Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Retiring at an Early Age


I say "friends" and I refer to those who read the blog and laugh and take it for what it's worth.  Those of you who take things too literally need to eat more fiber. 

This blog has been retired and we've started a new one. Not to worry, the characters that you came to know and love on this blog will be in the new one.  You'll find it on Kristin's Facebook page. If you would like it and you are not a contact in Facebook, send an e-mail and the link will be sent to you.

Have a great day!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Spot-a-Celeb Friday!

Previously on the M.F.I.

Earlier this week my husband was the subject of a nasty gram about my blog. In addition to his love note, I received e-mails to my FB inbox and a couple of crazy comments on my blog.  All of that because some med students thought their double top secret identities had been revealed.  Random, fictional students - you're fine. Nobody knows about your evil villain alter ego's; carry on.  Today I'm spilling a name. Count it, "Old Hag". I'm putting it out there.

Big John is in the Hizzouse!

Do you know Big John?  I had the pleasure of meeting him today and quizzed Jason and a couple of other students about him: nicest guy at AUC, heart of gold, thinks of everyone else first. I believe it was John Stewart who described Big John as "not only impressive in stature, but he's got a killer coif." Big John has been voted Most Likely to Donate Organs and Live On as a Skin-Covered Cylon in order to save a life. And, IMDB actually checks their facts with him based on his immense filmography knowledge.

Need a stress-reliever? Feel like fawning over Ryan Reynolds in "Green Lantern"? Searching for dramady, romance or "Men in Tights"? Look for Big John. This generous med student who puts others first will let you borrow from his movie collection. Kids movies? He's got them. The guy doesn't have kids and he made an effort to get kids movies for med student families to watch.  Netflix schmetflix.

Big John, this shout out is for you!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

A Little Bit of History Repeated

Working from home is great b/c I can sit here in my shorts and tank with no AC and none of my clients can see me sweat (not from pressure, but from the heat on this bloody island).  I can say that since I put up our new curtain panels, the condo is much cooler. Dare I say it's comfortable?  Yes, Cheyenne is my Yoda for island acceptance.  Anyhoo... my current client is on Atlantic time.  This means my physician meetings are at 6:30 or 7 in the morning so I can rap with them before rounds, my work meetings start at 8 and I get to go on "lunch break" at 11.  Yippee!   I can check my personal e-mail and do non-work stuff an hour earlier than my friends in the same timezone.  Had a request from the fam to repost the information about the history of the island.  See below.

The island of St. Maarten was originally inhabited by the Arawak Indians (from the Amazon) and they called the island "Land of Salt" due to the mass amounts of salt on the island. They were followed by a warrior group of Amazonian Indians, the Caribs, and the island was later claimed for Spain by Christopher Columbus. The island was tossed around between Spain, France, Britain and the Netherlands.  History states that the island changed hands 16 times in about 150 years finally settling with only 2 countries for the tiny island (France & Holland). In 1943 Princess Juliana airport was opened and the salt industry stopped so the tourism industry could become the main focus of the island.

Geography & Currency

St. Maarten is part of the group of islands called the Netherland Antilles, lies about 180 miles east of Puerto Rico and is approximately 87 km around. Over 60% of the land mass is governed by France. Though the Dutch side of the island is smaller, it's more heavily populated. English is spoken throughout the island and the US Dollar is accepted on both sides.

Weather & Travel

The average island temperature ranges from 75 to 86 and maintains two seasons - summer or "dry season" and humid summer or "hurricane season". No fall foliage, no pumpkins grown on the island for Halloween - nada. The "dry season" on the island is December to May and is called the dry season because it's NOT hurricane season. This is also the most popular time to travel. To avoid dangerous situations, use common sense. Do not put anything in the trunk of your rental car, don’t leave valuables in your car for people to see, don’t flash your cash and credit cards around, don’t tell people in bars or clubs where you're staying, do not get in a car or van unless it's CLEARLY labeled Taxi or Bus on both license plates and do not wander off by yourself in a secluded area.

Snakes, Insects & Scary Stuff

I can't find any documentation stating that there are sea snakes in the Caribbean Sea or in the Atlantic Ocean near the islands. There are documented cases of the Milk Snake and the Thread Snake in the Caribbean as well as numerous ground snakes. I did hear from one of my friends that the island used to have a lot of snakes until they introduced the mongoose. Now the snake population is  less of a problem. The island is the home to venomous red centipedes, millipedes and Dengue carrying mosquitoes.  We've seen numerous centipedes outside, had one in our home and Jason even had a classmate tell him that he woke to find one in his mouth. Gross, scary, eww!!

If you're looking for a great place to vacation, St. Maarten is an excellent spot! The island gets close to 1 million tourists every year, has some world class diving spots, allows you to savor French pastries on either side of the island and gambling is legal here. There are too many hotels and condos to mention - but book early because starting with the Thanksgiving holiday the island will be hopping!

Mo' Money!

Did you know that the estimated winnings for the current Mega Millions are $67 million? Holy crap! This lottery (game of chance) began in 1996 in only 6 states in the U.S.A. Now, in 2011, the Mega Millions is played in 41 states, D.C. and in the U.S. Virgin Islands. The largest jackpot was in 2007 and the $390 million was split between 2 Georgia residents. Your chances of winning the JACKPOT are 1 in over 176 million.

Why all of the information about a lottery? Because the chances of winning this are much, much lower than the chances of me running into 2 med students who REQUESTED to be in the blog. The island is small and there are only so many cash machines.

Below is what happened yesterday when I went to get cash for our GEBE bill.

Waiting in line for the cash machine behind 3 people. 2 guys in front of me talking to each other and one turns around and stares at me - for about 30 seconds. I'm starting to feel creepy, then:

 Guy 1: Are you Jason's wife? (now feeling even more creepy)

Guy 2 turns around to look at me and not only do I feel creeped out, I also wish that I had one of the fight-scene trainers from Charlie's Angels (the movie not the 70's show).

Me: Yeah, why? And how did you know it was me?

Now I have their full attention.

Guy 2: YYYY told a bunch of us to watch out for you. I checked out Jason's page to find pictures.

Me: She told you to "watch out" (using my fingers as quotes) for me? Wow! I have seen Karate Kid and I'm not afraid to imitate Ralph Macchio.

They both look at me puzzled and we move up one person in line. Damn, I'm old. These kids don't know who Ralph Macchio is. "Old Hag", you should feel really good right now.

Me: Did you need something...

Guy 1: Were we in Dude, Where's My Car?

Me: No, that was Ashton Kutcher and that Sean guy.

Guy 2: No. (crosses his arms) Your blog post.

Me: I can't believe you actually read my blog. And, no, those guys were not you.

Guy 1: Dude, c'mon. Was it us?

Me: I don't know what you mean and it's obvious that YYYY has it out for me so - NO - not you.

We move up so now Guy 2 is at the machine and it's just me and Guy 1.

Guy 1: Can we be in your blog?

Me: (thinking that I've left the planet or there is something wacky wafting through the air) A chic in your class tells you to "watch out" (again with the finger quotes) for me and you WANT to be in the blog.

Guy 1: Just put us in there and they'll know it was us.

Guy 2: (stepping out of the cash machine room and nods at Guy 1) You tell her?

Me: STOP! (I slice my neck using my hand). Not gonna happen. Seriously. This is weird.

Guy 1: They already think it's us, so just put us in.

Guy 2: Dude, it's cool.

 I got the names and contact e-mails for these 2 guys and told them I'd follow up with them in 10 days to see if anyone had guessed it was them based on the shoestring information I've provided in this post. Public place, conversation in public, 2 male students getting cash. Oh - both were wearing flip-flops. I also agreed to let their friend’s comment clearly stating that A) I don't actually know who their friends are so I can only publish what people add and B) that I can't post comments if there is foul language.  They requested I publish the original conversation from my "Shibby" post. It’s below exactly as the conversation was posted previously.

Good luck, guys!

 2 guys talking outside by the guard shack:
Guy A: "No, dude, I failed. Gotta take XYZ again."
Guy B: "Dude, that sucks."
Guy A: "Dude, it DOES suck."
Guy B: "That's what I said, dude."

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Stick a Fork in It - We're Done!

I was talking to my friend, Cheyenne (real not fictional), yesterday and she told me to focus on the good stuff on the island. Cheyenne is my "sponsor" through the AUC Spouses Organization and she's AWESOME!  She's home-schooling her 2 boys while her husband is in school full-time AND she's gone back to school online. Cheyenne is basically a superhero, sans tights and cape. Way too hot here for that!

As "Jon" commented yesterday- not everyone buys into the AUC Soap Opera.  So, for "Jon" and for our family and friends back home that actually know us and hear about our struggles on a daily basis, I listed some of the genuinely positive things I've experienced since being on the island. 

  • There is no Starbucks on the island. But - you CAN buy Starbucks coffee at the grocery store. And, there is a great coffee shop right by AUC campus.
  • You lose electricity, water or internet almost daily. I've learned to fill up water bottles every morning, plug in the laptop overnight to fully charge and keep the router plugged into the USB. I think Cheyenne calls that "island ghetto living".  Go with the flow, baby!
  • GEBE, the electric and water company, does do price gouging based on area of residence on the island. I actually found 3 websites that reference this bizarre pricing. However, you can work around this by not running your AC during the day, putting up light blocking panels and using oscillating fans with your doors open. Note: make sure you have screens. I don't care how good your outlook is, Dengue is real.
  • The AUC Spouses Organization is FANTASTIC!  They post a monthly schedule of events for the spouses on their Facebook page and prior to your move you get a sponsor to answer your questions about leaving everything you know behind. The Spouses Org also gives back to the school.  During each block they do food sales for the students. This organization is filled with people who have been in your shoes. Not literally - it's too bloody hot here and your feet sweat. A lot.
  • There are so many student organizations - too many to list in quick blog post at least.  I've had the pleasure of attending a CMSA sponsored event.  As posted previously, the hockey tournament was well organized, they had rule sheets, t-shirts, concessions and it was open to any of the students and the public. They even had a Stanley Cup. Again - props to the CMSA!
  • Jason and Noah attended a day at the beach with some of the orphans on the island.  AUC gives back!  Awesome and totally noteworthy!
  • SXM is peppered with restaurants. There is delicious food all over the place! You can throw a stone and hit a restaurant from just about anywhere.
I'd like to wrap this post by thanking "Old Hag" for promoting the blog. We've had over 400 hits in the past 24 hours. That's way more than our family and friends for whom this was intended.  There were also a total of 10 comments for the blog posting yesterday. Unfortunately, if you use foul language in your comments I'm unable to switch out  letters with characters so those couldn't be published.

Lastly, I talked to a student who resembled the loosely based character (again, fictitious site) in my previous postings known as "Tantra Girl". That girl is FUNNY!! She is so in the book. OOPS, off topic.  Last night over IM she had a lot to say about the previous postings in the blog. None of it negative. She was upset that when I posted the picture of the Grey's Anatomy cast and gave them character names based on my blog that I said she was Sandra Oh (she told me she's "way hotter than that b1+ch"). She'd like for me to point out that she's not Asian, she's not a 1st semester and that "some b1tch3s can't take a &*%^ing joke".  As this was an IM conversation with a person who sought me out directly, I felt it was OK to post some of the snippets of conversation. As promised in the post yesterday, I will no longer be posting on my personal blog about what students say in a public arena, but will blog about our lives here.

To our family - Jason has 50 days left in this semester counting today.  We love you and miss you!!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Good Clean Fun

Today,  Monday the 24th of October, I left our condo to go run some errands. First on my list - get cash. Little did I know I'd be standing in line at the cash machine behind 2 students in Jason's class. I overheard a student telling another that she messaged Jason via Facebook inbox a "long message" about how my personal blog, in which I talk about what I've heard some students say in jest, makes the school look bad.  I'd like to clear up a couple of things.

1. I have not recently nor have I ever in any way said anything untoward about the university, the faculty or medical school in general.

2. When I post about anything a student may have said, that student's behavior should in no way reflect negatively on the university. Each student is an adult and perfectly capable of making his/her own decisions.  I'm positive that each student is aware of this - their behavior is not a reflection of the university as a whole.

3. Uncommon to popular belief, I do not sit in the cafeteria "everyday" to listen to conversations. I've been there 6 times total in 3 months. Unfortunately, my job precludes me from spending my free time loitering around campus.

4.  As my personal blog has stirred up issue with some students within Jason's class and joking or using a sense of humor about anything I may have heard has been deemed not okay by some medical students, I'll refrain from listening to any students or posting what they say about their extra curricular activities. It's clear to me that only the students are allowed to poke fun, joke and post on FB about their activities.  I'll keep my personal blog to just good clean fun about our family and life here on the island.

I feel better now that this is cleared up - it disappoints me that my blog was taken as backstabbing. Not the case - I posted so anyone could read it.  These posts were intended to be funny - not to be confused with flagitious.  I do NOT want to cause undo stress because of a personal blog that doesn't name names or post actual photos - inference, not actuality, seems to be everything. 

Enjoy this time on the island. Yes, there are crazy mosquito problems, no electric, water or internet at times - but it IS gorgeous here!  Have a bright and shiny day!