Hey guys! Long time no talk. I've been in the process of getting my blog into book form, which is a HUGE undertaking considering I started this blog 6 years ago. I'll be getting back to more regular posts later this week, but right now I have a question for all of you!

Jared has reached the point in his medical education where it's time for us to submit our top three preferences for where he will do his hospital rotations for the next two years. Our options are NYC (various hospitals); New Jersey (various); Reno, NV; California (various); Miami, FL; Atlanta, GA; Detroit, MI; Toledo, OH; Chicago, IL. We've narrowed it down just a bit, but need to narrow it down to three by tomorrow evening.

For numerous reasons we will be putting Reno, NV, as our first choice. It's got a good teaching hospital, a low cost of living (we so poor), is in the West (close to family), and is near some awesome nature (Lake Tahoe wut). Plus other stuff. BUT. There are only 16 positions available there and Jared comes from a class of somewhere between 600 and 700. Our chances are okayyyyy, but there's also a pretty solid possibility that we'll be getting our second or third choice instead. That's where you come in. We are in need of any information/advice we can get about a few specific cities. We would be there for 1-2 years. Plz help! I would appreciate any information that may sway us toward or against any of the following locations:

(1) Colton/Stockton/San Joaquin, CA

(2) Atlanta, GA

(3) Toledo, OH

(4) Chicago, IL

Thanks, lovelies! And feel free to comment anonymously if you feel weird or something. I'd love to hear from all of you who have knowledge about any of these :)

GA, CA, IL, OH...?

This Valentine's Day was a good'n. Holidays here are so chill! I guess that makes sense since we live on an island and islands are famous for their chill vibes. It's not like in America where you're hit in the face with V-Day spirit in every store beginning January 12. You could totally miss it here if you didn't check up on your social media feeds. In some ways it's really nice. In other ways, I'm stoked to be able to get dressed up and go out on the town and decorate for holidays next year. Missing my curling iron something fierce right about now. (But not missing my ice scraper, so we good.)

For Valentine's Day this year we went to church and did all the regular Sunday stuff, and then we went for a nice long walk. I taught Jared about ISO and shutter speed (I'll teach him aperture next time), and we took pictures of all the pink and red things. And Jared wore his pjs. He's awesome.

Once home from our walk, Jared made me a delicious dinner of chicken and red potatoes. "Wow, cooking is so relaxing!" he said, noting that he hadn't cooked a fresh, hot meal since before medical school. (He does cook me breakfast and do the dishes often though.) I made dessert, which involved sending Jared away while I took my sweet time getting a store-bought slice of chocolate pie out of the freezer and putting it on a non-paper plate. It's the little things.

Then we watched a full-length chick flick and Jared didn't even bust out his flash card stash once! That there is true love, people. It's been a while since we've been able to just sit down and watch a movie together without one of us trying to multitask. We extended our celebration the next day when I made the most fantastic (and easy) (and gluttonous) homemade macaroni and cheese and we watched the "Galentine's Day" episode of Parks and Rec.

Well, I'm off to see the finale of The Great British Bake Off on Netflix. Have any of you been watching that show?? I am obsessed, and I don't even like to bake! It's so calming, yet so captivating. How do those Brits do it?
Island Style Valentine's Day

Grenada is the perfect place to find and develop creative new hobbies if you're here as a student spouse. I wish I could have taken better advantage of this ability during our first year here, but I was pretty busy being in survival mode. Basically, I was doing good on a day-to-day basis if I made dinner, made the bed, and made it through an hour or so of Netflix after finishing a work project. And that's where I was at that point in my life, and now I get to be in hobby-developing mode! I like this mode much better than survival mode, for the record. But even that had its place.

As it turns out, I love to make videos. A lot. Sometime in the past month it occurred to mewhy not try to expand this videography thing? I've been in the blogging world for a long time, and something I'd often read was, "Just because you happen to have a nice camera doesn't mean you can be a professional photographer." Or in my case, videographer, And simply put, that's not true. I do understand that simply having a nice camera doesn't automatically make you skilled, but if you really love to do something and practice it and actively try to learn more about it, then I see no reason why you can't make something real of it.

With that in mind, I've started to build a bit of a video portfolio. Grenada is a great place to do this because (a) it's interesting, (b) it's chalk-full of young families, couples, and single students who would love a video memory of this incredibly important part of their lives, and (c) I have literally NO competition. At the end of each term there's a scramble for people who are about to leave the island to pay to have nice pictures taken. Although there are quite a few photographers, there aren't enough to meet the demand. Jared and I have a branch friend who bought a basic DSLR camera last term to start taking pictures as a hobby. Within five months he had saved up enough from SGU student groups who would beg him to take their pictures with his nice camera that he upgraded to a really expensive new full-frame DSLR with the money they'd shove into his pockets (even after he told them he'd do it for free). Many of these same people are ecstatic about the idea of a video of them in Grenada, and guess what? I'm the only one who can give it to them. Basically, this place is a hobbyist's dream come true. So as a message to future SGU student wives (I know you're reading this), please take that to heart at the very beginning instead of waiting two years to catch on like I did.

Here is my very first official portfolio video of our friends Cherish and Tony and Baby Bridget. My camera's video quality isn't as crisp as I'd like it to be, but this video still made their family back home cry. Most people either don't notice or don't care about the less-crisp quality, and hey, if I can make this work here, then I'll be able to upgrade when we move back to America. Here's to chasing crazy pipe dreams!

The DeAngelo Family from Laura Lambert on Vimeo.
The DeAngelo Family

Some video highlights of our third and fourth terms in Grenada. It's a fun one!
Grenada Terms 3-4 from Laura Lambert on Vimeo.
Fourth Term Video Highlights

In November I made a video for Jared's extended family's Thanksgiving Film Festival. I had come up with the idea for the movie several months before and knew that this would be the only year I could pull it off, so corny as it was, I made a Frozen parody highlighting some humorous/depressing aspects of our life as a med student couple living on a beautiful tropical island. So I threw it together, entered it in the festival, and we tied for first! Probably out of pity, but I'm still happy about it.

I knew that the girls in Grenada would relate to and enjoy the video, but for whatever reason (sheer embarrassment) I held off sharing it until last week. I posted it to a Facebook group of some close church friends here with a disclaimer that I had sung the whole thing a capella and didn't add the music in until later, so please just tune out the out-of-tuneness. I had to, since one of the girls in the group is a legit professional singer who spent several months on one of those TV singing shows. #famous.

Anyway, long story short, they loved it and demanded I share it to the SGU SOO page (a Facebook page for the hundreds of SGU student "significant others"). I did, and they all laughed and cried and shared it to their own Facebook walls and it went Grenada viral. Jared started having people stop him on campus to ask him if he was the guy in the the wanna-get-a-suntan video. It was one of those 5-minutes-of-fame things that only lasted a day or two, but it was a good catalyst to get me sharing some of my video work. Also, a girl from my major at BYU found it when she typed in "med student wife" to youtube and it was the top hit. We bonded in the comments section.

The subsequent iMessage I sent to my brothers: "Brosephs. Over a thousand people have watched me sing my embarrassing 'want to get a suntan' video on youtube. WHAT HAVE YOU EVEN DONE WITH YOUR LIVES?"

Facebook Famous

Hog Island is one of our favorites. Whenever we take friends or family to see it they seem underwhelmed, but that actually works to our advantage. See, if everyone liked it as much as we do, then we'd never have it all to ourselves. And we rather enjoy having an island all to ourselves. 

We love walking (or driving, now that they've flattened the dirt road) into the cave of trees at the beginning of the hike. We love watching the hundreds of creepy, skittish crabs lining the trail duck into their holes the second we get too near. We love the breeze from the watchtower that was recently built at the halfway point. We love standing on the bridge to check out the dozens of sailboats in the marina and watching boat people whiz by in their dinghies. We imagine what it must be like to live the lives of sailors, island hopping all winter long in their tiny floating homes. (That wouldn't be the life for us, but isn't it neat how the world's filled with people who all dream such different, wonderful dreams?) We especially love exploring Hog Island itself, tramping through the fields and keeping our eyes peeled for wild goats while avoiding cacti and giant spiders. We love the quiet.  

These pictures were taken two months ago. You will probably be seeing more Hog Island pictures soon, since Jared and I went exploring again this morning before his classes. Our landlord, the most delightful old Grenadian man named Geoffrey, saw us as we were leaving for our hike this morning and said, "I ought to call the university and tell them to kick you out for not studying!" Jared's classes have always been in the morning until this term, so whenever Geoffrey comes over in the morning and Jared's here, he thinks he's skipping class. We explain the new schedule every time, but he always forgets. It's the best.
Hog Island, Take 50


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