Sorry I promised a post yesterday and then didn't deliver. I was up until 2:00 a.m. trying to meet a deadline for a huge family project I've been editing and formatting for the past year. Good news though--I'm done with it! So here is the post I promised, with few words and many pictures. These pictures were taken on Monday, after Jared finished his pathology midterm and we took a hike up to Mt. Qua Qua. We got a late start, which made things kind of dark going down, but we got to watch the sunset from up above the clouds. It was awesome.

Oh, and for those who wanted to know, Jared did awesome on both of his midterms! This is a relief, since 4th term is known to be the most difficult, and so now there's basically no chance of him having to retake a semester. We can confidently say that we will be done with this Grenada stage of med school in May. Three cheers for smart husbands.

This might be the last post you see for a few weeks. It's that time of year again when I leave Jared to go have fun with his family while he stays here to study. We're 3 for 3 since getting married on spending Octobers apart. It's the best possible time to be apart though. I'll be in Washington (in America!) in the fall, which sounds pretty heavenly to me, and Jared will be locked up in the library for the most hectic time of his most hectic term. In other words, my presence won't be missed too much ;) And then when I get back, there sill only be one month till Christmas break! For those of you married to first-year med students (I'm pretty sure there are a few of you out there), take heart that the second year flies by waaaay quicker than the first.
Test Days Are the Best Days

Sundays are the best. We usually try to go for a walk or a drive. Yesterday we just went for a short drive to explore Calliste, a nearby village. (Or parish? Town? I still don't actually know.) We found a cute little playground outside of a "government school." It seemed like a school for elementary-aged kids, even though the school system here doesn't go by "elementary school" or "middle school" or "high school." Instead students graduate through a series of "levels," and I think they're done by age 16. Anyway, not the point. The playground was so cute and surrounded by tiny goats and dogs. It was also right by the landing strip for Grenada's international airport, so that was fun.

Our cleaning lady must think I am a wreck. I am never put together when she comes over. I usually shower on Saturday in preparation for Sunday. Ideally I would shower again on Monday morning, but Monday mornings are always rushed. I wake up with Jared, rush to make him a decent breakfast while he gets his stuff together, and then inevitably he misses his bus, so I rush to throw something on and then rush to drive him to school. By the time I get back there's only half an hour until our cleaning lady comes. I throw my hair into a messy ponytail and then spend that time rushing to pre-clean the whole house in preparation for Yvonne to come and deep clean (sounds dumb to clean in preparation for someone to come over and clean, but it's necessary). Yvonne is such a sweetie though, and having someone come over and deep clean our apartment weekly is the best. It's definitely spoiled us (and made me self conscious about how much hair I shed and where my fingernail clippings end up), and might become a regular part of our lives in a decade or so when we have money (right now the service is included in our rent).
We had the missionaries over for dinner last week. This picture was taken after we had mostly cleared the table, but I promise I fed them real good. We just got two new sets of missionaries on the island, so now there are 8 elders, 4 sisters, and 2 couple missionaries. They are all seriously so happy and funny, but the elder from Samoa and the elder from Fiji are both hilarious in a dry-humor sort of way. Is everyone from the islands in that part of the world funny? The Samoan elder said that he spent his first several days in the MTC pretending that he didn't speak any English (even though apparently all the young people in Samoa are fluent). Then when he went in to take the English test he aced it, and everyone was confused about why he could all of a sudden speak better English than Samoan, and off he came to Grenada after just one short week in the Provo MTC. And the Fijian elder--he was crackin' jokes all night and nearly had me convinced that he had spent his whole life in China. Troublemakers . . .
Last night we went for a walk to a nearby dock to enjoy the blood moon. i brought my tripod to try to take some cool pictures, but then somehow I left the part that actually connects the camera to the tripod at home. Oops! I think these are still kind of cool. A bunch of students from Jared's school who we don't know came and joined us, and I got to talk to one of them about photography. I'm such a novice, so I love picking up tips from people who know more than I do.

I'll do another post tomorrow--today was a test day for Jared so once he got home we got to spend the rest of the day adventuring. So good.

Random Thoughts

I had to give myself a pep talk to write this post. And then I had to give myself a few more pep talks to overcome the physical nausea I experienced as I cropped down these pictures for your viewing pleasure.

Sometimes people back home ask me what it's like to live in paradise. I'm sure many of you have wondered a few times, and perhaps even pined for it once in a while. To all you people wondering what two years of gorgeous, not-a-care-in-the world tropical living is like, all I can say is "see for yourself":
These pictures were all taken within the past week. And I assure you, there were plenty of other bigger, juicier friends who were not fortunate enough to get their pictures taken because they were immediately smashed.

The first shot is of some sugar ants coming through the ceiling slats above my computer desk. The sugar ants find their way in here through anything: ceiling slats, electrical sockets, solid cement walls. . . . You may remember that this was a common problem during the first half of the year, but we haven't had too many ant problems recently until this. I squeezed some ant bait gel on the wall to distract them from finding any real food, and that seemed to do the trick. Unfortunately, these ants are even tinier and faster than the ones last term, so if we do end up having another ant infestation before we leave the island, it will be miserable (because they bite and eat literally everything).

The second shot is of a relatively small cockroach for this corner of the world. Usually they're about twice that big. Jared always checks the walls for them before we fall asleep, because our first encounter with a Grenadian cockroach came a few minutes after we turned off the lights one night and Jared felt one running across his neck.

The third picture is a flood of ants in our lobby, chowing down on the sad little skeleton of a baby gecko. I truly am sorry to show you that one, but you did want to know all about paradise.

The final picture haunts my dreams the most. This is an island centipede that I spotted on our bathroom wall one evening, and yes, it is poisonous. I knew a girl last year who put her hand in an oven mitt to get her dinner from the oven, but then she felt something scratchy in the mitt and was bitten by one of these terrors. She got some help and was fine, but they are truly terrifying. As much as I hate to recommend this, you really should watch at least the last half of the short video posted below so that you can see how they move. I'd never seen anything like it in Utah.

Normally we don't get quite so many big, freaky bugs in a week. However, this month is known as "Sweaty September" in the Caribbean. It's the hottest, wettest, sweatiest month of the year, and the bugs just love it. In the past we usually only see one nasty cockroach a month, and during our first year in Grenada I only ever saw two of those centipedes. But these past few weeks have thrown us four juicy cockroaches and three of those poisonous centipedes. In our house. I even spotted one camouflaged into our area rug one day (see video), so basically we are terrified to walk around barefoot now.

Also of note are the giant spiders that live on our balcony and the tiny bugs that eat through paper. They ate the dried flowers in my journal that Jared picked for me on our honeymoon. They chewed through the spice necklace that was hanging above our bed. They ate ate their way into all our gravy packets, and they even ate through and broke the wooden curtain rod in our kitchen. (And no, they are not termites.) Maybe some day you'll be blessed with another blog post from me entailing all the creepy crawlies that did not appear in this one. Until then, please observe this video I made of some of the bugs we saw this week. Then replay it over and over again on your bigscreen TV this Halloween.

(I know people always say this, but you really do need to click the little gear button in the bottom right corner and turn the settings up to an HD setting. You can't get the full effect of these exotic bugs otherwise. Also, Jared and I are very aware that we are kind of weird.)

I'm so glad I married an expert bug killer. (Unless they're "nice bugs." If they're "nice bugs" like worms or little millipedes or something else unthreatening, he will actually move them from wherever they are into safety.) The expert bug killer I married also happens to be the man who brought me to all these bugs in the first place, but that's irrelevant.

p.s. As far as foliage and beaches go, this place really is paradise. But it's like my mom (who served an LDS mission in the beautiful Philippines) said, "Paradise comes at a price."


So far, this weekend has been seriously the best. Yesterday afternoon Jared came home from school exhausted so we took a two-hour nap. Then when I woke up before him and noticed that the sun was dipping away, I drove down to the nearest beach and sat on the sand to enjoy the most gorgeous pink sunset. This is something I need to take myself to do more often. As awesome as the sunsets are from our backyard, nothing beats a beach sunset.

When I got home, I whipped us up a quick dinner of red potatoes and the biggest, yummiest salad everrr (using Jared's mom's recipe). We legitimately each ate an entire head of romaine lettuce on our own and felt awesome. Then I left Jared home to study while I went to a beach bonfire at Savvy's with a bunch of friends and we roasted marshmallows. It was good to get to know lots of the new girls in the branch (there are like 10 of them!) over our orders of some unreal tropical smoothies. We all laughed about our conversations, because the things we talk about here are things that no normal group of girls would talk about over drinks in the States. We talked about our quirky refrigerators (no one here has a normally functioning fridge--they all overheat or leak or ice over every day, and the fresh produce and meat only stay good in them for a maximum of two or three days), and about our individual tipping points for finally deciding to regularly turn on the AC (an expensive but, in my opinion, very necessary commodity). After the bonfire, I went home to Jared and we made brownies and watched cartoons. 

This Saturday morning I'm having is something out of a dream. I slept in and then made myself a mango-papaya-starfruit breakfast smoothie. I took it back to bed with me and I've been sipping on it while browsing the Anthropologie website. You guys, I'm obsessed with Anthro. (I know I know, who isn't?) I've only ever made one purchase there, but Jared's mom got me an Anthropologie gift card for Christmas last year and I've been waiting for the perfect opportunity to use it ever since. I lusted after this swimming suit for a few months:
It was expensive, but I knew that a sale would come up eventually. Unfortunately, it sold out before that could happen. Tears were shed. It's probably for the best though--I currently own ten swimming suits and love all of them. I really don't need any more.

The sale I was waiting for is actually going on now though! If you are on Anthropologie's mailing list, you should have received an e-mail this morning containing a code for 20% off any item purchased this weekend. I used my gift card to buy something for our next apartment/home that I am SO excited about. I've been eyeing it for a good year now, and although I couldn't ever justify paying the ticket price for it, this little sale/gift card combo was just the nudge I needed. I'll show you pictures in a few weeks.

Also, why didn't anyone tell me that Anthropologie has a weddings line (BHLDN)??!? If I were to marry Jared all over again, I would build my own BHLDN wedding dress. It would look like this for a summer wedding:
^^This coverlet (I will also take her hair, please and thank you)
^^over this skirt
^^with these shoes.

Or if we were getting married in the winter, I would go with this winning combo:
I die. Realistically I'd probably only have the budget for this unconventional $300 dress though, which I would add some gorgeous sleeves to and never take off:
Happy weekend everyone! I'm off to build some sandcastles.


Friday afternoon, I met Jared on campus to grab some lunch. I had my heart set on Cloud 9's fish tacos, but alas, the shack wasn't to open until dinner hours. Instead, we settled for our usual Greek Kitchen lamb plate. Truthfully I'm a little bit over lamb (and chicken), but we had limited time and it's Jared's favorite near-campus meal, so lamb it was. As we waited at a breezy table for our food, we had the following conversation:

Laura: Man, I feel so sorry for Jason getting food poisoning in Grenada so many times. I don't think I've ever had food poisoning before in my life. Have you?

Jared: No, I don't think so. And that would stink during 4th term.

Laura: Seriously. We're lucky--we haven't even gotten sick at all in Grenada! High five!

Jared: [high fives] Man, I'm so glad it's Saturday tomorrow. I need a break.

Laura: Ya, it's been a long week. Hey! Instead of going on a date tonight, could we maybe go for a hike in the morning instead? Every time I've planned to go hiking with you here so far it's rained, and I think it's supposed to be clear tomorrow.

Jared: Let's do it!

The next morning, I awoke at an unusually early hour for a Saturday to the sounds of Jared being sick in the bathroom. And with what? Why, food poisoning of course! We're 90% sure it was from the jasmine rice I bought at IGA (pinkies out for jasmine rice) that was four times cheaper than the other brands and from some random country. Note to self: don't be a grocery-store cheapskate in a third-world country. Just don't. 

Jared's first words to me when he came back to bed? "I'm so so so sorry we can't go for the hike!" What a sweetie. What a sad, sickly sweetie.

I felt ill too over Saturday and Sunday, and Jared's still sick with something that's not food poisoning but is keeping him home from school. Oh the ironies. There we were, the day after our lunch conversation, sick, plagued with food poisoning, and not able to use our Saturday as a break or as a hiking day. We were able to pull ourselves together enough to get a half hour of fresh air on BBC Beach (Morne Rouge Beach) before our aching stomachs compelled us to leave. I really really wanted to take some pictures and video of kids playing on these really fun blow-up water toys that have been around all summer . . .
. . . but they were gone! Apparently whoever owns them has been moving them from island to island, and their time here is done. Jared and I did get to pay 10 ec to play on them with friends a few weeks ago, and it was way more fun than it even looks like it could be from the picture. Wipeouts galore. Those are some of my fondest beach memories (*tear*).

But we took pictures of our walk anyway and it was worth the 10 minute drive to get there. Here's to a much better weekend next time around.

An Ironic Conversation

L to R: Me, Alex, Kylie, Tori, Laina, Jenny, Sam, Holly

Jumpsuits. They are SO COMFY. I know they look kind of awkward (see above picture), but they feel like socially acceptable pajamas. I'm definitely the only person here who wears them, which should make me uncomfortable, but I just know the trend will be gone by the time we return to America and I couldn't let it pass me by.

The kindness of Grenadians. It's weird being a minority in a third-world country. Some locals do their best to swindle the Americans, but most of them are just the kindest and friendliest, and if you tell them they're good fishermen they'll toss you a couple of lobsters to pose with.

Not being sick. Earlier this week I was super nauseated and feverish one day (not pregnant, yo) and I was convinced I was coming down with some flu. But by the next day I was 100% back to normal and like, "Hey I can do things today!" Being healthy is the best.

Jared watching himself in the video I posted last time and laughing so hard at how funny he thought he was in the last 3 minutes. It was the best. This is funny to me because (a) Jared usually hates seeing himself on film--he won't even watch our wedding video willingly, (2) he wasn't even really particularly funnier than usual in the video? and (d) he was not even humble at all about what a brilliant comedian he's decided he is. He was all, "Am I always that funny? Man, I didn't even know it!" The answer is, yes, he's always good for a few excellent quotes and giggles every day. And that's when I realized that if Jared was a character in a TV show, then the real Jared would not even be able to get enough of that TV show. It's not that he's a cocky guy, it's just that he has a very specific, quirky sense of humor that only he possesses, and so naturally he would be his own biggest comedy fan. He just gets himself, you know? We could all probably stand to be a little more like that. (Also, I think school must be getting to him because no one should ever be able to laugh so hard and for so long as Jared did watching film clips of himself last night. It was seriously hilarious.) Next time I show Jared clips of himself, I'm going to have to film him watching them so that you can see how funny it is, and so that he can see how funny it is. And he'll probably think it's hilarious, and I'll have to film him watching film clips of himself watching film clips of himself, and then I'll show him those film clips, and it will go on forever and one day I will show our children and they will ask if they're adopted. The end.

A Happy List

I made a video. It contains all of the random little clips I took during our first year in Grenada (which technically spanned from August 2014 to May 2015, but I think I only started pulling out my camera for film in November).

I know it looks like it's 8 minutes long, but the entire first minute is just Jared's white coat ceremony and the last three minutes are clips from Jared's birthday and Thanksgiving. I had to put them somewhere, but you can pretty much skip those unless you want to see how weird we are/how unconventional and awesome our Thanksgiving was. Also, I just noticed that if you turn the volume up during those last Thanksgiving clips and listen in-between our talking, you can hear all the chirping tree frogs and insects that come out at night here and are super loud. I would recommend that.

Year 1

Jared is currently in his toughest term of med school. This is less because of the content he is learning, and more because of his schedule. Here is what an average day in the life of Jared looks like this term (each day varies a bit, but this is an example of the particularly busy days):

6:30  Wake up and get ready for school. Eat breakfast and wake Laura up.

7:15  Ask Laura if she could maybe pack you a lunch before the school bus arrives in 1.5 minutes. Half-listen while Laura waddles around with zombie bedhead, carrying a jar of peanut butter, and tells you about the dream she had last night in which you were part of a British boy band and had killer dance moves.

7:20  Grab yo' lunch, smooch yo' wife, then sit on the front porch and wait to catch the bus up to campus.

8:00-12:00  Sit in the same lecture hall for 4 hours and try to understand as professors with thick foreign accents teach about the human body.

12:00-12:45  Devour lunch while preparing for labs.

1:00-5:00  Labs and clinical stuffs. Group work, group work, group work.

5:00-6:00  Rush home, eat dinner, review class notes, rush back to campus. Alternatively, wait for Laura to come to campus and eat dinner there with you.

6:00-8:00  Truly pointless clicker quizzes.

8:00  Back home, make a valient effort to study for a few hours, even though your brain has had more than enough.

10:00  Unwind with a much-needed episode of Parks & Rec.

10:30  Sleep.

So you see, there's not a whole lot of room for being a normally functioning human in there. Lots of days aren't quite so bad, and sometimes he's even home for good by 3:30 in the afternoon. Jared uses those days to play catch up on his studying and USMLE prep.

Weekends are our saving grace. This last Saturday, I woke up to the sound of Jared's deafening electric hair clippers (the electricity here turns hair clippers into lawn mowers). Jared's buddy Joe was over and Jared was giving him a haircut. This is a normal Saturday occurrence--Jared's building up quite the clientele (although he refuses to charge). Joe is an excellent human, so I joined them on the veranda and we talked about hiking and clinical rotations.
After Joe left we went inside and stayed there for the next 9 hours, studying and working. At some point we turned into cave people and could communicate only by grunting and throwing tongue compressors at each other. We were saved by a Facebook message from our friend Alex, inviting us over for pizza and a swim in her apartment pool (this is a different girl and a different pool from the last post). We accepted without hesitation and were soon trying to explain to the pizza guy where to meet us (a difficult feat, since American English is very different from Grenadian English and also because there are no home addresses in Grenada). The girls (Alex, Michelle, and I) hovered in the pool and philosophically discussed our opinions on "beach vs. mountains" while the guys (Mark, Jason, and Jared) swam around and talked about investment opportunities. It was the perfect break from school and life, and this is the only picture I took. Just imagine good friends and pizza, an infinity pool, and a sky full of stars. Sometimes Grenada isn't the worst.

Jared's Schedule


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