May 21, 2013

Red Rock and Sunset Bay

We are getting settled into semester two! Matt is shoulders deep into studies once again. His block right now is mainly Neuro. It's a long, tough block as his first mini isn't for seven weeks.

This past Monday was a Dominican holiday, so campus was closed. Friday was a research day, so they didn't have class then either. So Matt had a few extra days to study.

This weekend, I have a long weekend for the Memorial Day holiday in the states, so I'm taking advantage and using a couple vacation days. A few of the other wives and I decided to go on a girls vacation to Barbados! How fun is it that we can just decide on a whim to go island hopping to a place like Barbados? Very exciting!

But, to update you on our past few adventures first!

We went with a group of friends to Red Rock. It's on the east side (Atlantic) of the island outside a town called Calibishie. It's fairly near the airport. There's a delicious restaurant called Red Rock Haven which is right on the beach.

We went to the actual Red Rock land first. Your led down a well kept trail by a man who owns all of the land. There's a small fee that goes toward keeping the trail maintained. Once you walk out on the clearing, though, it's stunning.

We took in the beautiful sight and took a fair share of photos.

Red Rock is such a beautiful place. It is a definite must-see attraction!

From there, we got back in our transport and headed to dinner. They have delicious food with such a great ambiance. It's situated in the sand, right on the beach. There is even a fire pit and chairs where you can roast marshmallows for dessert!

Next, Matt and I celebrated our one year anniversary. Sure, we would've loved to be in the states to celebrate with friends and family, eat our year-old cake, and celebrate with our grandparents as we share the special day now. Instead, I was treated with breakfast in bed. Matt studied for awhile, and then we cranked on the AC and watched a few movies. That's my idea of a great Dominican date night!

The next outing was for our dear friend Tabby's birthday! We went to Sunset Bay Resort for a delicious dinner to celebrate. The weather was perfect. There was a great breeze, and the humidity broke a bit. It's definitely been warmer and more humid in the past few weeks, so it was a welcome change. The sunset was gorgeous and served as the perfect backdrop for some beautiful pictures!

Such cute photos!

Now, we just need to get through the next few days until the adventure continues!


May 12, 2013

Our New Apartment

Since today is our one year anniversary, I thought it would be a perfect time to show the video of our apartment. That way, the video can do the talking while I hang out with my husband!

So, without further adieu, here's our lovely new home.


May 8, 2013

Settling In

We are getting settled in here into our new apartment, and absolutely love it. I'll be sitting here, and just think, gosh I love this apartment. I'm so happy we moved here. I even forget I'm in Dominica!

The new place is called Fletchers Luxury Apartments. It's a little further walk than Comfort Zone. It's still in Picard, but it is off Banana Trail. It's about 7-10 minutes walk from campus.

The apartment is so spacious and open. It is literally nicer than any apartment we've lived in at home. It would be considered small in comparison to places at home, but it is large for Dominica. The ceilings are high, and they are painted, so it doesn't feel like you're living in a dorm room.

Since I'm so enamored with our new place, I wanted to share what exactly is so special about it. I thought this would give you a glimpse of the type of things which are considered valuable here.

Hot water. Scolding hot water to be exact. The kind that turns your skin red. And to go with it - water pressure.

Beauty Rest Mattress. Queen sized! I have never slept better. Our bed is incredibly comfortable.

Big fridge. It's almost as big as a traditional American fridge!

Nice countertops! It isn't the stone countertops with grouting that you can never get clean.

Large bathroom. It's a standard American bathroom. There's no need to shimmy in and shimmy out.

Desk chair! Yes. You read that correctly. We have an actual desk and desk chair.

New! The apartment overall is fairly new. So it's not run down or dirty. They do a great job of pest control, too.

Secure. They have video monitors, security guard, bars and electronic gates.

Two big balconies. One out front off the bedroom, and one in the back. The one in the back opens to two French doors. Both balconies have screen doors. How wonderful is that?!

A great breeze. The building itself its built on a stilt style platform, so we are fairly high. Which means we have a fabulous breeze that keeps us cool.

American stove. No need to light a match and turn on propane to start the oven; this is all automatic!

Closet! There's a huge closet that they have in the bedroom. It definitely helps with storage.

Two huge TVs. Not that Matt gets to watch TV much, but I can. Dad, you will be impressed.

Two air conditioners! There is an AC unit in the kitchen/living area and in the bedroom. They're the kind that can oscillate the direction they blow and everything. They didn't hold back a dime when they built this.

Storage spaces. Along with the closet, we also have a couple of shelving units, filing cabinet and a large bookshelf. That is like gold here.

New appliances. They gave us a new set of pots and pans! It also came fully furnished with plates, bowls, silverware, etc.

Space! We can have people over! We've got a leather loveseat and chair, along with a table and chairs, and this lovely desk chair. So there is space for people to sit when they come over beyond our bed. And, there's room for people to spread out, too. Bonus, there's enough room in our living area to put up an air mattress for when you all come to visit!  (And if you don't want to stay here, this adorable B&B is right next door!)

Service! The management and staff here have been nothing short of wonderful. There is a woman on site in the office throughout the week should you need anything. They are extremely responsive to all emails - even on weekends/holidays. The cleaning staff is so warm and friendly. And the security guard is just as nice. Overall, they treat you like family. You can't take that granted anywhere you go.

In general, this place feels so much more like a home. It is on the more expensive side of apartments, but it is worth every penny.

So, here are a few photos. Once I get ambitious enough, I'll try and post a video tour, so you can get the full experience!


Our dining/living area. And yes, that's a glass chandelier. It's on a dimmer, too. No big deal.

Ocean view!
Sunsets here are stunning.
View off our back porch.
The mountain's to the south.
View of Cabrits from the back porch.


May 5, 2013


Has it really been three weeks already? Apparently is has. And nearly 7,500 miles later, we are back in Dominica.

Our trip started off uneventful thank goodness. We made it Charlotte for an overnight on our way to Vegas. We got to Vegas, and made our way to Bally's, the host hotel. Side note, there was a restaurant as we were exiting our plane that had Diet Coke, so you can be I can a fountain Coke as soon as possible.

From there, Vegas was a blur. I worked and worked, and Matt, well, he worked a bit too. It was his responsibility to go to Starbucks and then McDonald's every day to make sure the staff was well hydrated with caffeine and Dt. Coke of course. He definitely helped around in other various areas, but most important was the drinks! I had one afternoon off, so we did a bit of sightseeing together.

In the limo from the airport.
View from our room.
Bellagio Gardens
It was so great to be reunited with my other co-workers and to be in America. We worked hard, but it was great company.

So while I was working, Matt picked out a new restaurant to go to every day for lunch. And then he would tell me how good it was. I got to live vicariously through his Vegas experience.

From Vegas, we made the trip back to Indiana. I nearly got tackled by this little handsome stud. Although, he is not as little as I seem to remember. When I asked him what happened that he got so tall, he just said, "Nothing happened, Mimi!"

Four months is a long time to go without seeing family for me, so it was so wonderful to have my parents, Sheila and Landon there greeting us with open arms. We got our bags and headed to McAlister's for some much needed taco salad and chicken tortilla soup - and sweet tea. And the beautiful Erin Medjeski!

And then it was back to Shipshewana. It's funny how when you go home, it feels like you never left at all. Everything just falls back into place.

We had a week of appointments, shopping and delicious food. Matt spent a few days in Laporte as well. We got to snuggle with our Emmy who is doing very well considering her diagnosis.

Our evenings were spent with family dinners and entertaining Landon. He is getting quite snarky as his new sayings are, "Seriously?!" and "She's aggravating me." He's four. We're in for trouble.

He also said that when he grows up he's going to be a farmer. And if God made him a wife, he would be a husband. Did your heart just melt?

My bouquet of flowers.
Landon also got some new kittens. Four kittens to be exact. And the momma cat. He named the momma cat Lassie, and then named the kittens, Laya, Jeremy and Jill. One is still to be named. I love this kid.

My Aunt Pam makes the most delicious scotcharoos, which are my favorite. And made some for Matt's birthday. Well, we got them when Matt was in Laporte. It was almost too much for Landon to handle to have those scotcharoos sitting there with no one eating them. So he said in the most desperate little voice, "Do you think Uncle Matt would let me have one because I'm his little buddy." I think he could've gotten the whole batch with that plea.

The weather was perfect, so we played ball, golf and a few rousing games of Chutes and Ladders. We also had the grill out a few times, so we could get the full America experience.

Landon also figured out how to take pictures and videos on my phone. Which was a good time for all.

Our short week in Indiana quickly came to an end. We left for the Detroit airport around 12:45 a.m. on Friday. Our flight was scheduled to leave around 6:30 a.m. However, they discovered a faulty tire and delayed us, then changed planes. We were delayed about 90 minutes. Which was exactly our connection time to our flight to St. Maartin. Thankfully, US Air held the connection long enough for us to run to the other end of the terminal as that was the last flight to St. Maartin that day. Crisis 1 avoided.

Upon arriving in St. Maartin, we thought we weren't going to get any bags because our quick connection. However, we got three and went to the counter to post a claim for our fourth bag. As we were in waiting, our lonely bag came through on the belt. Apparently they forgot to put it on the belt. Crisis number two avoided.

So we grabbed our bags, and had to recheck through Liat. We went to the counter, and Liat didn't have our reservation. I had confirmed our reservation before we left, so I was sure it was just a user error. We went to the ticket counter, and the man said that our reservation was cancelled.

What!? We never cancelled that reservation. He gave us a print out receipt, that credited our 'refund' to a guy named Sanjay out of New York. We don't know anyone from New York or anyone named Sanjay.

The next open flight he offered to put us on after we purchased tickets again was Monday night.

Talk about feeling stuck. It was an awful feeling. For awhile, our wifi didn't work. We had no phone. Nothing to help us get out of this awful situation. Well, our wifi started working and Sheila got on the phone with CheapOAir who we booked through.

In the meantime, I spoke with some of the other airlines who fly through to Dominica. One chartered flight would be $3,200 to get out on Saturday. And another would be $600 to get on standby for Saturday.

While waiting, I spoke with another Liat gentleman who was a little more helpful. He went back to the ticketing office and spoke with the man there. He came back to us and said to stay where we were (like we had anywhere else to go) and that they were going to try and get us on. I gave that man a hug.

About 20 minutes later, they both came back with tickets. I hugged both of them. We quickly went to check in to get boarding passes in hand and then made our way through security. I wasn't going to give anyone any time to cancel our tickets.

I'm still not sure what happened. But I'm sure it was Cheap0Air's mistake. We've heard other's who have had problems with them as well. Lesson learned, don't book with CheapOAir.

Thank goodness we had that six hour layover in St. Maartin we were dreading. So, we boarded our dinky Liat flight and headed to Dominica. After three hours, Crisis 3 avoided.

We landed safely. Got through customs and immigration and then waited for our bags. Liat's weight restrictions are strict, so we had to pick one of our bags each to fly priority and the other flew standby. So when all of our bags showed up, we were shocked!

Our taxi was there waiting for us and we made it to our new apartment. So after being awake for hours upon end and a stress filled day of travel, we were exhausted. The security guard had our keys for us. He helped with our bags, tossing two on his head and grabbing the third, and marched up the three flights of stairs. We sprawled our suitcases across the floor and we went straight to bed.

Saturday was spent organizing and packing. And after that, we were still exhausted, so it was an early night.

We got pretty much everything settled and put away. We absolutely love our new apartment. It feels so much more like a home than a dorm room. We have incredible water pressure and hot water. And we have this stunning view.

So now, Matt is getting ready to start Semester Two on Monday! We're off to enjoy our last day of calm before settling into the new routine again.

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