Tuesday, 31 March 2015

Not So Exciting News

Hi Everyone!

Thanks for staying tuned. Unfortunately I don't have any exciting news... :( Here is the story...

We were renting a car with another couple on the island, and about a week ago, they decided they wanted to buy their own car. They had crunched some numbers and just thought it would be better for them. Cool. But now Kyle and I were kinda confused on what to do. Should we buy? Should we keep renting? 350 a month x 26 months...I mean that's a lot of money you don't get back, where as buying your own car at least you would get some money back. When we first came here, we didn't know what to expect in terms of transportation, but if I am going to be working it's best if I have a vehicle. So we saw an ad from a professor at the school selling his 98 Honda CR-V. We do love our Hondas :). So we thought we would try to get that car. We saw the car, went for a test drive. Considering the year, and the condition of the roads around here, it was pretty smooth. Aside from a few mechanical issues that we found out later were pretty inexpensive to fix we decided to make an offer. 
Poor Kyle, we were dealing with all this over the weekend while he was trying to study for exams. His exams were yesterday, and his chemistry one didn't go as well as he had hoped :(. He still did well, he was just hoping for a better mark considering he spent most of his time studying for that class. Anyway, after his exams we went to go make the offer. I mean the guy could have told us over the phone he already had an offer (which was higher than what we said). He then told us he just wanted to hear what our price was. ?!?!?! Seriously. I don't think that's how bartering works. Anyway, so no car for us :( We decided that it's just not the car for us, and that a better one is waiting somewhere. 
It was kind of a crappy day for Kyle, and then some of his friends backed out for dinner plans last minute, so instead we decided to pick up some Chinese Food. There are 3 Chinese restaurants here. I had been to one and didn't really like it, so we went to the one called Younge's. The prices are pretty comparable to Canada, however the portion sizes are considerably less :( So there wasn't much for left overs which I usually love! We got sweet and sour chicken and Kyle loved it, so that made up for the bad day. We then watched the final Lord of the Rings movie. I finally finished the books!! Woohoo! However the extended version of the movie is so looooong!!! Lol. 
Anyway, that's the car story. 

Work for me is going well. I am seeing some big differences in the child already. I just wish I had more resources and materials out here. I did meet the Speech Pathologist yesterday. She is from Texas and moved to the island in October. Her boyfriend is actually from Montreal and works at the Four Seasons Resort. So that was fun! She has some experience with ABA, so we are hoping to work together and figure out a way to get PECS going for some of the kiddos. I am also hoping to start a social skills group for some of the older kids at the school. There are a few boys who display your typical boy behaviors, however they take it a bit to far... haha. Hopefully I can work on that with them. I feel like I have so much to do for this school, just no time to do it!!
Just think, a few weeks ago I was saying how I don't do much around here except run and cook. Well, I haven't run in awhile, and I am up early printing out stuff for the school. I also have been writing papers for my course on top of that! I'm keeping up so far, and the special needs school has a two week break for Easter so I will be able to catch up on my coursework then. But then the in-laws are coming for a visit!! I'm excited for some company that aren't island folk haha. The change will be nice. I am trying to think of some activities to do while they are here. Hopefully we will be keeping busy. 

Kyle only has two more weeks left of his first semester! Yippee!! We are hoping to go to St.Kitts and catch up on the movies we have been missing out on! The struggle is real guys :P

So it has been 3 months of living here and I really feel like I am getting accustomed to the island life. I was just saying to Kyle the other day, we do hear a lot of negativity from some people around here, but I feel like I have been doing well with staying positive. So the car thing didn't work out this time, but we will get one. So the power goes out for 5 minutes. No big deal. So our fridge is leaking... (okay that's a little annoying). Haha, but I am pretty proud of myself for being able to find a job here, keep up with school, still manage to cook every night and work out here and there. This experience is really going to prepare me for when we come back home and I have to go to work full time. Speaking of home...June 15 I'm there!!!!!!!!!!! We found a really sweet deal, only 200 bucks!! So I will be home in June and Kyle will come back in August. That will be hard for us, and I will miss him for sure, but we have done long distance before and survived. Plus, nowadays time flies!! Can you believe April starts tomorrow!!??!?! That is crazy to me!! My method of working through this experience in chunks has really paid off. Just 3 months until I come home. 

So that's the update. You guys are lucky, 2 blog updates in one week ;) With the job now, things are busier for me, but hopefully I can still keep you informed as best as I can. Tomorrow there is a track and field day for the schools here so I am going to that. Should be fun! I am learning a lot about the life here from all the teachers at the school. I am finding out where to buy "fast food" here, who the good mechanics are, meeting new people etc. It's been great so far. I am learning you just have to ask (which is hard for me to do) but I am breaking out of my shell and making it work. :) 

Alrighty everyone, that's all for now! Sorry no pictures today :(

Miss you!!

Sunday, 29 March 2015

Work Life for the Nevis Wife

Hey Friends!!

What a busy week for me! I started my "volunteer" position at the school this week! I was so excited and nervous. I am starting out as a volunteer until the work visa gets processed, so I had to fill out more paper work for that. Luckily I was able to get it all done so I could get started. 
The first day was pretty overwhelming. I basically spent the entire day with my client by myself! The principal left me to do what I wanted, get to know her, get comfortable with the routine of the school etc. So I pulled out all the tricks I have learned and started to get to work. It was crazy to think that I am sort of my own boss for the time being, trying to come up with programs for the client on my own and implement them. Adapting to the resources they have, and making it the best I can. I still check in with the principal, but she is a busy lady! She trusts my judgement and any programming stuff I make sure to run it by her first. The other teachers don't have an ABA background, so for now I am trying to model some behaviors for them. I still have to build up their trust because they have been so used to handling things in their own way, so for me to come in and try and change that I'm sure is overwhelming. So until I gain their trust and respect, I am just making some mental notes about things to work on:) Although I dealt with some behaviors this week, there was nothing I hadn't seen before, and by the end of the week, my client was starting to recognize me. I have been able to get her laugh and I quickly found out what she likes and doesn't like. 

The other teachers are very nice, and the one day I didn't go in they said that they missed me, so I guess that's a good sign! For right now my hours are Mon-Wed from 10am -2pm. I need time to do my school work still, and for all of my work friends out there, they know it can be very exhausting to work with the same client all day. I don't want to over do it in my first week. However when I was talking to the principal about it, she told me she has big plans for me! Haha, so I guess I will be getting busier! For right now though, I am happy with how things went this week. I got to know her, and the teachers, and how the routine works at the school. My favourite part is being able to take her for a break outside!!! We can walk around the school, and they have a nice playground. I also love that right outside I have a great view of Mount Nevis haha. 

On Wednesday, I found out that there was an agricultural fair happening, and the kids were all going to go on Friday. However, my client wouldn't be going because she has some behaviors and they just don't have enough staff to put a one to one with her. So I volunteered to go because I didn't think she shouldn't be included. It was pretty awesome! The fair reminded me of back home of some farmer's markets and craft shows at the cottage. It was pretty fun, although they had a section where you could see some animals, but all the animals were ones you see on the side of the road on a daily basis. That made me laugh a little, but the kids seemed to enjoy it! My client did really well, considering there was a lot of standing and waiting, but she was a trooper! 

Over the weekend I got some paper work together so now on Monday I can hopefully start some programming with her! I'm pretty excited! There are a lot of changes that can be made at the school that will help these kids, but for now I am hoping to start with this client and getting her to sit appropriately in her own class. :)

So I had an awesome week at the school, I had a nice long skype chat with my work friends, and I booked my flight home!!!!! Oh and Kyle has been studying all weekend getting ready for his second last set of exams for the semester! I will be coming home mid June, so mark your calendars people!! 

Anyway, there may be something exciting happening tomorrow, so stay tuned for another blog update :)

Here are some pics from the Agricultural Fair. Sorry for the quality, I was also holding my client's hand so she couldn't escape ;)

And this week I made some homemade guacamole. My first time ever! Shout out to my friend Dalia for the inspiration!! Miss you girl!

Saturday, 21 March 2015

Opportunity Awaits

So here is my story of how I got a job on Nevis...

Some of you know that I was able to get an interview, then it got cancelled and was rescheduled for this past Monday. Well, what an adventure that was!

My interview was scheduled for 10 am with someone from the Ministry of Education. I made sure to have all my required paperwork ready to go which included transcripts, passport, resume, application, reference letters and birth certificate. Thankfully I met someone here who works for the Ministry (also from Mississauga) and he helped me make this connection. I am so blessed to get this opportunity that I was just thankful to have this initial meeting not knowing the possible outcome. 

So I got all "interview ready" which included straightening my hair for the first time on the island...I doubt I will do that again. It was very hot and by the end I had to change my clothes haha, and once I was driving my hair got messed up anyway from the wind :P

To make sure I didn't get lost, I gave myself plenty of extra time, I did have to make one phone call to figure out where to go because the instructions I received initially were to go past the round-a-bout on your right, and go over the "drain or grate thing" and then keep driving... hmmm okay then. Well I thought I had an idea of where to go, it's just past a gas station, and that was never mentioned in my instructions haha. Anyway turns out, I was about 30 feet away from the building I needed to be at when I made my phone call. So that was great! I arrived 15 minutes early and waited patiently. 

I actually wasn't feeling nervous at all. I think because I was going in with an open mind, and to not expect anything. I just wanted to make an initial contact and meet some new people. As I'm sitting there, a nice looking lady walks in and sits beside me, I then find out she is the principal at the school I am interested in!!! I didn't think she was coming to the meeting, but here she was! So of course I do my best not to fumble my introduction and start asking about the school. 
It's a special needs school, and they currently have about 20 students ranging in ages from 4-16, all with varying special needs. PERFECT :)

So we get called into the meeting and well, it was definitely not your average interview. The Ministry lady basically said it's up to the principal to decide if they could use me. The principal described that right now there is an immediate need for someone to help a young child aged 5 with autism who has pretty severe behaviors and is on PECS. All my Erinoak friends will understand that. Sounds perfect for me!! I immediately talk about my experience in that area and present my resume. The Ministry lady seemed impressed that I had all my documents ready to go. So she went to photocopy my passport and the principal and I talked some more. The meeting basically ended with me going to the school right after to get a tour, and the principal wanted me there 5 days a week if possible. It all depends on budgeting, and she has to write a letter to the Ministry explaining her needs. When the Ministry lady looked at my resume and saw my address she asked more details and it turns out she has seen me running before because she lives close to us! Hahaha! #smallworld #smallisland 
So it sounds like any sort of work visa I may get won't happen until after Easter, and I think I will be starting off at part time. Pay wasn't really discussed, at this point I would be happy with enough to pay for groceries each week :P

So I followed the principal to the school. I was blown away!! This woman has so much passion for her job it was so refreshing! She is originally from England so she knows about ABA, there is also an SLP at the school from the US. The property was more than I could have imagined. It recently got rebuilt and it sounds like the principal was in charge of the whole rebuild. I even met the lady who the school is named after! What a privilege! Not to mention the kids I met were amazing! They were so cute, not shy at all! Unfortunately the girl the principal wants me to work with wasn't there that day, but I saw where her work station is, and I was able to learn more about her. This principal was so nice, but she is a very busy lady! She has three children, one who has autism, and another on the spectrum. She is teaching the children farming, she really believes in the kids being on a healthy diet to help manage behaviors. She wants to hire a karate expert to help the kids manage their energy, and teach them how to make smoothies. She is in charge of arranging a trip to the Bocce Ball competition, Nevis is in the finals this summer. This is just a few of her projects underway. 
So our meeting ended with me coming back next Monday to hopefully meet the little girl. I could tell that this seemed to be the most important need right now. She is really concerned about this little girl, and I can only hope that I am able to help the school out in any way possible. I'm a little nervous for that part because I have to realize that this is not set up like the place I'm used to working in, so it will take a lot of creativity to adapt to the resources that Nevis has, and to be able to utilize what we do have available. It should make for a fun adventure though. 

After I got home, Kyle had finished his exams and his classmates wanted to go out and celebrate, so we went to this fancy restaurant! Although we didn't know it was fancy until we got there! It was called Bananas. The name doesn't really sound fancy, but the venue sure was! It was hidden in the middle of the mountain, and you had to travel along this one lane sketchy road for a good 10 minutes following teeny tiny signs. We managed to find the place and I was blown away. The only way to describe the setting is by looking at the pictures below :)

The prices for the food were slightly outrageous and it looks like a place that you only eat at once a year :P. But it was a great setting and we got to see a nice sunset. It was a great way to end the day...although once we had to pay, that was not so great. Haha. Kyle got steak and he loved it! So he said it was worth it. 

I'm excited for this new opportunity on the island. I am worried about how I can manage my school work with this potential job, because school is starting to pick up again. I hope I can mange both. The whole point of me doing my school on the island here was because I wouldn't be working. I'm not the type to be able to work and be a student at the same time. A lot of people can handle that stress, I'm just not one of them. I will keep you updated on how my first day goes on Monday. Now that,I am nervous for ;)

An Expensive French Onion Soup

An extra dinner date :) 

Miss you all!! 

Sunday, 15 March 2015

My Version of a Spring Break

Here is just a quick update about what's going on...

I know it's been awhile since I have blogged, but there hasn't been much happening. I have been on a break from my course for the past two weeks, but it starts up again tomorrow. I was getting a little bored this past week, and I am actually looking forward to starting school again...however, I just looked at the syllabus.Yikes! It's going to be a busy semester. I guess that's good though? I hope I can do well, it seems a bit tougher than last semester so we will see how it goes. 

I have been having a lot of phone troubles this past week. Kyle made me switch my phone number to one that allows for free calling/texting between people on the island who use the same carrier. We are part of some "calling circle". It makes sense to switch, it's just a hassle. Anyway, Kyle put in the new sim card and that's when the problems started. I am not able to use my iMessage anymore with my phone number. It only works with my email. It keeps saying "waiting for activation". Since I have the time, I spent a lot of it calling tech support, online chat, going to the store etc. All of the troubleshooting ideas from online don't work. We have tried, multiple times. It's just very frustrating. Someone said that eventually it just starts to work. However I didn't have this problem with my other number. Finally someone gave me some code to put in. After I spoke to someone who said they don't know what imessage is...(they are supposed to be tech support). Anyway I put in this 14 digit code and now my regular texting doesn't work! Bah! So I can receive calls/texts, and I can make a phone call, I just can't make regular texts. Which means I can't text Kyle, which was kinda the whole point in me switching phone numbers. Sigh...I realize that iphones/texting etc is a luxury I am blessed to have, however let me be honest, it's the 21st century people. We now live in a world where technology runs our lives. As sad as it is, it's the truth, so I would like to be able to text my husband when I want to!! So, I went to the store again, and the woman was actually helpful and said she was sending out an email and they will have to reset the sim card, whatever that means. Well that was on Thursday. It still doesn't work. So I will be back at the store on Monday I guess. At this point I don't even care if my imessage starts to work, because now I just use my email. 

Anyway, some good news, I was supposed to have an interview two weeks ago. They cancelled on me half an hour before, even though I was half way there. They didn't reschedule, but they called me just on Friday so my new appointment is on Monday. Let's hope this one doesn't get cancelled! 

Kyle has another set of exams tomorrow. So for my "Spring Break" I have been baking a lot, and running. So fun. Although I have injured my hip again, so I think I have to take a break from running for a bit. :( 

I have also been reading a bunch. My goal is to read some of the books from the top 100 books to read of all time from Times Magazine. I have read a few already, and now I am reading The Lord of the Rings. Kyle is proud :P. I read the Hobbit in a day, and I'm half way through the first book of the trilogy. It helps having the movies to watch after. Kyle is also excited by that too haha. 

We are both looking forward to April when we are having some visitors come! So only one month until Kyle's parents come for a visit! That will be fun. 

Oh I have also been playing scrabble with Kylie online. Yay.......

Anyway, so as I said, not much has been happening here. Oh Madison and I did go on an adventure to find the Nevis Bakery and this place called Mems Pizza. The bakery wasn't hard to find, but it was right downtown where the roads are narrow. It was kinda scary driving around that area. But we managed, when we got to the bakery, there wasn't much of a selection and it was taken over by school kids. We each bought a donut, they were okay, but we decided we would have to go back in the morning when they have all their fresh supplies. The selection was very limited at noon. We then drove around trying to find Mems Pizza, according to Trip Adviser it's supposed to be the best place to get pizza...
BAHAHAHAHA! I wouldn't recommend it. I spent 40 EC on what was supposed to be a medium, but could have been a small. The dough wasn't cooked all the way, and the waitress tried to short change me by 10 EC. The place was kinda sketchy looking, and the staff seemed a little rude to us. I doubt I will be going back there again. I have been into making homemade pizza so I think I will just stick to that, Kyle seems to like it. 

Alright so back to reading for the rest of the day. Here are a few pics from my run this week. I went on a different route. 

This is my homemade pizza. Way better than Mems Pizza.

Miss you all!

Thursday, 5 March 2015

A Little Taste From Home

Hey Everyone,

It's been busy here this week! I enjoy having busy days; makes time go by quick and it makes for some great blog stories. Hehe

Monday was my "do nothing" day. I read a lot! Trying to take on my mother's summer philosophy of "a book a day". I was also recovering from the sleepless night before. The wildlife here makes for some interesting stories. We had a cow literally tied up right outside our bedroom window. We had heard him mooing like crazy on Sunday. It was actually pretty funny, until it was time for bed! Poor Kyle had his exams on Monday and the darn cow kept us up all night. I decided to investigate the next day. I had heard some people trying to shoo him away with no luck. I was actually facetiming with my sister as this was happening. I was about to go outside, but then from my balcony I saw a man walking, and he was carrying a bucket. We have a lot of bushes, so I couldn't see clearly. I heard some interesting country music playing, and then everything was quiet...except the cow. So I had enough, I went around the yard and found the cow chowing down on some grass. I noticed he had a rope around his neck and it was connected to a stick in the ground! So the mysterious guy I saw with a bucket must have tied him up. There was also a ton of crap around!! Bahahaha! It was gross actually. I was walking back, and I saw another cow staring right at me! He wasn't tied up though. I didn't know what to do, I wanted to untie the cow, but maybe it actually belonged to this guy, but then I don't understand why he had him tied up right by our apartment buildings? He had never been there before. Anyway, it made for some good pictures. Kyle came home from his exams and he did amazing again! He also told me that someone else who heard the cow mooing decided it was enough and untied the cow later that day. (I think she is a supporter of PETA). All power to her!

Poor Cow all tied up


The other cow missing his friend :(

So now that the cow is gone, and surprisingly the bird has also been quiet the last few days. Let's hope it keeps up! 

Madison and I went to the beach on Tuesday! We are both into reading so it was a great sunny day for that. We went to Pinney's Beach. I hadn't been there since my friend Ashley was here visiting, but it's a great beach. Plus all the locals we had made friends with actually remembered me so we didn't have to pay for chairs! Woohoo!! We chatted to some of the tourists from the cruise ships and one woman was very intrigued by our story of living here. She then went around telling everyone I was her daughter... I guess she was really enjoying her vacation ;)

Wednesday finally came, the day I got to go to St.Kitts and get some STUFF!
Ashley's mom, Sharon and her husband were on a cruise, and they were bringing us some supplies from home. I was excited but also a little nervous because I had to travel alone. However, it was alright! I didn't get too harassed by people and I managed to get connected with them without any trouble. I was so happy to see people from home! I was also surprised by the huge luggage bag they brought for us. It was a little heavy to carry around town for a bit, but totally worth it! We chatted for a bit, then I helped Sharon shop, and then we went to the Circus Grill for lunch. Mr. T took a lot of photos along the way. 
My lunch was alright, I had a grilled shrimp caesar salad. Sharon talked a lot, but that was fine with me, she filled me on what was happening at home, and it made me happy to feel connected. I also got some great cooking advice. 

We found a park. An interesting tree in the middle

A fountain that has no water

View During lunch

When it was time to go, I was sad, but excited to take a look at my goodie bag :) On the way home, I was on a the Sea Hustler ferry. It was more of a cargo looking ferry and I ended up sitting outside on the second level. It made for some great photos!

I love how blue the water looks :)

Home sweet home!

Kyle picked me up in town and we headed home. I immediately opened up the bag, and honestly felt like it was Christmas morning! Haha. My mom picked up the stuff for us, and my sister Kylie, so thank you guys soooooo much!! Kyle and I really appreciate all the work you went through! There were some clothes for us, a couple of movies, sunscreen, peanut butter, I now have some baking needs and a proper pan! Kyle got a lot of chocolate and I even got some skittles :) We are very happy with our care package. Oh and I also got textbooks haha. 
New clothes! Thanks Kylie!!

You don't realize how much you miss this stuff until you are in a new place. All of the stuff we could have picked up here, but it would be three times the price, and at that point we would just go without. So it is nice when family and friends help you out. So we enjoyed some of our treats last night. 

Today we had our weekly grocery shopping day. I drove today, and I am starting to get a lot more comfortable. It's an added challenge when the speedometer doesn't work. Makes for a fun game of guess your speed. We also had a little issue with one of the windows getting stuck and not rolling up all the way. Luckily no one stole the car ;)
I also called the Department of Education for the 4th time and I finally have an interview tomorrow! Woohoo!! I am excited and nervous! I am also stressed about finding the place. The instructions I got were a little confusing, this place doesn't have an address that I can just look up on Google Maps - there aren't really any street names. Hopefully I can find it okay tomorrow. Wish me luck!

I also have to change my phone number again. Apparently the SIM card I got in my first week doesn't allow for free calls/texts like Kyle's phone. I do have the right SIM card now, it's just being a little weird and not letting me iMessage anymore :( Hopefully I can get it worked out soon. Rather, hopefully Kyle can get it worked out soon! I am so thankful for his techy skills :) 

Anyway, that's all for now. I was watching tv today and I heard that today was supposed to be the last big snow fall for you Canadian winter folks! Hopefully it's true!!! The sun/heat is where it's at! 
Miss you all!!