My mom and dad on the beach down below our condo

A group we stumbled upon playing steel drums in a warehouse in Grand Case

Carina is on break right now between her first and second semester at AUC, and much to our delight, my Mom and Dad were able to schedule a trip down here during her break.  They like to travel and were excited when we announced we were moving to a Caribbean island.  We’ve been looking forward to their visit and were happy that it could coincide with Cari’s break.  I’ll compose a better post soon with fun details of their trip, but right now I just wanted to share a highlight.

Yesterday evening we drove out to Grand Case, a fun little village over on the French side that is well known for it’s cute shops and yummy restaurants.  (Andi, Tanner and I went there a while back and we recorded our trip here.)

As we were walking down the main street we heard the melodic and distinct sounds of steel drums, so we followed our ears.  We ended up in an otherwise unassuming warehouse where we found a group of young twenty-something islanders playing their hearts out on an impressive array of drums.

At first I just took a few pictures, and as I did so I was thinking to myself, “I wish I could record this… it sounds so fun and beautiful.”  And then it occurred to me, “Wait!  I can record this!”  I borrowed my dad’s iPhone (I no longer carry mine with me), put the camera on video mode, and after asking their permission, I started to record.  Here’s a short clip of them as they were finishing up a song. Read the rest of this entry »

Carina and her lab partners

Around my neck was my plastic AUC id, as it hung from the lanyard, I lifted it up to show the guard at the entry gate and he let me pass. My Molecular Cell Biology final would commence in T-minus 20 minutes and it would be the last of many exams taken over my first semester of medical school.

Four months ago, but an eternity in other ways, I walked in to the gross anatomy lab for the first time wearing my new blue scrubs and all my insecurities tucked near the surface of my wavering facade. There in front of me was a very sterile looking lab room and immediately I locked gaze with the large black bags atop ten tables. The smell was completely unfamiliar. I thought after spending hours in a surgery internship that the smell of human flesh would be nothing new. So I learned that living tissue is completely different. The preservation method to keep these bodies fresh required formaldehyde, and this was a new smell that burned my eyes and seared my nasal passages. After hundreds of hours, I never really got used to it.

Our class of 90 students was divided up into groups of six people per lab table. I was assigned to table 3. I wish I could describe how I felt as I stood next to the airplane bag (they called them) with my cadaver inside. Surreal. Our professors gave a brief dedication and we gave a moment of silence to recognize the lives of those who offered their bodies in the name of science and for the benefit of our learning. Read the rest of this entry »

Ribs and Chicken on the Barbie.... Sea Side. Mmmm!

One of the great things about being on the island with the American University of the Caribbean and as Mormons is that we get to know people in both communities.  In only a few months we’ve met some wonderful people through AUC who will no doubt be friends for many years to come, if not for life.  And through the LDS branch here on the island we’ve also met some local islanders who are fantastic people and who we never would have met had it not been for the Mormon church.

(Quick vocab update for non-Mormons:  Mormon congregations come in two types: wards and branches.  Wards are big, branches are small.  The congregation on St. Martin is too small to be a ward, so we’re a branch.)

This past Easter weekend the branch sponsored two activities: A beach side BBQ on Friday and an Easter Egg hunt on Monday.  I didn’t make it to the egg hunt, but all the kids and Michelle went and the report was tremendously positive.  I did, however, make it to the BBQ with Andi, Tanner and Piper.  And wow!  What a treat!  The chicken and ribs flowed endlessly, the company was terrific, the weather was beautiful, and the beach (which we hadn’t been to before) was beautiful.    But most of all, the chicken and ribs flowed endlessly and the company was terrific!

I thought I’d share a few photos of both events. Read the rest of this entry »

Carina getting out and enjoying the shops on Front Street with family and friends

Block weekends are no fun, for anyone.  “Blocks” are just a nice way of saying “killer exams”, and all of Cari’s classes have them on the same Monday, four times a semester.  For most of the week leading up to blocks we don’t see much of her. And the weekend before, we don’t see her at all, unless she’s asleep in bed.  Okay, she still comes to church with us, but other that those three hours, she is held up on campus with her nose buried in text books, flash cards, notes and anatomy videos.  For 14 hours a day.

On Block Monday she gets up extra early and gets in a last few hours of review before she spends pretty much the entire day taking exams.  When she comes home she is finally able to relax a little, but she’s on pins-and-needles until she is able to get online later that evening and see her results.

On those Monday evenings we’ve usually made it a point to do something fun, like go out to a movie and dinner.  But the real fun comes on the weekend after blocks.   That’s when we kidnap Cari for an entire Saturday and bring her to places on the island we’ve been enjoying all along,  but which she hardly ever gets to see. Read the rest of this entry »

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The Crookstons

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