February 28, 2014

Momma Miller

Having my mom visit was one of my favorite weeks here in Dom. Being able to show her how we live, see the culture and really immerse herself into our new life here was something I will cherish.

Matt and I could talk till we are blue in the face about things here in Dom. I could write a plethora of blog posts and take hundreds of pictures, but you don't get it until you are here and experience it for yourself.

Plus, it's just good to have your mom around no matter how old you are.

We picked her up from the airport and it was a shock for me just having her on the island, seeing the things Matt and I only see. The drive back was fascinating as she was taking it all in for the first time - things I tend to overlook such as the flowers and driving on the left side of the road. But Bruno did a great job of pointing out to her the wildlife, beautiful views and history of the towns so that she got the full experience.

We started dinner off at La Flambeau, a restaurant right on the water. I made sure she got a taste of the local flavor with the freshly squeezed passion fruit juice and breadfruit chips for the meal.

Matt had exam that Monday morning, so we took our time wandering through Picard. I showed her the grocery (and the prices) pointing out the selection of items. We stopped to get a fresh papaya from a street vendor. And of course got juice from the juice shack. Delicious.

Of course, it rained off and on all morning. Typical Dom experience.

Matt finished his exam, and after lunch the rain cleared and we made our way to Secret Beach. Secret Beach is exactly what it sounds like. It is a secluded little oasis around the bend from Coconut Beach. So secret, you have to take a boat there. And you can't be seen from the main beach. It is stunning! 

It was so wonderful to spend the afternoon lounging in the water with both Matt and my mom. It was Matt and I's first time to Secret Beach, too. We were the only ones there and started off the week in the most perfect way.

Plus, we also planned our announcement in the perfectly named sands of Secret Beach.

Tuesday Matt had the majority of the day off, so we made the long drive down the Caribbean coast to Scott's Head to see where the Caribbean and Atlantic meet. It's one of my most favorite places on the island as it is such a unique experience, the water is a gorgeous shade of turquoise and you get a stunning view of the island.

After Scott's Head, we went to see the twin waterfalls of Trafalger. 

Then to top off the day, we headed to Screw Spa, the natural sulfur spa. I've been here a few times, but Matt had yet to experience it. Needless to say, I didn't think I was going to get him or my mom out of the warm, soothing water. Unfortunately, I didn't get to enjoy due to Baby Wells, but my feet got to soak up the relaxation a bit. And of course we enjoyed the fresh fruit dessert treat after. I've grown accustomed to the fresh fruit here, but for mom, tasting the sweet bananas and delicious oranges reminded me of how lucky we are to be surrounded by the delicious foods here.

Then to top off a near perfect day, we drove up to Morne Bruce to overlook the capitol city of Roseau. Absolutely stunning!

Wednesday Matt headed back to class, and mom and I took it easy. I had an appointment that day, so mom got to experience the Ross Clinic. She also got to hear Baby Wells's heartbeat. After that, Matt took us on a brief campus tour, then her and I spent the afternoon relaxing at the pool. My kind of afternoon.

Dinner that night was at De Champ so we could show her the beautiful view and watch the sunset. Unfortunately the clouds prohibited the fantastic view, but dinner and company was excellent.

Thursday was a busy day! And it was Matt's birthday! Poor guy had class, so he insisted mom and I went on an adventure that day. But that didn't stop us from making him a birthday breakfast. Complete with pancakes with birthday sprinkles and all!

Then we were off to the Carib Reserve. The Kalinago are the last remaining tribe of native Caribbeans. The Dominican government has set an area of land for them to live much like a native american reservation. They make cassava bread in the reserve, which I had yet to try. It was different, but good!

We did a little shopping at the vendor booths, but then made our way to Roseau. We stopped by the vendor market to visit my favorite basket ladies and do a little souvenir shopping. Then of course we had to make our way to the leather shoes to see what they had. There are some new styles that we just had to purchase! After that, it was a quick lunch and then we stopped by the Juice Man to get a refreshing treat. Mom pointed out she was surprised I would get juice from him, as his 'stand' is a wooden booth of sorts. She said it's definitely not sanitary compared to U.S. standards, but it was the best juice she's had. Just another one of those things that I overlook, but good to be reminded of!

Then, we were off to the part of the trip that I looked forward to the most - whale watching! That was the one thing mom had wanted to do here. So we made our way to Anchorage Hotel and Dive Center and got ready to go out on the catamaran for a minimum of three hours.

Dominica is known for whale watching as sperm whales are widely seen in the waters here. Matt and I went whale watching and were lucky enough to see them on our first trip. They boast a very high success rate!

Regardless of seeing whales, you still have an excellent experience as they educate you on the procedures and the whales themselves. It's a very enlightening trip. Plus, the scenery of the island is beautiful.

Unfortunately, the whales weren't out that day, but we did spot hundreds of bottle nose dolphins. Such beautiful creatures! They swam and jumped alongside the boat keeping up with our pace. So fascinating!

We made it back to Picard to celebrate Matt's birthday! He decided on pizza for dinner, then I had gotten a cake and locally made ice cream for dessert. Happy island birthday!

Friday morning we relaxed and packed for mom's departure. Her flight left that afternoon. It was hard to believe it was time for her to leave already!

We had such an amazing week. Perfect weather, perfect experiences, perfect timing on everything. I couldn't have asked for anything more.

It was definitely sad to see her go, but knowing we'll be HOME in just a couple months make it that much easier. Plus, after all that driving, neither Baby Wells or I were crazy about getting into a car any time soon.

57 more days folks. Then we will be back in the States permanently. Can you believe it?

February 15, 2014


There are some weeks that just seem like you're swimming upstream. Everything seems harder, nothing goes your way and you are left to wonder why you have been dealt the bad hand.

This past week made those weeks completely worth it.

I grew up hearing the rough times are there to make you appreciate the good times. This week left us completely overwhelmed with blessing after blessing.

For starters, my mom arrived! With the crazy weather Indiana has been getting, I was so afraid she would have trouble getting out. But the snow started just after she left. Perfect timing!

I'll save the details of her trip for another post, but it was so comforting and refreshing to have her here. We were blessed with perfect weather, great trips and more throughout the whole week.

Perhaps even more exciting, was getting to share our wonderful news in the perfectly named sands of Secret Beach.

This has been the hardest secret for us to keep! Something that is so exciting, so wonderful and to have to keep that quiet has been tough for us. But now that we have survived the first trimester, we couldn't wait to share the news.

We found out just before Christmas. This was the month we wanted to get pregnant as it fit perfectly with Matt's schooling. But, planning a pregnancy typically isn't as easy as picking a date on a calendar. So when the time came to take the test, I was sure we weren't pregnant. So I put off taking the test. Well, one morning I was woken up by a very vivid dream that we were pregnant, so I got up and took the test. Sure enough, it was positive. I woke up Matt while still trying to keep our excitement to a minimum as our parents were upstairs. It was a rush of emotions that we will never forget.

For Christmas, we wanted to tell our families and surprise them, so we wrapped up small Christmas stockings to put under the tree. There were definitely surprises all around!

It was a challenge to keep it quiet while we were home, knowing that we wouldn't be able to tell people in person. So, we tried our best!

The first trimester was pretty rough for me. My 'morning' sickness typically struck in the mid to late afternoon. I was managing ok until one particularly rough day while we were still home where I ended up in the emergency room. It made for a long night, but had to be put on medication to calm it all down. So with that and a diet consisting of mainly rice, ginger tea, ginger gum, ginger ale, pretzels and chicken noodle soup I made it through.

The nausea has subsided quite a bit. I'm able to eat a wider variety of foods and I'm not needing the medication near as often. Perfect timing for mom's trip!

Other than the morning sickness, the first trimester came along with extreme tiredness. Again, that is starting to subside as well.

I'm certainly not complaining. We know how blessed we are and in a way, the sickness and exhaustion was comforting as it provided reassurance Baby was doing well.

We were also able to have an ultrasound done here in Dom. I had my initial appointment in Indiana, but have been seeing the doctors here. Getting the ultrasound in Dom will be a whole new post as it was an incredibly interesting experience.

We also got to hear our little one's heartbeat which is just the most wonderful sound we've ever heard.

Matt and I are so overwhelmed by all of the excitement, support and encouragement we've had when making our big announcement. It is humbling to know how much Baby Wells is loved already! We are anxiously awaiting Baby's arrival and to meet our little one. We've prayed and prayed to be blessed with a child, and it is certainly a gift we are cherishing every minute of.

So, allow me to introduce you to Baby Wells! Beautiful!

February 1, 2014

Preparing for A Visit

Big news! My mom is coming to visit in one week! She arrives on Sunday, Feb. 9 and will be staying until Feb. 14.

I couldn't be more excited!

Not only do I have my planner full of things to show her, but I'm also thrilled to be able to share this experience with another family member. It's a way for us to really show how we live here, what a beautiful place Dominica is and have someone else to share the memories with for years to come.

So, like I said, I have my planner all full so we will be able to get the most out of her stay. I'll be taking her to my favorite places I've been such as Scott's Head, Screw Spa, Kalinago Territory, Emerald Pool, Trafalger Falls and more. We will also go whale watching and visit Secret Beach here in Picard. And of course there will be a trip to the market to see my favorite basket ladies!

Even better, Matt has an exam on Monday, so he will have Monday afternoon and Tuesday where he can join us. This poor guy has only ever been to Rosalie Bay and whale watching when we first arrived. So he's looking forward to enjoying the island a bit as well.

When I asked my mom what she wanted to be sure and do while she was here, she replied with, 'seeing the grocery store.' This makes me laugh! Mom is just so interested in seeing how the people really live and seeing the true culture other than the commercialized side of things. I'll make sure we visit the grocery store in her time here as well.

Other than getting ready for mom to come, we've settled back in our routines. Matt has his first clinical exam this week and then a mini next week. We are also getting ready to apply for our fifth semester location.

We're also starting to sell several items that we won't be needing. It's exciting to be at that point already! There is a Ross student's Craigslist group on Facebook where we can post the things we want to sell that way. It makes me pretty easy.

We made a trip into Portsmouth which is always interesting. Saturday mornings are especially busy with the market, but the streets are bustling, religious music is blaring and all of the bright colors just put you in a good mood.

Portsmouth Police Station
Chicken's walking around the streets of Portsmouth. Watch out, Mom.
Not a very exciting update, but I'm sure there will be more to come as the semester moves forward!

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