March 24, 2013

My First Dominican Adventure

Things have been so busy here with work and Matt studying, all the while adjusting to Domininca, that I haven't been out on any trips to explore the island. Besides going to Rosalie Bay, but I don't really count that, as we didn't leave the resort once we got there.

So Saturday, myself and several other women here that I've gotten to know went out to celebrate Leah's last full weekend here on the island. We went to Freshwater Lake, Screw's Spa and then lunch at a French Bakery in Roseau.

The Freshwater Lake was incredible. It's near the top of one of the mountains in the Morne Diablotin National Park. (This park is home to the largest mountain in Dominica, Morne Diaboltin.) On the way there, we passed the highest road point in Dominica.

The weather got progressively cooler the higher we got. When we finally got to Freshwater Lake, we all had goosebumps. I treasured every chill!

The lake was stunning! We were high enough that the clouds rolled in and out.

It was very peaceful up there. And it looks nothing like the other parts of Dominica I've seen. It's so surprising all of the different scenes Dominica has to offer.

Some of the girls were brave enough to get in the lake. I chickened out because it got rather cold.

On our way down the mountain, our fabulous driver stopped a few times to let us get some great pictures of our beautiful home. We don't have scenery like this in Indiana!

After the cold, we took a trip back down the mountain to Screw's Spa. It's a natural sulfur spa that has several different temperatures of pools ranging from cold to very hot. You make your way back and forth between each pool, and soak in each temperature. It's incredibly relaxing, and the sulfur makes your skin feel so soft afterward. Plus the scenery itself was stunning.

After relaxing in the spa, we headed the rest of the way down the mountain to this adorable little french bakery where we had some delicious wood fire pizza. 

From there, we did some shopping in Roseau. There were two cruise ships in, so all of the vendors were open. I've certainly got a list ready for when we go back. It was interesting to see prices in U.S. dollars. The vendors all gave you a funny look when we said we had E.C. currency. Typically, their customers are the tourists coming in off the ship.

Roseau is an interesting capitol city. The streets are rather narrow, but there's always a lot of traffic. It's not what you think of when you think of a big capitol city of a country, such as Washington D.C. as there are no street lights, high rise building or things of that sort. 

I'm anxious for the time when I can find my way around the city. Luckily, the girls I was with knew their way around along with the best places to shop. So we stopped for some fruit smoothies and visited this cafe for some souvenirs. 

We then made our way back to Save-A-Lot grocery and picked up some groceries you can't find in Picard. It's the little things that make your day so great.

It was such a great experience exploring some of Dominica's treasures. And it was wonderful to share that experience with such great women! It was a fun-filled day, and I can't wait to experience more of our new home.


March 19, 2013

Overheard at the Wellses Part 2

Because it didn't end at Part 1...

And I should say, I am in no way mocking my husband. I think he is absolutely hilarious. He never ceases to make me laugh, even at the simple things, or find humor in our living situation here in Dominica, and I am very grateful for that. The humor is what gets us past the frustrations. Never a dull moment here.

Guess what? There's a Sonic the Hedgehog enzyme, and if you have an extra one you're real fast.

Holy crap is that a rat?!? It's a rat. Is it dead?! It has to be dead. It's dead. Thank God, it's dead.

Michelle please, I am a med prep graduate. Of course I can open that jar for you.

We're learning about fetal development. So when we get pregnant, I'll know everything that's going on with you.

I'm learning to sleep without any covers on.

Michelle, look at this! (Insert disgusting picture.) Isn't that so gross?! And awesome?!

Hey, come here. I want to try something I learned today.

When babies are in the womb, they have this tissue that grows and surrounds them. It helps them to shoot out during labor.

Our new wall decor... Homey right?

I saw a dog gang fight this afternoon.

My lady was older. She died of congestive heart failure, so I can't wait to get to the heart. It's going to look awesome. But I mean, I hope she had a good life and all.

You're being a real anion right now. We need you to be more of a cation. This means you're being negative and we need you to be more positive. Hilarious right?!

The laundry bleached my scivies. Again.

I lost my tweezers today out of my dissection kit. Well, I didn't really lose them. I know where they are. They dropped into the bin of dead juice, and I can't get them until the end of the semester.

Michelle, come here!! Pirates!!


March 13, 2013

Packing Top Ten

Now that we are approaching nearly three months in Dominica, we've got a pretty good feel for what we're glad we brought along.

While that it's safe to say that nearly all of the items on my ginormous packing list have come in handy, there are a few things that I am forever glad to have brought.

So in no particular order, here is our Must Pack Top Ten!

  1. Linens
    It is so nice to cozy up in your own sheets, with your own pillow and comfy mattress pad. 
  2. Benadryl Cream
    Some people aren't bothered by the mosquitoes here. Matt is one of them. I, on the other hand, must have some sweet blood because mosquitoes love me. And the Benadryl cream has been a lifesaver. That in correlation with bug spray, and I'm good to go.
  3. Organizational Supplies
    In such a small space, things such as command hooks, over the door hangers and pop up boxes have helped us maximize our itty bitty space.
  4. Backpacks
    Matt and I each got a water resistant type backpack. So important!
  5. Bonine
    I get carsick easily. Some people don't get carsick easily and still get carsick here. And Bonine doesn't make you drowsy. Seriously thinking about investing in this stuff. 
  6. Sunscreen
    The sun here is intense. Good sweat-proof sunscreen is key. If you forget the sunscreen, you're going to need aloe for sure.
  7. Water Filters
    We brought a Pur filter for the kitchen sink and camelbak water bottle filters. We use those like nobody's business.
  8. Gustbuster Umbrella
    I know we haven't hit rainy season yet, but it's been abnormally rainy here these past few months. So I am very thankful for a large, sturdy umbrella. Or two.
  9. Surge Protectors
    The electricity here isn't as well grounded as it is in the states. These are a must.
  10. Nutella
    Obviously. I believe the world would be a better place if there was a daily recommended dose of Nutella.

Those are pretty much the essentials. The random things I'm glad we brought? Well here's a whole separate list for that as they aren't essential, but do make you more comfortable here.

  1. Flashlights Galore
    We brought several flashlights down here and they've come in handy as some paths here aren't that well lit.
  2. Fan
    We brought a lightweight fan in our suitcase, so we had it on our first night here. So glad we did that as the first night was more tolerable when you're adjusting to the heat.
  3. Flyswatter
    It's better than using my shoe.
  4. Mosquito Net
    We don't have a major problem here. It's more for piece of mind than anything else.
  5. Deep Conditioner
    The water here is rather rough on my hair. You'd think it'd be great not ever blow drying or styling it, but it was looking pretty gnarly after a few showers. We actually brought all of our toiletries here in bulk and very glad for that!
  6. Lotion
    Same with the water. I thought with the humidity I wouldn't get dry skin. But I've really needed it here.
  7. Kitchen Supplies
    We brought a crock pot, foreman and food processor along with a variety of other supplies and utensils. It's nice to have those so you aren't limited in cooking.
  8. Coffee
    It just doesn't taste the same here. We love our Maxwell House.
  9. Medicines
    We pretty much brought a stocked medicine cabinet with everything from sinus meds, allergy meds, cough drops, Airborne, Neosporin and more. 
  10. Woolite Travel Packets
    I've gotten pretty good at washing a load of laundry in the sink. It's great to do that in between sending our laundry out as it helps with the cost. Plus, you are guaranteed to get all of your laundry back if you wash your own. We have a clothesline on the back porch to easily dry them.

That's basically it. There are several random items (scotch tape, dry fit everything, envelopes, gaterade mix) that I'm sure I've left off, and become ever so thankful for them when in need.

Every person may have a different top ten. It just depends on what is important to you, and what you can or cannot live without. And for me, Benadryl cream and Nutella are just those things.


March 11, 2013

Rosalie Bay

Where do I begin...

We had the most wonderful weekend, and then Monday brought it to a screeching halt  Oh Monday, you have a way of doing that.

Matt had his Mini on Friday morning, so that meant an entire weekend of no studying! Of course, we wanted to take advantage of the time while we had it, so we decided to use this weekend as an early anniversary celebration as he won't have this time off in May.

We decided to book a couple of nights at Rosalie Bay Resort here in Dominica. We've heard wonderful things about Rosalie Bay, and wanted to try it out.

And we were so glad we did!

Rosalie Bay is over an hour's drive from Picard as it is on the southeast side of the island on the Atlantic Ocean.  The hotel arranged to pick us up at 12:30 p.m. on Friday, and we started the trek to Rosalie. Matt had yet to leave the Portsmouth/Picard area, so he was happy to see the sights. It's a winding trek through the mountains, but it sure is breathtaking.

We arrived at Rosalie Bay and were greeted with a warm staff, a fresh drink and a cool cloth to freshen up. They led us to our room, and much to our surprise, they upgraded it for us! Being on a meager budget, we had reserved the Gardenview Room, but they put us in a Junior Suite. And this room, I tell you, was fabulous.

It had a quaint deck area, and then opened to beautiful french doors. The smell inside was enough to instantly make you relax. And the size? It was literally 2.5 times the size of our apartment. But instead of trying to explain it to you, here are some pictures that will do so much better than I can.

Gorgeous! Everything from the extremely comfortable bed, lush bedding, living area, plush robes, amazing bathroom to personalized greetings was incredible. And yes, that shower had scolding hot water. And it was wonderful.

Also, the windows are all tinted, so even if you have the curtains open to let the sunlight in, you still have your privacy. Fun little touch!

When you say resort, it isn't anything like a Sandals type resort. It is very quaint as most of the activities are the free yoga classes, spa services, or excursions into Dominica. We opted for the relaxing weekend and visited the spa. It was right on the Atlantic and had open air rooms, so it was incredibly relaxing.

The grounds were also gorgeous.

You'll notice the wind turbine in some of the photos as Rosalie Bay is an eco-resort.

Rosalie Bay also features a delicious restaurant. We had some wonderful food, which completed our getaway.

When we weren't in our room enjoying the big comfortable bed and watching trashy TV while blasting the AC, we were at the pool.

But look at that. Can you blame us?

The bottom of the pool is made of black onyx which helps to heat the pool naturally. It's also a saltwater pool instead of chlorinated. And they have those blue floaty mats. So we definitely didn't leave there much.

As I said, the resort is right on the Atlantic Ocean. But since the ocean is so unpredictable, there is no swimming allowed. And as you can see in the photos, the waves were really choppy.

The resort also serves as a turtle sanctuary. Last year during turtle season (March-August) nearly 165 turtles came on to the shores of Rosalie Bay. They will take you on tours in the evening hours to look for them as peak turtle time is from 9 p.m. - 5 a.m. Since we came at the beginning of the season, we weren't too confident we would see any, so we opted out of that and decided to do that next time. But this is the beach where all of the turtles can be found.

The resort got us a driver to take us back to Picard on Sunday. I couldn't avoid the carsickness this time around, so I was feeling pretty green by the time we got home. So what better to do than take a three hour nap.

So, all in all we had a wonderful weekend of sleep, hot showers, air conditioning, sunshine and time together. It was exactly what we both needed to energize and get ready for the end of the semester. Worth every penny.

And then there came Monday with a bang. So it's back to reality. Matt's back to studying nonstop, and I'm back to work. Just a few more weeks for him to trudge through to get ready for his final, and then we'll be off to Vegas. 

It's unbelievable at how quickly this semester is flying by.


March 4, 2013

Dominican Update

There hasn't been too much excitement this last week here in Dominica. And that's really ok. That mean's there isn't too much to this post. But you should still read it anyway, of course.

It is definitely starting to warm up. We're losing our breeze a bit, and the sun is getting more intense. It's only going to get worse from here. I am glad we came when we did, so we could acclimate to the heat instead of jumping right into a sauna. But don't get me wrong, I totally love going about my day with a look consistent with a marathoner.

Because I spend the majority of my week days indoors, I look forward to spending nearly every waking second outside during the weekend.

And it was a beautiful weekend. No rain, just glorious sunshine.

Beyond that, we've had some beautiful evenings, too. You don't get skies like this in Indiana.  Well done, Dominica.

Matt has Mini 2 on Friday. The material is getting a bit more challenging as they are now expanding on their MERP knowledge, so he's taking in quite a bit of new material instead of just reviewing everything. But a mini on a Friday!? You know what that means? I get a whole weekend with him! His last two tests were during the middle of the week, so we only got an afternoon. Needless to say, we are both looking forward to it.

The other day we had a Subway date for lunch and on our way back, Matt heard a noise and jumped and screamed - a manly scream if you were wondering. And his reaction caused me to jump, too. So we look up, and look who's looking back at us.

Now that's a big lizard.

It's the first one I've seen here. I'm sure there are bigger ones. Looking forward to stumbling into those at some point.

And that's really that. I told you there wasn't that much excitement. But at least there were some fun pictures to look through.

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