We've been having maaaajor ant problems. I whine about it endlessly when I send out family e-mails to all the extended family each week, but I don't remember if I've ever discussed it here. Probably? Anyway, yes, ants are a problem. I've been through all the stages of, well, something when it comes to ants. The first time I noticed a line of them trailing into the house, I went through the stage of denial. I knew they were there, but hey, they'd probably go away on their own so whatever. A few incidents later, they completely invaded every nook and cranny in our bedroom and I went through the stage of uncontrollable anger. That stage only lasted for about half an hour before a collapsed into the "despair" stage where I just cried and waited for Jared to come home and fix it.

Now I'm in the stage of acceptance. Clearly. Tonight when I was making cookies, I went to add half a cup of sugar, and I realized that our only bag of sugar had ants swimming in it. Normally when this happens, I admit my defeat and just throw out whatever food item has been compromised, but a lot of the ingredients were already in the bowl and I reeeeally wanted to make cookies before Jared could find and finish eating all the chocolate chips. So . . . judge me for being a disgusting person, but I poured the sugar out extremely slowly in a fine line into the measuring cup, and every time an ant appeared I just plucked it out and threw it into the trash. And I'll be darned if those cookies didn't somehow taste better than any other batch of chocolate chip cookies I've ever made.**

And without further adieu, here are a bunch of pictures from our around-the-island road trip that have nothing to do with ants (are you really surprised?)
^^Mt. Carmel Falls (and my cooool DI shorts). Downstream from this waterfall is a really huge natural rock water slide. We're going to return one day in swimming suits to try it out.

 ^^We're on a runway! Have any of you ever driven on a runway? I think not. This is at the old, abandoned airport.
 ^^We drove through probably a dozen towns on our trip. They were all full of tiny houses and rough roads, but man, the old churches in them were super cool.
 ^^Hey look, the Atlantic Ocean! This is Levera Beach, where the leatherback sea turtles come to lay eggs from April until June.
^^And this last blurry picture is from a catamaran trip this afternoon with all our friends to do some jolly good snorkeling and check out the underwater sculpture park. It was a good day, and I have a good tan line.

**Dear in-laws, I promise nothing like this will happen when you come visit next week. If there are ants in the oatmeal, I solemnly swear that I will throw it out instead of serving it to you for breakfast.

If You Can't Beat 'em, Eat 'em

Things are great here! Jared's been studying for midterms and it's the busy season in editing land, so we've both kind of been running in circles like chickens with our heads cut off (and by "running around" I mean "sitting in the same chair for 10 hours a day"). But there are two really great things about this weekend to make up for the craziness as of late:

(1) It's been hecka dry here lately. Like, crunchy leaves all over the ground, feels-like-fall dry. We haven't had a good storm in ages, and Grenada's fresh water supply was getting concerningly low. But ever since early yesterday morning, it has been raining on and off nonstop! As much as I love sunny beach days here, I looooove the rainy days the most. The sound of rain on our tin roof is so relaxing, and on days like these I like to draw the blinds and light up a candle and just read (or edit).

(2) Jared's taking his last midterm as I write this. He feels great about his physiology and genetics tests, and today he's knocking out neuroscience. We find out his scores tonight.  But no matter how he did, we are going to party it up. Test weekends are the best because there's no new material to study so we just get to hang out. This afternoon we're either going to go see the Grand Etang monkeys (if it's not raining) or drive up to Grenada's forts and check out the view (if it is raining). Tomorrow we're going on a roadtrip around the whole island. We're so excited! I can't believe we've lived here for seven months now and we still haven't made the mere 2 1/2-hour trip around the rock.

None of that has anything to do with these pictures. I just needed to put them and the memories that go with them somewhere so I can delete them off my little travel camera. So without further ado, a bunch of random pictures and their accompanying captions. 
^^Waiting in the Miami airport to catch a little plane to St. Lucia in January. It's really interesting--the Miami airport is pretty big and crowded, but this quiet terminal was hidden away down this tiny staircase by a bunch of other terminals leading to tropical islands.
^^Our favorite burger on the island, at the Merry Baker. Friday is build-a-burger day for $10 ec. A cute European couple runs the bakery, and they grill up the best burgers and make the most delicious almond rolls.
^^This guava nectar is thick, but a swig or two goes great with the burger. The nice thing about med school on a remote island it that even though it's usually busy, anytime we do happen to have a free afternoon it immediately feels like we're on vacation.
^^Fresh fish market. I think these are red hang? One of these days I'll be brave and buy some mahi mahi at the market.
^^One of the many decked-out establishments (KFC!) around the time of Grenada's Independence Day. You guys, these people know what it is to have national pride. Every single building is elaborately decorated with the colors of the Grenadian flag for like a month before and after independence day.
^^The opening SO social for this term. It was held on the open main floor of the gorgeous new building on Jared's campus. They served roasted pork and golden apple juice (my favorite Grenadian drink). The SO board hired Grenadian drummers and dancers for the entertainment, which I was a huge fan of but which gave Jared a headache.
^^This is the view from the new campus building(!!!!!), and it's usually full of students on benches or chairs, studying as they enjoy the view and the breeze. Jared teaches a histology review session in this building once a week, and I sometimes like to come with my laptop and just sit here and watch the sunset for the hour that he's in the classroom up above. Also worth mentioning is the drink that Jared is holding. It's called Ting, and it's my other favorite beverage in Grenada. In fact, forget golden apple juice--Ting takes the top spot. It's a grapefruit soda, but not at all like Fresca or Squirt. It's crazy refreshing, and probably one of the things we'll miss most when we leave this place.
^^One of the dancers pulled me away from dinner to give me a dancing lesson. FAIL. It looked really simple, but my hips would not catch on. Maybe if I had a dress like hers?
 ^^A Friday-night reading date on Grand Anse beach.
^^Funny story about this swimsuit. Before moving to Grenada, I had only ever owned one swimming suit at a time, and that was plenty! But I knew that living on a forever-sunny tropical island, I'd need a few more. I got most of my Grenada swimming suits on a fun shopping trip with my sweet grandmother, but I also scoured the internet to find a unique, vintage-looking swimsuit to wear. I fell in love with the swimming suit above and snatched it up. While the material is gorgeous and it's mighty cute, well, I can only wear it sunbathing with Jared, because if I were to wear it swimming, I would risk flashing everyone. Apparently the online model of this one-piece was bustier and shorter in the torso, because man, it is a struggle to keep this thing up! I shortened the straps and sewed them in the back to hold the suit up better, and I have "fashion tape" that I wear with it to keep it in place, but it's still a struggle. Such a bummer! Maybe when I get pregnant someday it will fit better for at least a bit. I guess I'll hold on to it for a while.
^^One of the super-skinny horses that often grazes by the Hog Island trail. They're very friendly, and very rib-cagey. Poor horses!
^^Ok, this is actually really rad. About a month after we moved to our new apartment, we discovered that there was a hidden beach right around the corner from us. It's not great for swimming, but it's got fine black sand and is a great destination for walks. Well, last week we found another hidden beach a 5-minute walk from our house. How does this even keep happening? This one is reached by walking down a narrow, hidden dirt path, and it's a surf beach! The waves are nice, and some days there are dozens of surfers riding them at sunset. After watching them for a while, Jared and I were obsessed and decided that we would get a surfboard and learn to surf, because when else will we have a surf beach 5 minutes away??

Unfortunately, surfboards are surprisingly difficult to come by here, and we weren't able to find one for several days. We did run into some New Zealenders one day walking away from the beach who "would be leaving soon and had a few surfboards on their boat to sell," but after giving them Jared's number we never heard from them again. We decided that we should at least go snorkeling at the beach to see what it was like. Come to find out, it's terrifying. Oh, not the waves or anything, and the water's actually really shallow, but the ocean floor there is covered in sea urchins! Mostly they're small and harmless, but there are a few huge ones that have 8-inch-long black spikes. We decided that since we have no surfing experience and would probably wind up falling down often, that we would save the learning-to-surf experience for another time at a less creepy beach. There's always an adventure to be had here.

Bonus Picture visible here:


Justin Bieber stayed literally three miles from our house for his birthday. Apparently he arrived at the Grenada airport half naked, with bags and bags of alcohol. What a classy dude. You can  basically see our house in this picture--it's on the far peninsula. Also, we totally creeped on him and the private island he was visiting with binoculars. We're not sure we actually saw him, but we did see a white guy walking around, as well as several sundress-wearing girls. The takeaway message it that we are creeps. Also, we saw the Biebster's birthday fireworks in person. Also, I pinky swear I don't follow Justin Bieber on Instagram.

Camera Clean-Out

We have one of those awkward living situations where I don't know whether to call our place a house or an apartment. It looks like a house on the outside, but we do have some downstairs neighbors living in the "basement," so I guess it's really two apartments? Well, whatever it is, it's home, and we like it a lot. So for no other reason than that we need to put these pictures somewhere and that our families want to see where we spend all our time, enjoy our humble home tour:
^^This is the view from where we pull into our little "parking lot" with our car. The column on the left is the edge of a little trash-can fence that keeps out the rats. We have our own trash can here! We've come so far.
^^A view from the street. Don't mind the brown grass--it's the dry season. The door on the left is the door we go through to get into our apartment. The door on our right leads into the guest bedroom, but it's barred shut for security reasons. We don't even have the keys for it. Oh, and also, that's our adorable car right there.
^^This is what we see when we go through the front door. The stairway leads to the downstairs apartment. The door on the left is to our own personal laundry room (with a dryer and everything!!), and the door on our right is the door to our apartment.
 ^^This is our living room, which is to the left when you walk through the front door. The closet doors on the right open to a pantry. Well, they actually open to a sink/kitchen area because our two-bedroom apartment was originally built as two one-bedroom apartments, and this was the kitchen area of one of them. We're extremely glad for the extra space though. There's like no place to store food in our actual kitchen. Oh, and that door leads out to the veranda. And hey look! AC! We hardly ever run it in the living/kitchen area because we have a decent breeze going through our always-open windows, but it's nice to have on when company comes over or when I have a million dishes to do and the oven is on.
 ^^This is the view from the other side of the living room. We brought back those vinyl gold stars from the states to add a "homey touch." They're borderline tacky, but homey all the same. All the rest of the furniture/decor (besides a few rugs) were provided. On the left before you go into the kitchen, there's a door leading to our bedroom. Please take note of the Grenadian furniture. Grenadian furniture = wood and flimsy cushions. Not great for napping, but super for doing short bouts of editing.
^^This is the kitchen. The fridge is half-sized, but the place smells normal and our oven works great, so we're living the high life.
 ^^The best place to be when it's not the middle of the day--the veranda! We keep our seashell collection on our little table, and we probably eat half of our meals out here.
 ^^The guest bedroom/Jared's study room. The family that lived here before us had two adorable toddlers. Hence the vinyl. Oh, and the light on the right is coming in through the open door that you can see from the front of the house. Also, there's a little bathroom off of this room.
^^Our bedroom! Clearly I took a nap on the bed right before this little photo shoot. We love our bedroom here. It's roomy and light and I have a nice vanity area and a great desk and a cute little rug we brought from the states. Also, bedside tables! Again, it's the little things. Please take note of the yarn ball in our AC unit. The rotater is broken on it, so if we want any air to come out we have to prop it open with the yarn ball. We'd get it fixed, but this feels so minor compared to the other Grenada issues that we've had, so we'll probably just let it be.
^^A different view of our bedroom. Our room is identical to the guest bedroom, because again, our apartment used to be two mirroring apartments. The door on the right leads to our little bathroom.

^^Despite its size, it's WAY better than the sketchy bathroom in our old apartment that had random holes in the floor.
^^The hill leading down into our beautiful backyard! You can't tell me you don't think it's beauitful. The rainforest! The lawn! The flowers!

^^This is the row of trees in our backyard. I think the tree on the right is a plumeria tree. You guys. Those flowers. They emit my favorite smell in the whole world. Jared's too, I think. The best thing ever is sitting on our veranda when a breeze catches the plumeria whiff and carries it up to us. Sigh. It's heaven.
 ^^Oh, and there's our apartment again, from the back. It's the one up top. Hi, home!

And there you have it. I don't really have anything else to say about that. I'll just echo again that we really like it here. Really. Also because I feel like this should be written down, a random story! Jared got home from campus about an hour ago. It was dark, but when he got in he found a flashlight, grabbed my arm, and took me outside to show me something.

As we were leaving, one of our downstairs neighbors pulled in. "Hey, did you see that thing eating that thing on the road?" Jared asked her. She hadn't, but I began to get worried. Jared kept leading me up the road to show me what he had seen during his bus ride home. Eventually we came to "the thing." Jared shined his light on it, and lo and behold, a half-eaten rat.

"Aw man!" Jared said, looking put out. "There was another rat eating it, but I guess it's gone now." We turned to leave, but then Jared's face lit up and he shined the light a little to the left onto . . . another dead rat! "There it is!" He said. "It must have gotten hit by a bus!" Oh, the romance. Oh, the gag reflex. Rats.

Home Tour

The post I sat down to write was going to be titled, "I sewed a thing." But then I looked at the picture of the thing that I thought that I had sewed, and then I realized that I almost sewed a thing, but kind of failed a little bit, so I'm not going to show you until I fix it (if ever--I tend to sometimes just give up when I fail at domestic-type things).

The thing I attempted to sew was really just an alteration of a really pretty dress that I scored for $10 on ASOS clearance (and picked up in Utah, because it is spendy to send packages here). Online shopping is a domestic-type thing that I never fail at. See here:
The above is the first picture of my look-Mom-I-turned-out-okay-and-can-sew photo shoot (in middle-of-the-day lighting in the shade because I have no patience for waiting on perfect lighting). If you look closely, you can see the camera remote in my hand because yes, I was taking pictures of myself. The rest of the photo shoot was of the back of the dress. The neckline scooped down quite low in the back, so I hand-sewed several pieces of lace together in tiers (not tears, but almost) and then hand-sewed the lace panel into the back to bring the neckline up. It was awesome in theory, but apparently the lace is still kind of see through and I sewed it in too low so it still doesn't go as high as I need it to. Could my husband not have told me these things before I wore the dress to church on Sunday and sat in the front row? Or at least told me to wear my hair down? No? I live in a thousand degrees of humidity and hair down isn't a thing? Ok, I can accept that.

Anyway, when I realized that the blog post I had in mind wasn't going to happen, I figured I'd at least record the attempt and then take pictures of the lovely tropical flowers Jared got me, held in front of my face. It's almost like I have a flower bouquet for a head!

(I'm training Jared to surprise me with flowers occasionally. Funny side story: when I told him a month or two ago that I'd love to be surprised with them sometime, he was like, "Wait, they don't sell flowers here." And I was like, "Well actually there's usually a cart full of them right inside the grocery store entrance." The next time we went to the grocery store together I pointed them out, just so he'd know where they were, and he was like, "Should I surprise you with these right now?" I blushed and said no, but he decided that that was one of those crucial times when my mouth says no but my eye-daggers say yes [it wasn't--there were no eye-daggers], so he got them. Awww! The next time he "surprised" me, I met him on campus and he was a little late to our meeting place. I asked him why and he said, "I heard they were selling flowers on campus and I wanted to get you one as a surprise but I couldn't find them!" And then I pointed out where there was a cart full of them that he had walked past, so he--surprisingly--bought me one. Ten million points to Gryffindor for his cute efforts to be sneaky! Such a sweetie! )
The yellow-and-purple zebra stripe flowers are this really amazing variety of orchid. They smell like a dream. They're a few days old so they're a bit droopy, but still, love those things.

p.s. All my teachers in high school loved me because homework was my boyfriend and studying for the ACT was my social life, but this one time I decided it would be a good idea to take a sewing class and then I made that teacher cry. Partly because she thought I laughed at her when I was actually laughing at the girl across from me who was making faces, and partly because the Ronald-McDonald-print pajama pants I tried to sew were an abomination. That teacher did not love me.
I tried to sew a thing.


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