So Long, Farewell, Grenada…

What can I say, it’s been real, Grenada.  We’ve had our ups and downs that’s for sure, but I appreciate the experience.

When Matt and I moved to Grenada in January of 2010, we had just got engaged a few weeks earlier.

December 22, 2009

It was such an exciting time for us, with Matt starting medical school, and the beginning of planning our wedding.  Sometimes I can’t believe that two years flew by so fast, but then I stop and think about all that’s happened since we first got to Grenada, and then I can believe it’s been that long.

As we say our final farewell’s to Grenada tomorrow, I thought I’d leave you with…

Ten Things I’ve Learned Over The Last 2 Years While Living Abroad in Grenada

1.)  I learned how to cook! 

It’s kind of funny because prior to getting engaged, I had maybe cooked Matt a real dinner one or two times.  I know, it’s kind of crazy considering we dated for about 2.5 years before getting engaged!  I guess I never needed to learn, we lived with his parents, and his mom cooked delicious meals every night!  Why learn?  It was kind of a rude awakening when we landed in Grenada, and Matt looked at me to fill the shoes of his mom’s cooking (and trust me, those aren’t easy shoes to fill!), but I tried my best, and somewhere along the way I learned a thing or two.  Here I am now, whipping up all kinds of different meals, like chicken parmesan, lasagna, chili, chicken fajitas, an array of fish dishes, roasted whole chickens, homemade banana bread, pumpkin pies, meatloaf, minestrone soup, etc.  (P.S.  I just got really hungry talking about all of those foods.)

2.)  You never want to get sick in 3rd world country.

Matt and I learned this the hard way.  Matt got e coli the first semester we were down here, and it was not a good situation, to say the very least.  We ended up at St. George’s General Hospital in the city of St. George’s, and let me just tell you, it was the stuff nightmares are made out of…cockroaches on hospital beds, extremely UN-urgent medical care, dirty equipment lying around, and generally stuff that you might see residing in Dr. Giggles’ office…Let’s put it this way, I wouldn’t want to get a head injury, or anything extremely serious like that in Grenada.  Get my drift?

3.)  I’m not a very outdoorsy.

I’m pretty sure that I mentioned this already in a post, but here it is again; I don’t like nature.  Okay, that’s not exactly it, I love nature, I just prefer to not be thrust out into it.  Instead, I prefer to observe it from afar, and not be involved in activities such as, getting my make-up/hair messed up, getting sweaty/and or dirty, anything requiring me to trudge through rain or dirt, or any activities involving the ocean (other than lying on the beach and also observing it from afar.)

Exhibit A.

After looking everywhere for me at the Kauai Coffee Plantation on our honeymoon, Matt found me in the tiny section in the gift shop where they sell soaps and perfumes. It goes without saying, that I was not very interested in the coffee beans, but very engaged in the pretty things. P.S. He took this picture without me knowing.

4.)  You might have to bond with a local in order to understand the culture in Grenada.

It’s kind of ironic, that the first time I really started to understand the Grenadian culture was just about a week ago.  Matt and I have had a taxi driver named Bernard for nearly two years now, and he drives us around on the rare occasions that we go out to dinner. Bernard has lived in Grenada his entire life, and has never left the island.  EVER.  Recently on a trip to the Immigration office, it was just me and B-nard (as I fondly like to call him), and we had quite a nice little chat.

Before I get into that, let me explain that Bernard and I often have awkward encounters when it comes time to pay him for the rides.  Usually he says something like, “Just give me whateva you tink (tink is “think” in Grenadian), Saaaaaaaahhhh-rah.”  This inevitably confuses me, and I have no idea how to respond to it, so I usually say something like, “Well, I have no idea, Bernard!  You have to tell me how much!”  Then, we go back and forth, until I get flustered to the point where I throw money at him (not literally), probably over paying him.

So, on our trip to the Immigration Office, we were chattering away, and Bernard revealed to me that he has no intention to ever go to America.  When I asked why, he said it simply.  “In America you don’t get nothin’ for free.  If yer hungry in Grenada, someone will give you some callaloo (a vegetable) for free if you need to eat.  You have to pay for everyting in America.”

So, there you have it.  I finally understood why Bernard and I had all of those miscommunications about paying him for his services.  Perhaps if I had offered him some callaloo a time or two, we may have understood one another a long time ago…

Me, Bernard, the fam, and the infamous taxi van.

Matt and Bernard's child, Jerome. He loved Matt, as all children do.

5.)  You should never go to a foreign country and expect it to be like America. (I learned this one the hard way.)

If I could pass on these words of wisdom to any American traveling abroad, this would be it.  I had a quite the eye opener when I got to Grenada.

Me:  “Wait, there’s no milk for two weeks straight?  Or eggs?  Or chicken?  And this is normal?! Waaaaaahhhhh!! <– (Snookie style.)

Especially when we first got down here, I found all of these things very frustrating.  I didn’t expect Grenada to have the same abundant supermarkets as in America, but I at least thought they would have the essentials.  The lack of food options has been one of the hardest parts about living here for me.  I’ve had to really let go of a lot of my expectations of what I think is normal, and try to improvise more with our meals.  I think if I would have come to Grenada free of expectations, than I might have been pleasantly surprised. Instead, I thought it was going to be something it wasn’t, and it made it that much harder to adjust.

And other non-American things to adapt to in Grenada…

No hot water (or no water at all for that matter, for days at a time), laundry shut down due to water droughts for weeks on end, humongous spiders, centipedes, lizards, and frogs (yes frogs!) in your apartment from time to time.  Ick.

6.)  To be patient.

Okay, so this is probably a blatant lie, but I wish I had learned to be more patient while living down here.  In my defense, I think I’ve definitely had a few break-through moments, in the patience department, but for the most part my New Yorker self (I can call myself a New Yorker since I’ve been living there over 10 years) was astonished at how slow it can take to do a simple task.  I’d be lying to you if I told you that it didn’t frustrate the hell out of me, but I think this also goes along with what I said earlier about expectations.  On a side note, one time fire alarms were going off on campus, and the fire department came two hours later after the students had already put it out themselves!  Now do you see what I mean?!

7.)  How to KIT

Prior to moving to Grenada, I’ll admit that I wasn’t always the best about keeping in touch.  I was always working, working, working, and it was typical for me to not see or speak to my girlfriends for weeks, or even months, at a time.  I’ve always made a point to call my parents every day, but I didn’t always go that extra mile for my friends.  So sorry friends!

When I arrived in Grenada, I realized how much I needed those people in my life, though.  I began working harder to bridge those gaps, and found that it was essential for me to do so.  Thankfully I had Skype, to stay connected with family and friends for the entire two years we’ve been in Grenada, and I also utilized Facebook to send little messages here and there, or an email just to say hello, a postcard, or a phone call.  I really do think that all of these things help you to stay grounded when you are so far away from home, and I would recommend it to anyone traveling abroad.

8.)  To not be alarmed if you cross paths with a cow…or goat…and one time, a bull.

Yeah, I just stand in fields in wedges and mini's while bulls are a few feet away. <--Not so much. This photo was taken by a good friend and photographer named Ashley Willis, somewhere in upcountry Grenada. P.S. Yes, that's a bull. When he started charging me, I ran like wild banshee away from that sucker it as fast as I could.

When we first got to Grenada, seeing random cows crossing the road, alarmed me.  I was sure the bus drivers were going to hit them, and each time, I would clench my eyes closed and pray I wouldn’t hear a thud.  Poor cow-ies.  Instead, I never heard anything, but I did feel my head jolt forward, as the driver swerved to maneuver the bus around the huge cattle.  Cows, and array of other animals crossing busy roads, are as common as deer running out in front of you on a highway in the dead of winter in Michigan.  It took me at least three months to get used to it, but when I finally did, I had a peaceful bus ride.

9.)  It’s totally normal to see machete’s.

People walk around wielding machete’s like they’re Rambo here!  It’s kind of rad, actually.

Oh you know, just a little ol' machete...

The first time I saw a Grenadian man with a machete, I was out for a run.  I totally thought I was about to murdered, but when I saw him happily chopping down some kind of pickery bush, and paying no mind to me whatsoever.  I realized then, that he was not interested in killing me at all, so I let out a huge sigh of relief.  I blame all of the shows like Disappeared, Dateline, and 48 Hours Mystery, for my hysteria.

10.)  How to Write!

It all started with a little blog called “Sarah Smiles Awhile…and sometimes not so much.”  (By the way, I recently asked Matt if I should change the name of my blog, and he said, “Well the ‘and sometimes not so much’ part sounds a little bit like you’re depressed.”  I thought that was so freaking funny, and brutally honest, that he would say such a thing!  Then, I explained to him that the ‘and sometimes not so much’ part is supposed to communicate my sassiness to the reader, to which Matt replied, “Well, you are quite a sassy little broad.”  Bwaaahahaha!  Love him.)

Anyway, I learned to write, by writing on this blog…and taking two novel writing classes in one semester (<–P.S. What was I thinking?!)  I really, truly don’t think I would have ever started writing if it hadn’t been for Grenada.  Like I said, before living here, I rarely ever stopped to smell the roses.  Grenada gave me the opportunity to discover new hobbies and ambitions.  (Hint, hint: More to come on that later…)

I think my entire experience in Grenada can be summed up in these lyrics to the Paul Simon song…

“You Can Call Me Al”

A man walks down the street
It’s a street in a strange world
Maybe it’s the Third World
Maybe it’s his first time around
He doesn’t speak the language
He holds no currency
He is a foreign man
He is surrounded by the sound
The sound
Cattle in the marketplace
Scatterlings and orphanages
He looks around, around
He sees angels in the architecture
Spinning in infinity
He says Amen and Hallelujah!

Have a listen…23 You Can Call Me Al

So, Grenada…

Here we are.

What can I say?  It’s been real.

We’ve broken up and gotten back together quite a few times.

But I’m sure at some point, somewhere…

I might even miss you a little bit.

xo

Sarah

~The End

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It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas…

I can’t believe it’s already December, and that Christmas and my birthday are right around the corner!

On Saturday, I am getting the best birthday gift of all, which is to fly back to New York…ahem… first class.  Woo-Hoo!  I seriously cannot wait!

It’s crazy to think that today I spent one of my last days in Grenada soaking up some sun, but by Saturday, we’ll be back to the blistering cold again.

Here’s a shot from the beach today…

Grand Anse Beach

And how appropriate that we should return back to a New York winter, considering the first time we arrived in Grenada, we were escaping one of the worst New York winters ever!

January 2010. One of our first days ever in Grenada.

I guess you could say, we are coming full circle.

I’m definitely looking forward to some snow, which I can’t believe I actually just said, but I truly am.  I think what I’m really excited about is just being back in the great U.S. of A, and being with our families for the holiday season.

I have to give it to Grenada, they really do a great job bringing the holiday vibe to the island, despite the uncharacteristically hot, balmy weather.  Since mid October (yes, mid-October) all the workers in the local shops have been sporting red Santa hats, and everywhere you go, they play Christmas music.  Get this, one of the most popular albums they play is Dolly Parton’s “Home For Christmas!”  If that’s not random, I don’t know what is!  Let’s just say, I’m thrilled about it!

Snazzy outfit, Doll.

I have to admit, though, it definitely hasn’t been easy to get into the holiday spirit, even with Dolly on my side.  That is why I cannot wait to soak up all the holiday season has to offer in New York with Matt’s family, and Michigan with my family.

I fully intend on watching some of my favorite holiday flicks like…

1.)  Serendipity

This movie captures the holiday’s in NYC perfectly, complete with a glove war at Bloomingdale’s, and ice skating at Rockefeller Center.

And maybe Matt and I might finally make it into the city for some frozen hot chocolate at  the famous Serendipity 3, where we’ve meant to go since we started dating 4.5 years ago!  We haven’t made it yet, but here’s hoping.

Serendipity 3, where the film Serendipity was shot. P.S. It's right around the corner from Bloomingdale's, too, which could be dangerous...or fantastic!

2.)  Little Women

Don’t make fun!  This is one of my movies ever, mostly because I remind myself of Jo.  By the way, I took a Facebook quiz not too long ago called, “Which March sister are you?”, and I got Meg!  I was seriously so mad, I took it 3 more times, until I manipulated it to tell me I was the most like Jo.  True story.

Oh Marmee...P.S. I think I might have my future children call me Marmee, how cute is that?

3.)  Love Actually

Does anyone remember the scene from this film where Keira Knightly marries her husband, and he surprises her with a gospel choir singing the Beatles tune “All You Need is Love?”

Well, Matt and I thoroughly looked into getting a gospel choir our wedding, but after some in-depth research on YouTube of other people who apparently thought it was a cool idea too, we decided against it.  Let me just say, some things are just better relayed on film than in real life, but I fully intend on reliving that moment watching “Love Actually” this Christmas.

4.)  A Christmas Story

This movie is such a gem.  If you’ve never seen it, I highly recommend it.

“You’re gonna shoot yer eye out!  You’re gonna shoot yer eye out!”

Poor Randy...

5.)  Meet Me in St. Louis

Come on, you knew a theater nerd couldn’t resist a musical to get into the holiday spirit, right?

Wasn't Judy G. a total betty in her day?

I don’t know, there’s just something about the way Judy sang “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” that gets me every time…

Anyway…

Hmmm…other things I’m looking forward to this holiday season…wearing my new down coat, sporting my Uggs with chunky sweaters, getting my huuuurr did, eating lots of cookies (particularly the sugar cookies with frosting that my sis-in-law makes), spending time with family and friends, eating my mom’s stuffed peppers, eating my mother in law’s meatloaf…I’m starting to notice that most of the things I’m looking forward to revolve around food…not done yet, though…drinking hot chocolate with whipped cream, pumpkin spice Coffee-Mate coffee creamer, Starbuck’s chai lattes, the sugar cookies with the Christmas tree’s and bells in the middle, my dad’s egg “mcmuffins”, pizzelle’s, and maybe some banana pancakes (made by Matt hopefully!).

So…

What are you all looking forward to this holiday season?

~The End

Photos by Amazon, IMDB, Wikipedia, and bytesdaily.blogspot.com

Shall We Brunch?

There is something so divine about brunching, isn’t there?  When I’m in New York, one of my very favorite things to do on a Sunday afternoon is to go to brunch, and to order my uj of a goat cheese, tomato, and basil omelet, a spicy (non-alchy) bloody mary, a cup of coffee with full fat half and half and two splenda’s, and a homemade muffin to pick at on the side.  That’s what I usually order at my favorite brunch joint, Isabella’s, anyway…

So, lately I’ve felt a little melancholy about my old brunching days, and just a little reflective about NYC in general.  Since I’ve been in Grenada, this time of year has been the hardest for me, because you don’t really know me, if you don’t know about my love for the fall in New York.  I mean, there’s a reason why they’ve made movies called Autumn in New York.  It makes me sad every time I think about another fall season going by that I’m missing.  There is just something about drinking a non-fat extra hot chai latte, while traipsing around  Central Park and looking at the beautiful changing leaves.  In my opinion, it’s just the most gorgeous time of year, and as a friend and I once dubbed it: the most amazingly awesome weather for fashion ever (hence the perfect time to sport a t-shirt and a scarf, a skirt and cute riding boots, a dress with a light fall jacket, etc.)

Can't you see why I love it so?

So, when I was invited over by a friend of mine for brunch at her apartment, it came at the perfect time and when I needed it the most.  I took my invitation to the brunch very seriously and baked a homemade pumpkin bread from scratch.  It was raining while I was baking, and for a minute, the spicy smell of the bread made me feel like it was really fall weather out, and not the 100 degrees that it really was.

I honestly looked forward to my little event with the girls all weekend, and when it came time, it was just so much fun to do something different for a change.  It can get pretty monotonous around here, so it was fun to shake things up a bit.

We had good conversation…

FYI: This conversation was definitely not as serious as it seems to be...

We had a delish spread of treats…

Yes, the watermelon is yellow here...Weird, huh?

Delish egg fritata, watermelon, blueberry bran muffin, pumpkin bread, and a mimosa to top it off right...

A cute little puppy for company, too…

Chewy was so ready for his close up...

Wouldn’t be complete without a little girl talk…

A little gossiping never hurt anyone...okay, so that's not true, but let's face it, sometimes it's needed.

It was a fun morning, and definitely did the trick in making me miss New York a wee bit less.  However, when I walked outside after my lovely get together, and I felt the heat beating down on my shoulders, I realized there was unfortunately nothing that could make me miss my favorite season in New York less…except for maybe New York itself.

~The End

Central Park photo by stephaniefrost.net

The Great Joys of Language Barriers…

Has this ever happened to you?

Oh yes, why yes it has, hasn't it?

I am not even kidding, this seriously happens to me at least five or six times a day.  No, I’m not deaf or anything, I just can’t understand what the h anyone is saying around here.  In Grenada, the official language is English, however every day language is laced with French words and the local dialect (similar to Creole) or Patois.  It’s pretty typical for me to get about 30% of what the local Grenadian’s are saying to me, and the other 70% is a total bust.  I usually just end up smiling and nodding, and saying my default line which is, “Wow, that’s crazy.”  <–On a side note, I want to say that this is not intentionally my default line, for instance, I don’t say it on purpose, but I have noticed that I say this whenever I don’t know what else to say.  For instance, if I’m making uncomfortable small talk, and someone says something like, “Wow it’s so hot out today, eh?”  I’ll respond with my uj (usual) “Wow, that’s crazy,” because what the (bleep) else is there to say to that anyway?!

Matt (husband) is even worse with making sense of the language here, but that might also be because he doesn’t exactly get out much <–This due to being the hard-working med student that he is no doubt.  Anyway, so when we go out to dinner on the rare occasion, maybe 2 or 3 times a semester at the most, I feel like I am basically a translator.  Have you ever watched a boxing match, when the winner doesn’t speak a lick of English?  You know how it goes, the interviewer asks a question, then the translator relates it back to the boxer, the boxer answers, translator relates answer back to the interviewer, and so on and so forth.  Well, that is basically what I do when we’re out to dinner, except I am also only getting less than half of what the locals are saying too!  Oh Lordy!  So, overall when ordering at a restaurant, best case scenario is that we end up getting sorta kinda what we meant to order, and worst case scenario is, we end up getting fish when we ordered “lambi,” thinking it was going to be a delicious lamb-chop. <–Yeah, that actually happened.  After the fact, we learned that “lambi” is popular local dish around here, but it is not lamb, it’s a type of conch shell-fish.  I guess it was meant to be, though, because I’ve always had a certain affinity for sweet Lamb-Chop herself, even if she does sing the most annoying song that never ends…yes it goes on and on my friends…

Step away from my Lamb Chop, and no one will get hurt...

The funny thing about the locals here, is that when they’re speaking to one another, they speak so softly that I sometimes have to wonder if they’re even talking at all, or if they’re just moving their lips for kicks.  Along with speaking what sounds like almost an entirely different language, they also speak extremely soft.  Well, I guess compared to me, but I’ve been told I sound like my voice is coming out of a loud-speaker at times…so there’s that…but I seriously have no idea how they hear each other!  The other day I was getting turkey from the deli, and I walked up and said confidently, “A pound and a half of the no-salt turkey, sliced very thin, please.”  Since the locals also have a hard time understanding me as well, I usually take it upon myself to project nice and loud/clearly.  It doesn’t help.  They have no idea what I’m saying whatsoever.  I usually end up having to just point to it in the glass cooler, and accept the fact that my special request of “sliced thinly” is just not going to happen today.  Boo.

Please, just once can you slice my turkey thin? Please kind lady?!

As I mentioned before, I’ve witnessed a local Grenadian ordering an array of deli meats and cheeses, speaking in a tone so softly that I couldn’t even hear the woman, and she was standing right next to me.  I had to restrain myself from doing what my late great Grandpa Barkoff would’ve done, which is to declare extremely loudly, “WHAT WAS THAT YOU SAID????!!!!”  I mean, I wouldn’t have proceeded to ask for a senior citizen discount (which is precisely what G-Pa Barkoff would have done) but seriously the tone was so muffled, I thought I might be having a senior moment!  I totally admire that the locals are not straining their vocal chords, but please for the love, I can’t understand what you’re saying double-fold when I can’t hear you, either!

Oh, the great joys of language barriers…they never cease to amaze me.

I guess I need to just accept the fact that I’m going to be…

On a daily basis.

Oh well.  I guess sometimes you have to just make the best of it, eh?

(P.S. Please don’t respond to that with, “Wow, that’s crazy.”)

~The End

Photos courtesy of IMDB and worldhum.com

One Stack of Sh*t Away From an Episode of Hoarders…

I cannot wait until Matt and I don’t have to live like hoarders anymore.

Let me explain…

Living in Grenada in married student housing is, well, interesting.  It makes a tiny studio apartment living in Manhattan look like a palace compared to this.  Basically we have no oven, only two burners, one teeny tiny table that’s not even big enough for two people to eat on, no counter space whatsoever, a tiny sink that fits about two dishes, thankfully a microwave at the least, and to sum it up, we basically sleep 7 feet away from where we cook.  Ugh.

There is literally no closet space or storage space either, for that matter.  In our bathroom, we don’t even have one shelf, so all of our bathroom stuff is either piled in our closets or on Matt’s desk.  Yeah, we’ve been pretty much living like two college freshman roomies for the past two years.

It’s seriously gotten to a point, where recently I was flipping through television stations (Oh, I almost forgot to tell you, we actually don’t have a TV either <–no room for one, but thankfully we have Slingbox on our computers), and I passed an episode of Hoarders, and it seriously hit a little too close to home.  My forehead began to sweat, and I realized…(hint: read below…)

Seriously.

It’s time to face the music, and come to terms with this fact.  When people come to our apartment for the first time, they usually all say the same thing, which is, “Why do you guys have so much stuff???  You’re living in Grenada, just deal with not having all your normal stuff for a while!”  However, for Matt and I, that is not an option.  <–Insert a Bwaaaahhhaaaahaaaa Bwaaaahaaaaa laugh right here, to personify just how completely ludicrous an option like that is to us.  If you knew us, than you would know that we are two people who some might call “characters,” and we’re also pretty stuck in our ways.  We’re both very particular about the things we like, and we’d rather live like hoarders, than not have all of our favorite stuff.  Yeah, we’re pretty irrational people.

However, I must say, that I’m happy we both prefer to live this way, because if I was the only one like that, then Matt might complain to his friends that he married a crazy hoarder lady, and that would be really bad, don’t ya think?!

On another side note, we are so much alike in other ways, too, that it’s downright scary.  For instance, we both get on what I like to call a “food fixation kick,” which is when we decide we like something, and then that is literally all we eat for about 3-12 months, until one day we eat it, and then we decide that we’re over it.  I’ve never met anyone else who does that besides me in my life!  Let me give you an example of some of my food fixation kicks:  Healthy Choice minestrone soup (lasted about 6 months), Oreo O’s cereal (about 11 months when I was 19), Special K with Red Berries cereal (12 months), Santa Fé Rice and Beans Lean Cuisine (5 months), and generic brand Bran Flakes cereal (5 months).  Matt’s food fixations:  Potato Buds (from what I’m told this lasted about 12 months), Mrs. T’s Potato and Onion Pierogi’s (still going), chocolate chip granola bars (6 months), spinach (still going), and also generic brand Bran Flakes cereal (about 6 months).  I know, I know, we’re kind of a couple of weirdo’s, especially with the generic bran flakes…P.S.  One time we went to the grocery store and bought their entire supply of bran flakes, and everyone looked at us like we were totally nuts.

Okay, so that had absolutely nothing to do with living like hoarders, but it shows how much alike we are, so there.

I just wanted to share one example of our hoarders situation…

See what I mean? P.S. This is my closet organized.

I could show you more, but it might just make you tense.  For example we have to keep some of our non-perishable food in suitcases because we have no room to store it in the cupboards, but you didn’t want to see that, did you?

Luckily, we only have about two more months living here, and then it’s back to the United States, so Matt can take his Step 1 exam and begin his clinical rotations.  I really hope our next apartment has a dishwasher, or at the very least, a big enough sink that I can at least wash a pot in comfortably.  I’m really just looking forward to being back on American soil, because sometimes living here makes me feel as though I’m living on Gilligan’s Island, but without The Skipper, Gilligan, Mr. and Mrs. Howell, and Maryann. <–Did you notice that I left out Ginger and The Professor?  It’s because that’s who Matt and I would be.

Hey Prof...What's shakin'?

Anyway, when we are finally back in the U.S. I am really looking forward to some frozen yogurt, McDonald’s, a Starbucks mocha-coconut frappuccino light w/no whip, a decent mani and pedi, perhaps a shopping spree at Forever 21, and a meal at Rosa Mexicano with double guac.  I haven’t had any of these things in so long, and I kind of feel like I’m losing my marbles.

The good news is that we are flying back to New York Rock City on my freaking birthday, December 10th!  Can you believe it?!  Soon after we’re back, we will start looking for apartments wherever Matt gets placed for clinicals, and I cannot wait for the new and exciting prospects.

But more than anything else, I am looking forward to not living like hoarders anymore.

Hip hip hooray!

~The End

Photos from IMDB and someecards.com

You Say It’s Your Birthday…

Well, it’s not my birthday too, because….

Today is Matt’s 29th Birthday!!  Hooray!

Happy Birthday to Matt (aka Jib, Jiberoni, Jiblock, Jib-Jab Jaberwocky, Moo-Moo, Le-Le, Leland, the cheese to my macaroni, the peanut butter to my jelly, the captain to my crunch, the butter to my toast, the milk to my cookies, the sun to my shine, the pop to my tart, Frankie-boy, and my turtle-dove love.)

Since we’re in Grenada and Matt is super busy with all things pathophys, pharm, clinical medicine, and BSFCR, I’m trying to make it as special of a day as I can.

So, that means…

We gotta have some birthday decorations up in this piece…

And there’s gotta be some birthday cake…

Yellow cake with chocolate frosting, per Matt's request...

Because you have to…

Nothing says I love you or Happy Birthday quite like some really unhealthy carbohydrates...am I right, or am I right?

A Birthday just wouldn’t be complete without some party plates, right?

And he’s gotta have some rad presents…

Oh, you know a practical gift...

And there’s gotta be an impractical gift, too, right?

Imported bags of Kona coffee for my coffee connessieur...So, I know it's tacky to talk about how much gifts cost and stuff, but who has ever heard of a $50 bag of coffee? Proof's right here.

It’s funny to think that we’re actually married now.  We dated for a pretty long time before actually taking the plunge (about 4 years to be exact), but my mom can even vouch for me when I say, that after our first date I called her at 1am and exclaimed, “I think I’m going to marry him!”  To which she replied (half asleep), “Oh Lordy, okay.”  I’m sure she thought I was crazy to say such a thing after only one date, and she also probably thought I was just being funny, but the truth remains, that I did know.

Something told me that I should document our first date, which I did…

Glad I was having a good hair day...Just sayin'...

The night I kind of think we fell in love…

This was our second date. Matt took me to a G Love concert, and this is me among all the duuurty hippies. Yay.

And the rest is kind of just history, ya know?!

Happy Birthday to you, Mr. Palma!

Love Always,

Mrs. Palma

~The End

It’s Just Me, Myself, and I…

Living in Grenada has made me realize some major realities about myself…

1.)  I’m high maintenance…Like, really high maintenance.  Like, even more high maintenance than even I was aware of prior to living here.  I’ve always liked to think of myself as somewhat adventurous, however it has become clear to me that I am anything but.  I see a lot of the other significant others (who are also living here as their hubby’s go through med school) going about their days hiking, snorkeling, and basically participating in all things outdoorsy, and I think to myself, “Wow, that sounds like tons of fun!”  However then I remember that I hate getting dirty, and I’m afraid of anything that could potentially include getting bruised or blemished in any way, shape, or form.  Thus, concluding my very high maintenance status.

Yes, I basically heart anything that doesn't involved getting dirty...

2.)  I am not a natural at the whole housewife thing.  Although, I do try really really hard at it, and Matt has reassured me that I’m a great housewife.  However, I still somehow feel like I’m lacking in that department.  For instance, I love things to be clean, but I loathe cleaning.  I really heart clean laundry, but I hate the process of doing it.  I actually do love love love cooking, but I hate cleaning everything up afterwards.  Let me add, that I do indeed carry out on all the above tasks, it’s just that I wish I was more enthusiastic about it.  Maybe I will find new devotion to it once we actually have an apartment that is bigger than this one teeny room. <–married housing.  Here’s hoping…

This is pretty accurate...

3.)  I am definitely a city girl.  I used to daydream with friend from my old job in the city, about how we would leave our stressful lives and move to a tropical island and just braid hair all day long.  AHHH WHAT?!  Like, seriously what the h was I thinking when I said this??!!  The reality is that island life is gorgeous, with beautiful weather and breathtaking beaches…but it’s an extremely slow-paced life here, with difficulties completing some of the simplest chores.  There is simply no rush to get anything done, which is fine and dandy for this culture, but for me, it drives me to loony-ville, and has made me realize that I thrive in a much faster paced lifestyle.  Just sayin’….

4.)  I reeeeally heart reality tv.  Grenada has brought about a new appreciation for all things reality for me…from Sister Wives, to Jersey Shore, can’t forget the whole Housewife gang, oh yeah, and Bachelor/Bachelor Pad, American Idol, and the list could really go on and on.  I know, I know, it sounds like all I watch is mindless television, right?  Well, you are right, but isn’t all television sort of mindless anyway? <–I’m totally just finding a way to excuse my trashy television taste….but you probably could already tell that.

And Last…

5.)  I really enjoy my time with just me, myself, and I.  I’ve always been someone who marches to the beat of my own drum, and this experience has only magnified it.  I’m not saying I don’t like to hang out with my friends, or to get out and do fun things, because I do.  What I am saying, is that I really love my alone time, and have found that it’s essential for me to prosper.  I love to read, write, listen to music, exercise, etc.  Most of these things I do solo, and I love it.  Call me a loner, if you will, but I disagree.  I just happen to really love the time I have to think, reflect, get my school work done, and to

basically…

The End~