Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Midterms

Since this week was midterm week for the students, my friends and I decided that we should try to stay out and about as much as possible so we weren't around to be distracting.

On Wednesday night we went to bingo at Prickly Bay Marina.  It's always an adventure at bingo night and this week was no exception, their big prizes were a bunny, 3 sheep, and a cow.  I don't have a clue what I would have done with Margaret the Moo Cow, but I really wanted to go home and tell Evan that I won a cow.  I didn't win anything this time, but it was still a good night.  There was a lot of entertaining dancing.  A 71 year old Grenadian woman won a bingo and her dancing was awesome.  I wish I had a video of it, but sadly I don't.  I did however manage to get a video of another lady getting her groove on.  There's a lot of alcohol consumed at bingo...enjoy.

Bingo at Prickly Bay Marina
Margaret the Moo Cow
video

Thursday was our big adventure of the week.  The guys were studying for their last midterm and we took a trip around the whole island.  We wanted to go to the chocolate factory which is on the opposite side of the island from SGU so we went up one side and came back the other.  It was a pretty awesome trip.  First stop was Belmont Estates (the chocolate factory).  We took a tour there where we learned about the process of making chocolate and how the estate harvests and dries out their cocoa beans.  It's a really cool process that takes a lot of work and a lot of time.  After our tour we looked around at some of the other things at the estate.  They have some land turtles, some cool birds, and a talking parrot.  The parrot didn't say much to us, but he did say "Polly want a cracker?"

Our tour started out with a quiz of local fruits.  All of these grow
on the estate.
Cocoa tree
The inside of a cocoa pod.  We had to pull a bean out
and suck the white stuff off of it.  It was a really
nasty texture, but it didn't taste too bad.
Cocoa beans fermenting under banana leaves and burlap
Cocoa beans drying out in a green house type of building

These drawers come out from under the green house
building for the beans to dry out in the sun.  They shuffle
their feet to stir the beans.
After Belmont Estates we continued our drive.  The side of the island that we live on is all the Caribbean Sea, but the other side is the Atlantic Ocean and we were excited to see some beaches over there.  I've decided that the beaches on the Atlantic side are definitely scenic and beautiful, but I like sea side more for swimming.  After stopping to look at a couple beaches we were back on the road.  The last part of our drive back was along the coastline and it reminded me of driving along the Oregon coast.  It was bittersweet because it was a beautiful drive, but it definitely made me miss home too.  Thankfully I had an awesome weekend to look forward to.

One of the Atlantic beaches
Evan's finals are not comprehensive, so that meant that after midterms were over he had nothing to study for over the weekend and it was fantastic!  On Friday night we went to Magazine Beach to go snorkeling with some friends.  It was Evan's first time snorkeling here and I was really excited to go with him.  We stayed until sunset and then went to see a movie.

Sunset at Magazine Beach
The clouds were really cool after sunset at the beach
On Saturday Evan and I went to our favorite beach and then into downtown St. George's.  Evan had never been downtown before so we just walked around and looked at some of the shops there.  At the spice market we found calabash that had faces carved into them, since carving pumpkins for halloween isn't an option we bought two of them to use as our jack-o-lanterns this year.  It's funny because I see pumpkin all the time here, but it's all cut into 1 or 2 pound pieces to cook with and it's green on the outside.

Our calabash jack-o-lanterns
We ended our adventure in town with a nice walk along the waterfront looking at the boats.  We even saw an octopus in the water and it inked!  It was super cool.  Our bus ride into downtown was pretty tame, but our bus ride home was true Grenada style.  The driver pulled over randomly because he needed to relieve his bladder...which he did on the side of the road next to the bus.   I guess when you gotta go, you gotta go.

Evan thought it would be fun to make me a sand mermaid tail

In downtown on the water front
Evan at the old telephone booths we found downtown
Cool telephone booths on the waterfront
Even though this week was full of stress and anxiety, it was one of my favorite weeks on the island so far.  Evan did amazing on his midterms and we got to spend a wonderful weekend together before it was back to 24/7 studying.  

Monday, October 13, 2014

Babies Everywhere!

I have two lovely friends here who are having babies here on the island.  They are both due at the beginning of this month and we are all really excited for them.  We decided to throw a small party/shower for them this week.  It ended up being harder to organize than we thought because you can't just run to Walmart and grab all the decorations you want for a reasonable price.  Thankfully we were able to find some things and come up with a few fun ideas for some games.  It was a pretty fun night.

Speaking of babies, if you haven't seen the NutriGrain commercial my title is referencing, you can watch it here: http://youtu.be/JC2gIPnUCgw

This week we decided to go out of our comfort zones a little bit and try a new grocery store.  We drove a little further away to a store called Foodland.  We have heard that they have pretty good prices.  We found that this was true, they had decent prices and were pretty well stocked, but there was a very strange smell coming from the back of the store.  Not sure if that is a normal thing or not, but it definitely gave a bad first impression, I'm not too sure that we will go back.  It's a little sad that trying a new grocery store is a big part of my week...but it really is.

My friend Tessa has been anxiously awaiting the arrival of her pallet of baby stuff that she had shipped down here.  After some drama they finally got it this week and we got to spend the afternoon helping her get it all unpacked and set up before her mom came into town.  It was pretty fun to see all her cute baby stuff, but it was exhausting work.  After an hour we had to all sit down and take a break.  It's amazing how much the heat here really drains your energy.  Speaking of shipping, Evan and I purchased something small and cheap online last month just to see what the process of receiving a package was like and we got to go through that this week.  It was a little frustrating.  If it comes USPS the University carrier service has to pick it up and we get charged a fee for that and then we have to pay customs and taxes too.  But worst of all, I couldn't pick it up on the day that we received it on campus.  I was second in line to pick it up the day I did I had to wait until all the people picking up their packages from that day were done.  It took about 45 minutes and I was pretty irritated by the time I finally got my package.  Definitely not worth it.

This week was an extremely rainy one which made it pretty uneventful.  It is hard to do anything here when it rains because almost all activities are outdoor ones.  Thankfully we were able to get one fun adventure in on Friday morning before the rain started.  A small group of us drove up to Mount Carmel to go on a short hike to a waterfall and rock slides.  We were the only ones there and it was very peaceful and beautiful.  Shortly after we got in the car to drive home it started raining.  Tori and I then had a pretty fun drive (on my scooter in the rain) from the meeting place back to our neighborhood.  We were pretty cold by the time we got there.  It actually took me a couple hours to warm up.  It was kind of awesome, I haven't been that cold in a long time and it was a welcome change!

The trail down to the waterfall
Mount Carmel Falls
Tori and I in front of the falls
Tori and I climbed up next to the falls, it was super slippery
and we got soaked, but we made it!
The rock slides
Preparing to go down the rock slide
I got to close out the week by watching General Conference.  Sadly because Evan had midterms starting on Monday I didn't get to watch it with him, but I enjoyed watching it with friends on Saturday and sitting across from Evan while he studied on Sunday.  It may not have been the best or most eventful week, but at least it had a good ending!

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Our New Ride

This week we decided to try something new and participate in one of the service activities that the SO Organization organizes.  We went to the an orphanage to help the kids with their homework and then when they finished their homework we got to play with them outside until it was time for us to leave.  It was a lot harder than I thought it would be.  I didn't have a clue how to help the girl that I was working with and it was a little stressful.  After we finally finished though it was a lot of fun to play with the kids!  They had a lot of fun running around and playing with our hair.  Overall it was a really good experience.

Getting my hair played with at the orphanage
On Wednesday Evan and I were going heading out to catch the bus and saw a great site.  The scooter shop where we purchased our scooter from had a bunch of crates outside, it had finally arrived!  The next morning I was to pick up some info, get a license and insurance and then pick up the scooter.  I was so excited I could hardly wait to get home from the insurance office.  I got to the scooter shop only to find that it was another day away.  The insurance information had to be taken to get the scooter registered the next morning.  I was so bummed.  Telling Evan the news reminded me a little bit of the time I was supposed to get my braces off and didn't, and then having to face my friends.

Behind the wall you can see the crates our scooter came in
The next morning I went with a group of friends up to Annandale Falls.  I had been there once before, but didn't swim because we were on a campus tour and it was really crowded.  This time I jumped off the ledge a couple times and swam under the falls.  It was a little cold, but super fun!  While there we met Jack the monkey.  While he was sitting on my shoulder for a photo he grabbed my sunglasses off my head the threw them on the ground.  It startled me and made everyone laugh.  On our way back to St. George's we stopped in Port Louis for burger friday.

A group of us enjoying the view
Jack the Monkey
Jack stealing my sunglasses
By the time we got home Evan had picked up our scooter!  A few hours later he taught me how to drive it and then I was off to take maternity photos for my friend Tessa.  I'm still editing the photos, but so far I'm pretty excited about them!

Our scooter :)
Tessa 
Rocking the sun hat
It was a perfect night for pictures!
To end the week the SO Organization had the opening social for the term.  I managed to convince Evan to come with me for free lunch and an hour of relaxing at the beach.  We went on a tube ride and that was super fun.  My teeth were nice and salty by the time we were done from the water.  I tried to keep my mouth closed at first, but we were laughing too hard and I gave up.  It was a good break for Evan before midterm prep week.  

On Saturday night my friends and I went to the church building to join the other Relief Society sisters in watching the General Relief Society broadcast.  The messages that were shared were great, but my favorite part was actually the choir/congregation hymn.  I could hear the sweet Grenadian women behind me singing and as I listened to our small group singing along with the conference center on TV I realized just how amazing the church is.  We always hear it mentioned that General Conference brings church members from around the world together and I have to say that witnessing it in person is a pretty cool experience.  I know it's a little cliche, but I thought it was cool.  It was the perfect way to end the week.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Off Roading

This week started off like any other, a nice afternoon at the pool followed by yoga next to the beach. Then the next morning the SO organization had organized a hike to hog island.  I almost didn't go because I was feeling too lazy to get out of bed, but I managed to convince myself it would be worth it. And it totally was.

The bridge to hog island
A cool tree we saw on the trail
The hike started out in Lance Aux Epines (a neighborhood in St. George's) and we walked to this bridge that crossed over to hog island.  Once on the island we walked through the trees and such for a little while before coming to a quiet little beach.  Two of my friends and I swam out to a catamaran, they swam underneath it while I watched.  Yes I'm a chicken. Then we just spent some time chatting with other SO's for a while.  When we were done we took a water taxi back across and around so we had much less walking and hiking to do.  The taxi was a wooden boat that seats six people and as it was approaching the driver was scooping out water from the bottom with half of a gallon milk jug. Never a good sign.  I just told myself it was probably just water from the rain. The good news is that we made it safely! The rest of our day consisted of a really big group grocery shopping trip.  We went to three different stores and completely filled the car up.  The trunk was stuffed and we also had groceries all over the floor and on our laps. It was really nice to get our cupboards all restocked.

There's a fruit stand at the bottom of our hill that sells local honey and I have stopped by a couple different times in search of some but they have been out for quite a while. Finally this week they had the bottles of honey and I could hardly wait to get home and try it.  Best honey I have ever had, it's amazing!

Huge bottle of fresh honey
This week there were some free Zumba classes and we decided to try them out.  It wasn't the best class I have ever taken, but we had a lot of fun and it was a really good workout.  I have never sweat so much before, it was coming from places I didn't even know could sweat. One night after Zumba my friend Tessa was driving me and another girl home. Our other friend lives up one of the worst roads in the area. On our way back down the road we hit a huge rock that neither of us saw and it made a terrible sound. A couple days later we had a relief society game night where we played bunco.  Afterwards we gave the same friend a ride home and this time we had Tori with us. All three of our husbands were studying at our apartment so after we dropped our friend off we were heading back to my place.  Tess and I spotted the rock on the way up that got us a couple nights prior and we're ready to avoid it.  Now the road was being prepped for paving so there were ditches dug out on both sides that were about 2 feet deep, but it was hard to tell where the edge was because there was some grass and weeds growing on the edge.  We were taking it slow and being careful and right as I was about to say that I thought we were getting close it happened.  Front tire off the road.

We sat in the car for a second just soaking in the moment.  Then we got out to see what we were dealing with.  All we knew is that we couldn't call our husbands because we wanted to prove that we could handle ourselves.  We were a little nervous though because it was dark and we had no clue what our options were.  Tessa had a really good idea thinking that if we could stack rocks under the tire maybe we could get some traction.  It didn't work, but it was a good idea!  We also tried pushing, but in a two foot deep ditch in flip flops we didn't exactly have the best set up to do so.  A nice Grenadian teenager came over to help us and we were eventually able to get it out.  Tessa decided to try turning the wheel and backing up.  It was risky because that could have resulted in the back tire ending up in the ditch, but she was successful.  Crisis avoided.

The rest of the weekend was fairly uneventful.  It rained a ton so we spent most of the time inside.  A lot of the buildings here have tin roofs (thankfully our apartment is not one of those buildings) and the church building is one of those.  During sunday school it started raining and it was loud.  The rainfall progressively got heavier and eventually we could hardly hear the person next to us talking because it was so loud.  There really isn't a point to this story other than it was just crazy!  My favorite part about it raining so much though is that it makes for extra beautiful sunsets.  

The view from my kitchen window.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Uppers? Downers?

This week all the guys had their first exams which meant that they got one day off to spend with us. After their exam on Monday morning we all got together and went to grooms beach. We spent the afternoon enjoying the water and each other's company. We ate lunch at a resort on the beach called La Luna and then Evan and I went to Prickly Bay Marina for our dinner of pizza and a milkshake. So far it was the best pizza I've had on the island. The next morning it was back to non stop studying for the guys and trying to find things to keep us busy for the girls.

Evan and I at Grooms beach
The group at La Luna 
I decided to buy a rolling pin so that I could branch out and cook some new things.  So far all of the tortillas we have had are not very good and they are pretty expensive so I decided to make my own!  The first time they were super thick and greasy so I tried a new recipe, better, but still not the right shape or thickness (partially because of my lack of tortilla rolling skills).  After reading some tips online I decided to try again with a different recipe.  I was planning on going to an activity on campus but missed the bus because it left early.  I decided to take my frustrations out on a batch of tortillas and it worked really well until I halved everything but the water.  I made a HUGE mess.  The dough was all over my hands and the counter and it was super hard to get off.  After cleaning up I decided to start over and I'm really glad because they turned out great!
 
The sticky mess of dough
Second attempt turned out much better than the first
One afternoon some of my friend and I decided to cool off at Grand Anse Beach. While there we met a super nice guy. He asked us if we had seen any sand dollars and we said no so he went out with his snorkel gear to grab some for us. When they wash up on the shore they turn white in the sun, but while they are still alive they are a dark grey color and they all have slightly different designs on their shell. After our snorkeling adventure last week we had a couple questions for him about the types of things we found. One of them being sea urchins. He told us that they are only really harmful if you step on one and went and found one so we could hold it. It's crazy, they suction to your hand and you can turn your hand upside down and it will stay on. We also talked about church a little bit with him. He said that he didn't know how anyone couldn't explore the ocean and not believe in God. It was a really fun experience.
 
My cool sand dollar
The other side
After a couple of days it started turning green!
At the end of the week we decided to take a trip into downtown St. George's for some girls to get fans and then to just explore. There's a smoothie shop in the mall there that is amazing! I got a chocolate banana smoothie that was more like a milkshake and was only $3! I have been craving one everyday since. We went into a couple of fun gift shops and explored the spice market. I have heard a lot about the spice market, but had never been. They have some really cool stuff. They of course have spices there, but there's also fresh honey, pure vanilla, and tons of hand made treasures. I can't wait to take Evan there someday.  

On our way back I rode with my friend on her scooter.  At one point we were waiting for the car to catch back up with us and were pulled off on the side of the road in Lance Aux Epines.  This random guy approached us and started talking to us.  He seemed nice and we initially thought he was just being friendly and saying hi, but then he offered us drugs.  Totally unexpected.  We have been offered drugs one other time, but when the dealer introduces himself as the pharmacist it's much less surprising.  Thank you Grenada for always keeping me on my toes!


Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Dancing for Money

Since our washer wasn't installed on Saturday like it was supposed to be, I emailed our landlord again on Monday to let her know and she was surprised.  When she called she was told that "we missed them" and they left us a note.  We were home all day...and there was never a note on our door.  I'm not sure how they could have gone to the wrong house when they had been to ours several times already, but when your address is the orange house on Coffee Street in Calliste I guess it can get a little confusing.  Anyway, they FINALLY came and installed the washer the next morning.  

That night we did our first load of laundry in our apartment.  Now if you had seen the plumbing that was put in (which for some reason I never took a picture of), you would worry that when the washer drained the water would come right back out the pipe rather than flow through the pipe.  So I sat on our couch and waited to hear the draining start and sure enough I heard water pouring onto our floor right at the beginning of the first drain cycle.  I jumped up and paused the cycle as fast as I could.  We then pushed the washer over to the sink so it could drain into our kitchen sink and we could finish running the load.  The plumber came back a few days later to add onto the pipes and by the end of our fourth week on the island we officially had a working and problem free washer in our apartment.

Our first load of laundry air drying in our apartment

My first adventure of the week this week was bingo night at Prickly Bay Marina.  You pay 25 EC for a bingo card and the day we went there were 5 games of bingo to play.  At the beginning of the round there will be some small cash prizes as you build up to the black out bingo and those prizes are the best.  Here is what we were playing for:
Game 1: Cash and 2 goats
Game 2: A Grenadian pig farm (4 pigs)
Game 3: A bunny
Game 4: A dinghy
Game 5: A car
The night started out fairly tame, but as it progressed it got more and more interesting.  At the beginning the caller would randomly choose people's cards as dance cards and would make them dance for their prize.  Or if there was more than one winner they had to have a dance off for the prize.  Towards the end every card is a dance card haha.  By the time I won a bingo, the caller tried to make my card a kiss card.  I just said I was married and convinced him that it should be a dance card instead.  So I publicly humiliated myself dancing up on the stage for 50 EC and a free pizza.  The good news is by that point of the night everyone was pretty drunk (except for my cool mormon friends of course) and probably doesn't remember it ever happening :)  By the end of the last game when we were competing for the car two of my friends and I only needed one more number called, but sadly none of us ended up winning.  It all made for a pretty interesting and memorable night.

I accidentally deleted the picture of my almost
black out bingo, but here's my semi-lucky card!
Me up on the bingo stage

Speaking of dancing, this week was a particularly difficult one because I all of a sudden realized just how much I miss dancing and teaching.  Seeing all my old students post pictures of them back at dance on Instagram really got me thinking about it.  I looked at some old videos and pictures of our BYU dance days and convinced myself that for now yoga will just have to be a good enough substitute.  This wasn't our best performance, but it was fun to watch and reminisce anyway!  Here's the link if you feel like watching it: http://youtu.be/-iMxges9YaY

Speaking of yoga, we did headstands this week and my friend who is 8 months pregnant totally rocked it!  She inspires all of us so much, she is one tough cookie.

My yoga headstand

This week's adventures also consisted of two beach days.  The first one was at BBC beach where it started raining the second we got there!  We decided that the water was probably warmer than the rain and went swimming anyway.  When you have good company even a rainy day on the beach can be loads of fun.  I got my first snorkeling experience where I saw a couple of big fish and we also found a starfish!  Our next beach trip was to Magazine beach.  No starfish there, but the snorkeling was incredible!  I felt like I was watching Finding Nemo in real life.  We were swimming around the reef for at least an hour just loving every second of it.  Right before we came in we were talking and when we put our masks back on we saw that we were surrounded by hundreds of little fish.  It was truly an unforgettable moment.

The cool starfish we found
Snorkeling at Magazine Beach
We met this really nice Grenadian, Terry, at Magazine Beach
and he made us these cool birds!
To wrap up our week we went to a bakery to get some donuts early on Saturday morning.  After living across the street from the Provo Bakery for a year I was really starting to miss donuts.  They were delicious and we got to have a fun conversation with the owner after we ate.  She was super nice and I am looking forward to going back one of these days!


Saturday, September 6, 2014

Family Pictures

You would think that with all my free time I would have worked on these photos a long time ago, but it just kept getting pushed aside.  Better late than never I guess!  We didn't get a chance to take very many pictures, but I still think we got a couple decent ones :)  I don't know why my Dad's shirt is so neon in some of the pictures, it's not like that when I look at the file.  Oh well I guess!

Not a bad looking group :)

The handsome men of the family
My Grandpa is cooler than yours!

58 years and counting! Love these two :)
The best parents a girl could ask for!

Bret and Brynn, I miss living only 4 hours away from them!

The only picture of us that Cam didn't photobomb

Forever alone

I have the best siblings in the world, I love these crazy kids!