Wednesday, April 25, 2012

With Finals a Mere Two Weeks Away…

…Ivan’s been burrowing deeper and deeper into his study nest and, simultaneously, needing more and more a break.  He never quite bounced back from midterms.  I don’t mean to say that his grades have or will suffer due to a lack of enthusiasm; so, concerned family members, don’t fret.  The fact is medical school is just more demanding than undergrad.  When you’re a medical student, there are some crucial changes you must make to your lifestyle.  Try to keep in mind that your understanding of weekends is shot; vacation and time off are myths.  Your concern will never again be when the week begins and ends, but when the term begins and ends, because everything between those two points is the same defeating and overwhelming work, regardless of the day of the week.  Gone are the fall and spring breaks of college; after midterms, you keep trudging through one dense lecture after the next. 
            Ivan, apparently, really needed that spring break that never came.  Though he dove right in when the new lectures ensued after midterms, his enthusiasm is petering out now, in the last leg of this first-term journey.  He’s so burnt out, he’s unintentionally looking for distractions while studying.  He’ll actually get up two or three times an hour to scout the apartment for mosquitoes to kill.  He’s taken to asking me “whatcha doin’?” even when it’s pretty obvious what I’m doing; for instance, when I’m folding clothes he’ll ask me what I’m doing and I actually have to stop and make sure that he’s not being rhetorical before responding, “Um… folding clothes?”

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

There’s Something About Being in the Sea…

…that makes me feel equal parts predator and prey.  I don’t think I’ve ever seen a Jaws movie, but I get the premise: if young, attractive people enter ocean waters for recreational purposes, it follows that they will be consumed by a man-eating great white shark.  While the improbability of a shark attack does not go unacknowledged, I can’t help but listen for the telltale dun-dun! that great whites exude when hunting.
            Honestly, I’m not afraid of being attacked by a shark when I’m at the beach.  Part of that is because it’s really, really unlikely… right?  And the other part is because I’m never more than ten yards from the shore—not exactly open waters.
            So what equal part of me feels like prey in the sea?  The part that is certain the sea floor is a minefield of poisonous jelly fish, rays, urchins and lionfish, camouflaged with a light dusting of fine Caribbean sand.  And it is just a matter of time before I plant my foot squarely on each and every one of these creatures.  I can only attribute my pessimism to the ridiculous perfection of Grenada’s beaches.  Nothing so idyllic can exist without a weakness.  My conclusion, then, is that hidden poisonous sea critters are the chink in the beaches’ armor.  They’re just hidden really, really well, ‘cause I haven’t stepped on one yet.  Or my theory is wrong and the beaches just really are that perfect.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

When Whities Go to the Beach…

…we shimmer.  Mostly we shimmer from the reflective facets created by layers of sunscreen clinging to our glowing whitey skin.  But shimmering is shimmering nevertheless.
            On Friday, Ivan and I joined a number of other SOs and their families to La Sagesse beach (about a 30-minute drive up the southeast coast of Grenada).  For two-and-a-half hours, we relaxed and enjoyed the holiday, Caribbean-style.  The beach is quieter and more private than Grand Anse, providing more natural shade with a nearby forest and standalone palms.  A cool freshwater stream feeds into the sea, like a miniature estuary, and cuts across the beach near the entrance.  The water isn’t as clear as Grand Anse, though, and it also isn’t as tidy.  Wading in to a comfortable depth means trudging through seaweed and debris with your fingers crossed, hoping you don’t dislodge a stingray.  Of course, in our case, we should have been hoping no jellyfish were lazing about.  Not that hoping would have done a lot of good since Ivan got stung on his foot.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Oh Spring! How I’ve Missed You…

…and how I continue to miss you!  I admit I had no complaints about relocating to a tropical island at the onset of Erie’s frightening winter, but now, as spring approaches, I miss my beloved seasons!  Although Grenada is not completely without, its weather patterns are not governed as severely by Earth’s tilt.  So the island’s seasons are: wet and dry, and although they are (from my understanding) distinctly different, they hardly evoke for me the emotions and images as: winter, spring, summer and fall.  Grenada’s seasons are just adjectives: wet and dry, leaving little to the imagination—either it’s wet or dry, right?  For some reason I’m reminded of IcyHot® , the pain relief product whose name explains it all.  But, hey, at least we know what we’re in for.  Ultimately I just miss my crocuses.
            Other than the persistently static tropical weather, here’s what’s new:
            A couple weeks ago, I renewed my passport stamp—something that must be done every three months if you’re not a student (students have a six-month period before needing to renew).  I went with two other girls (one of whom had already done this last term and knew the routine).  Because I’d already read the how-to on the SO website, I was prepared—necessary documents in hand, cash ready for the fees, letter from SGU, appropriate attire donned, etc.  I’ve been to the courthouse in Erie for this legal form or that specific license or these official documents, and my visit to the Grenada immigration office was in many ways what I would expect of any legal process.  There are a set of specific steps that must be followed in a specific order and, if the t’s are not crossed and i’s are not dotted in a specific fashion, then the world will come to a specific end.  Or so you would be led to believe.  My t’s and i’s were impeccable, in case you wondered, and, yes, I am once again a legal, albeit temporary, resident of Grenada.