Friday, 30 January 2015

Happy One Month on Nevis

Hi Everyone!

Kyle and I arrived exactly one month ago! Wow! Some of you may think time has flown by...not me lol. Some days do go faster than others, but most days I have found they go by slow, especially weekends. It has been an interesting month in terms of my emotions. Roller coaster ride for sure. I think in week 3 I called my mom wanting to come home. However then she sent me a picture of the snow and that changed my mind quite quickly. I do miss home, I miss my dog, my sister, family, friends, movies, Tim Horton's, Starbucks...I was at the beach the other day and a few of us were talking about the stuff we miss at home and my one friend was like when you go back home, eating a Big Mac is the best thing ever! You end up wanting to eat like 2 or 3 in a row. I responded by saying I hope being here has turned me off of fast food for the most part, I feel like I would get really sick from being away from it for so long. 

Anyway, I have enjoyed the time here so far, I love the weather and the people have been really friendly. There have been some troubles in terms of transportation but we are managing, and I am doing my best to stay positive. It is hard though not being near family, this week especially as one of my good friends lost their mom. I wish I could be home for that, or to celebrate with my friend who recently had a baby. I am thankful for technology though, and I hope my friends know that I am thinking of them!! I was even feeling sentimental and sent out some postcards, that was fun to write actual mail haha! 

Needless to say, Kyle and I have survived a month, and as he would like to point out, only 27 more to go! Yipee!! I am amused by small things apparently.

Not much has happened in the last week, I pretty much exercise, grocery shop, hit the beach at least once a week, nap and watch Netflix. (Thanks Mike!) That may sound all very exciting and relaxing, but it's not all fun. Honestly, I think the hardest part is having to sit in uncomfortable chairs..I want a couch :( Kyle did some research, and inflatable couches do exist!! Maybe we will have to splurge and get one. 

Madison and I went to this local cuisine place called Blessing's.

I had some fish with what they called "J-cakes". It was yummy, but very filling. The J-cakes are basically bread sticks, but it was paired nicely with the fish.

On our bus ride home from the restaurant, this bus actually had stuff posted as to what prices are supposed to be. Interesting!!

Kyle is doing well, he has found it a bit more difficult studying for this round of exams than the last, he has said it's a lot of information all at once, but he is doing well with keeping up. He has another set of exams on Monday so we will see how that goes. He did just inform me that he wishes he could be playing PS4 while watching The Lord of the Rings, and somehow study at the same time. So we both are going through some withdrawal issues. 

My friend Madison was able to rent a car this week, so she took us to a different beach, and it was awesome! It's called Chrishi Beach, and I might even like it better than Oualie Beach. I was able to get a bit of homework done on the beach and enjoy the sights. I must say, my tan is settling in nicely, and no sunburn. However I am running out of sunscreen already, so that stinks because it is very expensive here. Speaking of expensive, spending 20 bucks Canadian on toilet paper...Not fun. I will have to rethink that, we will have to start buying the cheap brand for sure. 

These are the pics from Chrishi Beach. I really liked the set up they had. 

I celebrated being here one month by running outside for the first time! Woohoo, and I didn't get hit by any cars! There were some scary turns though but I was able to get some really nice pictures of the island. I'm hoping to start running outside more, maybe even train for another half marathon, they have one on the island every year.  I do miss that, and the fact that there were no deer flies, or mosquitoes attacking me like I'm used to at the cottage it felt great!

Some pics from my run. It was a beautiful day, and not even that hot. 

So here's hoping that February will bring us some good fun, and hopefully a stress free month. (At least for me anyway, Kyle not so much). We do miss everyone back home and we welcome the emails/phone calls/texts/skype calls/face time from everyone :)

I did some Facetiming with my sister today, and Murphy. Miss him lots! And Kylie too :P

That's all for now everyone! Have a great weekend!

Thursday, 22 January 2015

Hospitals, Police Officers, Car Accidents

Hey Everyone!

It has been awhile since I have blogged, sorry about that! There hasn't been much happening around here. I was going to post this yesterday but then I had a very eventful day today, so I just added it all together...

My friend Ashley!! :( It was fun having her around, she helped me get out and explore! On Thursday we went to Nisbet beach, I was able to get some groceries in the morning (I finally bought a broom!! A purple one too) and then I met up with Ashley later on. We had lunch there and it was very expensive, 18US for a wrap. However the wrap was AMAZING! We tried to hang out on the side where the guests go, but as soon as they saw our different towels we got booted haha. But we went to the other side of the beach and there were still chairs we could sit on, just no umbrellas. It wasn't too bad because at this beach it is quite breezy. It was nice and relaxing though. 

On Friday, we went to Pinney's Beach one last time, and it was another great day! I was planning on doing some reading there but that didn't happen. I actually went swimming! Haha, and since we went back twice in one week, a few of the locals remembered us so we got chairs for free and a few drinks! Yay :) 

This dog is named Carib, which happens to be the name of the local beer around here too. She was very sweet and hang's out at Pinney's Beach.

Ashley left by taking the water taxi again at Oualie beach, Madison came along also. There was a bit of confusion with the water taxis, apparently you have to book one in advance. I had called Daisy (cab driver on St. Kitts) the night before so she knew she was coming. We just told the water taxi people about Daisy and then it was okay. Name drop is the way to go! 

Once Ashley left I did some homework and cleaned the apartment. Kyle was studying all weekend because he had his first set of exams on Monday. Saturday night as I was binge watching Netflix, we had our first bug infestation. Flying ants attacked our screen window! It was intense! I busted out the Raid and sprayed the window. It was the weirdest thing, we haven't had bugs in our apartment at all so far, I have been doing well with cleaning. But there they were...I talked to Madison about it and she said the same thing happened to her on the same night! Crazy?!?!? She said it is there mating season and that's why they were out in full force. She also said her entire apartment complex was filled them. They haven't shown up since..weird.. haha.

So Kyle had his first set of exams! He did amazing! I am so proud of him! He got in the high 90's for his two major classes. His class had a little celebration dinner that night, I met up with his classmates later on. They were very nice and wanted to know a lot about us and how we met haha. Most of them are only 21-22, so they seemed pretty surprised to hear that we were married. Some of them didn't even know Kyle was! I guess Kyle is too busy during class to make small talk with his peers :P They didn't even know we were from Mississauga and a few of them live in Toronto too! haha. I guess I need to go to the next block party to get to know Kyle's classmates for him haha. 

He is looking sharp in his new scrubs he got! 

Yesterday, Madison and I went into town, she had some banking to do and I wanted to get out of the house. I actually felt impressed with myself because Madison hasn't spent to much time downtown yet and since Ashley was here I was able to get out a lot so I felt like I knew where I was going. We explored some shops and found this market that had so many fresh fruits and veggies! It was great to see that! We also decided to try out a Chinese Food Restaurant. It's called the "Tea House". There are several different Chinese Food places around town, so we thought we should start trying them out. Well, we won't be going back to that one again. The rice was good? Madison had sesame chicken, and she was not impressed at all. I had sweet and sour chicken and it had an interesting after taste. We sat outside to eat and the view was nice...that's about it. However, it was nice to get out and explore and not feel rushed about having to grab a bus back or rely on someone to drive us home. When it was time to go as we were waiting for a bus, someone recognized Madison from the school. His name is Ziggy and he is one of the groundskeepers. He asked if we were going back to the school and offered us a ride home. Nice guy! 

 Sweet and Sour Chicken
   View of the town from our lunch spot
This is the main square downtown Charlestown

I got back into my routine of working out and studying. Today I went grocery shopping with Madison and Daniel. I think Wednesdays are going to be our shopping day, so I am hoping to be able to budget properly for that. I splurged and bought Kyle a bag of chips for 11.99 EC! Congrats! So friends if you come visit, feel free to bring chips and cookies for us! This week Kyle has been asking who is coming next so they can bring him some snacks!

The Internet has been in and out today, and I have not been sleeping well at all this week. There is this one annoying bird that sits right outside our window at night and chirps allllllllll night. Now I love nature sounds just as much as the next guy, however this bird has no rhythm, so it's all random...and annoying. Plus we get these loud trucks that go by and find it necessary to honk as loud as possible. Hopefully I can get used to this bird. Maybe I should name him, and then I won't hate it as much lol. Suggestions welcome :) 

I have been doing a lot of cooking! While Ashley was here we made lots of great food, homemade chicken wings, steak, fajitas! I made tacos for Kyle last night and today I made my first ever homemade chicken pot pie! It was delicious! Remember when I said there should be a cookbook for 365 ways to cook chicken...well there is! My mother owns it! haha! I should have brought it with me.

Since I have started my program I was feeling slightly home sick. Shout out to my ErinoakKids friends! Miss you guys! I was able to face time with my good friend Magdalena from work. I do miss it! It was nice to be able to connect with her though. I also need to give a shout out to my friend Alecia who had her baby!! Congratulations!!! So happy for you! Thank goodness for technology! It really has made this adjustment a lot easier for me. I am starting to get used to life here, but I also still need that connection from back home (just not the weather;) ). 

Alright so here is where the fun begins: 

Today was a spouses of students lunch at Dos Gringos Mexican Grill. I got to meet a few other spouses. It was fun! The food was okay, I had a burrito, definitely, not like Burrito Boyz from back home though. The other girls were really nice, everyone was a bit shy but one girl is from Edmonton Alberta, so that's awesome. After lunch a few of us wanted to go to the beach, the Albertan has a car so she offered to drive. I quickly changed then met the girls back at Madison's apartment to a very unique surprise...Poor Madison had somehow banged up her knee very badly!!! The cut was very deep! So I quickly went into action, grabbed a first aid kit, cleaned it up a bit then put a bandage on. She wanted to go to the hospital because it didn't look good at all. You would think with all these doctors around they could helps us, but of course they were all in class. So thankfully someone had a car so I helped Madison get all of her papers and we went to go look for the hospital. Yesterday when we were getting groceries we actually drove by the hospital for the first time, so luckily I had an idea of where it was. So we started our journey. On the way, the car broke down!! Haha! Thankfully it wasn't anything serious, just the foot step on the side fell off. But only half fell off and was dragging on the road. So we pulled over trying to get the other hinge off but we're having a lot of trouble. A few people stopped to help us and one of them was able to get the bar off. #nevisnice , that's the saying I learned from Megan (Albertan). Her spouse is in Med 3, but this is her first time she is living on the island. I felt bad for the guy who helped us because he was in his dress clothes. But I was also thankful it wasn't a tire or worse. 

That long bar is what we had to rip off the car so we could keep driving! 

So we continued our journey to the hospital. We almost made it there, but the road was closed!! We had no clue what the alternate route was so we were driving around in circles trying to get to the entrance, then..of course the only police officer on the island pulled us over! Haha! We immediately said we were trying to get to the hospital, he saw Madison in the back and tried to tell us where but none of us understood him, all we got out of that was "buckle up, that's my warning" yikes! I'm sorry but my seat belt didn't we got back to where the road was closed and I just had enough so I got out of the car and moved the pylon myself so the car could get through. We made it! 6 stitches later and Madison survived. No wait time, and it only cost 45EC. 

This was the waiting room. At least there was no wait time! 

She was very brave! First time ever having to get stitches! And in a foreign country nonetheless! 

Madison is also writing a blog, if you want to check it out:
I'm sure you will get a more detailed view of how she was feeling during the whole ordeal. I thought she was very brave! No tears! I would have been a mess!!

So we all climbed back in the car and started our journey home, thinking that this day was over. ..nope! Of course we have to get into a car accident!! We were waiting to turn right onto a street and some lady backs her car right into us! We were even yelling at her to stop and her friend was too! Seriously!! Poor Madison! She was in the back trying to keep her leg straight and the car hit her side! My goodness! Luckily the damage wasn't that bad. The funny thing was when it happened a police car drove right by us, looked at the scene, then kept on driving. Haha! The lady who hit us at least told us her name and gave us her phone number. I took a picture of her licence plate too just to be safe. I don't really know how it works down here with insurance. Kyle told me that one of the only rules they have here is to file an accident report within 24 hours if you want the insurance to be able to cover it. Hopefully Megan gets it all worked out!

So to sum up, we know what the Nevis hospital is like, what the police officers are like, what it's like to get in a car accident and have your car fall apart. All in a day's work I suppose. 

I'm just glad everyone is okay, it could have been worse. And let's be honest, I'm glad I have an interesting story for my blog :) haha. It's all about the experience. I'm actually impressed with how calm I remained throughout everything. I know if this had been back home, I would have been a stress case. #islandlife 
I think that's it for now. Time to relax and watch Netflix! 

Take care everyone! 

Wednesday, 14 January 2015

First St. Kitts Trip

Hey Everyone!

We have had some interesting adventures the last couple of days, so here is my update. Ashley and I have been stuck in the house since she has been here. Yesterday was the first nice day! (Even though there was still some rain). We started our morning with some fresh fruit from Mike the Vegtable Guy! It was delicious, I bought some melon, grapefruit, lemons, and a cucumber all for 25 EC. This stuff was better than what I have seen in the grocery store! So I am excited for more food from him!

Here is some pictures of the fruit! It was a delicious breakfast with farm fresh eggs too! Yum!

Once we were full, we packed up our bags and headed out for the beach. It took awhile before we were able to get a bus and it was getting pretty warm out! However, we managed to find one, but we weren't sure if the guy was actually working because on the way to the beach he made a few stops to do some errands. He dropped some beer off at a bar along with some lettuce and herbs. Then he told us he wanted to stop at the egg farm to get some eggs. We didn't mind, we were able to see more of the island, and I didn't know where the egg farm was, so that was nice! We also found where the nicer houses are on Nevis, the roads were terrible, but the houses were beautiful. We made it to Pinney's Beach, and our driver gave us his number so we could call him when we wanted to leave. Thanks Cleve! So if you are keeping track, I now have 3 different bus driver numbers!

Well here is Pinney's! According to Ozzie (cab driver) this is the best beach!!  

It had the bluest water I have seen so far! 

The day we went, they had the cruise ships over in St. Kitts and people were able to take an excursion to Nevis and hang out at this beach. So of course, all the locals thought we were part of the ships, and on that beach you have to pay for chairs. However, we were able to get a "student discount" of 20 EC... :s 
Anyway, once the locals learned that I'm actually living on this island, they were a lot nicer and Ashley even scored us some free drinks! So all was well, I got to do some reading for school, Ashley finally got some sun, swam in the water and we even saw some little crabs on the beach!

If you look closely, there is a little crab there. He was so cute!

It was shaping up to be a great beach day, until the rain came!! We hurried over to Lime Beach Bar, and decided to eat some lunch. We ordered the catch of the day-mahi-mahi. It was delicious!! So fresh! The bar was pretty cool too, minus the flies! The meal was only 20US. The one waitress invited us to go back there Wednesday night because they have a live band, and they just launched the patio upstairs. However, I know that's where a lot of the locals hang out at night and it can get pretty I'm not sure if we will go back.

So we called our friend Cleve to pick us up and he was there within 5 minutes. Whenever I have called someone thus far, they have been either on time or early, if this is what island time is like, I'm okay with that! Haha, everyone has warned me about it but it hasn't been that bad. We went home and then made some home made chicken wings for dinner. I have never tried it before, but they really looked like they were from a restaurant, Kyle even went back for seconds!

We even made some onion rings! I normally don't like food pictures, but I can't help it! I'm trying to expand my knowledge of cooking with chicken! Haha, maybe I will write a book called 365 Ways to Cook Chicken...haha.
After we made chicken wings, Ashley had a craving for something sweet, so she made some chocolate chip cookies, and I did some homework. The next day we were planning on heading to St. Kitts...

We were up bright and early and out the door by 8:30am, hoping to make the ferry by 9:30. Madison came with us and we managed to get a bus really early, and it only cost us 4.50 EC to get to the ferry. We bought our tickets which were 25 EC (A bit more expensive than I thought) and then went to the gate, however the security guard told us we needed to go back and get the yellow tickets. Which we then found out were for the ferry port tax which was only 1EC. I didn't understand why they didn't just sell that all together, they had 2 separate windows for that. Seemed silly to me. Anyway, we hopped on the boat and settled in for our 40 min ride. Most of us fell asleep on the way. Haha, so I missed out on some photos. 

Yay we made it to St. Kitts! Right away, I could tell the atmosphere is very different compared to Nevis. We talked about it after, and decided that the locals seemed less welcoming than on Nevis. There were 2 cruise ships that had docked for the day, so I know most them assumed we were from that, so they were trying to take advantage of us. However, we continued on and found our way to the main square downtown. Madison and I were shocked! It was very "westernized", the fast food places were insane!! 
Dominoes, Subway, KFC oh my!!!

I totally bought a pizza and brought it home for Kyle! A nice surprise! 16US for a large pepperoni.

We weren't really sure what to do, so we did some exploring around the town. They had a lot of fruits/veggie stands on the street, something that I was expecting more of on Nevis. They also had an ice cream shop, so we definitely stopped there! 
Here are a few town pics. Most of the shops around are geared towards tourists, I wouldn't have been able to afford any of it. $145 for a shirt, whether that was in EC or US, no thanks.

Once we walked around, and talked to a local to make sure we knew where the movie theatre was for future reference, we decided to try and find a beach. They have the same busing system as on Nevis, so I figured it would be easy to grab a bus, but nope. We quickly learned that the buses don't go to beaches. Hmm...a local guy told us he would take us to the beach for only 15 US, student discount, we just had to go in his pick up thanks. Maybe he was a nice guy, but who could tell, so we found a cab driver and he told us it would cost 12 US. Alright then off we go! I asked him why the buses don't go to the beaches, and he said "Because they have the whole island to drive around". So I guess only the taxi drivers get to go to the beaches, at least the prices aren't that bad. 
We made it to Frigate Bay Beach. The cab driver hooked us up with a guy who he said would take care of us on the beach, Okay? We pull up and the guy comes over to the cab, helps us out, takes the cab driver's number down so he could call him back to get us later. He wrote his number in the sand. Haha! Then he set up some chairs for us, and was very nice about it. Madison was about to tip him and then he said "no no no, I can't accept that". He went on to explain that this is his job, so he would have to report that to his boss, so they don't accept tips. For a split second I thought we got the chairs for free, hahahahaha... "I can't accept this" pause.. "So ladies, for 3 chairs plus an umbrella that's 12 US". Sigh...okay thank you kind local man for setting up the chairs that we didn't even ask for and then charging us for them. I really need to get my own beach chairs, unfortunately they didn't fit in my suit case. 
So friends if you are keeping track-dish rack, broom, oven mitts and beach chairs-necessities for Nevis!
Anyway we settle in on the beach, here are some pics.

I didn't do much exploring of the water, but Ashley did and she said the sand was covered with rocks! That was surprising to hear because according to the cab driver, this was the best beach on St. Kitts. Hmm. We were near a resort, and if it was me, I would be pretty disappointed with the water. We enjoyed the scenery, took a little cat nap and then found a restaurant to have some lunch. 

I had the tropical burger. It was great! I paid for 2 burgers, with fries and one drink and it cost 55EC. As we were paying for our food we got chatting to some tourists who happened to be from Canada, and were shocked that I used my visa. They said, we never to do that when travelling, always cash because of the exchange rate. I started to panic, but then when I talked to Kyle afterward, he told me that it's better to use my visa when possible because our credit card company offers competitive exchange rates and no additional fees, which makes it a safe and reliable method of payment, and we earn points! Kyle was able to confirm this by checking our statement, and the transaction lists the amount paid in EC/US and the converted rate in Canadian. Since I have been here, the few people that have seen me use my visa have advised against it. I have now learned not to listen to any of them! 

And then this happened...

and this... was random, the guy just came up to us and just put the monkey on us, we didn't really have time to say no thanks. Oh and then he expected us to pay him, Ashley offered him Canadian money and he didn't like that, then we offered him 2 EC, which he said he can't use here..haha uhh okay, so then he just walked away. (He was expecting 10 US) Yah right!! You should explain that before you just place a monkey on my head!!

It was almost time to head back to the ferry, so we got our cab guy back and then picked up some Dominoes and KFC for the guys for dinner. When we bought our return ticket, they incorporated the tax in the price. "We do things differently on St. Kitts". Well alright then. 

All in all in was a successful trip. We got some sun, got some food, and spent way to much money!! I don't think I will be going back to St. Kitts anytime soon. Too pricey! I was actually very relieved to get back on Nevis. It was an adventure that's for sure...

I'm exhausted, and have more beaches to visit while Ashley is still here for a couple more days.
Bye for now!