August 29, 2012


I am feeling so refreshed and happy to be home. And to be in Indy. There's something about being surrounded by familiar faces and surroundings that is just calming.

Being in Indy these past couple of days has been strange. I have had a home in Indy for the past eight years. Now is the first time since then that I have been in Indy without having a home here. I know I've only been gone a month and not much has changed in Indy. I can't decide if that's good or bad. I am staying just a couple minutes away from our old apartment - our first home, the place we got engaged, the place we started our new life together, and I can't help but feel sad we aren't still there.

It's especially hard to be in Indy without Matt. But thanks to Skype, I can still be with him in our way digital way.

Look at that face?! Who wouldn't want to be surrounded by that?

This trip home as been wonderful and I'm beyond grateful for the time here. But I'm also looking forward to getting back to Matt and to be home together. 

So enough of being sappy.

Emmy is doing well in case you were wondering. She's taking an antibiotic capsule and resting. But she is as lively as ever.

Tomorrow is our big staff retreat. A fun day with my favorite coworkers in downtown Indy - Yes, please!

Matt's doing well with his classes. He had his second quiz this past Monday and did well again. Now, he's gearing up for his first mini (test) a week from Friday!


August 28, 2012

Home Again

Sorry for the delay - but in case you were wondering, I did make it home! On time! Just in time for that matter. I'm pretty sure if my flight was later Saturday, I wouldn't have gotten home on schedule.

That's not to say it was a smooth flight. The flight from Freeport to Miami was a blast. And by blast I mean terrible. People were screaming. That's no exaggeration.

It was my first turbo prop experience.

And I won't even go into detail about the U.S. Customs Agents stopping boarding and going through our carry-ons and luggage right on the tarmac.

But I got there. And I got there safely. I guess the rough flights just make the normal turbulence seem minor.

I did sit next to a nice gentleman from south Atlanta who knew of Shipshewana. He even worked in the area. What a small world.

And on the Miami to O'Hare flight I sat next to a man who flew out from the Dominican Republic. I asked him how Isaac treated that flight. But he said the drive was actually worse. The roads are right next to the ocean, and the waves were so high, he thought he was going to be swept away. Scary stuff!

Overall, the flights were fine. But I am much happier with my feet on the ground.

After a joyful reunion with my parents, it was off to pick up Emmy dog. I think she was just as excited as I was! Oh how I've missed her. I feel so much better just being around her again. Leaving her just pains me in ways I didn't think possible for a dog.

The weekend was left with family time. I got to give Landon his souvenir from Uncle Matt and me. Landon LOVES coconuts. So we got him a coconut that was turned into a piggy bank. I gave him my Bahamian change to start off his bank.

He gets that look from his mother. (Just seeing if you're really reading this, Sheila!) We had some family lunches, and I got to visit my family at Emma Mennonite. It's always so refreshing to go home.

Monday we took Emmy in to the vet as her left leg had swollen dramatically. Unfortunately, today she had to go under so they could remove a couple of lumps, take some x-rays and get a sample of the tissue that is swollen. Needless to say, I feel like the worst dog mom in the world. I leave her, finally come home, then send her to the vet while I am in Indy today, so I couldn't even be there for her surgery. I'm glad Grandma and Grandpa Miller are there to take care of her, but I still feel awful. Hopefully she'll get to feeling better soon. I know she's in good hands at the vet and at home.

This trip home as been exactly what I needed. It's so wonderful to be at home, be in the office with my coworkers, and just fully enjoy the comforts of the U.S. (including a good fountain Dt. Coke of course.)

So I'll be in Indy until Friday, and then back to Freeport on Tuesday. I do miss my husband!


August 23, 2012

Hurricane What

TWO more days till I get to go home. Two. However, if you're watching the weather down this way, it may be a fun trip. Mr. Isaac is assuring to make this trip more eventful than I would hope.I know he's still a Tropical Storm right now. But he'll be a a hurricane soon enough.

Here's the most updated forecast at the time of the post. Just so you know, my flight leaves Freeport on Saturday a.m. I fly to Miami and then arrive in Chicago at 12:30 p.m.

So, here's hoping Isaac slows down till I can get my flight out. I don't think my nerves can handle this very well. So prayers for a safe, turbulence free, anxiety free flight would be most appreciated. And maybe a tranquilizer. 

I am so excited to go home, and I will not be fun to deal with if I can't get home. Not that I want to travel in the hurricane just to get home when it's not safe, but you know what I mean.

So, here are a few things I'm looking forward to at home! Friends and family are a given. 
  • EMMY!!!!!
  • McAlisters. Lets be honest. If you know me at all, you could have easily predicted that to be at the top of the list.
  • Any type of Mexican food. There's no real Mexican food here that I have found. And I miss some chips and salsa. 
  • Driving. 
  • A real fountain Dt. Coke.
  • Some Starbucks.
  • Being surrounded by people all day!
By looking at the forecast, it's supposed to be 90 degrees at home. Still warm, but I'm sure the humidity will be less. I've managed to fill my suitcase with items that I'm not planning on bringing back - things such as clothes we won't need, souvenirs, etc. That way, I can fill that suitcase with items we will need down here. Don't worry - I've already got a list for that. And I'm trying to figure out how I can smuggle Emmy down.

Matt has specific instructions on what to do while I'm gone. Here's hoping he won't be eating ramen all the time. Or chicken in a bag on that note. 

Funny side story - I had him pick up a few items from the grocery on his way home from campus yesterday. (The grocery is right next to campus so it's quick and easy for him to stop.) I asked him to get a few food items that he could cook in case we lose power for a few days. He shows up with a six pack of coke and a bag of chips. CHIPS and COKE. I guess he's right in that you don't need electricity or refrigeration for those. Oh my - I love my husband. And I hope that Rachel is there to watch out for him while I'm gone... 

So that's all as I probably won't post tomorrow. Unless my flight gets delayed. Then I'm sure you'll hear from me. And it won't be pleasant.


August 20, 2012

Get Your Movie Popcorn Ready

Exciting day here in Freeport! Matt took his first quiz today. I think he was pleased with the results - and even more pleased to get it over with. Hopefully the nerves will be less and he can continue on and keep studying!

I've been trying to keep this blog fresh with new ideas along with updating you on Matt, myself and giving you a glimpse of our life down here. And I don't want you to get bored!

So.....I conned Matt in to recording his walk to campus and narrating for you as well with some general information about Freeport and our little neighborhood. It's a good way to see Freeport like we do. Now, just turn up your heat to 95 degrees and pump up the humidity to 85%, and you'll get the full experience!

Isn't Matt entertaining? I think my favorite part is when he says, "If you're nerdy like me...." 

You should also note this is the same trek we have to make when we get groceries. Imagine carrying bags of groceries home on that 12 minute walk. Jealous?

With Matt on campus all day, I was of course back at the apartment. At one point this afternoon, I heard this loud music outside our window which I thought was just the local nightclub next door testing out the sound system. But when I looked out, there was a pirate ship float strolling down Sunrise Highway. This is normal, right? So this evening, when I heard the music again, I got the camera and started taping. There isn't a zoom on my camera, so my apologies. But the music sounds great!

We aren't totally sure what the parade was for, but it was decorated with Bahamian flags and colors, so we're thinking it was the gold medal men's track relay team! Very cool to see either way!

So there's your bit of entertainment for the day!

Home sweet home in five more sleeps!


August 19, 2012

We Caught a Lobster!

Yep. You read it right. We got a lobster! And no - it wasn't at a restaurant. Or grocery. Straight out of the ocean. Let me set this up for you.

After Matt and Jonathan spent the entire day Saturday studying, they decided to detox by doing some snorkeling - AKA treasure hunting. Taino Beach was beautiful Saturday night, and they had already scouted out their spot from where they previously saw the lobsters hiding out.

Jonathan came prepared with all the right supplies to make a successful lobster hunt.

Snorkel? Check.
Handmade spear? Check.
Pillow case? Check.

Yes, ladies - he's taken. 
Now all we needed was the lobster.

So while Rachel and I were running/swimming/screaming away from the sting ray that got a tad to close to Rachel's foot, the guys went on the hunt.

And they came out successful fisherman - or should it be lobstermen?

Just check out Jonathan's catch!

Yep. That's right. Check out that lobster. What a find! The guys were so proud.

Don't you worry folks. We tossed him back. 

One thing we did keep though - was the beautiful sea biscuit Matt found! We've soaked it in bleach, and it's perfectly white now!

Jonathan found a crab, too! So what if it's bigger than the lobster.

So, it was certainly a successful study break. They definitely needed it.

Today we experienced our first power outage. Apparently the power goes out here more often than you might think. It's not because of storms or anything; it will just go out. And this morning, before we were cleaned up, it went out. Luckily we had some extra pitchers of water so we could use that to clean up a bit. But that was all. You'd be surprised at how fast it heats up when the AC shuts off. 

So we ventured off to campus, where they thankfully have a back-up generator. The guys studied there while we enjoyed the beach. Sounds fair, right? The power came back on in the meantime, and we spent the evening at the Womack's where Rachel cooked up yummy turkey burger sliders with the most delicious cranberry mango topping. It was the best meal we've had down here.

Jumping back a bit, Friday night we had a nice dinner at the Port and then just strolled around and enjoyed the study free night.  Here are a few pictures from the Port.

Matt's studying some more tonight. They have their first graded test tomorrow morning at 9 a.m. I have to say, I'm so proud at how hard he's been studying along with the dedication he's been showing. I have to convince him to put away the books and relax a bit so he can sleep. But he put in about 25 hours of studying today and yesterday, along with the many hours of studying this past week. It's going to be a rigorous, intense next 13 weeks, but I'm sure he will keep up the motivation and determination he's shown in the first couple. 

Home sweet home in six more sleeps!

August 16, 2012

A Day in the Life

So you want to know what we do all day? Sure, we're in the Bahamas in the beautiful Caribbean, but we really don't have that much excitement going on. It certainly isn't an extended vacation - or even honeymoon in our situation.

Now that we've started to get a bit of a routine down, things are settling down a bit more which is great. During the week, we are usually up around 6:30 a.m. The first thing we do is turn on the AC unit in the living room. Since we have window units, and because the electricity is so expensive, we turn off the units when we're not in the room. So it so unbearably uncomfortable in the morning.

From there, I'll make coffee and pack Matt a lunch for the day while he showers. Then I'll get his breakfast. We watch a little bit of the South Florida news while he looks over the material for the day's lectures. He's off to campus around 7:15 a.m.

Here's a look at his schedule for the coming week. It will vary a bit week to week, but the timing is generally the same.

If there are breaks, he utilizes that time to study. He's also been in the open study rooms with a study group for the majority of the afternoons and early evening. Then he'll come around around 5-5:30 p.m.

Me on the other hand, once Matt leaves, I'll get cleaned up, get some breakfast and get ready to start my day. And then I go to work - in our office. If it's nice, I'll take my Kindle to the pool during lunch. But other than that, I'm here all day. Around 5 p.m. I'll start getting dinner around. Once Matt gets home, he vents a bit about the day, and then we get to spend dinnertime together. This half hour is about the only time we do get to enjoy each other's company without studying.

Then, I get everything cleaned up while Matt studies the rest of the night. I told you - not very exciting. But we certainly aren't here for vacation. Studying is his first priority so we can get to Dominica. And I'm here to support him and take care of the things that I can, so he can focus primarily on studying.

So on nights like tonight, it's after dinner and Matt is studying. I'm here blogging (obviously), and then after this, I'm going to take full advantage of our Netflix subscription. Mad Men here I come!

But first, here's a peak of what our dinner consisted of tonight! We've been hearing about the local avocados here from quite a few people, so I've been dying to try one. They are huge and are smooth and green on the outside. 

For dinner, I baked a couple chicken breasts and then topped them with fresh avocado. We also had green beans and mashed potatoes.

Matt loves avocado and was super excited to try it. And by the look on his face I think he liked it.

What a goofball.

I've got a couple of recipes I'm going to try this weekend, so I'm looking forward to that. You certainly do have to be creative when my utensils consists of dull knives, 1 cup measuring cup, and a split spoon. But we did finally break down and buy an actual baking pan and mixing bowls that can double as storage. Sadly we still forgot to get some hot pads.


August 13, 2012

Chicken in a Bag

First quiz is over - woo! Turns out, it was just a quiz to measure the knowledge base of the class. It didn't count for anything, except a good measure for how nervous he'll be before a test. That measured up pretty well.

After not sleeping well last night, I am oh so tired tonight. So this will be short and sweet. Short definitely - sweet maybe.

Part of my responsibility down here is to take care of Matt - make sure he eats, eats well, sleeps, has clean clothes, etc. So this morning, being the good housewife, I decided to get a couple loads of laundry done first thing. Our apartment sadly doesn't have our own washing machine, so I have to use the community machine which is thankfully just around the corner. (Let me clarify - this washer and dryer is in a 'room' that doesn't have A.C. and the door is open all the time, so you're completely exposed to the elements.) So I put my $1.25 in the machines and started my laundry. Then, put in another $1.25 to dry.

Keep in mind, this was at 7:45 a.m. And the humidity level was at 90%. Yes - that's a 9-0.

When it was time for the dryer to finish, I go back in the little room with the washing machine, and my glasses instantly fogged up. So needless to say, none of my clothes were even near being dry. And being cheap, I refused to put another $1.25 in to see if that did the trick. I took the alternate option and just hung laundry up all around the house. Whatever works I suppose. And they dried - eventually.

As I mentioned above, I am exhausted today. So instead of cooking dinner, I decided we should get the Pepperpot for dinner. (FYI - Pepperpot is a local mom n' pop type restaurant.) They are known for Chicken in a Bag - and they're within walking distance. Bonus!

Hearing a meal called Chicken in a Bag had me a little skeptical. But our favorite taxi driver Tyrone explained it well enough. When asked what it was he replied.... "It's chicken in a bag mon. ..... It's a bag." Well ok then - clearly its just plain and simple chicken in a bag.

And he was right.

It's a half a chicken. Sitting on a bed of french fries. Wrapped in aluminum foil. Clearly - chicken in a bag. All for $7. Pretty tasty, too. And super greasy. So I could only eat about a quarter of it all. Still it was delicious.

Speaking of Tyrone. You've got to check out this video from Rachel of Tyrone serenading us one evening on the way home. You'll love it. You should also check out Rachel's blog!

And that's all I've got for today folks.


August 12, 2012

Girl Time....Nailed It

Matt's gearing up for his first quiz tomorrow after two long days of studying. I, on the other hand, had two wonderful days of girl time!

First, I can't tell you enough how absolutely wonderful it is to have two other wives here who I've been able to connect with right away. Not to mention an even bigger bonus - the guys all get along great and study so well together, too. This is definitely a near perfect situation! The guys can study all day, and we can have some much needed girl time! And we nailed it this weekend. :)

After Matt finished his first week of class on Friday, we made the trek to the grocery to stock up on a few items. Since we have to carry everything back, we tend to go more often and just get what we can take ourselves. We could get a taxi if needed, but we'd rather spend our money on other things when we are able to walk.

Saturday we went to the Gray's for the day. I just have to mention how lovely their apartment is. So adorable! Rachel and I are very jealous. After the rain showers cleared away, Ashley, Rachel and I went to Coral Beach which is just a short walk from their place. It ended up being a perfect beach day. Coral Beach is nice because they have a cantina, pool, tiki huts, chairs, etc. that you can utilize. We spent the entire afternoon just floating around and chatting it up. And we even saw a dolphin! It could have been a lobster trap, but pretty sure it was a dolphin. The guys joined us after we were done to do some lobster hunting and unfortunately didn't come up with anything. However, I'm sure they will catch dinner for us sooner rather than later.

That evening we went to the Port to grab some dinner since the lobster hunt was unsuccessful. Jonathan even showed off his new machete as pre-dinner entertainment and sliced a coconut in mid-air.

Today, everyone came to our place to continue the studying. The girls and I opted to go to the Port and do some shopping. I had one of the best meals here since we've been here - at Subway. And I'll tell you, what separated this from the rest was the fountain Dt. Coke. It tasted like real, American fountain Dt. Coke. AND - you got FREE REFILLS. This is the only place on the island that doesn't charge for refills. Amazing

After studying, Matt wanted to clear his mind a bit and also take advantage of the new snorkle I got him. So we made our way to Taino Beach with the Womack's so the guys could do some more treasure hunting. The water was perfectly clear and peaceful. These pictures just don't do it justice. 

Matt found me some shells, sunglasses and a keychain. I told you, some serious treasure hunting. The guys did swim alongside some sting rays, so I guess that counts as well.

Rachel and I were on a mission to find a sand dollar, but didn't manage to find one. We did see a sting ray though that was about 5-10 feet away from us - which is still a little too close for my comfort. And Rachel had the find of the day - a HUGE conch (cronch?!) shell. Thankfully, there wasn't a conch in it, but it sure did smell rotten. And that's putting it nicely

After making our way down the beach, the guys did find some lobster! They didn't have the Gray's awesome spear, so they weren't able to snag them. But I'm sure they will be going back since they now know where to find them. Rachel and I scoured the beach and found some awesome beach glass that I can't wait to craft with. Matt also found a sea biscuit. This one was cracked, but I'm sure they'll find more!

We were getting ready to leave around dusk, and the walk back down Taino Beach was just breathtaking. It was the perfect, powder blue color with a hint of pink. Just gorgeous. 

And now, I'm completely exhausted. The sun sure is draining. Matt will likely keep studying for awhile, but this girl is off to bed.


August 9, 2012

A Couple Lists

Matt has finished his second full day of class! The first couple of weeks will be predominantly review materials. His first quiz is Monday. They'll have a quiz every other Monday from there on out. He's already forming study groups and getting into his study habits.

While he's studying, I've had time to think about the differences between the Bahamas and home. I thought I'd share with you some of the things I miss, and on the flipside, what I'm enjoying about the Bahamas!

Home Sweet Home 

  • Obviously, family first! This includes my sweet Emmy Dog.
  • And of course our friends.
  • Decently priced groceries. A sale of $14 for a family-sized box of cereal. No thanks.
  • On that note, being able to go to the grocery and KNOW they will have milk, bread, etc. that isn't expired.
  • Central air conditioning. 
  • My good ole 260 phone number.
  • My car. Oh to be able to get up and leave whenever I want..
  • Target.
  • My co-workers. Technology is great, but Skype can only do so much.
  • Not having to coat myself in sunscreen whenever I go outside.
  • Not sweating. And with that includes not needing to shower nearly three times a day. 
  • My kitchen amenities. Try cooking something in the oven and then realizing you don't have hot pads.
  • Being able to walk somewhere and not be offered drugs.
  • The concept of time - being 'on time' specifically.
  • A good fountain Dt. Coke.
  • Fast internet. And wifi - everywhere.
  • Not having to carry our groceries home from the store.
  • American food. 
  • 60% humidity or less. 
  • Hot water all the time.
  • Not having to drink 387 gallons of water every day to feel hydrated.
  • Pandora.

Yay Bahamas

  • The scenery. B-e-a-utiful beaches.
  • Our new friends!
  • The locals. Friendly, friendly people. 
  • Even with no vehicle, transportation is easier than I anticipated.
  • No traffic jams or rush hour.
  • Coke Zero. I don't know what it is exactly that makes it better. But it is delicious. And as Landon would say - I know my 'licious. 
  • Sea creatures. 
  • Less ragweed = less allergies.
  • $7 movie theater tickets. Jackpot.
  • The culture.
  • KFC Delivery. I haven't tried this yet. But that's pretty awesome.
  • The eclectic nature of the people. You can do a LOT of fun people watching down here.
  • Lizards, salamanders or Gecko's or whatever they are. Yes - this is the right list. They are fun to watch!
  • Trying all of the fish!
  • Treasure hunting.

So there you have it. And yes, the list on what I miss is longer. It's only been a couple of weeks. I'm sure the second list will grow with time. Hopefully anyway.

August 7, 2012

And So it Begins

Matt's started orientation today! Tomorrow is when classes officially begin. I think he's pretty ready to get started. All of the anticipation is getting to him and me for that matter.

Today's orientation is filled with things such as learning about the program, about the island, how to be safe and not break the law, etc. Once classes begin, he'll be in class from about 8 a.m. - noon with an hour lunch break. Then he'll be in class till about 4 p.m. or so. And after that, it's study, study, study.

At the beginning, they have to dress nicely, with a tie and all. Which for Matt, means sweating like crazy. Poor guy. Way to make a first impression. But how cute is he on his first day?!

Don't worry - I made sure he ate a good breakfast, had his notepad and umbrella, and took his vitamin before he left. 

We've had an eventful couple of days leading up to his first day. We went back to Banana Bay, which is quickly becoming my favorite spot on the island. But with these views, I'm sure you understand.

Banana Bay is a day cabana with wooden lounge chairs, picnic tables, tiki huts and hammocks on beautiful Fortune Beach. It is typically rather quiet, too, which is even nicer. We spent nearly six hours there on Sunday, and I got my first Caribbean sunburn. Thanks for nothing Coppertone SPF 50.

And no, we didn't go to the nude beach. No thank you. No way. Not ever.

Banana Bay also has great food! We tried the Conch Fritters, and they were delicious. And I was included in that 'we.' Impressed? I've now tried Snapper, Grouper and Conch. 

While the girls and I relaxed in the sun, Matt and Jonathan went looking for 'treasure.' Side note, these two are so much alike it's almost scary. After awhile, they both came back with handfuls of beautiful shells. Thankfully there was nothing alive in them. And now we have a little decoration for our home. Good work boys!

Yesterday was a work day for me, and Matt enjoyed his last full day of laziness before the madness. He did attempt to get some groceries in between rainfalls which proved to be more difficult than anticipated. He loaded up on groceries and filled our new tarp, rolly cart thing with our items and headed home. However, the $3 rolly cart thing wasn't near as sturdy as it appeared. So as soon as he got on the other side of the road it broke. And the dragging on the ground made a  hole in our green tea jug. Just as I was about to leave to go help him, some other students saw him and helped him carry our items home. A local saw the three of them and offered to take them all back to Sunset. Clearly they were struggling! Good news though, we didn't lose much of the green tea. As we said last night, probably only an eighth of it we lost, which is about $5. Groceries here are outrageously expensive. 

Then on our way to dinner, we were waiting and waiting for a bus. Since it was Emancipation Day, the buses weren't near as easy to come by. We finally got picked up by a driver who immediately turned around in the median and started going the opposite direction of where we told him we wanted to go. He then picked up another man and continued driving in the opposite direction at blazing fast speeds. So once we get to downtown Freeport - about 5 minutes in the wrong direction - he stops and tells us to get off  because he has to take the other man a long distance. So then we had to sit and wait AGAIN in a not-so-nice part of town until another bus would come by to pick us up. So a trip that should be a two minute bus ride turned into a 45 minute ordeal. 

Inside one of the buses. He runs a clean bus!
We FINALLY got to dinner to get our American food fix at Pizza Hut with the Womacks, and we finally got to meet the Greys! So excited that Ashley and Rachel are here, too! We had such a great time at dinner as conversation came easy, and we shared so many laughs. By the way, this Pizza Hut was far fancier than any of the Pizza Huts we have at home. 

Most exciting part of today? I got HOT water in the kitchen sink! And by hot, I mean just a pinch warmer than warm. This is awfully exciting. So I went ahead and washed ALL of our dishes to take advantage of the extra 'hot' water. Oh the little things you become grateful for.

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