Friday, November 16, 2012

Ending My Time Loop

            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!

1 comment:

  1. Good morning how are you?

    My name is Emilio, I am a Spanish boy and I live in a town near to Madrid. I am a very interested person in knowing things so different as the culture, the way of life of the inhabitants of our planet, the fauna, the flora, and the landscapes of all the countries of the world etc. in summary, I am a person that enjoys traveling, learning and respecting people's diversity from all over the world.

    I would love to travel and meet in person all the aspects above mentioned, but unfortunately as this is very expensive and my purchasing power is quite small, so I devised a way to travel with the imagination in every corner of our planet. A few years ago I started a collection of used stamps because trough them, you can see pictures about fauna, flora, monuments, landscapes etc. from all the countries. As every day is more and more difficult to get stamps, some years ago I started a new collection in order to get traditional letters addressed to me in which my goal was to get at least 1 letter from each country in the world. This modest goal is feasible to reach in the most part of countries, but unfortunately it’s impossible to achieve in other various territories for several reasons, either because they are countries at war, either because they are countries with extreme poverty or because for whatever reason the postal system is not functioning properly.

    For all this I would ask you one small favor:
    Would you be so kind as to send me a letter by traditional mail from Grenada? I understand perfectly that you think that your blog is not the appropriate place to ask this, and even, is very probably that you ignore my letter, but I would call your attention to the difficulty involved in getting a letter from that country, and also I don’t know anyone neither where to write in Grenada in order to increase my collection. a letter for me is like a little souvenir, like if I have had visited that territory with my imagination and at same time, the arrival of the letters from a country is a sign of peace and normality and an original way to promote a country in the world. My postal address is the following one:

    Emilio Fernandez Esteban
    Avenida Juan de la Cierva, 44
    28902 Getafe (Madrid)

    If you wish, you can visit my blog where you can see the pictures of all the letters that I have received from whole World.

    Finally I would like to thank the attention given to this letter, and whether you can help me or not, I send my best wishes for peace, health and happiness for you, your family and all your dear beings.

    Yours Sincerely

    Emilio Fernandez