Seaside Dinner

Seaside Dinner

Well, it’s over.  At least for Andi, Tanner and I.

And compared to how it all started on December 31st of 2011 with our grand entrance, our exodus form the island (which is taking place in stages), is feeling a bit anticlimactic.

But let’s not dwell on that!  I just enjoyed a fantastic eight days on the island with the girls, and I want to focus on that instead.

On Sunday, June 16th, I flew down to St. Martin for what would be my last and final trip to the island (at least as a semi-resident).  Andi had finished school at Learning Unlimited and was ready to come back home, but she didn’t want to fly internationally alone.  She’d done that once already for a medical trips, and did NOT want to do it again.  I don’t blame her.

I was there for 8 days, and to maximize the time with the girls, I took vacation days from work so we could play, relax and enjoy each other’s company.

Tanner opted out of this trip. In his own words, “I’m done with the island.”  Plus, it was right smack in the middle of little league season, and he would have missed six games had he come with.  MANY thanks to the Anderson’s, the Beard’s and Coach Todd for all the help while I was gone.

The trip was a splendid success in every way possible way.  But instead of boring you with lots of talk, I’ll let the photos do most of the sharing. Read the rest of this entry »

Breakfast at Ocean Beach Club

Breakfast at Ocean Beach Club

When we all arrived on the island of St. Martin sixteen months ago, the stress of relocation, of being jobless, of being in a strange place, and of med school all made it a challenge to really feel like this island was “home”.  After the last two months Tanner and I spent down there, however, my feelings for this place have changed completely.

I love this island.  I wish I was still there, and I hope I get to go back again before Carina is done in August.  I’m also a little sad it took me so long to feel this way about it.  I’m not saying I didn’t like the island at first… I guess I’m saying that it just took a while to be able to honestly say, “I LOVE it here!” Read the rest of this entry »

Halloween on the island isn’t quiet what it is at home, but the American community still makes the most of it

While Tanner and I are keeping busy up in the northern hinterlands of Minnesota, the girls in St. Martin are filling up their days with lots of fun island activities as well.  Andi and Tanner have both had birthdays recently… Tanner turned 12 and Andi turned 14. Michelle recently shared a fun report on her blog, and I thought I’d re-post a condensed edition here as well.  If you’d like to experience the whole report, checkout her blog!

Take it away, Michelle….

“We like to parrty. With two r’s”

Christmas came early this year for the estrogen tank in St. Martin. As I mentioned in my last post, my niece Andi who JUST turned 14 (WOOT WOOT) went home for medical tests and was diagnosed with Probable Lupus. With a brave face and confidence from her doctor, she decided to return to us on the island to continue her school year as normal and get her regular teenage life back. We missed the little nugget, and were so excited to have her back, and just in time for her birthday. Read the rest of this entry »
Grandma, Grandpa, Andi, Piper and Tanner down on the beach below our condo

Well, tomorrow morning life is going to change dramatically. Again.  Cari goes back to school, and I go back to work.

For Cari, it’s been a fantastic, relaxing, rejuvenating and much needed three week break. For me, it’s been a… (searching for just the right words…) a … an unexpected  but inspired four month weekend.

Just today I got word that tomorrow I will start a short-term contract for a company in Minneapolis to code a new web-based application for them. It’s not a long term gig, but it’s work. And I’m grateful.  On one hand I never thought it would take this long to find a company that would let me work entirely from a remote location, but on the other hand, not working the first semester of Cari’s schooling is exactly what our family needed while we all settled in to this strange new land.

But more on this later.  Right now I want to focus on my Mom & Dad’s visit and on Cari’s break. Happily, my parents were able to arrange there visit to coincide with Cari’s freedom so we could all spend time together.  And we had so much fun!  I’m not even sure where to begin, so, let’s start with Cari’s birthday. 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 »

Cari and Piper enjoying the sites and sounds of the beach.

Last Saturday, the 18th of February, we were planning an entire day outing to the Marigot Market in the morning and then back to Guana Beach in the afternoon.  Matt and Cecily Lew instigated the outing, and at first Cari was planning to sit this one out to study (again) but the rest of the family would have absolutely none of that.  Saturday marked eight weeks since we’d been on the island, and she had yet to ever see anything past the walk from our condo to the school.  We literally dragged her away from her books and kidnapped her into our outing.

We’re happy to report that at the end of the day, she declared she was thrilled to have come with us and delighted that we talked her into it! I’ll let the photographs do most the talking. Read the rest of this entry »

Having Michelle come down here with us has been wonderful for Andi.

Next week I plan to do a post about Tanner and his cultural adventures in island Little League Baseball.  But this week I’d like to focus a bit on Andi.

For both of the older kids, their number one challenge since we arrived here eight weeks ago has been their lack of friends.   And we still haven’t really overcome this yet.  It’s not that there are no kids here their age; it’s just that we’re having a hard time meeting them and getting to know them.  Tanner has had an easier time at this because there are boys his age that live close by.

But Andi really has nobody.  Thank goodness Michelle came down here with us, because she’s helped tremendously in easing Andi’s homesickness. Those two have been good friends for Andi’s entire life. Read the rest of this entry »

A panoramic view of Marigot and it's harbor from the hilltop next to Fort Louis.

This afternoon the girls had a play date / cooking date with another spouse, Katie Wightman, so Tanner and I decided to take off and have some boy type fun. First stop: Fort Louis just outside the french town of Marigot.

The ancient and dilapidated fort was built by the French Navy in 1776 and is perched on a hill top right next to the bay and the city. It commands a sweeping view of the area all around it, and the remains of the fort, the rocks and the grass around it, and the ocean below are an absolute treat to see and to photograph. Read the rest of this entry »

Andi up near Pic Paradis

Last night as I was lying in bed trying to fall asleep my thoughts kept turning to my children, and I found myself thinking of ways I can do better as a dad while we’re going through this adventure.  I started forming little mental tasks lists in my head.  In particular, I kept thinking about Andi.  I’m not sure why.  But the impression that seemed to weigh on me was that in the four weeks since we’ve been on the island I have felt a certain distancing between the two of us.

It hasn’t been anything drastic or terrible, it’s just that for all of her life she and I have been friends and pals.  This is the girl who, at the age of 13, still comes and plops herself down on my lap and tells me a joke she had made up or shares a funny story.  We chat together, laugh together, and just spend time being friends together.  Lately, however, it seems to me that there’s been less of that. And that thought made me a little sad.

All this was tumbling around in my head as I drifted off to sleep last night. Read the rest of this entry »

Written on January 29th, 2012 , St. Maarten Restaurants, St. Martin Activities

Michelle, Andi and Tanner at the Ocean Beach Club

Carina took her first round of block exams today, which means that when she was done, she had nothing to study until after classes tomorrow.


We partied Mormon style of course.  Dinner out (no booze), ice cream and a movie.  We went to a little restaurant Cheyenne had told us about: Ocean Beach Club.  It’s a cute, well groomed little place tucked out of the way which we never would have found on our own, and well within walking distance of where we live.  The food was yummy and affordable, but sadly we were too early for the all you can eat BBQ chicken.  And we’ll have to come back on Wednesday for the all-you-can-eat ribs.  So fun! Read the rest of this entry »

Written on January 24th, 2012 , St. Maarten Restaurants

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