Friday, March 29, 2013

Did I Ever Tell You About Cockroach Fight Club?

1.      The First Rule of Cockroach Fight Club is—You don’t talk about Cockroach Fight Club You get the wicked jeebies talking about Cockroach Fight Club
2.      The Second Rule of Cockroach Fight Club is—You never leave Cockroach Fight Club with all of your limbs.
If you have all your limbs, you have to fight.

How much have I complained about our first apartment on the island?  That’s a rhetorical question.  The answer is always not enough.  Aside from the mosquito massacre (1,000 dead mosquitoes in 19 weeks) and the tick-infested, matted dogs owned by a landlord who told me my bout of illness (complete with roaming hives and fistfuls of prescriptions) was a figment of my imagination, we had bug issues.  Ants are annoying, especially barely visible sugar ants that can find a molecule of oatmeal on a countertop and will withstand persistent bleaching.  Millipedes are crunchy underfoot and a pain to clean up.  But cockroaches?  No amount of the most heinous obscenities you have ever heard can possible match my loathing of these shiny garbage-munching ^$#&*^@*&!  Probably the biggest influence in my abhorrence is the implication of filth that goes hand-in-hand with cockroaches.  Having never lived in an environment where cockroaches would be prevalent, I assumed cockroaches are only a nuisance for those people who practice subpar cleaning techniques.  As I have been known to kick people out of my house for leaving crumbs on the counter (that’s a hyperbole, but you get the point), I had a hard time not taking the bugs’ presence as an insult to my cleanliness.
            One of the strangest aspects of their visits was the legs we’d find every morning underneath our wooden knife block.  Peculiar, right?  Once I’d gotten over my complete horror at the daily cleanup of bug crumbs, I began wondering what on Earth was happening in my kitchen while I slept.  Ivan and I came to the conclusion that the cockroaches had organized a Cockroach Fight Club and were holding meetings under the knife block.  For as much as I detest the revolting soft-bellied beetles, I was actually pretty entertained at the thought of them gathering for the spectacle of their own brothers dismembering each other.  I even mentally added cartoon cheering every time a limb was snapped in half or gnawed away at the joint.
            I never used the knives from the block because… gross!  But I didn’t throw the block away because I liked to think they were killing each other under there.  And maybe every time a cockroach croaked, a little insectile chant flooded the countertops: “his name was Cockroach Paulson… his name was Cockroach Paulson… his name was Cockroach Paulson…”

Monday, March 11, 2013

Two Months into Year Two

            Our “long stay” (that is, the longest of our four stints in Grenada) is one-third done.  Two months down and four more to go before we’ve emerged from fourth term and are preparing for the final leg of the basic sciences portion of medical school.  Once that milestone is done, we get to face some real challenges, starting with the notorious U.S. Medical Licensing Exam (USMLE Step 1), before lifting our shallow roots and settling somewhere brand new for a couple more years of school in the form of clinical rotations.  Then (do I even need to think this far ahead yet?) we start the process of matching for residency programs and relocate yet again.  Our future, it seems, is paved with uncertainty.  I laugh when I think of answering the question “Where do you see yourself in five years?” at a job interview.  Where will I be five years from now?  I will be precisely five years in the future, thank you very much.
            With all of this perfect ambiguity of what’s to come, I find comfort in immediate productivity.  That is to say, I do my best to keep busy because, idle, I do nothing but stress and I’ve already found a grey hair before my thirtieth birthday.  As it turns out, I’m not so bad at keeping busy.  Short term productivity, I have a number of hobbies and a handful of responsibilities that keep my downtime at a freedom level, rather than a boredom level.  Long term productivity gives me something substantial to project into our uncertain future.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Visitors in the Caribbean: Part III

            In my last post, I discussed our island tour with Vicki and Larry—definitely a highlight of their visit.  Despite my best efforts to get right back to the blog and finish up these posts about our guests, I’m afraid I was waylaid by unexpected responsibilities and am only just now attempting to wrap this up.

Division Three

            Following our exhausting—albeit thoroughly enjoyable—island tour on Monday, we relaxed on Tuesday.  Ivan had a much-needed opportunity to catch up on some of his schoolwork and I was able to wrap up a few loose ends with my duties.  Early that evening, we met with Vicki and Larry again for another outing.
            A few days prior, I’d contacted a water tour company by the name of First Impressions to book a sunset cruise.  The boat ride was two hours long, casting off at 4:30, placing the catamaran at its furthest point from the harbor, along the gentle southern curve of the island, just as the sun set, before returning to Port Louis.
            First Impressions sent a bus to collect us, along with six other passengers, from the resort and brought us to Port Louis where the Starwind V was awaiting our arrival.  The catamaran was crewed by three Grenadian men who made an effort to provide the ten passengers with a great experience, from beginning to end.