Two of Five is Almost Half Done
It’s Sunday June 10th, and tomorrow Carina heads into the second block week of her second semester. This means we literally won’t see her all week. And, as there are four blocks per semester, it also means her second semester is almost half over.
Okay, now that I’ve gotten the “wows” out of the way, I do also have to say that it’s nice not having Cari being in her first semester any more, for a couple of reasons.
1) This semester is way less stressful for her. (But I think we knew it would be going into it. And also, the lower stress level won’t last. Everyone here is quick to tell you that the hard semesters are 1st, 3rd and 4th. Third, everyone seems to agree, is the hardest. So this calm we are seeing now is just a breath-catcher before the storm.)
2) Being a 1st semester (or married to one) is like… is like… is like being that pimply faced Freshman in high school who’s only missing the “kick me” sign stuck to his back. Whenever you meet someone new the first questions they ask is, “What semester?” And when we’d say, “First”, they could never quite manage to hide that look of pity. And sadness.
It’s not like having Cari in second semester makes her a veteran, or any of the rest of us Island experts. But, it does mean that the whole “We’re Brand New at This” feeling is finally starting to wear off, and I don’t feel like we’re wandering around with big puppy-dog eyes looking helpless and lost any more.
A Farewell to Friends
One sad thing (for us, at least) about a semester coming to an end is that there is always a group of people who head back to the States. It’s exciting for them, of course, because they are done with the classroom part of med school and are moving on to Clinical Rotations in a hospital, but it also means that we don’t get to enjoy their company here on the island any more.
Danny and Katie Wightman: Danny finished up his fifth semester here at AUC and they are headed to NYC for rotations. Katie and Danny are also LDS (Mormons) and while they were still here, Katie and Michelle bonded and became really close friends, and because of that friendship our entire family got to know them better than we would have. Even little Piper took a strong liking to the Wightman’s, and a month after they left she still talks about them.
Personally, I’m looking forward to hearing reports from them about their time in New York City, as there is a strong chance we will end up there next as well. Good people, and we miss them.
Karla Daniels and her three boys: The Karla and Steve Daniels family is awesome! When we first arrived here, they went above and beyond to help us get settled and to make us feel welcome. Steve is still here finishing up his last semester, and Karla, expecting number four, took her boys home so she could deliver the newest Daniels son in the States near a strong network of family. Steve misses them horribly, and when I talked to him about his son being born without him he had a hard time fighting back tears. Good people, and although we’ll miss Steve (and his Sunday School lessons) when he leaves at the end of this semester, we all want him to be reunited with his family.
The McGlue Family: Cheyenne McGlue was our “sponsor” before we came to the island, meaning she volunteered through the AUC Spouse’s Organization to answer questions and help us find a place to live before we came and then to help us get settled once we arrived. And in that role, she was absolutely invaluable. Their two boys, Ronan and Dillon, are missed by Tanner. They’re both good, sweet kids who were a delight to have around for four short months. We wish we could have had more time together on the island together, but we’re also excited for them as they head to England for 10 months for their first round of clinical rotations.
(I took a great family pic of the McGlue’s on their last day here on the island, but I’ve since misplaced the memory card that pic was on, so I borrowed a photo from Cheyenne’s blog.)
Countdown to Heading Home for Summer Vacation
To say that Andi and Tanner are excited to go home for a few weeks this summer would be the understatement of the millennium. A few weeks ago they made a paper chain to help count down the days, and they religiously and ceremoniously tear off a chain every morning as soon as they wake up. Each day, multiple times a day, the conversation somehow finds its way to “what will we do when we go home?” We’re all excited to go back and spend time with family and good friends, and we have high hopes of it being an event filled, fun trip.
Six Month Mark
And so we are down to only 14 months left to go on this island. I don’t know why I am surprised that time is going so fast, but I do know that the first six months here have been both bitter and sweet, and I’m not sure which flavor would win if we put them both on a scale. Any time you remove yourself from a comfort zone there is bound to be some discomfort as you learn, grow, and adapt to your new surroundings.
Leaving St. Cloud and coming to St. Martin has forced our family to come face to face with some of the areas where we need to improve as a family. It has put the spot-light on our weaknesses and exposed them, making them uncomfortably raw and painful. I have absolutely no doubt that at some future point we will look back on this experience, be grateful, and recognize how much we all grew because of it. And in the mean time, we are taking each day as they come and trying our best to make this the best experience possible.
Happy Bay Beach
What St. Martin blog post would be complete without a beach trip report? I’d heard a lot about a little beach called Happy Bay, and I’ve been anxious to take the family there and check it out. Today we finally made it! I had read that it’s a quiet, secluded beach that is usually mostly empty because it’s hard to get to. “Hard” might be a little bit of an overstatement, but it does require about a fifteen minute walk down a very easy, very picturesque little trail. The only hard part of the walk was navigating around the frequent cow pies along the way.
The beach IS beautiful, that’s for sure. But it certainly wasn’t mostly empty, or quiet. There is only one commercial establishment on the beach and it was playing reggae music at a volume loud enough to carry the length of the beach, but not loud enough to be annoying. And while it wasn’t packed with people like Orient, there was still a healthy crowd out enjoying a beautiful afternoon.
I’ll end this post with some photos from our enjoyable, relaxing late afternoon family outing to Happy Bay.