Sunday, May 20, 2012

The Final Death Toll…

…for Mosquito Massacre is as follows:

            I won with 484 and Ivan had a respectable 413.  Although I trust your math skills, I still want to spell out what our scores mean.  In 19 weeks, we killed 897 mosquitos.  That’s 47.2 per week, or 6.7 per day.  Scores were only valid if the mosquitos were killed inside our apartment.  Since we killed about half of the mosquitos spotted, a relatively accurate estimate of how many mosquitos plagued us inside our home in five months is 1,794.  Seriously.  One-thousand seven-hundred and ninety-four mosquitos, half of which were probably carrying dengue fever!
            That being said, I want to specify that our experience does not seem to be a usual issue.  Although our friends have had some problems with mosquitos, they’ve been nothing compared to our constant infestation.  So, some recommendations for incoming students (please take this advice for your own sanity!):
·         If your off-campus housing has dark floors (grey/black tiles), you will not be able to see the mosquitos.
·         If you look at an apartment and the walls have brown streaks on them, it’s dried blood from all the dead mosquitos and you should run away from that lease!
·         If your apartment doesn’t have very many windows and, therefore, scant natural light, the mosquitos are going to love it!
·         If your apartment doesn’t have very many windows, you won’t have any airflow and will get more mosquitos.
·         Insect repellant makes you taste bad, that’s all.  So maybe you won’t get bit as much, but you’ll still get bit.  (I don’t care for cooked green bell peppers, but I’ll eat them if I have to.)
·         Mosquitos can bite through most material, including denim.
·         Do you have screen doors?  Are your window screens intact?
·         If you look at an apartment and notice burned mosquito coils all over inside, that’s a bad sign.
When we were planning our move to Grenada, I remember reading about the mosquitos on various websites, including other SOs’ blogs, and thought to myself, “I can handle some mosquitos.  There’s no way they can be that bad.”  Please don’t make my mistake.  Prepare yourself for the Krav Maga champions of the vampiric insect world!  If you come to the island prepared, hopefully you won’t be surprised, and you can enjoy your time in your new beautiful, tropical home!

Friday, May 18, 2012

Freedom Tastes Like…

…nutmeg ice cream, Grenadian chocolate, rum punch and… Goober?
            What a whirlwind week this has been!  For all my good intentions, I never even came close to blogging on Wednesday (which has been my typical blogging day this term).  Every day we’ve been busy with plans and appointments.  Sure, we didn’t get to go turtle watching or deep sea fishing, but we do still have another year and a half on this island and no chance of getting bored!
            On Friday, Ivan finished his last final, Biochemistry.  Not until Tuesday did we receive his grades.  Though, I’m happy to say that we had no reason to worry.  He made Dean’s List, if there is a Dean’s List here, which I don’t think there is…  So I guess he didn’t make Dean’s List.  But he made Awesome List, which is my version of Dean’s List, but with a better title.  With first term done and over with (whew!), we started taking advantage of our new freedom right away!
            On Saturday we met up with some friends in L’Ance aux Epines (LAE—a 5-10 minute drive from the school) and visited the tidal pools.  We didn’t, however, have the common sense to research the tide’s ebb and flow prior, resulting in a watery visit.  Apparently, on May 12, high tide occurred at about noon.  We didn’t get to see a whole lot of marine life and, every time we ventured onto the lower rocks, were assaulted with wave after wave of seawater.  In the end, Ivan and I, Melanie and Kevin were all dripping wet and sticky with saltwater, but it was fun, like getting caught in a downpour with friends is fun.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Almost Two Down…

…and just about one to go.  Ivan’s finals, that is.  Monday he finished Anatomy and today he’s tackling Histology.  Friday will mark the end of finals with the dreaded Biochemistry.  Right now he’s only one-third through the tests for the week, but by the time I publish this post, he’ll be two-thirds through!
            I’ve noticed a recent change in my interpretation of time.  It’s as if the closer we inch toward this term’s end, the more I fraction out our remaining moments.  For instance, on Monday morning I realized that we’d be flying home in exactly two weeks.  Then I corrected myself; since that thought occurred at 7AM, we would be flying home in exactly fourteen days and two hours.  Big deal, right?  How about this: I’m writing this before noon on Wednesday.  Ivan is done with finals on Friday.  If I’m counting whole days, I still have three days to wait before Ivan is finally free to relax with me!  But by the time I publish this post, midday will have passed and—if we’re only counting whole days—I get Ivan back in two days!  Then I start to fragment.  If I want to be more precise, I have to wait two and a half days.  But Ivan actually finishes his last final at 2PM, so wouldn’t that mean I only have two days (assuming a day is defined as 24 hours and I can count half of Wednesday and half of Thursday as a whole day)?  Since I’m already fragmenting, should I consider the possibility of him finishing early?  Or how long it takes for him to get home?  If I’m getting excruciatingly detailed, I’d need to backpedal to Monday at 7AM when an edited version of my thought should have been: In fourteen days and two hours, I will be on the plane that will transport me to the United States, but I probably won’t actually be flying yet.
            The thing is, all of these ridiculous countdowns aren’t a sign that I want to go home (though, of course I want to go home and can’t wait to see all of the people I love!).  I’m just eager for this abrupt change in pace.  Many of my readers are about my age and are probably familiar with the ‘90s cartoon series Animaniacs.  (Cue the collective nostalgic laugh.)  Until very recently, this term has felt like a recurring episode of Pinky and theBrain, in which each segment begins with this familiar dialogue:
Pinky: Gee, Brain, what do you want to do tonight?
Brain: The same thing we do every night, Pinky, try to take over the world.
Whereas, in my version, the dialogue would run something along the lines of:
Allison: Gee, Ivan, what do you want to do tonight?
Ivan: The same thing I do every night, Allison, study until my ears start smoking.
Finally we get a little variation.  That’s why I’m dissecting time.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Off in the Distance, We Can See it…

…the finish line.  The end is near.  We’ve almost made it through the first term of medical school (I will concede that Ivan’s journey was probably more stressful)!  I know, I know, all of you upperclassmen (and, more likely, their significant others) are shaking your heads and rolling your eyes.  But in between that shaking and rolling, you probably remember what it was like to cross that defining moment: we made it!  Only four more terms to go… then a couple years of clinicals… then residency… oh man!  This is a long process!
            Seriously though, I’ve been so happy lately, mainly because Ivan’s been so happy.  I expected him to become surly and depressed as the cushion of days between the illusive now and finals ebbed.  Instead, he has a gleam in his eye and (dare I suggest?) a bounce in his step as time keeps on slipping (slipping slipping) into the future (notice how acutely his and my joy translates to music).  He is still studying dedicatedly, but pulls away from mock quizzes with a satisfied grin and even throws around statements such as “I’m pretty confident with Biochem” and “I’m not worried about Anatomy,” adding to my swelling pride.
            The end of finals (in nine days) marks a time of rest for not only Ivan, but all first term SGU students.  I imagine I may hear the collective sigh let loose next Friday after the last test is finished.  Although he’s looking forward to the relaxation that’s bound to follow, Ivan has assured me that he must study over summer vacation.  Although I acknowledged this as a necessity, I have forbid it for the month of May.  So our real vacation runs from May 11 thru May 31.  We’ve already started planning.  We’ll still be in Grenada for the full week after finals, so we’re going to get a little exploring in before heading back home.  Then we’re going to have a hectic and fun summer.  We have lists of places to go, people to see and food to eat when we get back home.  And the bounces in our steps and the gleams in our eyes get a little bouncier and gleamier every time we talk about home.