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27 November 2010

Island Thanksgiving

We celebrated our first island Thanksgiving (and first Thanksgiving outside the states). Owen had class and I tutored, but I was able to watch the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade with a friend. The school served Thanksgiving style lunch. We were able to call/video with all of our families back home, some friends in Texas and some in China. It was a very quiet day, but great to catch up with all our loved ones. On Friday I spent the day cleaning, cooking and watching Miracle on 34th Street (the old version on course). That evening we hosted a potluck dinner at our apartment for 11 people. It was a great time. I made my first turkey and it turned out excellent. I also made a spiced apple cider in the crockpot which was also a hit.  Our guests brought really good sides and desserts. Not much else to say, so enjoy the pictures!

Preparing my first turkey!
The finished product. A success! (proof I can cook)
Owen carving the turkey for our guests.
Some lovely sides

More sides and dessert

Finished product

Makeshift dinner tables/seating
Most of our guest, minus the few that left early

22 November 2010


Just a few new pictures for you all to enjoy. These are from some races on the island that Owen has done recently. The first few from a relay triathlon on Nov. 7, Owen did the swim portion, the last is from an island relay on St Martin Day Nov. 11. We should have more pictures of life down here soon. There have been requests for pictures of the school and apartment, so those should be up in the next couple weeks. Also we are hosting a potluck Thanksgiving at our place, on Friday. I'm even cooking a turkey! So I'm sure we'll have pictures from that. Hope everyone is doing well. Enjoy these pictures and check back for new ones soon!

Triathlon Relay Team

All AUC triathlon participants
AUC Spouses (+ students) Island Relay Team

31 October 2010

Halloween with Hurricane Tomas

We are just now seeing the outward bands of Hurricane Tomas with some rain and wind. Thankfully the brunt of the storm is well to our south and expected to move west instead of north. Shouldn't be much more than a stormy afternoon, unfortunate though for those trick or treaters on the island. It is very strange to be spending Halloween in 80 degree weather instead of bundled up, doesn't even seem like it is Halloween. I could get used to this endless summer weather. Since we didn't participate in any Halloween festivities (the only one being a costume party at the local club) and don't have many new pictures to share, I'll share some oldies from the last few Halloweens just for fun. And a few from a hike to Pic Paradise that Owen did a couple weekends ago. 

There's not much news from the island. Owen passed all of his exams from a few weeks ago and has another round coming up in a week (it's every 3-4 weeks). So that keeps him busy. I have a few more hours of tutoring a week now, doing ESL with a student. Both my students have shown improvement on their test grades, so I'm thrilled. The neurologist I will be helping should be arriving this week so I may have more interesting updates soon. We are planning a trip to Anguilla (our neighboring island to the north) for 2 weekends from now. It has one of the top 10 beaches in the Caribbean with great snorkeling, so I'm sure we'll have a fun update and pictures from that. I guess that's all we have for now. Hopefully some people are still reading, if so my apologies for the lack of updates recently. Hope everyone is doingwell. Love and miss you all. 

10 October 2010

T.S. Otto Floods the Island

From a local newspaper
the Salt Pond and Ocean in Philipsburg meet
aka serious flooding
So my last post I said it had been raining for a couple days. Turns out it ended up being 4 1/2 days straight of downpours. Tropical Storm Otto developed over us and then sat on us for 4 days. The island was extremely flooded, many roads were shut down, businesses closed on Thursday, apparently they don't believe in drainage systems here. Worst of all our friend Alaina's cruise got rerouted so we didn't get to visit with her. Thankfully by the weekend the storm moved on and we have had sun and blue skies, which gives the island a chance to dry out. We managed to only lose power and water twice, for about 5 hours each time (not bad compared to usual). The unfortunate side effect is that all the crawly bugs are looking for dry space and therefore are in our apartment. Anyway I know pictures never do an event total justice, but here are some from the road
in/out of our area. Also be sure to see the new additions to our blog, the visiting dates on the right and mailing address under "view my complete profile." Exams dates are Mondays, so the Saturday and Sunday before that Owen is not very available so just keep that in mind. If the dates change (these are my best guesses based on the typical exam schedule) I will update that.

The makeshift road through the golf course!

05 October 2010

Life in the Tropics

Official picture from Owen's White Coat Ceremony
Wow I can't believe it's been 3 weeks since we last posted. Sorry to those of you keeping up. We've been house/puppy sitting for an older couple for the last 10 days and have been pretty out of touch since then. The place was about 10-15 minutes away from ours, but a terrible drive especially with all the rain this week. The road through the golf course (the only way to come and go from our area) floods with even the slightest rain. So with all these heavy rain storms the last few days it's been pretty bad. You can drive through the water without a problem, the biggest issue is other drivers. They inch along and stop in the water, and refuse to put their windows up, so they stop and wait for people to pass so they won't get splashed and glare at you when you do drive by them. Islanders are strange people.

Today is the second day of gloom and rain all day long, although the breeze is beautiful today and there's a hint of fall in the air. The school I tutor at closed early today due to the rain. Flooding really is a serious issue around here (though most of it is minor, just everywhere). So I am playing catch-up on everything. Getting laundry done, unpacking and straightening up after being away, updating this, paying bills, etc. Speaking of bills, we got our first water/electric bill. Most of our friends have been saying they pay about $200 for electric so we were preparing for that. Well turns out we only have to pay $70! and $20 for water. Pretty exciting, I guess turning everything off all the time and being conservative about the AC has paid off.

We spent Saturday at the beach with 30+ orphans from the local orphanage. It was awesome and the kids were great, though a bit crazy! Trying to keep track of them was quite the feat. I actually avoided getting burned while Owen is pretty burned this time. He has his next set of exams this coming Monday. We also will have our first visitor this Thursday! Alaina and her boyfriend are stopping here on their cruise and we get the chance to hang out for the day. It should be a lot of fun and really nice to catch up with her. I will post pictures afterwards.

Well that's all the news I can think of for now. Have to get back to getting things done before treating myself to a fancy coffee at the local shop this afternoon. We hope everyone is doing well. We're still figuring out what to do at Christmas break, we'll let you know what happens. Please email or post and let us know how things are. Miss you all!

16 September 2010

Random Thoughts from Jamie

-Hurricane Igor decided to turn north thankfully. We should get some rain and wind from the outer bands tomorrow, but we'd much rather have that than the Category 4 monster storm that was heading straight for us earlier in the week.

-We bought a car. A 2002 Toyota Corolla, previously owned by a mechanic so we're hoping for the best. Definitely the quietest "island" car we've heard so far.

-I had my first island movie theater experience yesterday. Every Wednesday is Ladies night on the island and ladies get 1/2 price movie tickets! So the grand total of a ticket, medium popcorn and bottled water.....$9!! Movies are normally $6.50 so not bad anytime. The theaters are actually really nice and the seats are comfy and recline pretty far.

-I got to wear jeans for the first time in a month. It was very breezy here last night and driving home from the movies there was almost a hint of fall in the air. I'm hoping that is what the "winter" is like here.

-Salt air is great for you! My hair is lightening quiet a bit and is very soft, my nails are growing stronger and healthier than they have in years, and my skin is smooth and not dry at all.

-I'm walking a few mornings a week with some girls and feeling great. Now I just need to get back to the beach for some swimming and sunning before my tan fades and I burn again.

-There is a great coffee shop on the corner that I finally went to and believe I may be there frequently. Now if only they could get a pumpkin spice flavor.

-This weekend is Burrito weekend, leading into the students Blocks, aka exams. The spouses put together and bake burritos on Friday and sell them at the school on Saturday and Sunday. It's the main fundraiser for the group, and gives students a meal without having to break from studying. So that will be fun. The spouses group is a pretty nice group of girls. 

-We went to a Bible Study on campus lead by a professor, through the same group that does Sunday service. There were a good number of people there and should be a nice group to get involved in beyond just Sundays. 

-And finally the one annoying thing lately is the management and maintenance for our apartment building. They are the most retarded people we've dealt with. It's painful trying to get anything done. Hopefully things will be fixed soon and we won't have to deal with them anymore. On that note we're down to 1 working dryer out of 4 for the 32 apartments so we'll see how long that lasts. Someone is making bank off all us and neglecting the building and it's needs.

12 September 2010

One Exciting Year

© Rogers Photography/
In honor of our first anniversary I'm going to post a couple of pictures from the wedding, our anniversary trip, and from Friday's White Coat. Crazy to think it's already been a year and to think of where we are now compared to a year ago. Who would have thought we'd be living where we honeymooned to. Things are good here. We're looking into buying a car, we'll see what happens there. We're watching Hurricane Igor intensify rapidly (already a category 4) as it heads our direction, hopefully it stays on the predicted path and turns north just before it gets to us. Owen is busy studying away, his first exam is next week. We went to a church service this morning held at the school which was really nice. We are going out to dinner later to celebrate one whole year of marriage. Other than that, nothing else to share right now. Enjoy the pictures, hope you're all doing well, and keep in touch.
One of our absolute favorite shots from the day
© Rogers Photography/

© Rogers Photography/

1st anniversary trip, deep sea fishing out of Gloucester 7/19/10

White Coat Ceremony 9/10/10
With some new friends, Thomas and Natalie (not Thomas' best picture)

09 September 2010

White Coat

On Friday Owen has his White Coat ceremony. For those of you interested in watching via livefeed here is the link White Coat. It will begin at 5:30 EST. For anyone interested but not able to watch live, it looks like it will be available to view at the same link at your convenience. We will post some pictures from it this weekend.

06 September 2010

First Day Photo

Owen's last first day of school ever.

Owen is now in his second week of school. I started tutoring today; schools have finally reopened after being closed all last week due to Earl. My kids are great, a boy and a girl both 6 grade. We attended the spouses dinner Friday night and met some nice people. We rented a wave runner on Saturday and went all around Simpson Bay Lagoon. There are a few pictures from that below. Most were blurry since they were on a waterproof point and shoot we borrowed from a friend. We bought a TV off another student and can now play our Wii. We have a mixer tonight at the school and Owen's white coat ceremony is Friday. I'll post a link for the streamed video of it this week. Other than that life is settling into a routine. Nothing else exciting to update right now. Here's a few pictures. Hope everyone is doing well, miss you all.
Wave Runner in the Lagoon
St Maarten's mountains

Marigot, French Side of Lagoon

01 September 2010


So now that you all have seen the island before the hurricane, I'm going to show some during and post hurricane pictures. First some updates.

-Working on day 3+ without power. Not expected to get it back until Thursday night at the earliest since we are last priority on the island and TS Fiona is hindering repair

-No power isn't so bad until you try to sleep when it's a very stagnant night with temps in the mid-80's and mosquitos biting all night (apparently they don't believe in screens here)

This is what we do during a hurricane

-Having only cold water to shower in has never felt so good!

-Tropical Depression Nine (unnamed storm as of now) is developing for next week, yay for hurricane season heating up!

-We've learned to no longer keep refrigerated or frozen stuff around during hurricane season since it's basically throwing away money

-Owen started classes today, things are a bit disorganized still, but so far so good

-I'm taking advantage of the AC at school and spending the day here. Tutoring starts tomorrow when area schools reopen

Other than that things are good. We're looking forward to getting back to the beach when the storms clear up and the water isn't so rough for swimming. Cleanup around the area has begun and once power is back things should be back to normal. We're pretty well settled and adjusted at this point, just need to work on making the apartment look more inviting instead of all white. That's all for now, we'll update again when we have more exciting things to post. I'll try posting videos another day. So onto pictures, enjoy!

Our beach during the hurricane (2 below as well)
20' waves, spilling onto the golf course
Owen balancing himself against the strong winds
Golf Course by the beach
Golf course on left, our beach on right 
The next day, our parking lot
Our street
Golf Course
Our beach back to normal color but still stronger waves than usual