Wednesday, August 25, 2010

The Long Trip Home

Ok, I've gotten a little behind now that I'm back in the good ole US of A doing things that are blogworthy. haha

So finals were August 18 for 3rd semester students (as I left off), and I was scheduled to fly home August 19 with my first flight leaving at 7am and landing in Detroit at 10:23pm. Things didn't quite go as planned... Having been told by the taxi service that I hired that I would be picked up for the airport at 4am, I finally looked up the number online at 4:30 to make sure they hadn't forgotten me. (yes, in retrospect I realize that I should have had that phone number handy sooner just in case) The guy told me someone would be there in 5 minutes, and voila, success. Napped on the crazy curvy ride to the airport while sitting in a jump seat since the girl sitting in the seat decided her backpack deserved a seat more than an actual human being. Got to the airport & through security just in time to board the plane.

First stop: Antigua. We all had to get off the plane, go through customs & security, and then another security stop where they searched our bags & frisked us. Then we had to identify our bags that they had taken off the plane so they knew which ones to put back on the plane (because reading luggage tags would be too easy). All this just to get back on the same plane like 30 minutes later. Thanks Liat, such odd quirks.

Next stop: San Juan, Puerto Rico. The first joy of this arrival was that Liat decided not to bring my bag (of those of probably 75% of our flight) with us even after we told them which ones we needed. Yeah, no surprise, Liat has that reputation so be warned. One family had gotten like 4 of their 5 planes (Liat allows one per person & this was a couple with a baby), and were annoyed that ONE bag didn't make it. I commented in a not mean way that they were pretty lucky they got that many! But if people didn't do that to begin with the whole mess wouldn't be such a prominent problem. ANYWAY, filled out the baggage claim thing, checked in for my US Airways flight where I luckily hadn't been able to check in online (if I had I would have paid for checking that bag that didn't arrive, so way to save me money Liat), got lunch at the Taco Maker, and went through to chill at my gate until the 1:55pm boarding time. Boarding time rolls around and they announce that they are looking for volunteers to give up their seats in exchange for a later flight, hotel accommodations, a meal voucher, and $475. Not worth it, just get my butt home. Departure time of 2:40 rolls around, and they finally announce that there will be a delay due to "mechanical problems". Two hours later we get to board the plane, and another hour later we take off after they announce "We have our log book, we can leave now." Thank you lying bastards, mechanical problems my foot.

3rd stop: Philadelphia, PA. This is where I was supposed to catch my final connecting flight HOME to Detroit. But thanks to the 3 hour delay I missed my flight by 30 minutes. And guess when the next flight was... 7:30am. Bite me US Airways. On the bright side they put me up in the Hilton & gave me a whopping $10 meal voucher (and then an extra $5 meal voucher for breakfast since I was mildly hysterical at that point - let me tell ya, I didn't realize how homesick I was until it was about 10pm and I was being told I couldn't go home yet). The airline also hooked me up with a lovely little convenience kit, complete with a poor excuse for an apology letter that you know is heartfelt since it was manufactured in China:
Isn't that the tiniest/cutest tube of toothpaste you've ever seen?

Finally arrived home at 9:20 the next morning (Friday). SUCCESS!

Stay tuned for accounts of the David Nail concert at the Armada Fair, a foiled family picnic, and Thunder Country Jam.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Shhh, it's a secret

Finals are over! Thus marks the end of semester 3 of med school. So my "work day" was over at 10:30am, and I met up with my friend Pauline for lunch before heading to the beach. We rented a couple kayaks from "Wave Dancers" at Coconut Beach, and made our way to Secret Beach. For the non-Dominicans & non-Ross students Secret Beach is a tiny strip of sand that can only be accessed from the water since it is closed in on the other 3 sides by walls of rock. The seclusion is really the only thing that makes it exclusive.

On the far left there it looks like part of the side fell down since the last time I was there about 6-7 months ago. Wow, can't believe it's been that long!

haha, there's me out under the rock arch. :)

Anyway, since it's rainy season the water was a bit murky, and I ran out of pictures on my water camera last week anyway. But I spent some time exploring the beach, and then I stopped to try to catch some seashells that were being washed up with the waves. While I was watching for more a tiny octopus washed up next to me! I tried to take a picture with my digital camera, but the reflection on the water hid it, and the waves took it back out too quickly. It was so cool to see though! The little guy was about the size from my elbow to wrist, and an orangish color. Other than that saw tons of little zebra fishes, and some fish that looked like Dory on Finding Nemo.

We kayaked back, and the wind & waves made it take about twice as long as it took us to get there in the first place (which was twice as long as the rental guy said it takes him to get there! haha). FYI, kayaking is quite the upper body workout!

Time to finish packing. My ride to the airport picks me up at 4am! TIME TO GO HOME!!!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Adventure of the day:
I got up this morning and poured myself a bowl of cereal & settled in to read a magazine article with my breakfast. A few bites in I discover a tiny bug/worm nestled among the flakes. Yum... Luckily I didn't vomit, but sadly I'm like halfway through that box of cereal. I wonder how many creepy crawly things I have eaten in my 11 months down here... or just in my life in general I suppose. Anyway, now I have to throw away my $12EC box of off brand frosted flakes, and I had to waste milk that, despite not being normal cow's milk or tasting good, costs $7.50-8.25EC per Liter. I really need to find a better breakfast solution.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

One more week before finals & going home for a break. As my policy goes, I took yesterday off from studying after the test. I was hoping to hop a kayak to secret beach & do some snorkeling, but of course it had to rain. It ended up working out okay though because I got some laundry done & then played games with some friends (Taboo & Cranium = excellent fun. I entertained the observers by acting out an earthquake in the charades portion). Also watched Superman Returns with my best island friend. And sadly learned yesterday that he won't be coming back next semester. The fail-out rate here isn't so good. Now who will I call when I'm lonely & just want a dinner companion?

So this morning when I was gathering my clothes off the line from my back porch, the sun was shining, and it was hot & beautiful outside. Sure, most students wouldn't go to the beach the week before finals, but come on, sometimes you just need to breathe. I decided to do some snorkeling for an hour, and since my friend won't be studying for finals at least I had company. The water was a bit murky, but out by the end of the pier we could see alright. Lots of amazing fishes and tons of sea urchins as always. And we saw what looked like a tiny squid, which was very cool. Good times.

By the time I got back to shower and make some lunch the test responses were sent back & answer keys posted, and pleasant results for sure. All the focus on pharmacology paid off. :)

Friday, August 6, 2010

Wow my life is dull. So exams are coming up, and I should probably be intently scouring path or pharm notes, but my brain is annoyed with all that business.

On the happy side of things, I'll be stateside for a 2 week break in exactly 13 days. Sometimes it feels surreal that I've actually lived on this island for almost a year now. I guess that's good though because if I think about it too much I get way too homesick and regret all the things I'm missing about the life I left behind.

Anyway, for this break I have 10 of the 14 days booked solid with 2 concerts (David Nail on Aug 20 & Chuck Wicks & others on Aug 22), 2 days with different girl friends, a 3-day vacation with my parents, 2 doctors appointments (since health care on the island leaves something to be desired), and a family picnic. Oh, and a day trip to Shipshewana with the momma. So excited! While I probably won't get to say hi to David Nail, I'm crossing my fingers for a Chuck Wicks hug. He is so sweet & funny, AND I'm making a present to give him. Yeah, I adore my country boys. *sigh*

Alright, better go to bed. If anyone is actually reading this, sorry my life isn't more exciting! haha