Sunday, December 16, 2007

Now you know what i did last fall

My Life as a Caribbean Medical Student (or add another cute intro title here)

It's nice to be back to the States, and be done with 1 semester of medical school. Here's a little taste of what i was up to during the school year, which i was too busy to post.

Before i found my beloved Ross Adventist Fellowship family I was able to attend some revival meetings which were held under a tent. Here are pics of the Carib Sea baptisms. There are actually a lot of 7th Day Adventists in Dominica. I prefer to go into the water to scuba dive but I guess being baptized in the Carib Sea ain't bad either.

This is where we had our white coat ceremony. This is our lecture hall, the "Annex". This semester (semester alone mind you. We have a new class every semester) numbered 400+ students. As you can tell we have the state of the art technology, at least 5 plasma TVs and 4 large projection screens for the power point presentations. We have media site so that you can watch the whole lecture on line if you like.
The Dominican military leading the president of Dominica out for his speech to the incoming class.
Handsome Eddie and me posing after the ceremony.
This is a picture taken in the middle of our campus.
The view from the other side in the same spot.
My Ross Adventist Fellowship family.
Roomie's b-day party.
Thanksgiving in Dominica. My friend has the picture of the delicious turkey I baked.
Dominican cat. This picture is for my Maryland friends, Sonica and Una. This is right outside our subway deck eating area on campus.
Notice that there are outgrowths from the branches...they grow down and become roots, that's what I surmised from observing the tree once during lunch.
Yes, this is part of the campus. This is where they have the yoga classes.
Dominica's version of the highway i guess. This road runs completely around the whole island. You can see my favorite place to grab lunch, the shwarma truck, yummm.

The "shacks" this is where we grab our lunches and dinners and snacks. They sell mostly local fare for food. You can grab local fruits and veggies and tropical drinks as well. You could consider this our version of a cafeteria.
A different view of the same.
This is our eating area, just take the stairs up from the shacks. Posing in the pic are a couple of our security officers.
This is how they sell fish out in Dominica. When do they sell the fish? When they catch 'em, duhhh. Can u see the simple weighing system in the back? The guy holding the fish is the one who caught it, or at least he says so.
Um, that sign would be an accurate description for everything in Dominica ;).
OK, yeah it's beautiful but how often do you think i get to see this? Yes, this all takes place while i'm in the library staring at the notes or computer.
The real reason i came to school in the Caribbean.
This is our local mute and deaf guy. He will start yelling incoherently as you pass by sometimes point to dirty flip flops and jeans (;) that was for you Soni, ha ha haaa).
My study group friends hanging out at Tomato's restaurant, post Mini 2. This is where the set of "Pirates of the Caribbean" ate while they were filming.
My daughter i never told you about, nah just kidding. Brother Maglore and his family and me. He helps out with our Ross Adventist Fellowship ministry on campus.
The campus iguanas, they hang out right outside the gate on campus. I think it's a boy iguana chasing a girl iguana, we're not much different than lizards huh.
You still reading this?! If so, here a picture of me studying in classroom 4 for the final with 'lil sis.

Monday, August 27, 2007

The beginning of the end of fun on the island

There has been a big SDA revival meeting that's being put on by the crusadors here in Dominica so I got to go to a huge service this Saturday out in the field. I was a visitor so i sat all the way in the front, the back probably spanned about 3 times what u see up front and about twice the size on both sides. The music was sooo beautiful and inspiring. The praise singers were professional quality and the sermon was superb. There is an advent student group on campus so after school starts I will probably attend service there but it was fun to attend this huge revival meeting, will attend again next Saturday.
The reason i came to this island, oh! Above is a picture of the school's main entrance.

So, while I have the chance I am getting in as much fun as possible since when school starts it will be full speed ahead with little time to do anything but study. I got a chance to do some scuba diving, socializing and exploring of the island. School orientation starts this evening and will go on for the rest of the week. Before the first welcome i got a chance to take a dip and discover the whole new world of coral reefs, it's another world which filled me with wonderment and awe, if only I could share the pictures of the reef with you! My ears are still adjusting to the pressure on land. Here are some pictures of the fun from this past week.

A picture of my instructor Chris and me before heading out into the ocean for a dive. That weight belt and that tank weighs a ton, it's such a relief to go into the water to take the weight off.

This is the way we get around and get our scuba gear to our destiation.

This is the entry way to my new place, to the direct right is our living room and to the direct left is our kitchen. My bedroom is a little further down the hall to the right.

Our living room.


A view of the ocean from our front door balcony (can u see it? ;)).

Just liked this pic. The landlord picked some jelly coconuts for us to drink from our backyard.

This is my bedroom.

A view from the other side.

This was taken along one of the stops on the way to Emerald pool.

This is how the native indians make casava bread. The root is poisonous so they have to soak it for a while to get the toxins out. The mixture is made up of casava root, coconut shreds and sugar. It has a chewy and sticky kind of texture, very tasty.

Some brave male students dancing with the local indians. You got to hand it to these guys, they sure are good sports.

Finally, our destination. Yes, i got out there swam in the pool and even sat under the waterfall, it was a very nice cool, hard water massage. Ahhh, refreshing.

After our trip my room-mate's mother cooked up a delicious persian meal.

Some of the guys in our group enjoying the good eats.

So, as u can see having fun before all the stress starts. School starts next Monday, but starting tomorrow we will be having orientation that pretty much takes up all day! Please write every so often if you have time, would love for you to send me your love.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Home sweet home

My room-mate and me at the front of our new home.
We have the whole top floor of this house. It's a 3 bedroom and 2 bath place. We're still in the search for a 3rd room mate. The place is probably less than 5 mins walk to campus and the rent should be about $300 or so a month when we get the 3rd room mate.
This is the view from our backyard, Dominica is very lush and mountainous as you can tell.
More pics from the back yard.
In the backyard we have a mango tree, a cocunut tree and a soursop tree.
This is the South side of the apt. Today I had my first scuba lesson in contained water. We swam in a shallow area of the beach close to campus. It was amazing. The water was clear and there were little fishies swimming around. We didn't really get to swim around since we were just learning our skills today but tomorrow we should be able to swim around a bit and discover a little more. I will be able to take pictures of myself in my scuba gear tomorrow :).

Monday, August 20, 2007

Arrived in Dominica

At the Ft. Lauderdale airport in FL: 6:25 am

There wasn’t much of a chance to sleep on the plane, ugh if you’ve ever taken a red eye flight you know what I mean. We are waiting to board the plane which will make it’s way to San Juan and then we’ll make our way to Dominica. Before taking off from LAX I had a wee bit of a problem with my carry on. You know now you can bring liquids in your carry on…but it must be less than 3.5 oz. Needless to say I had some liquids that exceeded the allowable content size, when I went down to the baggage check in area again they wouldn’t let me check another bag (my carry on) in so the woman behind the counter told me to chuck my liquids. Yikes that was my mega expensive facial treatment, my perfume and much loved shampoo… Well, I thought maybe I could just give the stuff to one of the TSA ladies. Sadly I made my back up to the inspection station (because you know I had already gone through when they told me to go down and check in the carry on bag), when I realized I might still be able to make it and stash the stuff into one of my big bags I had already checked in…I rushed down and caught the bag before they took it away to put on the plane and stuffed all my illegal liquids into the bag, so I’ll be able to continue my fight with the wrinkles on my face and smell nice J he he he, what a woman will do huh? I just hope that the bags don’t get lost…keep your fingers crossed! I think we can start to board soon, its light out now…

Here I am on the bus to the plane on the airstrip in Puerto Rico airport.
Waiting for the plane to take off in the 36 or so seater.
Flying over Dominica, soon to land. When we were landing we newbies were so scared because from the window all we could see were mountains..."where's the air strip?! Yikes". We did land, though since it was such a small plane it was really shakey.
Getting off at the Melville airport strip. Can u see the ocean in the background?

This is baggage claim, they just bring out the bags on this cart set it in front and you grab what you can find. They lost both my friend's suitcases and one of mine, not bad-I expected worse :). All part of the adventure.
Hmm, lucked out look at this huh? They ran out of housing so they put me up in the faculty housing at Ross University Housing (RUH) for free. We were supposed to go on a housing tour afterwards but Marcus one of the employees told us that it would be delayed...didn't give a reason why, just said it would be delayed. Once i got into the room i read a letter about some evacuation because of some hurricane...yeah, i thought it's all part of the island med school experience. After walking around a bit and talking with the students finishing up class...uh apparently it's not, they were freaked out! The were leaving the island as soon as they could, some even chartered private planes to leave as soon as possible. There was a little bit of pandemonium on Thursday the last day before flights were canceled. The new students kept coming. One of my friends KW and R fly in just to be driven straight to the hurrican shelter. Welcome to Ross. Here I am before i realized that the hurricane warning was not just another part of the Ross experience.

You can see the menacing clouds in the sky above the hills and the men boarding up the windows on campus.
What do u say about putting this on the welcome packet for Ross huh? ;)
This was the hurrican shelter, Room 6, where we students were imprisoned for 2 1/2 days. Mention room 6 to any of us and we'll shudder at the thought. The room was like an icebox. I never thought that I could dislike watching movie after movie after movie. Our beds were the hard tables, the swivel chairs or the floor, take ur pick. Needless to say i spend most of my time either playing computer games or eating our little snacks or shivering. I may have slept a total of 4 hours those 2 1/2 days. Welp just all part of the residency preparations! You can see of the good people I made friends with in the picture.
Here we all are at Bob's chinese restaraunt off of banana trail. We sure bonded during the Deaner. What a team! Oh speaking of bananas, they are excellent here. Lots of banana farms u see along the road. There are tons of mango trees, almond trees and other fruit trees on campus. The house that I will be living in has a mango tree in the backyard! The shacks sells these excellent smoothies and fruit juices, you wouldn't believe. There's strawberry and passion fruit, very yummy pineapple juice, shall i go on? Anyway one of the students picked some passion fruit, pinapple and some other fruits from his neighbors yard! Ha ha ha.
Here's the group in S's room. See Bruno? He's our mascot, cool dog he's part of the family. We're an interesting eclectic group. 'Course this isn't everyone but a good pic in any case.
Anyway, I had videos of the hurrican from the shelter as it passed through but i can't seem to upload it on here, if you have any suggestions please do write and let me know how to do that.
I have a place to live as u read. There are many different students here, one of my friends is 41 from New Jersey (I know u wanted to know JR so just added that on there :)). So far i've really enjoyed the island, the locals, the students, the beach, the mountains, the food (surprisingly) and so forth. I am not enjoying the darn mosquitos who seem to love me. I must have at least 30 bites by now.
A student, who was visiting from her routations from the states, told me that their classes' average step one scores was 245! Wow, that's really high considering that it's out of 280. One of the students in her class had a 280 which raised the average like crazy. For those of you who are not familiar with the scoring students who have above 240 pretty much have their pick of residencies, so i feel really good about the school. I will just have to work hard and be deligent! Please keep me motivated! Love you all and miss you! Wish you could be here with me. I will need all your encouragement and prayers. If you have anything you would like me to pray to you about please let me know.