I’m having the hardest time reconciling the passage of time with the lack of seasons in Grenada. I’m from northwestern Pennsylvania where Thanksgiving is marked by steadily cooling weather, the first frosts that tip the grass white, clear bags of mulched leaves at the curb, black skeletal trees stripped of their leaves. I’m supposed to have unpacked my black wool jacket, mounds of hats and scarves, unearthed my driving gloves, made an appointment to have winter tires put on my car. When I step outside, my breath should come out in white puffs and the air should feel crisp and thin in my lungs.
|I miss this...|
I just can’t quite come to terms with the date when I look outside every day and see the same blue sky, glaring sun, glittering water and vivid green leaves. Something seems oddly amiss when I put on sunscreen in November. And let’s not even get started on how bizarre I feel wearing a swimsuit one week before Thanksgiving. As often as I check my calendar and understand that time is, genuinely passing, I still can’t shake the feeling that I’ve been dropped in a looping hot summer day.
Folks back home that envy my position, being in “paradise” (totally not my word for Grenada), know that the novelty wears off. The beaches are beaches, and as nice as they may be, if you’re used to (and hence comforted by) the changing seasons as I am, after a year, you’d trade in those beaches for a nice piece of frozen home. Call me crazy if you want; when our plane lands on December 19th in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, I am going to run outside and stuff my bare hands in the first pile of snow I can find.
In short, yes, I am considerably homesick. I’m dying to hug my family and friends, before throwing snowballs at them. Less than five weeks…
Speaking of Thanksgiving, it’s next Thursday… already! Most food is pretty expensive on the island, particularly when you’re working with a budget. Sure, there are more affordable options, such as fresh fruit, beans and eggs, but if you want to eat meals that mildly resemble foods you ate back home, you’re going to spend over $200ec every week on groceries. I knew this would be an issue for Thanksgiving, but budget be damned! I intend to put together a decent meal for Thanksgiving. Plus, we’re hosting our downstairs neighbor, David. So of course I want something worth eating and, hopefully, enjoying. We just might have to make those leftovers stretch out for a week to make up for the added expense.
We won’t be enjoying a turkey since they cost more than lobster back home. Instead, we have three chicken breasts. We’re also going to have stuffing, mashed potatoes, corn, cranberry sauce, gravy, sweet potato casserole, biscuits (the flaky, pull-apart ones!), pumpkin bread and pumpkin pie with a Nutella/whipped cream topping. I’m really hoping the pumpkin desserts work out. I couldn’t find canned pumpkin at IGA, so I just bought pumpkin slices, boiled them, added coconut milk and spices, and mashed them by hand, then froze 1-cup portions.
This week a group of ladies who frequent the orphanage got together to make salt dough ornaments for the children. I don’t know how many we made, but it felt like a lot. We had to get creative to make all the ornaments unique, but I think we did a pretty good job!
Yesterday, a couple other girls and I took another trip to the GSPCA to volunteer with the dogs. We spent a couple hours walking all of them around the adjacent botanical gardens (which is a fancy name for what it really is: a gated plot that has governmental buildings and a manicured yard). I’d made some more homemade doggy treats in anticipation of the visit. This time they were made from chicken livers and gizzards, which, incidentally, smell slightly less disgusting than pigs’ feet when boiling on the stove for a couple hours. The dogs loved them. We’re hoping to make it back to the shelter at least one more time before the end of the term.
|There's not much counter space to work with when making dog cookies, but I manage.|
I hate to end on a sad note, but I’m so sad to see some of my friends leaving me. One of the most difficult aspects of being in this position is making friends with people who are in terms ahead of you. St. George’s University has a new class coming in every fall and spring. That means people move back to the States and on to Clinicals bi-annually instead of just annually. So every term, people you’ve barely formed bonds with have to leave. Your best hope of seeing them again is if they happen to be moving on to clinical rotations in the same city as you.
I feel like I make friends with people here and love getting together with them and having new experiences side by side. Then, as the term draws to an end, I have to suddenly accept that my friends are leaving. And, despite promises we may try to make, there’s a really good chance I won’t see them again. Let me be totally frank and banal: That sucks.
|Goodbye to Tammy, who is already home, awaiting the arrival of her granddaughter|
|Goodbye to Sarah, my hash and Crossfit buddy|
|Goodbye to Elli, my awesome friend, who I just met this term and is leaving already. So unfair!|