Sunday, February 3, 2008

On and on...

January 19, 2008

Man, when I was in Austria I was very dedicated to writing in my journal – I never missed a day. That is harder to do with a baby who always wants to be held, an apartment that always needs to be swept, and days where nothing exciting really happens. J Thursday I went to McDonalds for Ashley’s son’s birthday. It was fun to be around so many mom’s and kids! I’m the only one with such a young baby, but there were lots of kids. It was very fun – they are a very nice group of girls! It is hard to remember everyone’s name, but they are very understanding. Later that day I went grocery shopping, which is an adventure in itself. It took me three hours to go to Cost U Less and Grand Marche to try to find pepperoni’s – no success. Then I went to the pharmacy (three of them) to try and find my prescription. I finally found it, and it was only $3.90!! It’s $30 bucks in the States! Woohoo for cheap prescriptions!!! J

Prices here are kind of annoying, especially on the Dutch side (which we live on). On the French side, they take dollars or Euro’s. It is about $1.75 to one Euro; however, on the Dutch side they use Gilders. I don’t even know the ratio of gilders to dollars, maybe 2.5:1? They also use kilograms. So it is super annoying trying to figure out how much apples cost, when they are gilders to the dollar, and kilos! Jill said that you just divide it by four, and you’re close. I swear…everyone takes the dollar and they convert it for you, too – why don’t they JUST use the dollar? I don’t think I’ve even SEEN a gilder? Crazy Caribbeanese….

Friday, I didn’t really do anything. Ella slept all day, so that was nice.

Saturday we all went to the beach for a couple hours. In the morning it was overcast for the first time since we’ve been here. It also rained pretty hard, so all the roads were flooded. I definitely don’t understand that – if the roads flood every time it rains, why don’t they FIX the roads??? It rains a lot here, you would think they would want to fix it?? Apparently not, though. Oh well. So, we went to Mullet Beach, which is a very nice beach, and we didn’t see ANY topless women this time! Weird…J

After the beach, I was invited to a “Girls Night Out” for this girl, Michelle’s, birthday. It was very fun. Tom watched Ella so that was nice J We went to this Mexican restaurant – The Tijuana Yacht Club. It was suuuuuuper yummy! It was very fun being with those girls! I’m glad that I’m making friends, otherwise this would be a very lonely 20 months….Tom studies all the time, so its kind of just me and Ella. Oh well J We are living in a tropical paradise, so I can’t really complain.

Aaaanyway, tomorrow they are supposed to be hooking our cable up – cross your fingers!!

January 21, 2008

Well, a little taste of the Caribbean for you: last night we went over to Derick and Megan’s for a little game of Mexican Train, which we now are calling the St. Maarten Train, but I’ll explain that later. As we were driving out of our little complex, we passed a car that had stopped in the middle of the road. There was a lady and the security guard standing by it, when all of a sudden we noticed there were FLAMES under the hood! Yes, flames. Well, that poor little car was toast. This morning, it was still there and the hood was partially melted and all black. Poor little Hyundai. Anyway, as we continued our drive to Derick and Megan’s, which is only about two miles, the road continued to get deeper and deeper in water on some parts. We were quite afraid our little jellybean wasn’t going to make it! At one point, almost the whole bumper was under water! It is pretty scary at night, too, driving through that golf course even when the roads AREN’T flooded. You would think that happens all the time, so maybe they would want to fix it so it doesn’t flood? But apparently, convenience is not a top priority to the islanders, nor is safety for that matter. Also, the black population has a tremendous advantage over the white population here: they definitely gang up on you. If you are black, they treat you with better customer service, better prices, etc. If you are white, you have no such luck. You’re pretty much on your own no matter what. It’s kinda funny…sometimes. Anyway, every thing is an adventure here. We are going to try and ask our car rental guy if maybe we can get a jeep – I’m pretty sure jellybeans dissolve in water. J I’ll post a picture of the flooded roads and our car for your enjoyment.

Wildlife: Well, there isn’t much wildlife on the island, but what little there is is quite interesting. We’ve seen an array of dogs, (I can finally understand why Daniel hated dogs so much, they are SUPER nasty here!!!) a plethora of cats, (two ladies in our complex have little “cat refuges” *rolling eyes* so that doesn’t help) lots of lizards, a big herd of goat up on Goat Hill (which is the steepest hill I’ve ever driven on! It’s pretty scary, and on the way down it is just as steep except they’ve put a bunch of speed bumps – what is that all about??? There are lots of birds and fishes; there is a rogue monkey somewhere on the island (people keep seeing it…but we think there is only one?) There are crabs that mysteriously crawl into people’s air vents and under their beds (thankfully not ours, yet…) and last, but certainly not least, pigs. Oh yes, pigs. They hang out behind the dumpster by the 1-2-3-4 and More store. There are about 5 of them, and if they’re not rummaging through the dumpster, they are laying in the shade of a tree in the next-door lot. Kiiiinda nasty.

Anyway, the adventures continue to grow, and I continue to grow more and more thankful for things in the States: customer service, road signs, people using the dollar and pounds (not kilos), knowing who I tip and how much (you have to tip the bag boys here??), etc. I should keep a big list…naw, I would run out of paper – even on the computer! Haha!

Oh, I never explained why we call it St. Maarten Train now – well, the numbers don’t have to coincide, you can put them any direction you want, and all the little dots are the potholes! I said to make it REALLY like the St. Maarten Train, we would have to throw a bucket of water on the table, since the roads are all flooded J It was pretty funny…until we had to drive home on it…*siiiiiigh*

January 21, 2008

Well, it is hard to have a good attitude all the time…today was one of those days that I didn’t feel like, “taking it in stride…” so I was pretty cranky when I picked up Tom from school.

This morning the cable guy was supposed to come install our cable, but lo and behold – our little chippie cell phone wouldn’t stay turned on…so I missed their phone call confirming the installation time. So I waited around all morning…then around 12:30 decided they weren’t coming. So I tried to go grocery shopping, I only needed a few things – bread, cheese, etc. and was on my way to the Grande Marche when I got stuck in traffic and it took me an hour to go one mile. So I decided that I didn’t want to try to make the next 3 miles to get to the Grand Marche and flipped around to go to the Food Express by our apartment. Some stupid idiot was parked – yes, PARKED, not just stopped – in front of the parking lot entrance of the Food Express. So I had to pull around a couple times until the stupid idiot moved. Stupid drivers. Meanwhile, Ella is having a FIT and has been screaming since I decided to turn around from being stuck in traffic. Ugh. So I finally park the car and get my groceries. The lady did let me go first in line, though, because she thought Ella was so cute J So that’s good. Aaaaanyway, then I had to drive down the stupid bumpy road that is all flooded now because of the rain we’ve been getting.

After I picked up Tom, I told him the chippie phone wasn’t working. Oh yeah, and the propane tank ran out of gas last night in the middle of making dinner. Our stove/oven is hooked up to it…so we had to finish cooking BBQ Chicken and mashed potatoes in a toaster oven! Yeah…it was fabulous. Aaaaanyway, we called our landlady and she said you could get propane from the Texaco in Cole Bay. Well, we drove all the way up there (getting stuck in traffic again because of that stupid bridge…) and they didn’t have any. Then we went to the Shell station and the propane guy gets off at 5:00. Then we went to the OTHER Texaco, and they didn’t have any. THEN we went to the Shell station closest to our place, and they, of course, had some. So that’s good. Soooo now our propane is hooked up so we can actually cook food – yay! J We don’t have a microwave, so it gets tricky without a stove…or oven.

Our oven/stove is super scary bytheway. You have to light the oven to turn it on…yeah, kiiiiinda scary. And the stove has this stupid glass cover thing that likes to fall down while you’re cooking – so we have to prop it open with the diaper bag and hang it over the edge of the bar…kind of hard to explain, but it makes sense to me J

So yeah, Tom took a Molecular Cell Biology (MCB) quiz this morning and thinks he did really well on it! I hope he did!! He has been studying a lot, so I’m sure it went fine. It is around 5% of their grade, not too much…but enough. They have an anatomy quiz next Monday that he is studying for now.

We went and got “Dan’s Pizza” tonight by the school – it is this little one room window hooked onto this Coffee Shop place – that is SUPER yummy! It is European style, Dan is from France. Mmmm….super yummy – he makes the “Student Special” with honey in its sauce, it sounds weird, but is really good.

Anyway, hopefully the cable guy comes tomorrow while I’m here. We also didn’t get a new cell phone yet because we didn’t get there before they closed ‘cause we were stuck in traffic for an hour. I swear – this island isn’t that big! How can you be in traffic for HOURS and not go ANYWHERE?! Grrr….oh well.
So yeah, wish me luck for tomorrow!!

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