January 30, 2013

Overheard at the Wellses Part 1

Being in med school and living in a third world country is the perfect recipe for some pretty interesting conversations.

Most of the time Matt comes home and talks about his lectures, and to me, all it sounds like is the teacher from Charlie Brown except for a few bits and pieces I can pull out which are typically the strange and unusual. Plus, we are exposed to quite an array of interesting things here in Dominica that we aren't accustomed to such as food, household services and various scenery. Needless to say these new 'experiences' have all led into some interesting conversations.

So, here's a random snippet of some of things you may hear if you walk by. It's Part 1, as I'm sure this will be an ongoing series of Matt-isms.


Did you know that your mouth starts salivating when you have an upset stomach? It's so you can protect your mouth from all the acid your about to vomit. Isn't that so awesome?!

That is the biggest bug I have ever seen....Wait, no. That's the biggest bug I've ever seen.

The brachioradialis muscle is considered the beer drinker's muscle. That's because it's the muscle that's used to grab the beer stein and lift it to your mouth. We think the guy who figured this out was German. Or Irish. Or just a drunk.

It rained on me three times today. The sun was shining every time. Every. Time.

I almost got chased by a rooster today. We'll have to tell your mom about that. She'll know what to do for next time.

I just lost five pounds from a Shack Attack.

A piece of the cadaver flew in his mouth. Right in the mouth.

Did you see that guy mowing the lawn with a weed whacker?

If you drink a lot of alcohol when you're pregnant, you increase the chance of giving birth to a cyclops.

Is the water brown today?

Hey, there's a cow. Oh there's another one.

I'm heading out to study. I've got my flashlight and bug spray. See you later.

So I saw a guy walking a gaggle of goats on leashes.

Do you think we'll get all of our laundry back?

This med school thing is exhausting.

How many gallons of milk do you think we can fit in our fridge?

If you're a woman at the age of 35, you have 1/400 chance of giving birth to a child with Down's Syndrome. If you are a woman at the age of 45, you have a 1/35 chance. But, here's the crazy part. Most people with Down Syndrome are born to younger parents, because they have more babies.

Did you just see that guy walking out of the bushes rubbing his belly?

I feel like I just have a lot of farts built up.

Guess what?! I'm a part of the 14% of the population that doesn't have a palmaris longus muscle. (A muscle in the forearm). Do this (as he demonstrates a test for it). OMG! You don't have one either! Our kids are going to be so awesome!

That dog just peed by our outlet.

Does this smell like formaldehyde?


January 26, 2013


distance is not for the fearful,
it is for the bold.
it is for those who are willing
to spend a lot of time alone
in exchange for a little time
with the one they love.
it is for those knowing a good thing
when they see it, even if
they don't see it nearly enough.

I'm not sure where to attribute this quote to, but I think this will become my mantra for the next 16 months. Although most of the time, I feel more fearful than bold, I still feel like we are right where we're supposed to be.

I can't imagine sending Matt down here by himself, especially in our first year of marriage. We're here to love and support each other through this. And do that together. Even though it's awfully challenging at times, we are finding our way and our place in this journey.

I'm reminded of where we were one year ago. Getting the last bits and pieces put together for the wedding ceremony with piles and piles of fabric and crafts spewed over our apartment. Matt was accepted in November 2011, but we still pushed the Bahamas out of our minds as we wanted to relish the last few months of our engagement.

It seems strange to think it's only been a year, because so much has happened. At the same time, it is hard to believe a year has passed.

So for now, we're taking this time to spend with ourselves, away from our support networks, family and friends, and comforts of home, in order to spend time with each other preparing a steady foundation for our future and ensuring our happiness and satisfaction in life.


New Look

Hope you enjoy the new look of the blog! If you know me, you know that I get bored easily. And this blog template fell victim to that.

So don't fret. It's still the same blog, just a fresh new look! Enjoy!


January 23, 2013


Well, Matt's first medical school exam is over!  Better yet, he passed it, too!

Doesn't that look like the face of someone who's about to pass his first mini? I think so. I'm sure what helped him over the edge wasn't the countless hours of studying he put in. I'm sure it had to be that delicious Eggvacado you see him enjoying for breakfast. What's an Eggvocado you ask? It's egg-xactly (see what I did there) as it sounds. I took an avocado and cut it in half, pitted it then filled it with the egg. Salt and pepper it with a bit of parmesan cheese, bake it and you got yourself a pretty good breakfast.

Apparently good enough to boost you through Mini 1 Part 1. 

I'll move on from the cheesy jokes. But, congratulations to Matt! And thank you for your support!

So beyond Matt's first big test, I took a trip to Roseau yesterday with the Ross Spouse Organization (RSO). RSO is great for many reasons, as it connects many of the spouses together. Everyone is friendly and helpful! It's also where I got my wonderful sponsor who helped me prepare for the island, and who has welcomed me so warmly upon our arrival, making this transition go so much more smoothly.

But, back to the Roseau trip! Roseau is the capitol of Dominica and is more of a 'metropolis' of sorts. We were taken to three stores, and had all of our items loaded in the vans for us and then brought up to our doors. Much more convenient than carrying it all by ourselves!

I was able to find some basic things I needed such as a pizza pan, more seal tight tupperware, ice cream scoop, plastic shelving units (the organizer in me was loving it!), bulk paper towels, olive oil, etc. The items in Roseau are generally cheaper and more readily available, so it's nice to bulk up when possible.

The shopping trip was a success! And it was also nice to get to know a few more of the spouses and families here. Plus it was nice to have a different look at the island. We've been here almost a month, and I have yet to leave Portsmouth. 

Our apartment here is turning more into a home day by day. You don't think about how you have to restock everything once you get here, but having to buy basic things like salt and pepper, condiments, etc. takes time and money!

Of course, the things that make it the most homey here are our personal belongings and mementos from home. Sadly, the majority of our photos didn't make it down because of the luggage fiasco, but they will be here hopefully next week in our barrel! One thing that did make it, is this lovely piece from Mom Medjeski!

This was one of the first things we hung up right next to our door. It's so appropriate and something I'm reminded of every day - especially on the harder days. Thanks Mom Medjeski for providing us with assurance daily, even from over 2,000 miles away!

We are embracing the island more and more. Matt and I have gone to the yoga class here. They offer free classes three times a week. And it's going to be held on a seaside desk - right next to the ocean. 

We are also making new friends and enjoying our 'old' friends. We're trying local food, local amenities and getting fully accustomed to luke warm showers, brown water and flying ants.

I'm pushing myself outside of my comfort zone a bit which has been a good thing. 

The homesickness hasn't set it, which I'm overly thankful for. But there are still days when I miss my family and Emmy oh so much. Especially when my little nephew isn't feeling well. Being this far away is hard when I want to be there for him!

But Landon is on the upswing, (the flu this year is awful!) and Emmy is doing well, too. So that's all we can ask for. 

I know it's only Wednesday, but this week has been rather eventful. So here's a look at what we've seen so far this week!

I feel like I should explain this one. They are moving a campus building next to Jenner Hall, which is right next door. This photo was taken a a few hours ago. It still hasn't moved. I don't think they were quite prepared. 

We are also thinking of all of you in Indiana who are experiencing this awful cold weather! Stay warm folks. 

So, needless to say, we haven't had a dull day yet. We are constantly learning new things and observing interesting facets of this tiny island. And here's to many new adventures to come!


January 17, 2013

A Look at Semester One

Matt is officially enthralled in Semester One!

In fact, his first mini is Monday.

Most of the material he is covering now, he covered in MERP, so that has been very helpful. He's glad he learned it well in MERP, so he isn't so overwhelmed now.

Here's a breakdown of his first semester.

Gross Anatomy (yep, dissecting a cadaver.)
Micro Anatomy
Behavioral Sciences

The semester is broken up into blocks. The first block is called fundamentals. It is five weeks of learning the basics in each course. Block two is studying the normal state of heme/lymph, i.e. blood and your lymphatic system in non-med student terms. Block three is pulmonary and cardio - translation: lungs and heart. Block four runs in conjunction with the other blocks lasting the duration of the semester. It covers clinical skills and case studies.

His grade is contingent on four exams, two lab practicals and one final. Unlike MERP, he won't have quizzes every week. Block one's exam is broken up into two parts. The first part is Monday at 8 a.m.! The second exam is on Feb. 13. (Yes, that's Matt's birthday!) Blocks two and three have one exam, but will also have a cumulative final. In addition to the minis, there are two lab practical exams in histology and gross anatomy.

These scores are what determines his passing, final score. His goal is a 70% or higher.

He's really enjoying his first two weeks. It's certainly been challenging, but we've said it before, MERP was a great prep as he already has a head start on the majority of the material.

To get ready for his first mini, he has a three day weekend as they don't have class tomorrow. It won't always be scheduled that way, but it works out this time.

Prayers would be appreciated as the first exam is always the most intimidating!

And because the rainbows and sunsets here never get old, I'll end with some more gorgeous sites to enjoy!


January 16, 2013

Whale of a Good Time

So yes, I did have to go with a cheesy headline. Cheese must be on my mind. The IGA got their milk/dairy delivery tonight so I just got back from running down the street to get milk, sour cream and cream cheese, along with a few other things.

I seriously underestimated how heavy my groceries were going to be without Matt helping me to carry them home. (He has a class this evening.) Rachel and I grumbled only half the way back about the weight. Maybe more like three-fourths. But most importantly, we have milk! Woo! Frosted flakes here I come.

Other than the exciting milk news, the only other eventful thing this week is that our barrel is getting shipped out tomorrow! It's all packed and sealed and ready to be taken to Conway Trucking. It will take two days to get to Miami, and then it will leave for Dominica on Wednesday. It should then take a week to get here. We'll hire the taxi service to go pick it up for us and have it delivered. I am oh so excited!

Back to point of the post. We went whale watching Saturday! The school sponsors several tours throughout the first week or so of orientation each semester. Many are island tours and excursions. Whale watching was one of them! Since it was sponsored, we were able to go for a few dollars each.

It was by far one of the neatest experiences I've ever had. I am so glad to have went. Dominica is known for whale watching, because they do have about an 80-90% success rate of seeing whales.

They loaded us up on catamaran and we trekked out a few miles into the sea. Once we got to a certain area, they put a microphone down in the water, and we listened for clicking noises from the whales.

The first stop didn't reveal anything, so we trudged along, and admired the gorgeous island from the boat.

At our third and final stop, the microphone went down and we heard it! Very cool! They were able to tell the what direction the whales were in. So they took us in that direction, and we were told to watch for sprays above the water. Sure enough, we spotted them!

Again, one of the greatest things I've ever experienced. We saw 3-4 sperm whales. (Not sure if we saw the same one twice, or if it was a different one.) We even saw a baby!

It definitely wasn't what I had anticipated. They weren't jumping out of the water Shamu style, but it was awe inspiring to watch these massive creatures in their natural habitat.

Fun fact - the guides were sure to approach the whales from their tail end, so that they don't disorient them by blocking their sonar.

The guide told us that when the whale is going to dive down, he will yell "Tail!" That's when we were to get our camera's ready and get the tail shot. Sure enough, not too long after that, the first whale dove, and I snapped this gem!

How awesome. He said that they will dive down a couple thousand feet. 

The trip back to the dock was gorgeous. The landscape here is absolutely stunning.

We were even able to spot our home! You can see Comfort Zone as it is nestled in as the front orange/pink building with white stairs down in the lower left corner.

All in all, it was definitely an experience we will never forget. And we'd love to again!


January 12, 2013

White Coat Ceremony

The day we've been waiting years for! Matt's White Coat Ceremony. This day is almost as good as graduation.

Well, who am I kidding. Graduation day will certainly top the charts. But today was definitely a day worth waiting for.

Matt's White Coat represented several years of hard work and determination. From undergrad at UIndy to grad school courses, to countless hours in the labs and doing research. It was such an overwhelming moment.

Matt received his coat during orientation, but besides trying it on for size, he didn't put it on once - as tempting as it was. He wanted to savor that moment when it was put on him during the ceremony.

During the ceremony, they said that the hardest part of medical school is just getting accepted. And he's already achieved that, so he can certainly pass and become a successful physician. They also mentioned that he would be joining the ranks of less than one percent of the U.S. population in becoming a physician. Pretty cool stats if you ask me.

They also mentioned to never forget the people along the way who helped you get to that point - that they are your lifeline. And I can tell you, Matt remembers every one of you who did. And he's truly grateful. Thank you for that support and faith in him.

They also talked about the White Coat and the symbolism it carried. It stands as a Cloak of Healing and is a garment of trust. It also is a representation of being a student of medicine - always learning, always practicing.

The keynote speaker mentioned how as being a physician, you must always be available to heal and to help. And being in a physician is not always a 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. job. That you will be faced with calls in the middle of the night. And what he said struck me, especially being a wife of a physician who is facing the potential of many nights without my husband. He said, if you are called in the wee hours of the night, it is a much better position to be in as the physician than the patient. Very well said. Very powerful and humbling. He certainly put it all into perspective. I will be remembering this sentiment in those times to come. and I'm sure Matt will as well.

All in all, the day was one we will never forget. Here's to the exciting things to come!

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