On Saturday, Jared and I went to the Significant Others Beach Social at the lovely Grand Anse beach. Grand Anse is often listed as one of the most beautiful beaches in the world, and there's no question why. The clear turquoise water, the perfect white sand, the refreshing but not-too-cold sea temperature, the beautiful views . . . you just can't go wrong with an afternoon at Grand Anse beach.

I only got Jared to come by telling him there would be free pasta dinner. He wasn't tempted by the free tube rides or the socializing in the water, although I'm sure if I had brought his swim suit with me I could have talked him into it and he would have enjoyed it. The man takes his schooling so seriously that I think he sometimes forgets that he lives in an island paradise. Good thing he has me around to remind him.

Once we had eaten our pasta dinner, we both enjoyed talking to friends and laughing in the sun. And the tube rides? So great. It was all the thrill of tubing on Utah lake, but with clean sea salt water tickling our faces and without the constant fear of flying painfully into the water. Jared left early to go back to the library, but I know we both enjoyed the little Saturday afternoon study break.
^^Never without his backpack, that guy! Jared is such a committed studier that one time he was arrested for studying too long in the library, and then he had to fight a year's worth of court battles because of it. And that is the 100% true story of our first year of marriage. We lead exciting lives.

Grand Anse Beach Day

On Sunday, my older brother told me that based on the pictures he's been saying lately, he's pretty sure we actually live in some old apartment in New Jersey and we've been lying about living in Grenada. To him I say, "See for yourself." (read as Napoleon Dynamite)
BBC Beach
By the crab field
Our house
Our lemon tree (lemons are green, limes are yellow, oranges are also green--I promise)
A church down the street (and a cool blue house behind it)

View from our porch. Sorry if the lighting on all these pictures is blinding you.
And because I can't get over them . . .
Today our tree was covered in the same caterpillars I saw last month, but miniature
The big caterpillars were twice as big as last time. It was disturbing. Also disturbing is the flexibility of this guy ^^

Take it back, you noob (newb?)

I have a condition thing that causes extreme discomfort and pain when it flares up. Sometimes it will cause me trouble for weeks at a time, and sometimes I'll go months without feeling its nasty presence. Since coming to Grenada, I haven't had any trouble with this condition. Until yesterday. And man, it is not letting up.

Back in Utah, the only relief I could find from the pain was in hot baths and heating pads. Unfortunately, we don't have a bathtub here and a heating pad is something we didn't think to bring.

Fortunately, Jared had the bright idea of adding rice to some retired socks and nuking them.

Unfortunately, we don't have a microwave.

Fortunately, this third-world-country thing has turned me into an unnervingly creative human. Our crockpot has recently become quite the big cheese in our kitchen when it comes to dinner prep. (Literally, most of my crockpot recipes include a diabetes-big amount of cream cheese.) So my thoughts turned to our little Rival crockpot to solve my sock heating problems.

I plugged the crockpot into the only outlet that can support its wattage needs and let the rice-filled socks heat slowly in its belly. Half an hour later, I extracted one piping-hot sock from the chamber and it was exactly the sweet pain relief I needed. Ever since, I've been rotating the socks out of the crockpot so I can have one makeshift heating pad available at all times. Our apartment may smell like a high school gym, but it radiates with the light of two brilliant minds.

Dear Future Children,
Your lives are not even hard. Stop crying and do your homework.

Future Mom
Hey, at least it's not Chikungunya.
Sock Pot

(not my phone)

If any of you were waiting for a sign that you should come visit us in Grenada, this is it. You can get round trip tickets from Utah to Grenada for $697 if you come in February! I realize that most of you will be in school, but I hear that the weather is excellent here in February so if you can make it happen, you should. 

In other news, there's been a mosquito-spread virus going around Grenada for the past few weeks. It's called Chikungunya. Despite the fact that it sounds like chicken-goon-ya, it's actually a really nasty sickness that causes severe pain and rashes and horrible feelings all around.

When people first started getting the virus we were like, "Eh, only people in poorer sections of the island will get this." But now we're hearing of more and more friends from school and church getting it. I have one friend who got Chikungunya two weeks ago and she still spends most of her days in bed. She says it's the worst pain she's ever experienced, and her entire body is covered in a nasty rash.

To make things a little bit scarier, there's only one brand of mosquito repellent that really works on the island, and every time a new shipment comes in it's snatched up within hours. I'm down to the last squeeze in my bottle of Odomos mosquito repellent, and I don't know when I'll be able to find more. Yesterday, a Grenada doctor announced that the Chikungunya virus has reached an epidemic level. You can read the article here if that's your thing. I'm sure I'll catch it at some point, and when that day comes you'll be the first to know because all I'll be able to do is sleep, vomit, and blog. Also, the symptoms can potentially last up to a year, so blog postz for monthzzzz. (Also 100 people have died, but I think that's across the entire Caribbean and not in Grenada. Don't worry Mom, We're not going to die.)

Wow, that was a poorly formatted post. "Come visit us! Oh and there's a virus on the island that kills people. But still come." It will have blown over by February though, and we'll have a stockpile of repellent. So still come. Please.

Psh. Third world problems . . .
Cheap Flights and Chikungunya Epidemic

The first time I tried passion fruit when I got here, I felt like Buddy the Elf. When I held the passion fruit in my hand I was like, "Passion fruit? Suuuuuure!" I cut into it and the smell was unreal. It was exactly like my favorite passion fruit body spray from junior high--maybe even more pungent and delicious. The inside looked like black fish eggs swimming in mucus, but I closed my eyes, opened my mouth, and scooped some in.

"Ehhhh, ehhhhh!!!" I screamed as my face puckered up and I hopped around. Sour as a lemon, it was. The taste was unique and really quite good, so I kept dipping back in for more, but gosh that stuff burned going down. The acidity from one small passion fruit could probably give heartburn to three grown men. But as sour as it was, I was so intrigued by the taste that I immediately hit up allrecipes.com to see what I could make of this abundant and cheap tropical fruit.

Brazilian Passion Fruit Mousse. That's what I came up with. The recipe called for the juice of 8 passion fruits, 1 can of sweetened condensed milk, and some cream, all whipped together and chilled.

What actually went into it was some fruit, some dairy, the blood of one finger, and the sweat from two pits. But all things considered, it turned out all right.

Too bad I'm mildly lactose intolerant, because my body was like, "Nice try, sister friend. I'll give you painful stomach cramps as a warning this time, but next time you put something unhealthy in me it had better be a chocolate chip cookie."

Noted, body. Noted.

Passion Fruit Spray?

 you see an instagram caption that says, "I debated between making a classic fall wreath or a themed Halloween one," but you read it like it says, "I debated between making a classic fall wreath or a the-med Halloween one." And then you stare at the caption for a good 15 seconds trying to figure out what a "the med" wreath is and why you don't have one.

 your husband asks you how much time you want with him this evening and you just laugh and say, "ya, riiiiiiight" because you know it must be a cruel joke with only one pathetically small right answer. It is.

 you go to sleep with no one in your bed, and you wake up with no one in your bed, but there's a drool spot on the pillow next to yours so you know there must have been someone in your bed at some point during the night.

 your husband still doesn't know what he wants to be when he grows up, and neither do any of his classmates. Pediatrician? Surgeon? Urologist? Radiologist? There are a hundred options.

 you devote 10% of your grocery budget to various Cadbury chocolates to get you through the especially lonely evenings and to nibble on when you wake up at 2:00 a.m. from yet another nightmare about still being in med school at age 80.

 you have to bribe your man with back massages if you want anything non-school-related done, and then said back massages turn into anatomy review sessions.

 your student loan debt is bigger than the debt your friends are about to accrue by buying a full-on house.

 you know you'll make at least four major moves in the next decade, but you have no idea where any of those moves will take you, and you probably won't find out until two weeks before each move. Could be New York. Could be California. Could be the Bahamas. Wherever you go though, it's bound to be an adventure and give you waaaay more life experience than you ever would have hoped for before you married a medical school.

You might be a med school wife if. . .

The other day as I was walking home from the bus stop, I saw the above crazy caterpillar in one of our trees. "Whaaaaaat?" I said to myself. It couldn't be real. It looked like it was made of playdough. I mean, just look at that adorable face and those adorable feet and that adooooorable tail!!!

Then I looked at the rest of the tree, and it was covered in 'em!
The more I stared, the less adorable and the more creepy the whole thing became. Some of them had weird fluids coming out of their bodies, and some of them had alien-like faces. I ran in to grab my camera and snap a few pictures, but after a minute of snapping and staring I started to get the heebie-jeebies and had to get away. As I was walking towards the stairs to go back inside, a little gecko made an appearance.
(why yes, you do spy some crab sheets hanging out to dry!)

Geckos are everywhere here. There must be a dozen of them living on our house. They're friendly though, and they eat all the bugs, so we like them to stay close.

Stay tuned for future episodes of Creatures of the Caribbean! There are these freaky huge green-blue ombre lizards that I see from time to time, but so far they've been too quick for me to be able to get pictures. In the meantime, let your imaginations run wild.
Creatures of the Caribbean: Creepy Crawlies

I just have to brag about mah husband for a sec, because med school is our life and he is rockin' it.
(But first, please appreciate his cute long-sleeve plaid button-up shirt. It may be a trillion humid degrees for me all day, but he gets to escape to freezing campus buildings. Lucky.)

Jared's first big exam was on Monday. All 800 first-termers crammed into the SGU testing center and showed their stuff on the Unified Test. I had been warned by upper term wives that half of the students get failing grades on their Unifieds, and that it's designed to scare them into studying harder.

I told Jared this so he wouldn't be devastated if he didn't get the scores he wanted, but he shrugged it off and was like, "I want to get all A's." And he studied all day and night to prove it.

Well, test day came and I met him outside at the end of it so we could get a head start on the beach.
 (Students take advantage of test days as their only afternoons to relax and really enjoy the island.) 
I found Jared outside, huddled in a circle with some distressed-looking school friends.

"How'd it go?" I asked him.
"It was so easy," he whispered into my ear. "But don't say anything."

I stifled a laugh, and we hopped into a little car with all his friends to enjoy an afternoon at the beach.
The beach was deserted, except for an older couple who were getting married a little ways down. So romantic! It was a small wedding, and we cheered for them from the water after they became husband and wife. They looked like the happiest people in the world.

For lunch, we all walked to a little restaurant called La Luna. It's part of a resort on the beach with great Caribbean ambiance and a fantastic breeze. Consistent with the slower pace of Grenada, it took two hours to order, eat, and get our checks, but it was perfect. No one was about to complain about two hours with an ocean view, a breeze, and our husbands' full attentions. 
Couples, Front to Back: Tori and Billy Strong, Tessa and Zach Wadsworth, Laura and Jared Lambert, Laina and Tim Blackner, Kayla and Evan Rogler
Our friends here are the funnest people. On the way down to the beach, eight of us hopped into one tiny island car. Six sat in the car, and two sat on the car, holding tight as they balanced on the trunk. There are no traffic laws here so it wasn't a problem, but the roads are terrible and the drivers are crazy so it's important to hold on tight. We had a great afternoon together, talking and snorkeling and attempting to do headstands on the beach.

When we got home that evening, Jared checked online for his test scores. And wouldn't you know it, he got two A's and one B! If that's not impressive enough, the class averages were in the mid 60%s for one section and low 70%s for the other two sections. We were all smiles! To celebrate, we went grocery shopping together (can't stop this party train) and ate cinnamon rolls for dinner. We're still working on living a "healthy lifestyle."

I'm so proud of Jared! This test only motivated him to study harder, so now I only get to talk to him for a few minutes at dinner and before bed each day, but I know he's doing it for us. I'm glad he's pullin' enough weight for us both, because I've taken to spending my days in minimal clothing, watching kid cartoons and practicing braids in bed. This is one glam life we're leading.

A's for Days

 River tubing is way better in the middle of an island than it is in Provo.

Sorry Provo.

Last week I hopped into a  beat-up old student car with some friends and off we went up some winding roads, avoiding insane bus drivers and admiring the lush bamboo forests on all sides.

We were off to have an adventure. Many had been deterred by the promise of jagged rocks  and sewage in the water, but a brave few of us said, "Give us the adrenaline! We'll wear helmets and shower afterward, and our husbands will think we're cool." Some even said, "I hope I do find nasties in the water. Sewage fight!" Those people almost weren't invited.
 (Sorry for these grainy pictures. Water cameras, ya know?)

The tour guides had waaay too much fun with us, spinning our tubes around before we hit the rapids, splashing us with water, singing songs, and making us jump off little cliffs. I know the cliff in the above picture looks puny, but considering that the river had been extremely shallow the whole way through, it was a leap of faith to jump into the supposedly 15-foot-deep pocket.
 These ladies are my sanity and my insanity here.
^^NBD. Just an unused bridge covered in tropical plants and adding to the Indiana Jones-esque ambiance.

If this post doesn't scream "COME TO GRENADA," then I don't know what does. I'll take you on so many dangerous adventures and nutmeg ice-cream runs, you won't even know what to do with yourselves.

Rainforest River Tubing

I discovered these magical gems at the local farmer's market this morning.
(Which, by the way, made all y'alls American farmer's markets look boring.)

I've tried several exotic fruits here that I'd never seen before, but these are by far my favorite.

"Skinups" is what we call them in Grenada. If you've seen them before, you may know them by some other name. I've been told they're a species of grape, but I'm a skeptic (mostly because I see them growing on trees).

Skinups are delicious, but you've gotta be gutsy to try one.

First step is to break off the "skin," which is like a thin outer shell. Beneath the shell we find the fruit, and beneath the fruit we find . . . its . . . nucleus. (Nucleus?? Yes.) The fruit is a thin gel that covers a big pit. It looks and feels like mucus--and this is where the gutsiness comes in. Once you work up the courage to pop that gelatinous center into your mouth and suck the fruit off from the pit, you will be so happy you did.

I can't even describe the flavor. It's really sweet (unlike many of the sour tropical fruits here), and I guess it actually is more similar in taste to a grape than any other fruit I've tried.

The moral of the really long post about a fruit is that you need to come down here and drown yourself in the delicious flavors of skinup fruit mucus. Over and out.
Skinup Season

Turns out the creepy crab sheets were totes appropes for this place. It is literally CRAWLING with the things. One of my favorite Grenada memories so far is the night we flew in to the island. A friend (whose apartment we're actually going to take over in January) drove us from the airport to our new little house. It was drizzling and huge tropical insects were chirping and around every corner a crab would scuttle across the street in the car headlights. The first time it happened, I was amazed. "That is definitely not a squirrel," I noted with big eyes.

On Sunday we took a stroll to see the crab field that's just half a mile from our house. During the day it's just a big grassy field where people sometimes toss frisbees back and forth, but at twilight it turns into a crab metropolis.
These guys are sneaky. The above picture is the best one I could get of them because they can smell you from like twenty yards away. They'll all stare at you as you approach, and if you get within fifteen feet, they'll scurry into their holes lightning fast and stay put til you're gone. They're a bunch of skittish scaredy crabs.

When I told my mom about the crabs, she was adamant that we should grab a couple and cook 'em up for dinner. Unfortunately we've been warned against that because they live on a diet of whatever they can find in the sewers. And to be perfectly honest, I am 100% positive that I couldn't touch one with a 39-and-a-half-foot pole if I tried. They are just too quick. (We met one guy who has made the crab field a part of his running routine so he can try to kick one long-distance. He's never succeeded in even getting close.)
After we had scared every last crustacean into their hidey holes, we just enjoyed the beauty of the tropical homes and foliage and sunset.

 ^^I'm determined to teach him that not taking pictures seriously = publication of said pictures. If he never learns though, I'll actually be ok with it. Pretty entertaining, that one can be. And for those who are interested, he is dominating this med school thing! He thinks he got 100% on a big anatomy quiz today, and as of tonight he's caught up on all his class studies (an impressive feat in itself) and begun to study ahead into lectures he hasn't even attended yet. Good work Docta J-Rad!

Crabs of the Caribbean

Every Monday and Thursday is pool day at the university club. This means that "significant others" of med and vet school students get to hang out at a fancy pool on the beach for FREE. This is pretty much what most of the wives live for around here: good company and fancy tropical drinks at the drop of an EC.

This is not the place to tan. Sure lots of people do and there are great lounge chairs if that's your thing, but my thing is chatting in the cool water and reading in the shade of a palm tree. I only pull up a lounge chair after I've turned into a water prune and require a virgin colada to refresh myself. (Oh, and also when I bust out my camera so y'all can live it vicariously.)

I'm not going to pretend that everything in Grenada is perfect (clearly), but I am going to be honest and admit that the university pool is perfect enough to make up for most of the less-than-awesome stuff. And even though I may have to wait half an hour for a bus to show up and take me home at the end of pool day, chillin' in the shade of a mango tree really isn't the worst.

Pool Life


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