she pretty??

2 gingers are better than 1???  One was too much in the first place?
Note Mark's "beard"

Mark, moi, Steph, Steph, Diana, Ned...we look gooooooood.

Surprise Love:
Another highlight of this birthday was the surprise birthday cake I got at tutoring.  I tutor the semester below me with my friend Ned (refer tall red-head above).   We had a tutoring session the day before my birthday.  One of the kids we tutor has his birthday on August 7th as well, so the rest of the group surprised us with a red velvet birthday cake and a birthday card.  It was very sweet.  Sweeter than it would usually be, because I know how busy everyone is with their own stuff.  That makes it all the more special when people take time off for you.  I ALSO got a home baked apple crumble pie from the guy who shares my birthday (double awesome).


I guess that's it for now.  I had my final exam yesterday and it was TOUGH.  I would say the hardest exam so far at Ross.  It is possible I failed it.  Statistically, that is unlikely, but it is a nagging thought.    Luckily, everyone thought so, so at least it wasn't just a matter of me being an idiot.  Hopefully, I'll have my grade before Wednesday when I go wedding dress shopping!!!  I know that if I don't have my grade by then, I will be super distracted the whole time...say a little prayer for me!!

Face I will be making if I get an A or an F...I'm too burnt out for more than one expression...

Thursday, August 11, 2011

The Ridiculousness of Denise.

Denise two weeks ago: "I think I'm going to be failing out of PACE" (an extra curricular group designed to help excel academically, which can be dropped without penalty).

Denise yesterday: "Oh, I passed PACE!"

Denise three days ago: "I think I failed ICM" (a necessary interview and examination component of the curriculum).

Denise today: "Oh, I passed ICM!"

Denise two days ago: "I think I'm going to fail this upcoming Mini."

Denise today: "Oh, I got an A!"

Good God, woman.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Decisions, Decisions.

As Denise and I approach the end of our first year in Dominica, it's a strange feeling to look back at all the decisions we've made, and how they affected our lives. I remember getting a call from Denise when I was at work over a year ago, and she told me that she was accepted to Ross. I told my boss that if anyone wondered why I had a shit-eating grin on my face all day, that was why.

While we've made some other important decisions since then (cough marriage cough), perhaps nothing is as big as the one we're starting to deal with, and that is what to do for fifth semester. For those who are unfamiliar with the Ross schedule, students are meant to spend sixteen months in Dominica (sounds like a good name for a blog...), four months either in Florida, Michigan, or Dominica, and then another sixteen months doing rotations in a variety of different cities, most likely New York, Chicago, or a few places in California. So for us, we have to soon decide where to spend months 17-20.

Where to?
Up until recently, it has always been a Florida vs. Michigan debate. Why would we stay in Dominica any longer than we need to? Neither of us is particularly fond of the place, though I like it better than Denise. Last week, however, we had a brief talk, and suddenly Dominica is the most likely. We haven't made up our minds, but here is our logic on each place:

Miramar, Florida was always a dark horse for us. Honestly, the only two draws were a higher concentration of Starbucks for Denise, and proximity to the Florida Panthers (plus their four games against the Leafs and six against Winnipeg). Other than that, the rent is astonishingly high (I've heard an average of around 1500 US per month for an apartment), and there doesn't seem to be any academic advantage to going there. We would also probably need to get a car. If anything, the beaches and general infrastructure would likely distract Denise.

Saginaw, Michigan is tempting. Not only because it's mentioned in Simon & Garfunkle's "America", but because it's closer to Canada, it's cold, and it would only be a few hours from Red Wings games. For Denise, there is the ever important proximity of Starbucks, and other deliciousness. The rent is supposed to be much better than in Florida (closer to around 600 US per month). Like in Florida, we'd have to get a car. To be honest, we have no beef with Saginaw, but when we took a step back, Dominica just makes more sense.

Apparently Canada is now an ocean.

From an academic perspective, our understanding is that the three locations are pretty much on an even keel, except that in Dominica there are fewer distractions, and the clinical experience is better. In the end, our desire to stay here is based mostly on logistics. We're already here. This may sound like laziness, but I've moved enough times in my life to know that it is stressful, especially internationally, and if it can be avoided it should. Moving from here to Michigan for three months, then to Vancouver for a month, then to God knows where else after that, well it all sounds like a heart attack. If they're all about the same, why not skip a step and avoid the anxiety? Another important aspect is the ability to avoid the US for as along as possible. With respect to my American friends, the longer I can avoid living there, the better. This is partly because dealing with customs, especially as a Canadian spouse who doesn't have any reason to come to the country besides being a husband, is a nightmare. I also only have a right to live in the States for six months in the span of a year, and the longer we can push that back, the more time we can spend together.

Stop trying to tear us apart, border guy!
We're not huge fans of this place, and we miss Canada, but is that enough to get out of here sooner than is needed? We have an apartment we like here, and we're invested in the community (though a large part of that will leave for fifth semester). We haven't made up our minds yet, but right now, this country is suddenly looking very attractive.

Perhaps the hardest part of all will be deciding what to do with our blog. Do we change it to Twenty Months in Dominica? Four More Months in Dominica? Why am I Still in Dominica?

It's a tough call.

*Disgusting facial hair update: the beard is still going strong (and by strong I mean gross and patchy) and the moustache is coming in nicely (and by nicely I mean gross and pubescent).

At least it's a patriotic beard.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Star Wars and Bobbleheads

Remember when I used to have something resembling free-time, and I could actually blog more than once a month?  That was cool.  Hopefully, the pay-off is worth it...

Mark I are off the island and back in Canada in 15 DAYS!!!!  That means 15 days until Starbucks.  15 days until bi-lingual signs.  15 days until an honest-to-God mall and not just an IGA.  I need everyone who follows this blog to say a little prayer to your respective God in 15 days so that we actually get OFF the island, and don’t get stuck here by some weak ass hurricane.

I am choosing to NOT blog about school for the time being to avoid a ruptured brain aneurysm…

Star Wars
In other completely unrelated news, Mark and I recently watched Star Wars.  For those of you who don’t know, I had never seen Star Wars.  Ever.  I tried to once, and fell asleep in the first 10 minutes.  I have never had any interest in seeing them.  However, Mark REFUSED to marry me until I saw at least the first 3 (Episodes IV, V, VI)…and I’m pretty sure he was serious.  He was tired of Star Wars being referenced in TV shows and me not getting it.  I also assume that he intends on making our kids watch it, and it would be lame if mom didn’t get it.  Anyway, I watched them.  All 3 of them within a week (maybe I should’ve been studying…but whatever…it was right after a big test…). 

In all honesty, they were better than I thought they would be, but I can’t say that I loved them.  My favourite by far was Return of the Jedi, followed by New Hope, and lastly Empire Strikes Back (Mark disagrees with my order).  The best part of Star Wars?  Ewoks.  And Yoda.  I want one of each. 

Yoda, Ewok, and their love child...a Gremlin.
Such classy wedding guests...

Until Yoda gets into the open bar.

I have my first appointment to try on bridal gowns on August 24th.  Kind of a big deal.  I am PURPOSELY avoiding the store that carries my dream dress for the time being because I know it is out of my budget.  Mind you, I’ve been looking at SO many pictures of wedding dresses/watching SO many episodes of Say Yes To The Dress (NYC & Atlanta) that I think I have confused myself a little as to exactly what I want.  I am confident that I will find something within my budget that looks rad.  I am trusting the expertise of the staff at the bridal shop, plus the opinion of my mom, maid of honour, and bridesmaid that I am bringing with me, to make sure I don’t end up looking like this on May 26, 2012…

If this is what your wedding dress happened to look like, it is NOT hideous.
I'm sure it looked great on you...
Or this (I love couture, but come on now)…

Although I’ve looked at a lot of pictures, it is hard for me to really envision myself in any of them.  Why?  (a) because most of these models have NO hips and (b) I weigh more than 90lbs.  However, I did a little experiment to see what I might look like in the dress anyway…

On the model...
On the Denise...

I had to give myself the paint-brush tan in Microsoft Paint because my face is a WAY different colour than that model’s body…

I look like a bobble-head.

Hopefully, I will look better in real life.

Although Mark doesn't get much of a say in what dress I end up wearing, I bet he would be pleasantly surprised if I showed up in this…

Minus the gun, probably…