Let's do a little Grenada Q and A! This should be fun considering that we've never been to the island and so we don't have any absolute answers . . . but what the heck, I'm doing this anyway!

Q: Why Grenada?
A: This particular medical school, St. George's University, is the best Caribbean medical school there is. It places more doctors into first-year US residency programs than any other medical school. And bonus, because students tend to prefer staying in the country, it's easier to get into than a lot of US med schools (but definitely still difficult--I'll do a post on Jared's pre-med journey soon).

Q: What are you going to do there, Laur?
A: One unfortunate thing about Grenada is that it's nearly impossible to get a worker's visa. So unless you're a native, good luck finding work. (You won't.) I'm hoping to find some online freelance editing work, and to write a book. Because honestly, when else in my life am I going to have two years all to myself with no children and no work commitments? I'm seizing the opportunity.

Q: Are you going to be homeless?
A: Nope--we found a place! It's somewhat ghettoer than we were hoping for because all the places we had our eyes on got snatched up as soon as we expressed interest. But it's great for newlyweds and we'll be surrounded by already welcoming members of the LDS branch there, so we're pretty stoked about the situation.

Q: Is it safe?
A: The island is safe (or so we've heard). Most of the apartments have bars on their windows to protect from robberies, but supposedly there's not as much violent crime. Jared got me pepper spray just in case though.

Q: What is the island like?
A: I've never been there, but I've read lots of blogs of student wives and I've seen lots of pictures. It is beautiful! The beaches are gorgeous and Grenada is famous for its fresh spices. There will be lots of foods I've never tried and maybe animals (bugs) I've never seen. The islanders are really nice, I've heard. The weather is hot and humid year round and the pace of everyday life is slow. It's still a third world country, but I'm really excited to get to know and love the culture! In some ways, I feel like this will be a bit of a mission experience for me, and I'm just really looking forward to that.

Seventeen days until the big move. We are so excited! Any other questions about our upcoming Grenada lives? Ask away!

Grenada Q & A

Dear sweet friends. I am currently in Washington enjoying gorgeous bike rides and lovely family time with Jared's family and our first new little niece (I'm an aunt!). So when my editing friend Ashley was like, "Hey, let's swap blogs for a day." I was like, "Girrrrrl, yeah!" Because really, I have not had the brain power to come up with my own blog topics lately. So. You can find me blogging a date story from mine and Jared's early dating days at Ashley's lovely blog [real life, real love]. And in the meantime, enjoy a funny story from Ashley's own past dating life. She is loaded with good date stories! We've been friends since sophomore when we got close in a research methods class, and trust me, she is great!

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Hello! I'm Ashley and I blog over at [real life, real love]. I blog about my life, so that means there's a little bit of everything! I've been married for two years now, so you're sure to hear about how great my husband is and how fun all of our adventures are. I also love Pinterest and crafting, so you're likely to find a craft or two. I love all things glittered, sequined, and sparkly, but I don't pretend to have a perfect and sparkly life all the time -- I keep it real over at my blog, looking for the positives but acknowledging that things don't always go perfectly :)

Speaking of things that didn't go perfectly, I'm reminded of a date I went on shortly before Russ and I started dating. My dating philosophy was to always say yes to at least one date with anyone and to accept any and all set-ups that came my way.

My dad is sort of a big-wig in the business college at BYU, specifically in entrepreneurship. He works with a lot of students as they try to start companies--giving advice, tearing their ideas apart, and then helping them really get somewhere with their goals. And people love him for it; he's apparently really good at what he does. He also meets a lot of students this way, so when he asked me if he could set me up with John*, I was all for it.

So John called me and asked me out. He took me to Guru's, which was delicious. But throughout the entire dinner, I'm not sure I said even ten words about myself. Now, I don't know about you, but I think first dates should be a little more give and take than that. I learn about you, and you learn about me, right? 

Well, remember how I said students really love my dad for the ways he helps them? John was no exception. 50% of the time was spent talking about how truly awesome my dad is. Which, he is, but hello I'm his daughter, I already know that. And not only was John obsessed with my dad, but also my brother and my sister. He knew my brother from interactions in the business college and he knew my sister because they both served their missions in Korea. So after he talked about how great my dad was, he spent 25% more of the time talking about how great my brother and sister were. Which left about 25% of the time to talk about himself, and how great he was. It was an interesting date, for sure. I mean, how often do you go on a date with a complete stranger who knows half your family?

We He was talking while we were both munching on what was left of the sweet potato fries, when he gets up and says, "Well, should we go?" There were still fries to be eaten and he just wanted to leave them there? What a weirdo. But I got up, too, and we headed for his car. 

As he is driving me home, he starts talking about all of the cars he has totaled in his lifetime, which, if I recall correctly, was at least three. He acted like they were badges of honor or something, but all I was thinking about was how entitled he must be, since his parents continued to buy him new cars when he would total one. And what would possibly be more ironic about this situation than to almost crash the car during this very conversation? Which is exactly what happened. He nearly ran a stop sign and got me killed, though thankfully was able to stop before the other car whipped by.

But somehow I got home safe, and we said our goodbyes, just 55 minutes after we had said our hellos. Who knew such a short date could be filled with so much bad? Needless to say, there was no second date, probably because John was too busy planning a date with my dad or crashing cars for fun.

Thanks for reading about my less-than-perfect date! I'd love it if you stopped by my blog next Wednesday, when I'll be sharing my absolute worst date -- who knew there could be something worse than this?

*Name has been changed to protect the not-so-innocent.
Ashley and Awkward Date Stories

This time last year, Jared and I were enjoying some of Europe’s finest scenery, frozen desserts, and drunk nudes in large parks.

We took just a few silly video clips with a little camera during our time there, but it’s been fun to compile them and remember. I’m glad we have these memories, and I’m glad I have this blog where we can store them all for laters.
The first clip is of a singing game we were playing while driving from Austria to the Eagle's Nest in Germany. The next few clips are in Germany, and the last few are of our time in Lucern and Lauterbrunnen, Switzerland.
Unsere Honeymoon

I'm not feeling very wordy this morning (also, I'm on a roll with boxing up all our things for 2-year storage), so I'll mostly just leave you with a few final pictures from our weekend.

Highlights include my super comfy hammer pants from Dottie (this is a style that needs to make its way to America ASAP), sneaking up on Jared to watch him paint and tan (two things that I am not excellent at but my Arizona boy loves), and golfing (an activity that I probably should not be allowed to participate in, but that I thoroughly relish).

Jared is an artist. He would tell you he's not, but considering how good everything he paints looks and how much he  really loves to paint, he definitely is. He's always wanted to get into oil painting, so that was his aim this weekend. Unfortunately, he prefers to work alone so I was banished to the grouses after taking these pictures. Also unfortunately, he ran out of paint after he had his base colors down. Boo.
 Oh, the neck paint. And he says he's not an artist . . .
Golfing. Such an odd sport. I never understood how anyone could love it, until this weekend. Jared took me to a cheap, family-friendly golf course (this is key because otherwise I'm certain the professionals would have tired of our slow pace and started hitting balls at us in their boredom).

I think my batting average (Jared kept telling me to imagine it was a baseball) was something like .12, but when I did hit it, sparks flew every time. When Jared swung, balls flew into tall weeds and creeks and nearby yards every time. He clobbered me though.
I think everyone should try golfing at one point, even if only to drive the little cart around. Because really, that's the best part.
Paintin and Golfin and Hammer Pantsin

I have two questions that I seek your advice on. I know that the combined total of all of your life experiences constitutes vastly more life experience than I myself have, so I'll ask away.

1. A fashion question. I haven't really gone clothes shopping for a year and I don't know where to find things anymore. Where are the best places for me to find knee-length shorts?? In my head I want shorts that are loose and flowy so they'll be comfortable (is that even a fashion that exists?), but of course bermuda shorts are fine too. Turns out it's all I'll want to wear in Grenada and I only have one pair. I thought about living in palazzo pants, but oh hey look, the yearly weather forecast! (and don't forget the average humidity of 90%)
Just look at those sweet little "cold" months. So tender.

2. A moving question. We really are having a hard time choosing housing from overseas, despite my post with some dreamy options. For those who have lots of experience with moving, should we try to choose a place now, before we can get to the island and actually see the places, or should we wait until we move and use our four days before school starts to find a place? Some real estate agents there have recommended the latter so we can check out the neighborhoods too, but we're a little worried about all the good places being taken. Thoughts?
Calling All Nuggets of Wisdom

My man is sometimes a better party planner than your man.
Not to rub it in or anything.

Our one-year anniversary was this last Sunday. We got away to the lake as fast as possible on Saturday and let our phones die. 

(Sidenote: As a general rule I'm horrible at answering emails and phone calls [just ask my wonderful in-laws :)], so if anyone out there has been trying to reach me by either of those means with little success, I'm sorry! I've started catching up on my emails today, and I'll be finishing up tomorrow.)

But back to my husband the party planner.
As part of our weekend away, Jared gave me the whole relaxation experience.

Saturday evening we ate steak and mashed potatoes (my favorite!) at a lovely little restaurant. 
Our waiter was a dapper young man with the driest sense of humor.

"Our raspberry jam is like duct tape. It will fix anything," he promised with a straight face.

"I don't like that guy," Jared whispered to me a minute later.
"That guy might be my favorite waiter to date," I whispered back. (Please appreciate the clever ambiguity there. Please!)

Sunday, Elder Quentin L. Cook was at our sacrament meeting!
Turns out he likes weekend getaways too.
Hearing apostolic words is always a treat.

In the afternoon we napped, painted (more on that in a post tomorrow), and watched a sage grouse waddle around for hours.
 You can't tell me you wouldn't watch that bird for hours. You would.
In an environmental science class I took in high school, we spent two whole weeks talking about the sage grouse and its mating call. I have to say, it was all it was hyped up to be. He made this low bubble pop sound in his throat while that white-and-red neck of his puffed out.

While Jared went off to paint, I watched the man grouse chase the lady grouses around for a solid two hours. Sad news: none of them so much as glanced in his direction. They all flew away. Maybe he had bad breath, but I was the only lady he won over that evening.

And then we took pictures because of Etsy.
Jared surprised me by cooking a delightful dinner! French dip sandwiches with delicious thin slices of steak on them (because I was in charge of grocery shopping and when I saw that he requested sliced roast beef I was like, "Hmmmm, steak.")

Our after-dinner exchanging of gifts was my favorite part of our anniversary. I got him a creepy Tim Burton movie (he loves them, the weirdy), some chapstick (his lips hurt real bad!), and a hand-written card. 
He gave me a shiny silver coin that he already owned himself and decided to give to me. Haha. To his credit, he said he was thinking I could punch a hole in it and turn it into a necklace. Very innovative, that one.
Ok, so we're not the giftiest people, but it really was my favorite part!

Then we let ourselves eat cake. 
One year old and covered in gold, the lemon-cream top tier of our wedding cake was surprisingly still delicious!
Our cake lady wrapped it up herself, and there was no frostbite to be found.

The original cake was a work of art. Man, we had a killer wedding.

The last hours of our anniversary were a little . . . unconventional. We watched Jared's new Tim Burton movie (9), felt really creeped out, and went to bed. Poor Jared was on the receiving end of a wee bit of my girly pouting at that point, but I'm the one who brought the movie and gave it to him, soooo I definitely brought that one on myself. It'll be a great memory, for sure!

Monday was golfing (we don't golfit was hilarious) and reading and the beach and snowcones for dinner.

And it was a perfectly relaxing anniversary with my perfect giggly man.

367 Days

Taken during a rafting trip in summer of last year. I have no idea what that date's about.

Jared's high school friends gave him the nickname "Giggle Puss." He hated it, but I can kind of see where they were coming from. His laugh comes in the form of a cute little giggle, and it's soooo great.

Some people are sleep walkers. Some people are sleep talkers. My husband is a sleep giggler.

The first time I discovered this trait was a few weeks after we got married, on a night when we were staying at his family's home in Washington. Jared had fallen asleep quickly and easily, but I was feeling overwhelmed by all of the new responsibilities that come with marriage and I couldn't sleep. 

Weary and stressed, I began to roll out of bed to get a drink of water. I instantly felt Jared's arms wrapping around my middle and pulling me in to him. "C'mere," he said sleepily. "I love you so much Laura. So so much." I smiled, worries gone. Then, in his sleep, Jared proceeded to find my belly button, wiggle his index finger around in it, and giggle like a little schoolboy. He continued to giggle as he rolled over and went back to his normal sleeping habits, leaving me very confused and very amused and very able to finally fall asleep. The next day he remembered nothing of the event.

Since then there have been numerous occasions when I've awoken in the night to hear Jared giggling to himself. Usually I try to take advantage of the situation and get some sleep conversation out of him, but I've never been able to. Until last night. 

It was around midnight when I heard the giggles (this sounds creepyit's really not though). I looked over to see Jared's head coming a few inches off the pillow as he giggled like he had just heard the funniest joke in the world. I leaned over and gave him a kiss on the cheek.

"Hello," Jared said in his best British accent.

"Hi," I replied, not bothering to hold back my smile. Jared giggled some more.

"What's so funny?" I asked.

"Nothing," he said in a sneaky voice, like it was an inside joke and I just wouldn't get it.

He then proceeded to pull the covers over his head. "Goodbye!" he said in his British accent, as though announcing it was time for me to stop talking to him.

As I rolled back over to go to sleep, I heard giggles coming from under the covers next to me.

I married the world's funniest sleep giggler.

Giggle Puss

We have been spending all our free hours over here trying to find a place to live in Grenada (because, oops, we move there in a month and we've only just started thinking about this).

There are about ten different places we're considering and gathering information on, but here is a sampling of some of the more photogenic places we may be living in for the next few years. Feel free to cast your vote.

This first place is my favorite. It looks like an island palaceapartment complex style. The inside is pretty spacious as well, as far as apartments go.
The next option is awesome because I'm pretty sure we'd feel like we were living in a jungle sunset all the time. Maybe we'd get migraines and maybe Jared would feel emasculated by the pink bedroom, but come on people! Jungle sunset!
This next apartment isn't all that special, except that the bathroom is like Alice in Wonderland. Fun fact: Jared loves Alice from Alice in Wonderland. Enough that we'll probably name our first daughter Alice (not a joke). And also enough that we would buy an apartment exclusively  based on the fact that one room looks like it came out of the place (maybe a joke).
This last venue is Jared's favorite. And actually, I'd say it's tied for my favorite too. It feels extremely cozy and cabiny. It's a little hut that we'd have all to ourselves in a nice, quiet neighborhood. Also, it's extremely close to Jared's school campus, so I'd get a few extra minutes with him every day. Three cheers for that. And the view . . .
. . . the view is incredible! Did I mention that this tropical cabin hut is on the beach?? The following view is from the front porch. Oh hey there Grenada  beach, I think I'll read on you every day because you're in my front lawn.
I'm feeling pretty good about going to live on a third-world tropical island all of a sudden. 

And great news: all of these homes have two bedrooms, so you all must come visit!

An Island Home


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