Wednesday, April 28, 2010

End of Semester Excursion

My absence from the blogging world for the past couple weeks is mainly due to a lack of blog-worthy events in our life. Ryan has been working very hard to finish up the last few projects and papers for this semester. And his diligence paid off because yesterday we found out that he again made all A's! I'm so proud of him for persevering through a semester with several difficult classes, not to mention his work as president of the Public Health Student Association and captain of an intramural soccer team. He truly has found what he enjoys doing, and it's obvious that he is gifted in the areas of science and medicine. He now has about 2 1/2 weeks until the start of his third and final semester in the Masters of Public Health program.

To kick off his vacation, we took a cruise along the coast of Grenada with some of his classmates this past Saturday. I think that was probably the most fun we have had down here. We met around 9:30am on the beach and waited for our boat to arrive. The type of boat we used was called a Catamaran. They are bigger than they look and can hold about 40 people. Fortunately, we only had about 12, so we had plenty of space. Here is a picture of our boat docked on the beach.

The crew were some of the nicest people I have met down here. They were warm and friendly, and were a big part of making the over-all experience so enjoyable. The first part of the day we sailed up the coast to a city called Gouyave. It is the home to Fish Friday (stay tuned for a blog post about that experience). The water was calm and the sun was warm. Laying on a boat with friends, feeling the cool breeze, sipping an ice-cold Coke, and watching the beautiful scenery on all sides is the height of relaxation.

Once we reached Gouyave, we turned around and made our way back down the coast. About half an hour later, we reached a little bay where we docked for lunch. While the crew prepared our meal on the black-sand beach, we swam in the crystal-clear water. I was expecting sandwiches for lunch, but the meal we enjoyed was probably the best local food we've had in Grenada. The picnic table was spread with fresh tossed salad, potato salad, rice, roasted vegetables, barbecue chicken, and fresh fish. We sat on the black sand under the shade of a huge tree and enjoyed the delicious meal. Eventually everything was packed up and back on the boat, and we were off to our snorkeling adventures. We stopped at two different places along the coast. The first snorkeling opportunity was at a breath-taking coral reef.

We spent about 45 minutes with our faces in the water staring at the incredible variety of fish, coral, urchins, and other underwater creatures. One of the crew members collected several urchins for us to see up close. Then they cut one of the urchins in half and scooped out the inner portion. They mixed it into a drink with fruit punch, lime, and bitters (herbs). Ryan had a little sip, and based off his reaction, I decided not to try any of it.

Next we traveled further down to the coast until we reached the world's first underwater sculpture park. We saw four of the sculptures - a circle of people holding hands, a man's face, a man sitting at a desk with a typewriter, and a man on a bicycle. The following pictures are taken from the artist's website,

They look a little creepier up close in the pictures than they do when you are on the surface of the water. The sculptures all contain some environmental symbolism or something, but we thought they were pretty cool to look at. One of our crew members snorkeled with us and pointed out the various sculptures by diving down to them. He even brought me back a beautiful sand dollar from one of his dives!

After we were back on the boat and headed for home, the crew served us slices of fresh mango and bread with cheese and meat. They really took such good care of us. We arrived back to Grand Anse Beach around 5:30pm. Hopefully we'll be able to enjoy many more of these snorkeling excursions during our time in Grenada. I still can't believe I live in a place where all of this is just minutes from our house. We are so blessed!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Wedding Memories

Today is a celebration of the happiest day of my life. Two years ago I married my best friend. I am so blessed to have a husband that loves the Lord more than anything, but also is a daily example of Christ's love for me through his selfless, forgiving, unconditional love. I have never met anyone who has a harder time finding fault with anyone or anything. He goes out of his way to talk to the person standing by himself, and looks for ways to serve others. He never raises his voice or gets angry. I am so thankful for his calm, level-headed, rational approach to difficult situations. And I'm thankful for his funny, crazy side that provides humor in everyday life. He is my perfect match, but yet I don't deserve him.

So in honor of our anniversary, I wanted to share a few of my favorite memories and pictures from our wedding. I can honestly say that I loved every minute of that day. If I could go back and do it again, I wouldn't change a thing. I know that I owe a huge part of that to the wonderful people who gave up so much of their time to make everything perfect. Of course my parents deserve the biggest thank-you. I am so appreciative of the many sacrifices they made for me, all the work they put in behind the scenes.

The day began with a wonderful bridesmaid's brunch at my Aunt's house. She made the most delicious meal, and I'm so glad I had the opportunity to relax and enjoy the time with my sweet bridesmaids before the busyness of the day. Following the brunch, we headed to the church where several close friends of mine were kind enough to do our hair and makeup. We put on a movie, and had a great time getting ready together.

Finally it was time to see Ryan. Here we are a few minutes after we saw each other for the first time.

The next couple hours were spent getting pictures taken. . .
with both of our families

with my cousins

of the details

in the wind

and in love.

Finally the moment has arrived.

Our reception was so beautiful, and the cake and food tasted as good as they looked.

Before we knew it, it was time to go.

I can't wait to share the rest of our lives together!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Bake Sale

For the past couple weeks, I've been getting ready to help with a bake sale sponsored by the Public Health Student Association. Being the wife of the president of PHSA, I felt like I should contribute in some way. Plus, I'm the only one with tons of free time on my hands to shop for groceries and bake for hours. A few of our friends live off campus, and they let me come over and use their kitchen (and oven!). I was pretty excited to use an oven again.

But before I could start baking, I had to think through what I was going to make. Since none of the PHSA officers had organized a bake sale before, most of the planning fell to me, although I had no experience with it either. We had no idea how much to make, what prices to charge, how long we should run the sale, or even what we should sell! So we decided that as long as we broke even after the bake sale, it would be a success. A couple students volunteered to bake brownies, chocolate chip cookies, and cupcakes. The rest of it was up to me. Here are the different recipes I decided to try:
- 7-Layer Cookies (graham cracker crust topped with coconut, butterscotch chips, chocolate chips, and pecans)
- Lemon Bars
- Cappuccino Brownies
- Red Velvet Cake
- Fresh Pear Pie
- Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cake
- Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

I had planned to make apple cinnamon muffins and banana bread as well, but ran out of time. The grocery shopping took place over the course of a couple weeks. But I eventually was able to find everything I needed.

The only thing I had trouble finding was baking pans. A friend of ours loaned us a 9x13" pan and an 8x8" pan. And I eventually found some disposable aluminum pans at the grocery store. I could have used a few more, but at least I'll know for next time. This past Thursday was my baking night. After a quick dinner, Ryan and I headed to our friends' house around 4:30. One of the guys who lives there was nice enough to drive all the bags of ingredients over to the house in his car the night before. I brought most of my bowls, spoons, and measuring cups, and it was a good thing I did - the kitchen had almost no baking equipment. (This may be due to the fact that 7 guys live there.)

Almost as soon as we got to the house, I realized that the butter had been left sitting on the counter overnight. Ryan was very kind and volunteered to run to the store for me. That immediately changed the plan I had for the order in which I would bake everything. So I improvised and started with a cake that didn't need butter. Next, I realized that not only did I not know how to turn on the oven, but it was also in Celsius. Fortunately, one of the guys knew how it worked, and as it turns out, one of my recipes actually had the Celsius conversion! Disaster averted.

The rest of the evening went pretty smoothly. I had to guess at the length of time for everything because the timer didn't work on the oven. It was a little bit of trial and error to get the temperature and timing right, but it all worked out. We finished around 10:00pm, and again our friend gave us a ride back to school. I was glad we didn't have to figure out how to carry 7 pans of baked goods and 6 bags of ingredients on the bus by ourselves.

Finally it was Friday, the day of the bake sale. We thought we would be stationed at the Upper Bus Stop, which is also where different vendors sell food during lunch. But another organization was already having a bake sale in that location, so we had to move to a courtyard area surrounded by classrooms and the library. We were a little concerned that we wouldn't have the amount of traffic that the other location has. Ryan and some classmates helped me carry everything from our room to the courtyard around 10:30. They had to go back to class until 12:00, so one of the PHSA officers and I stayed at the table. We had planned to begin the bake sale at 11:00, but there was a steady stream of people as soon as we got there. Since I again had no experience with a bake sale, I just guessed at the prices we would charge. It turns out they were right where they should be. Here is the flyer I printed ($1EC = $0.37USD):

And here are a few pictures of the bake sale. This is one that Ryan took before other people brought the cupcakes, rice krispie treats, and a cheesecake.

By the time Ryan's class ended at 12:00, we had sold more than half the items, and we sold out of 3-4 items completely!

At the beginning, I was worried that we had way too much food. But as it turns out, we probably could have doubled the amount we baked. A few people actually wanted one of everything! We planned to stay there until 3:00, but by 1:00 we were completely sold out. It's a good thing, too because shortly after we packed up, it poured for about half an hour. Since we weren't under a tent or anything, that would not have been good.

In the end, we made over $600EC - more than any of us could have imagined! The money will be used to sponsor health fairs around the island, clothing drives for the poor, and various other charities. The guys all want to have another bake sale next month! I may need a little more time than that. But next time, I'm definitely making enough so we have some leftovers to bring home!

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Easter Weekend

It hardly seems possible that we've been here almost 2 months. We've settled into a daily routine (more or less) and I've become pretty good at getting around on my own. But something about celebrating your first holiday away from home still seems strange. Last year we spent Easter Sunday with both of our families (it was also our 1-year anniversary that day). I remember how special my mom made that day. She decorated the table for Easter dinner in the colors of our wedding and made the most delicious meal. And having the whole family together was so much fun. Today it was just the two of us. But aside from the fact that we were missing our families and our church, we had a pretty great weekend. Plus, we got to talk to my family on Skype this afternoon. My grandparents were there for dinner, and we were able to say hi to them, my parents, and my sisters! How did people ever survive without the internet?

Ryan has been on Easter break since Thursday, and he goes back to class on Tuesday. So we've been able to enjoy a little more time together after the craziness of his schedule the past couple weeks. Thursday night we went out for dinner. We visited this little Italian place not far from campus. Actually, the front of the restaurant said "French Bakery and Cafe" but they serve pasta, pizza, and tiramisu. So I call it Italian. Last time we were here we split a pizza. This time we tried their pasta, and it was incredible! I had penne with a mushroom, garlic, and parsley cream sauce. Heavenly! Ryan had the Russian - penne with smoked salmon in a cream sauce.

It was a beautiful evening and we enjoyed sitting outside in the open air restaurant. We also ran into a really nice couple that Ryan had met last term. I was happy to finally meet them and make some new friends. After dinner we walked about a half mile down the street to Rick's for some ice cream. Now last Saturday we went to Rick's for their pizza. And I have to say it was the best pizza I've had on the island. But last week we were too full to have ice cream, so here we are again. Considering the fact that ice cream in the grocery store is so expensive, you wouldn't expect it to be very cheap at a restaurant. But you can get one scoop (which is more than enough) in a cone for only $1.69. Ryan had the mango ice cream and I tried the pistachio. Both were delicious!

After ice cream, we walked back past the Italian restaurant and to the IGA for my usual Thursday grocery run. We stocked up on milk, eggs, produce (they had some beautiful romaine lettuce) and a couple things for the bake sale I'm organizing on Friday. (More about that later.) We ended the evening by watching a movie and eating pop corn - the perfect end to the day.

Seeing as how we are here for Ryan to go to medical school, the rest of the weekend consisted mostly of Ryan studying at the library and me hanging out at home. He is so diligent, and I'm proud of him for working hard this weekend and getting some projects and papers finished. And we've still had time for relaxing meals together and good conversations. Speaking of meals, a friend inspired me this weekend with a delicious recipe for braised short ribs that I can't wait to try. And another friend gave me a recipe for Japanese hibachi - one of our favorite meals. So hopefully this week the grocery store will cooperate and I can try some new things. But this weekend, I relied on an old standby for Saturday dinner - hearty tomato soup, salad, and grilled cheese sandwiches. I forgot how much I love that meal!

Today we celebrated Christ's resurrection with fellow Grenadian believers. The service was beautiful, and I was reminded again how thankful I am that we serve a risen Saviour! My favorite part of the service was the little 7-year old girl that sang "The Old Rugged Cross" so sweetly. The song leader even asked her to sing it again when she finished! We truly look forward to each opportunity to worship with these dear people.

Usually Sunday night signals the end of the weekend, but Ryan has one more day off before returning to class. So tomorrow we're planning to go to the pool and a beginner's pottery class in the afternoon with some friends. Never a dull moment here!
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...