Sunday, July 11, 2010

The Final Days

Today marks the end of our first stay in Grenada. When we left home in February and boarded our plane in Greenville, it was impossible to imagine what our lives would be like down here. Now, five months later, we are just hours away from seeing our friends and family again.

We've come to really enjoy living in the Caribbean. You can't beat the warm, sunny weather and pristine beaches just minutes from home! It's been good for us to experience a different culture and come to understand the people a little better. But in many ways, it has made us miss and appreciate America that much more. I already have my list of things I want to do this next month while we're home - mainly shopping and eating at our favorite restaurants. Oh, and I'm especially excited about driving my car again and having the freedom to go where I want, when I want, without waiting for a bus!

This last week here in Grenada has been one of the busiest of the term. Ryan had two major papers due this week, a final exam, and a presentation. We had a couple late nights, but everything was completed on time. As of right now, he is waiting on one final grade, but currently has a 4.0 . . . and a master's degree! I am so proud of all his hard work this year. And I am in awe of his ability to get A's in all his classes, fulfill more than his share of the responsibilities as president of his class, and still find time to play soccer almost every night with the guys!

I occupied my time this last week by creating meals from the ever-decreasing stash of food in our pantry and refrigerator and in planning two final parties. The first was another birthday party for a friend on Wednesday night. As the decor of our host's room was white and red, I followed that color scheme, accented with silver, throughout the evening. In my hours of reading the inspirational blogs of truly creative women, I came across a tutorial for these gorgeous flowers made from paper napkins. I made a few out of red, white, and silver napkins and was surprised at how easy they are to make! I also baked two dozen red velvet cupcakes, piped creamy white icing in swirls, and topped them with tiny silver balls. We sipped delicious South African fruit juice and sparkling water and enjoyed an elegant evening with friends.

Friday night was the end of the term banquet for all the MPH students. We worked with our amazing friend, Gail, at the Mt. Cinnamon Hotel to develop different menu options for the students, then organized a meeting where the students were able to choose their dinner ahead of time so the restaurant would be prepared the night of the banquet. Next, we created personalized name cards with each person's menu choice to make the servers' jobs a little easier. Ryan and I enjoyed playing host and hostess for the evening and greeted everyone as they arrived. The food was delicious, the setting was gorgeous, and it was the perfect way to end the semester.

On Saturday morning, Ryan and I took one last trip to the beach. In the hour or so we were there, we had one man offer to give us a foot massage and a young boy ask if he could have Ryan's sunglasses. Both are common occurrences when you're at the beach. Later that afternoon, we began the long process of packing. Not only did we have to pack a couple suitcases for a month-long trip home, but we also had to fit everything else in our room (including spices, canned goods, sheets, towels, and dishes) into our one closet and padlock it. Since we had to leave for the airport at 5am, we stayed up most of the night packing. After a half-hour nap at 4:00am, we groggily threw the last remaining items in the closet and met our friend for a ride to the airport. I took a quick picture before we locked our closet; here is the sum of our earthly possessions in Grenada:

Right now we are in the Dallas airport waiting for our flight to Greenville. So far everything has been on time, and we have been able to sleep on the planes. We enjoyed a yummy meal at Chili's here in Dallas, complete with prompt drink refills of southern sweet tea and wonderful customer service. We love being back in America already!

But the best part is that we are finally one short plane-ride away from being home again. And that makes the sleepless night and long day worth it all!

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