^^These are our friends Holly and Tyson. We helped them get settled in a bit when they moved here in August, and we love catching up with them every so often. They're likely going to be moving into our apartment when we're done in May, so that's exciting! It truly is the best apartment around.
Jared and I aren't very social.

I mean, we're definitely not the least social people on the island, and we do enjoy talking to others, but you know. The only way I can think to describe it is that we're introverted, but not shy. As much as we enjoy the occasional social interaction, too much of it leaves us feeling a bit tired.

Something we've learned since being here is that we tend to make friends with similar couples: introverted, but not shy. When we have dinner with our loud friends, we appreciate that they're all funny and we don't have to talk much, but we always go home feeling slightly stressed out. When we have dinner with our introverted-but-not-shy friends, we find ourselves more at ease, talking and laughing about our shared love for developing our hobbies and experiencing wide open spaces. So maybe it's not that we're unsocial. Maybe we're just picky.

Just about every time I go to an activity here, someone will comment to me, "How are you? I haven't seen you in ages!" I smile and say something like, "Yup--been real busy with work lately! I've kind of had to lock myself away." And that's not untrue, but it would be more honest of me to say, "Yup--hung out with people twice in one day three weeks ago, so I just finished regenerating and now here I am." It's not that extreme--I try to get out with others at least once a week (which is a minor amount compared to what the other wives do)--but you get the picture.

Jared and I both enjoy going to the SO socials. There's always food and something fun to do (swimming, tubing in the ocean...). Most of our friends show up, and oftentimes we meet new couples and enjoy chatting with them. I love the casual vibe of being able to eat and catch up with friends, and then go home whenever we've had our fill of it all. Saturday was the end-of-term social at the University Club pool. The SO board splurged for us (because the midterm social was canceled due to all sorts of drama--it amazes me how quickly adults turn into middle schoolers when too many of them are together for too long with too much free time), so the food was really fantastic. I wasn't big on the tofu skewers, but the fish and chicken were to die for.

As much as I value my alone time, I'm really glad that there's such a great support system here of hundreds of ladies who are in exactly the life position I'm in and know exactly what I'm going through. That situation is incredibly unique and would make a fantastic reality tv show (Lives of Caribbean Med Students' Wives). And with that, I'm going to drag myself over to pool day. Jared's home all week studying for his upcoming finals, so I don't have to stay here with the cleaning lady this morning. Party time.

 ^^An accidental photo taken while Jared and I were filming a scene for the video we're submitting to his family's Thanksgiving Film Festival.
^^It's not obvious in this picture, but there are Christmas decorations on top of the grocery store. I think it's some sort of light-up nativity scene? I know a saw a couple of wisemen up there last time I went after dark.
 ^^Grocery shopping adventures. The deli counter is our favorite section of the grocery store because of its selection of nearly affordable protein! Protein in any form can be pricey here, but it's worth the splurge not to feel slightly hungry 24/7. By the way, those prices are in Eastern Caribbean Dollars. We did not spend $10.85 USD on a cake mix.
^^Replacing our cooking gas.

Thursday was awesome. Jared's teachers accidentally forgot to schedule his labs for the day, so he had an afternoon free (the first one in months)! Jared's brain has been fried from his 5 continuous months of rigorous med school, so instead of studying we went and ran lots of errands together.

We started by filming the final scene for a video we're making for one of Jared's family's best traditions--the extended family Thanksgiving Film Festival. We're not going to be there, but we weren't about to let that stop us from submitting a video. It's musical and embarrassing and everything a family video should be. The last scene we needed to do was at a beach. It almost didn't happen because Grenada's been having micro-rainstorms several times a day lately, but it cleared up long enough for us to shoot our 10-second clip.

After filming, we ran to the Spiceland Mall to withdraw some money from the ATM and hit up IGA. About twice a month we have to withdraw $1200 ECD to pay for all our living expenses (minus rent). You can use a card at the grocery store and most restaurants, but we've heard one too many scary stories about students having their credit card information stolen here, so it's best to stick with cash. We're running out of loan money for the term and don't want to dip into our savings, so we've been stretching our money real thin for the past few weeks. We're just about ready to ditch ramen, baked potatoes, and peanut butter sandwiches and fly home to Washington for some home-cooked meals. I have gotten really creative with our food storage though--last night we had tuna over brown rice with some soy sauce mixed in. Gourmet stuff is happening over here, people.

Before going home we had to stop by the Rubis gas station to replace our cooking gas. Once every two or three months I'll have dinner in the oven, but when the timer goes off I'll pull out a semi-cooked meal from a cooled-down oven. This means that our tank of cooking gas has run out and it's time to get a new one. Our landlord had an awesome system going where there was a spare tank downstairs so you could just grab that one when yours ran out, and then you could refill yours when it was convenient. Unfortunately, our downstairs neighbors abused the spare tank system and never refilled it last time they used it, so now we just have to drop everything and go get a refill when our tank runs out.

Speaking of dropping everything, I've got to dash. There's a significant others' end-of-term social happening right now at the university pool, and I'm sure it's every bit as magical as it sounds. Peace!

Day Off

Twice a week, Jared goes to a "class" called CPD (it has something to do with practicing clinical skills). Jared does not like this class one bit. Basically you practice talking to a "patient" (a paid/apathetic Grenadian actor) in front of a group of peers and a proctor, and then they critique you and tell you everything you could have done better. My least favorite part of my undergrad was being peer critiqued on my writing and editing work (there was a really intense girl in my group who lacked social skills and maybe made me cry a few times), so I can't blame him for hating it a little.

Yesterday, Jared had a group quiz for CPD. A patient comes in, and the students question the patient, take his or her history, and perform a basic medical examination. It was one of a handful of days each term in which Jared dresses up in nice clothes and his lab coat and hops on the SGU bus to go about his official med school business. I just love my guy in that white coat--and in his prescriptionless glasses that he never wears to school but are severely awesome.

In the evenings here, there's about a one-hour window in which you can go outside without feeling like your skin will melt off and before it gets dark and the mosquitos come out to feast on your flesh. During this window, I usually pull Jared away from his studies to take me for a walk. I'm basically like his puppy--I make messes, I need to be fed, and if I'm not taken for a daily walk I get into trouble.

Jared understands and is happy to go walking with me. When I was gone last month he got a taste for how lonely one can become when cooped up in an apartment all day with no one to talk to and nowhere to go. You start to go stir crazy come late afternoon. Sure I do things with the other wives occasionally, but I usually have plenty of work to keep me busy at home, plus you can only do so many beach days before you start to get sick of washing the sand and saltwater out of your hair (I know--woe is me).

Our favorite spots to walk to are the nearby Coral Cove dock and the tide pools. The pictures above are from the walk we took to the dock last night. Some of the most peaceful moments we've had in Grenada have been spent sitting on the bench on that dock, looking across to the tiny houses on the other side of the bay or up at the stars. I'm going to miss those moments when we're gone.
Walk it Out

Well hey. 

Jared and I took some Christmas pictures on the beach last night. Since American Thanksgiving isn't celebrated in Grenada, everyone's already got their Christmas decorations up and we've been singing Christmas hymns in church. Anyway, I was all excited for the pictures and planned out poses and curled my hair (a thing that's usually not worth doing here) and everything. I waited all afternoon for golden hour, which I thought started at 5:30, but apparently while I was gone for a month it moved up so now it ends at 5:30. So basically we got to the beach and it was pitch black within 20 minutes. 

We were only able to take a few rushed pictures and the lighting wasn't golden, but they're alright and we'll try again next week! I figured that I may as well have some fun editing these pictures in the meantime, so I played with the grain a bit.
Speaking of golden hour, this gem of a quote happened today when Jared couldn't remember the word for "sunset":

Jared: What's it called again? Up sun? Down sun?
^^These two poses up there were to humor Jared, who thought they were hilarious.
Red and Green

So, uh, I really don't have a post in mind for these pictures--I just had to get them on the Internet before I lost track of them. They basically just reflect how strange Jared and I are when it's just the two of us, and yet we think we are hilarious. I guess I'll post about our nightly routine, because the top pic is me giving Jared a good stare-down for making me brush my teeth at night.

Every night I get all whiny because, well, I'm just not  a night person. I love mornings, but once it gets dark out in the evening I'm basically a mopey useless mess. After dinner, I normally finish up my editing projects or try to wrap up the last little points on my to-do list. Jared studies, and when he's done studying roundabouts 10:00, he comes into the bedroom and announces bedtime. I get pouty because who-knows-why (normally I deflect the blame to hormones), but I grudgingly put my stuff away and crawl into bed. Jared crawls in beside me and I'll give him a kiss and then he'll say, "Did you brush your teeth?" At this point I lie and tell him yes, because I'm already in bed and offended that he doesn't think my breath is like rainbows and flower petals 100% of the time. Then Jared gives me this spiel about how if I don't brush my teeth at night I'll get cavities and have numerous other fatal health conditions he just made up using words he learned in medical school. Then I give him the spiel about how I've never had a cavity in my life, but he brushes and flosses a million times a day and gets tons of cavities. Therefore, it stands to reason that I'd be better off not brushing at night. But eventually Jared wins and I tromp on over to the bathroom to brush my teeth and give him a good glare down. Thus the top picture. 

The bottom picture was from an afternoon last week when we were watching cartoons in bed. Jared had just given himself a haircut, so he wasn't wearing a shirt. All of a sudden he got up to adjust the volume on the computer. But there was a phone stuck to his back as he walked away, and I could not stop laughing. The phone fell off and left this mark, and that just made me laugh harder, and then he went and checked it out and couldn't stop laughing, and yes I realize how ridiculous this makes our lives sound right now.

Oh hey, in more exciting news, my big brother's getting married! He got engaged last night to Caitlin, and I'm really excited about it. She loves hiking and rock climbing and camping and all the things I love! And now I'll have a Haines sister so I won't be quite so outnumbered by boys at all family functions. And they got engaged up Dry Canyon, which is where Jared and I got engaged! I think I will post a picture because how cute is it that the picture of his engagement is the footnote to the post with the picture of my husband's back? I will take one million good sister points for this move.
^^Aren't they both the CUTEST?? Our children are going to have the best-looking, most outdoorsy cousins. Our poor children's self esteems...
Teeth and Backs and New Sisters

Jared always tells me that he loves the color of my hair in one of my old Facebook profile pictures from high school when my hair was dark brown with just a hint of red. The night before I flew home to Grenada, I got a couple of box dyes from WalMart and had my mom dye my hair in the upstairs bathroom to surprise him. We shut the door and had a little hair dying party while we told each other secrets about my brothers (oh hey Jordan! hi Chris! whaddup Tim?).

I had originally wanted to dye it it dark brown with just a tint of plum, but that wasn't an option at the particular WalMart I visited, so I went with a red. In real life it looks more like the darker color in those last two pictures than the first picture. I didn't think it would come out this bold, but it's ok because it's the kind of dye that fades out in two months (so don't you worry, Grandma!). Plus, I kind of like it this bold for now, and Jared loves it. When else in my life am I going to live on a tropical island with the most chill vibes ever, surrounded only by people who are our age an think it's the bees' knees?

(That's a very interesting aspect of this Grenada experience--there are hundreds of other Americans, but all of them are peers! No one is older than, like, 35. Church can be weird because there aren't any old people with lots of life experience to keep us in check. It's just a bunch of twenty-somethings who think we know everything and a bunch of locals who are all converts and speak in a different dialect.)

So anyway, this blog might be filled with an inordinate amount of selfies over the next few weeks, because (a) the dye will probably start to fade by then and I want to capture my fun hair while it still looks semi-decent, and (b) I bought a new lens over my break that is excellent for selfies (thanks for your informational blog post about lenses/selfies, Emily!).
Red Hair Don't Care

Today marks exactly three years since mine and Jared's first "official" date. We'd studied for German tests and gone jogging together before, but this date was the real deal. We began the evening with a crepe dinner at the Awful Waffle (out of business now), where Jared was too nervous to eat in front of me, and I was self-conscious because I had eaten my whole crepe and he'd barely finished a fourth of his. I dared him to shove the rest of his crepe in his mouth, and he surprisingly did it. That completely broke the ice, and we've eaten messily in front of each other every day since. Truuuue love. 

After dinner we watched a spooky play at the Echo Theatre (also out of business now), where the seats were so close to the stage that the kid in my ward who was in the play accidentally spat on me a few times. Then we spontaneously decided to grab some garbage bags and go "sledding" in Rock Canyon Park with Jared's good friend Jimmy and Jimmy's fiancee, Demi. It was the best first date either of us had ever had, and we've been dating nonstop ever since (we're still in business). Jared liked that there were no games and no guessing with me. I liked that he was the perfect gentleman, but would also humor my less-than-classy dares. Tonight we celebrated by making and devouring crepes together. He took a breather from studying to make the crepes while I whipped up some brown-butter chicken and a lemon cream sauce for the filling.

Switching gears, when I arrived home in Grenada last week after being away from Jared for over a month, it felt like that first date again in many ways. Jared was waiting for me as a I walked out of the airport, and it was like I was meeting him for the first time, even though we had been Skyping daily. His voice sounded different, his hair seemed blonder, and I swear he was a few inches taller than I'd remembered. I was starstruck and in disbelief that I could be married to this handsome, somewhat-familiar man. It was one of those strange Twilight-zone moments that you'd have to experience to understand. It was odd to kiss him again, I started crying when he gave me a hug, and I couldn't stop sneaking peaks at him as he drove me home. 

Jared is the sweetest. He had spent the afternoon decorating for me to come home. He made a sign, bought Christmas decorations that he hung around the apartment (he gets me), picked flowers from our yard, had dinner in the crockpot, and lit all my favorite candles. Then he took the next day off from school so we could hang out together. Medical school can be tough on relationships because even when you do find a moment to spend together, the student is always thinking about his studies to some extent (by necessity--and you do get used to it). The day or two after I returned were the first days since before medical school that I really felt that Jared was 100% my own. I'd almost forgotten what that was like, and it was wonderful. I'm so grateful that he's working so hard now so that we can enjoy more days like that sometime in the future!
^^Our day spent completely and totally together, no school allowed. Best friends, reunited.
Still Dating

After my three weeks in Washington, I popped down to Utah to see my family before heading back to Grenada. I was so grateful for this chance, since I hadn't seen them in four months and wasn't scheduled to see them again until May. Even though I loved growing up in Utah and it's where my family is, I don't think I ever could have appreciated Utah as much as I do now that I've been away from it for a year and a half. Utah is beautiful

Whenever I fly in to Utah after being in Grenada, my mom usually says something along the lines of, "Utah's a bit ugly from the sky, huh? Sorry it's so brown--where you've come from is much greener and prettier." I've heard this sentiment expressed by multiple people in multiple ways (I heard this often from non-Utahans at BYU), but it couldn't be further from the truth in my eyes. Probably much of that has to do with the fact that I grew up there, but Utah's dryness and "brownness" doesn't bother me. In fact, my favorite place to be in the world is Dry Canyon, just near my parents' home (see lots of pictures below). Two of the most refreshing things to me during my time in America were the warm, indirect sunlight (as opposed to Grenada's white, harsh sunlight), and the fact that I could go hiking on my own without feeling like I may drown just by breathing in the air or like my life was in danger (I used to hike the trail to Hog Island in Grenada alone, but then an American woman got attacked on it a month or so ago). For the sake of my sanity, wherever we move for our next two years of clinical rotations needs to have hiking trails nearby that I can feel safe on. 

In any event, here are some pictures from the few days I spent in Utah. I didn't bring my big camera with me (couldn't risk getting taxed on it coming back into Grenada), but I was surprised by how wonderfully my trusty little point-and-shoot camera captured these views:
^^I spent a whole day with my best friend Julie, who came down from Idaho to see me. Together with her boyfriend and her family, we ate breakfast, hiked, made sushi, and carved pumpkins. Later that evening, she and Brandon got engaged! He recently returned from an LDS mission in Grenada, so that's fun, and also I'll likely get to be there for their wedding in December, so that's fun too!
^^One of the many spectacular scenes from my daily walk up Dry Canyon. Be still my autumn-loving heart! Do you people realize how lucky you are to get the four seasons every year? As long as the winters are, trust me, it's worth it to be able to get spring and fall. (Or you can just do what I did and skip the winter and just come back for fall.)
^^The Provo farmer's market with Sarah Kay and Dottie. I'm so lucky to have made lifelong friends in college! (Also, how did I not get a picture of you Dottie? You sneaky!)
^^Journal writing in Dry Canyon on my last day in Utah. This was one of the most gorgeous days I have ever lived as far as weather goes. It was warm but not too warm, with a light breeze and a perfect view of the city and the fall colors. I could hear the faint sounds of Orem in the distance, and I really took in and appreciated the moment, knowing that it would be the last time I'd be there for a really long time.

I did lots of other fun things in Utah that aren't documented here. I went rock climbing at the Quarry with my brothers and Chris's girlfriend, Caitlin. This was so fun. Alex, if you're reading this then I'm going to make you take me when I get home in May. I'd been indoor climbing before, but only on first dates, and that wasn't a lot of fun because I just felt self-conscious about my wussy muscles and how I looked in stretchy pants the entire time. I also was in Utah on Halloween. I watched Arsenic and Old Lace with my parents and crashed my brother Tim's spudnut party in the garage to partake of the most out-of-this-world donuts I've ever tasted (major props to my mother). I had shopping dates with Mom and went to Temple Square to watch Dad sing in Music and the Spoken Word. I had dinners with extended family and lunch with my grandma and let my brother Jordan take me on dates to Sodalicious and Savers. It was the loveliest of weeks, but when all was said and done I was just terribly ready to get home to my Jared.
Halloween in Utah


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