April 5, 2013

Semester 1 Lessons Learned

I can hardly believe that the first semester here in Dominica is nearly over. This was Matt's last week of lecture. Now he gets to end the semester with five exams. Jealous?

While most of the time here has gone by in a blur, we have learned so much in a short amount of time.


Buy electricity prior to any and all holidays. You will run out. And so will the stores who are still open for the holiday.

A 'jelly' is a coconut.

The iguanas are more scared of you then you are of them. Maybe.

Making a list for the grocery is useless for the most part. They will likely not have the things you need, but will have things you didn't know you needed! So we've learned to be creative in this realm.

A positive attitude and a sense of humor can go a long way.

I've never realized the luxury of a 'super' store such as Target, Meijer, etc. We've learned to shop at many different stores to find the things we need instead of shopping at a one stop place.

Just because the sun is shining, doesn't mean it's not raining. Believe it or not, it was raining in the picture below.

The Dominican lawn mower is a weed whacker.

Check expiration dates on your food. If you are buying imported foods, it could take awhile for the products to get here, so it's best to be safe.

Walking everywhere isn't that bad. (Minus the heat.) You are able to take in the beautiful scenery, say hi to your classmates and locals, and enjoy the time talking to your companion rather than yelling at the crazy drivers around you.

All of the sunsets here are picture worthy.

We've learned to sleep without any covers.

Don't send out for your laundry the day before you need something. Inevitably that will be the one day they can't return it to you on time.

When it rains, the flying ants take over. We aren't sure if they are really flying ants, or termites, but whatever they are, they are gross. And I have no idea how they get into the apartment, but they do. 

Speaking of gross, I saw my first living Dominican rat. I think it was a rat anyway. Due to the size, it could have been a small dog. Blech!

It's very refreshing to live in 'simpler' life. It reminds me so much of my family back home. We have learned to go without many material things here, and believe it or not we are just as happy. We've gained a different perspective and are grateful for how that is impacting us both.

Apparently, there are snow days. My snow day looked like this. Not too bad! (When my office in Indy gets hit by a snowstorm and causes the office to close, we all win.)

Tuesday is garbage day. This is warning to take very seriously if you plan on being outside.

Most importantly, Matt and I have learned to cherish the small amount of time we have together between his studies. We don't take that time for granted. We've also learned we are a little stronger than we thought. And our relationship has grown tremendously by putting us in a situation where we have each other, and have to rely on each other 100%. I wouldn't trade this growing experience for anything.

We've also learned how vital a good support system is. Whether it's at home or here, or both, you need friends and family to keep you going. Even a small note or a few words of encouragement mean the world to both Matt and me. We've got a great support network!


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