RSS Feed

Category Archives: Uncategorized

Ears and Whatnots

Posted on
(Please accept my apologies for the odd spacing and formatting in this post.  Something’s up with wordpress)
Two stories, while I sit here at the San Juan Airportorico (my word pun, not theirs).

First, a word from Jacelyn:

Hi everybody–it’s Jacelyn making a rare appearance!  In these first weeks of the semester we’ve had some really fun professors, and have also been learning lots of interesting “factoids”.  So, I’ve come across lots of little tidbits I wanted to put on the blog.  Here’s my second installment!In our inner ear we have 2 types of really tiny hair cells:  inner hair cells and outer hair cells.  It is the job of hair cells to take the vibration of sound waves that come in the ear and turn it into a signal that can be sent to and understood by the brain.

First, the outer hair cells amplify the sound by 1000x–which is why we can hear very soft sounds like a whisper.  The outer hair cells amplify sound by contracting–which is what you’ll see in the video below.  These hair cells have an internal motor, called Prestin, that enables them to contract.  They contract right along with the frequency of the sound waves that are coming to them–this can be seen very nicely in the video.  (Frequency is “pitch”.  The sound of ladies singing very high at the opera has a high frequency and the hair cell would be contracting very quickly.)Anyway, the contraction of the outer hair cells causes the inner hair cells to bend–and the bending starts the signal that is sent to the brain.  So, the video below shows the contraction of an outer hair cell.  It’s a magnified view of a real, living hair cell.  Somehow it’s cute!  And, you’re outer hair cells are doing the same thing while you watch the video.  Click HAIR to enjoy.

(Infomercial guy voice) Thanks, Jacelyn! WOW, so cool!!!  (applause)

(Nic’s voice) Get your own blog; this is hard work.

Anyway, the final story of today involves true sacrifice for a total stranger.  When I boarded the plane from Dallas to San Juan, last night, I was in the second-to-last row, by a window, with the row directly behind me being empty.  As I settled in, I heard a girl one row up, to the left, on the aisle request the window seat in the empty row behind me.  The flight attendant informed her that those seats were blocked off.  She looked disappointed and, since I don’t have Jacelyn with me, it matters not where I sit; so, I offered her my window seat in exchange for the aisle seat, which had an empty seat directly to the right across the aisle.  She gladly switched and I felt that warm goodness inside that you get from a deeply sacrificial act or from jumping on a trampoline too soon after eating warm tuna.

The flight was going very well until a man across the aisle and one row up got up and asked the people across from me if he could sit in the empty seat. (Logistics matter here in a second, so picture the scene.) (I’ll wait) (Or should I say, “aisle weight”?)  They said yes, the restless man pivoted to face the empty seat, apparently to fix the seat belt, and bent over. That is when it happened. This 45-year-old man’s pants slid half-way down is behind, exposing his “bare-ness” to my face. I VERY quickly slid my pub cap down to cover my face from the blinding, reverse-oreo-ness taking place to my right. I’m glad I did, because a moment after shielding myself, I felt his cheeks push against the hat.  I kid you not. I joke about much, but not about this sort of thing.  I joke about the functions, never the machines.  Anyway, the girl to my right was doing everything in her power to not belly laugh at my misfortune.  The man stayed that way for a good 25 seconds, consistently wiggling slightly, before sitting, at which point I prepped the barf bag, closed my eyes, and tried to picture happy things (all I could come up with was either huge jowls on an albino dog or two piles of mashed potatoes wrapped in a belt)

Things were calm for a little while until the man needed to use the restroom.  (Why always the bathrooms, with me?)  I immediately began praying that it was a “quick trip” which would leave no time for a Valsalva.  My prayers were unheeded, heaven was brass, and dread set in.  After 15 minutes, the man returned, out of breath.  I readied the pub cap, he bent over, and only my imagination and my hat know what happened in the next 25 seconds.  When he finally groaned his way into his seat, I lowered the hat and glanced backwards for moral support.  I was greeted by the sleeping girl whose seat I was in, and 6 other people (including the flight attendant and an 80-year-old couple) silently doubled over and shaking with laughter.

When we got off the plane, I waited for the flight attendant.  As soon as she saw me, she pointed and guffawed.  When I asked her if I got a free flight or something for putting up with the bare end of the deal, she said, “No, but you have a GREAT story!”  Hence this post.

If you pray, when you pray, pray for us.

On to the next thing…

Face Lift

Posted on

Howdy, all!  So, I’ve been in the States since January 13th, travelling and speaking, but Jacelyn has been on the front lines of blogging territory, scoping out medical tidbits that confound. I’d even say they “bloggle” the mind. The “Jacelyn’s Jot” for today is as follows:

First, look at this pic:

At first glance, it looks normal, but, if you turn it rightside up, it looks like this:

Apparently, we’re just so accustomed to looking at faces that our brain corrected the image for us when looking at it upside down. Crazy, eh? Well, I’ll leave you with that disturbing image in your head until the next “Jacelyn’s Jot”…..

If you pray, when you pray, pray for us.

On to the next thing…

Worst Things First

Posted on

Alrighty, we shall begin unpacking that wildly enigmatic paragraph of teasers. The first six are: Final. Pack. Late for taxi to airport. Angry lines. Late plane. Trapped in paradise.

Final – Jacelyn took her final and finished her first semester of medical school!  Over the break she received the email informing her that she not only TOOK the final, but she PASSED it, as well!  So, it’s on to #2 (not to be confused with my prior writings concerning Valsalva).

Pack – That’s where you put your clothes and various belongings in a travel container of sorts in order to proceed to a new destination.  For further reading regarding “pack”, please consult THIS PAGE, specifically number 20.

Late for taxi to airport – Our flight was scheduled to leave at 7, so, because of the mass exodus of students, we had to be at the airport at 5am at the latest.  As a result of miscommunication between my ears and everything else in the world, we woke up with enough time to scream, change, and drag our puffy eyes down to the taxi.  We made it to the airport at right around 5am, at which point we and a hundred other students sat down and waited until 6, which (we found out) was when the airport officially opens and the staff get there.

Angry Lines – After much screaming by particularly frazzled first semester med students, we all did our best Waldorf impression and plodded our way through the ticket line, the “pay us so you can leave” line, the “take your clothes off” security line, and the “you can’t sit in those four chairs; they’re for other people” line.  We made it to our gate (one of two) by 7, at which point we were told……….nothing.

Late Plane – We all sat and waited, and waited, and waited.  We watched the 7:40 flight leave.  We watched the 8:20 flight leave.  Still no word.  Finally, our 7am flight arrived to get us at 8:35, which, ironically, was the exact time our connecting flight was scheduled to take of an hour away on Barbados.  When we arrived on Barbados, no one at our airline’s desks knew that we were late or had any idea what to do with us.  In fact, the customs man wouldn’t let us IN to Barbados, since we had no visa or reason to be there; yet we couldn’t get OUT because, well, the plane had left the station.  It was much like Hotel California, minus the pink champagne and freaky looking bass player.

Trapped in Paradise – So, missing our connection to Barbados made us miss our connection to St. Vincent, which made us miss our connection to San Juan, which made us miss our connection to Atlanta, which made us miss our connection to Minneapolis.  The delay caused us to have to purchase $828 more in plane tickets (when I say “us”, I most definitely mean Ralph Frederick, who is quoted as saying, “Whenever you guys travel, I prepare myself to bail you out”) (Ralph is not only generous, but possesses deep wisdom of the ages).  Needless to say, our benevolent airline, though in NO WAY prepared to help us in ANY WAY with the predicament they had put us in by having pilots with an unfortunate combination of procrastination, constipation, and narcolepsy, DID put us up in a small hotel 30 minutes from the airport.  I will write much, much more about Liat Airlines in the future.

I’m off to get lining for our curtains so that I can stop freaking out the 4th semester student whose apartment window faces the window that faces the room I face when I’m naked.

If you pray, when you pray, pray for us.

On to the next thing…

Wear to Beguine

Posted on

I know it’s been a while, but I promise there’s a reason.  I’m going to give a quick overview of our last month, made up of single words or phrases and I’ll fill in the details over the next few weeks. Deal?  Alright, then, here we go:

Final. Pack. Late for taxi to airport. Angry lines.  Late plane.  Trapped in paradise.  McGorge. Surprise! Grandma’s nightgown.  Grandpa’s drug problem.  Surprise!  Early Christmas.  Down time.  Siblings learn to kill together.  Kryptonian undergarments.  Consistent Airport Security Fail.  Feliz navidad.  McGorge.  Fleas, rashes, bowel obstructions (Burt, or course).  Bright Christmas.  Most expensive ham on earth.  Three cold tubs.  Eden at a bus stop.  Scotland on Dom.  Kamikaze transport.  There And Back Again Dolphins.  Sunsets.  Emerald Pool, buffet style.  4 peeps in a 1-peep kitchen.  4 hot springs.  Wave goodbye, wave awake.  Ocean spray.  Rest.  Rest.  Rest.  Rest.  Start class.  Prep for America.  Blog in alternate language.  Ես չեմ կարող հավատալ, թե ինչ եք իրականում figuring այս է. Շնորհավորում եմ. ( will help you out with that one)  Close blog now so people don’t lose interest in the new, vague format (and so I can get a haircut).

If you pray, when you pray, pray for us.

On to the next thing…

2011 in review

Posted on

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2011 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 4,300 times in 2011. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 4 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

Why the long space?

Posted on

Merry Christmas, all!  I apologize for the length of time since my last post.  All will be explained soon, but for now, let me just say it involves a failing airline, a heroic step-father, and one of my grandma’s softest, laciest night gowns……

Talk to you next week!

On to the next thing…

A Snowball’s Chance on Dom

Posted on

Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome to the last week of Jacelyn’s first semester of med school!!!! It’s been a long journey, yes?  So many ups and downs. So many goats and cattle.  So many crazy, angry, elderly taxi riders hurling insults in Elvish.  So many days between posts.  I know that one of the most tenuous parts of your day is when you make the anxious trip across the web to to see if your day will be filled with the vast sunshine of Dominican happenings or left gray and lonely because, alas, Nic flaked out on his responsibilities again. For today, anyway, your journey across Time and Space will pay off.  I wanted to say Thyme and Spice, but it’s too early in the post to use puns.

I’m truly sorry for the delay in posting.  There’s been a convergence of factors that has caused me to neglect the blog.  First, my camera has stopped working, so until I learn to use the “Paint” program really well on the move, we’ll be low on pics.  I know, I know, you’ll start saying, “But, Nic, just paint a picture with your words.”  To which I respond, “That is physically impossible and you’ll have to explain it a bit more creatively and in detail for me to understand what you’re getting at. If you could try to describe what you mean using creative imagery and well-placed adjectives, maybe we could get somewhere, hopefully the magical, elusive Land of Understanding, where truth blankets each breath like a Dominican Sunny Rain.” If any of you might know why my Kodak Easy Share camera keeps telling me my SD card is full when it isn’t, I’d greatly appreciate your expert advice.  For now, we’re at a higher elevation than where we want to be on this small river, but lacking any sort of tools to guide our raft.

Second, good gracious, have I become busy.  I have found myself booked with a steady stream of ministry opportunities in one form or another, which I LOVE, but which also drain my free/blog time.  In fact, I realized the other day that, since I’ve been on Dom, I’ve read like 11 novels.  I was initially confused as to how I could have read so much and still been so busy, until I realized that, in order to DO anything here, I have to walk for at least 6 hours.  So, to distract myself from the sweat that is making my backpack smell like my feet have smelled since coming here, I read my splendid, life-altering NOOK Simple Touch. (I’m serious. You should get one.  Not only can you get a lifetime of novels on it, you can also drag and drop PDF’s and pics, as well as finally have a valid excuse for walking into the back of parked vehicles all the time.)(To be clear, yes, I did actually walk into the back of a parked truck the other day)(In my defense…………….nevermind)

Third, we received an even larger amount of rainfall one day.  I’m not sure why, but whenever there is a lot of water, the internet for our entire area goes out.  Part of me thinks that the router or whatever makes the internet appear is strategically placed in the lowest point of some bowl-shaped valley with a roof over it, but not walls, so it keeps the light rain out, but not the torrents we get.  Either that, or it’s housed in a high field and, when it rains, all the cloven-hooved animals flock there and some self-centered animal, like Waldorf or Phil inadvertently un-plugs it while wandering over to the vending machine.  These are the only two causes I can think of.

We put up our Christmas decorations this week!  Here’s our front door:

In Dominica, Christmas is represented by a black number 8.  (When in Rome, I guess)  And this is the inside of our apartment:

You may think we went overboard, but we’re just trying to keep up with the locals. Look at downtown Portsmouth:

They even lay train tracks each year for the occasion to remember how the wise men could’ve brought a bit more myrrh if they’d bought a EuroRail Select Pass. (The Dominicans overlook NOTHING)

The other day, I defrosted the freezer (a first for me).  When all was said and done, I was really glad I did it, because it reminded me how I don’t miss the climate in Duluth.  (Of course I miss the PEOPLE.  Seriously, did you have to even think that?  I validate you. You are important. You matter.)(It’s just harder to notice you through the blinding snow and frozen eyelashes)  Anywhoooo, I had this when I finished:

Which I then took outside and filmed THIS.  The video is so short and impersonal because that was when the camera really started going and it would only let me film like 11 seconds.  When I got done throwing snowballs at birds on the telephone wires, I looked across the street and a lady and her daughter were just staring at me, probably wondering what it is that makes these Americans SO angry that they have to freeze water and throw it just to get release.  I also dumped some on the lawn so you could see how out of place snow feels here:

We received a barrel from all the wonderful people at the church down in Coleman, FL, where Jacelyn’s dad is the pastor.  It was so full of supplies and wonder that the guys who were bringing it to me made me take a bunch out before they’d carry it up.  It was like opening a time capsule that had been sealed by people from an ancient civilization who hoped someday, somewhere, people would need non-perishable food supplies, toilet paper, and scented lotion from what was then probably called “Bathe & Bodee Werks”.  It was so amazing!!!  Thank you, civilization with brilliant foresight!

I’ll close with a few medical tidbits for the week.  Did you know that the human body contains around 5 Litres of blood and, every minute, our heart circulates all 5 Litres through it?  Crazy, yeah?  Like Hamlet said, “Here’s fine revolution; and we had the trick to see it.”  As I said above, she is in her last week of her first semester of med school.  What this means is tests, tests, and more tests.  She had one on Thursday, two on Friday,has one major test tomorrow and then the final, which is around 45% of her grade, next Monday. It’s crazy to think that a whole semester has passed so quickly.  Also, her test on tomorrow is all about the heart and the lungs. Were you aware that very time the heart beats it replenishes the whole amount of blood that is in the lungs?  Which brings me to my closing factoid.

You know, I’m sure, that the lungs put oxygen into your blood stream.  You are now aware that every beat of the heart brings new blood into the lungs to be oxygenated.  Well, Jacelyn learned recently about something called the “Valsalva Maneuver”, which is when you strain, making the motion inside as if you’re exhaling, but you’re not breathing out.  It is not good for you to do repeatedly, because, though you’re pushing and forcing and your heart is still pumping blood, you’re not breathing, so your blood is not getting any oxygen.  That’s why weight lifters are told to exhale when straining.  Now, you’re probably thinking that, since most of us aren’t weight lifters (other than the occasional can of pop or snow shovel), this maneuver would have very little relevance to your life; however, I was most interested to find out another area in which we ALL use the Valsalva Maneuver.  In fact, it is likely that, while you’re reading this, at least one of you are using the maneuver right now.   Yes, that’s right, we most often use the Valsalva Maneuver when we’re defecating (though, I prefer to use the term “going number poo”).  Why is this interesting to me?  Well, now we can all share a code word with each other.  We no longer have to say awkward things like, “I’m just gonna excuse myself for a moment” or “sorry it took so long, but I was having digestive issues” or “I’m so sick of explosive diarrhea”.  You can now simply look at your phone, as if you received an urgent text, and say, “Excuse me, I have to perform a Valsalva Maneuver.  I’ll be right back” or “They need a Valsalva Maneuver STAT” or sorry it took so long; luckily I was saved by the Valsalva”.  In fact, instead of the creepy old “BM”, you can now spice it up and add intrigue by saying “VM”, instead!

Yes, here at, you don’t just learn about the world and medicine; you learn how they relate to each other.  You’re welcome.  Now, if you’ll excuse me………I have an interview with a Mr. Valsalva.

Pray for us.

On to the next thing…

Insects and Their Concept of Boundaries

Posted on

You know when you watch a National Geographic special or most things on PBS and you see clips of people in Africa?  Inevitably, there is a scene with a couple of guys standing there with only loin cloths on, chatting quietly about what village life is like, constantly moving their feet and legs to deter the flies.  Well, lately, doing ANYTHING in our kitchen has made me feel very, very African.  Why?  Ants.  Ants.  Ants.  Thousands of them.  When I first moved here, a friend of ours who lived in this very apartment said it seems like they come in waves.  Call me silly, but I guess I just assumed that, given how far inland our apartment is, and how high up, whichever wave the ants rode in on wouldn’t reach our apartment.  Seriously, call me silly.  Right now.  Because that was a terrible thing to assume.  Why? Because I failed to take into account the fact that once they’d landed, they DO have six legs each and are known to be both mobile and crafty.  So, picture it.  There I am in the kitchen.  A pile of dishes and dirty laundry to do, talking to myself (Jacelyn’s studying) about what The Village People were like, in a loin cloth, constantly moving my feet so that whatever sort of minuscule grappling hooks they use won’t dig in.  Oh, to be HERE, even for 30 minutes….(If there are any genies reading this, THAT is my wish)(Seriously, I won’t even call my family.  Just from Dom to there and right back)  So, I find myself wishing the ants were ONLY in my pants, instead of forming front lines, strongholds, and vanguards.  Last night, I think I saw a group of them reading blueprints for how to build a trebuchet.

Thanksgiving was extremely difficult, this year.  On both sides of our family, they’d all gotten together to celebrate, so it was tough to be here, where Jacelyn just had school and needed to be in the anatomy lab until nearly 11 at night.  We were, however, able to purchase an authentic, homemade pumpkin pie from “The Bread Lady” (not to be confused with Tiney).  She makes all-natural bread and jams, as well, and sells them out of the hatchback on her car.  So, at like 11:30, we finally settled down to drink coffee, eat pie, and watch the claymation “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer”, which we never saw the end of because exhaustion won over. It was either the exhaustion or a sleeping agent released into the air by the advancing Ant Axis of Evil.  There is a light at the end of the cornucopia, though.  This Saturday, we are getting together with around 30 other students and spouses to do a pot luck.  We’re bringing Sweet Potato Souffle’, Peanut Butter Cookies, and ants.

Last Sunday was the celebration of Christ the King and I got to speak a little bit at the all-day event they had.  I just thought I’d include a pic or two of the setting.  First, there’s…

Then there’s…..

And we mustn’t forget…

Jacelyn is going to harvest a couple of medical facts over the next couple of hours, so I’ll update more later.

Pray for us.

On to the next thing…

If the Fellowship of the Ring Took Local Transportation

Posted on

Sometimes life moves too quickly.  We get so caught up in all of the things we have to do that we never just stop.  And even if we do stop, we’re still preoccupied with smelling roses and counting blessings (the checklist never ends).  However, Jacelyn found out in class the other day that it’s dangerous to actually STOP moving.  It turns out that if you stand completely still, as in absolutely motionless (no wiggling of toes, fingers, anything), for 5 minutes, you will faint.  You see it all the time in weddings, choirs, and in the military.  This happens as a result of two phenomena.  The first is that, when you’re in the standing position, your blood tends to gravitate (literally) in the lower part of your legs.  It is basically the flexing and un-flexing of your muscles that forces the blood out of the lower extremities back up towards the brain.  So, it follows that if you stand completely motionless for long enough, there ceases to be enough blood flow to your brain, resulting in a blackout.  In and of itself, that would be bad enough, but that’s not all, folks.  Add to that something known as a “vasovagal response”.  In short, when a person is in a stressful situation, the body responds and slows the heart rate down, thereby slowing the pumping of already sparse blood supply to the noggin.  So, let’s put this into context, shall we?  You’re a groom/bride.  This is one of the pivotal days in your life.  This is the beginning of an amazing journey. PLUS, if you’re the groom, your whole outfit fits wretchedly, or, if you’re the bride, this is the best-fitting outfit of your life and you don’t want to screw it up.  Then, you stand PERFECTLY MOTIONLESS for 7 hours straight while the other person professes their love.  It’s a recipe for face planting and there’s an awesome video of it, which her professor used in class, right HERE.

Next up, another example of smart people making things more difficult for us Streeties (a term I’ve coined, which combines “street people” with the candy “Smarties”).  Jacelyn recently got to go to a lab where the Smarties (a term I’ve coined, which combines “smart people” with the 80’s sitcom “Family Ties”, because Alex P. Keaton was brilliant) got to learn how to correctly use and interpret the results of a Sphygmomanometer, which can be complicated, I’ve heard.  What exactly IS a Sphygmomanometer?  Here’s a picture of the box it comes in:

Really?  Really?  I know so few of the words on this box.  Why not call it something easy, like “Blood Pressure Takerization”?  I’m putting this box on the “Reasons I’m Not Trying To Become A Doctor” list.

Animals.  Let’s talk about animals, shall we?  First off, Jacelyn and I were laughing this afternoon about how we ended up with our Chihuahua, Burt Reynolds.  My mum bough him as a gift for us a month after we got married, ten years ago. (Yes, ten years.  I know.  The old married couple.  We’re just waiting to die, now. Just plodding through.)  Anyway, when we were driving to the seller’s house, we agreed on two things: we wouldn’t take the first dog we looked at that day and we wanted a girl.  We walked in to Burt’s house, they handed Burt to Jacelyn, Burt licked her face, mum bought Burt.  Easy as pie.  That memory just made us laugh and, since I have a capitated audience, I thought I’d share it with you.

So, Waldorf and his posse’ made an appearance on Monday.  While at the coffee shop, I was able to get some GREAT footage of him and his “lady friend” out on a stroll.  I don’t yet know how to embed a video on wordpress, because the Smarties at WordPress named it something like Xeolophlasticvideoantristoln Embedostoflinkct; but, for one of my favorite Domini-cow videos, click HERE.

On Tuesday, Jacelyn and I made the trek to Roseau for me to get some dental work done, meet with Mrs Mahalia Paul, and get Christmas decorations at 50% off.  Two events stand out from the trip.  First, I am finding a weird balance between slow, seemingly-lethargic, borderline-fainting, “I slept, ate, and had a bowel movement while you were getting that Coke for me” Island Time and “Whoah, let’s slow it down a bit there, Sport; I’m trying to have a bowel movement and I’ll be out of the stall soon enough” Speedy Time.  (Speedy time is a term I’ve coined combining things that don’t pertain to you).  In the one trip, we saw both sides of that long, wordy coin.  First, I went to the dentist to get a filling.  My appointment was at 10 and I waited until nearly 11 for my name to be called (which they had in their system as James Davidson) (maybe they didn’t mean me, but I took Jimmy’s spot with a clear conscience).  So, I’d waited like 50 minutes to be called.  The appointment, however was less than 15 minutes, I think.  They called me, ordered me to lay down, went to town on a random tooth, beamed a purple laser in there, and said thanks.  Literally, crazy crazy timing.  I paid them.  I’m not sure if they did anything, but I paid them.  So, there we have Island Time AND Speedy Time.  Also on the coin was being able to get an abundance of Christmas decorations for like $36 vs. getting in the transport van to go home and waiting 30 minutes in the heat for it to fill up before he’d move.

Which brings me to the last story of the day.  About halfway through the transport ride home, we began to notice an elderly woman yelling behind us in the van.  She was quiet at first, and it seemed like she was arguing with some younger girls about something.  She got quite loud a couple of times.  Jacelyn and I were in the front seat, me in the middle.  So, when we finally arrived at her stop, she got out of the van, yelling all the while.  It was then that we realized she was quite crazy.  She had the crazy, “I never quite look at anything” eyes and the “I’m gumming a mouthful of coins” lips.  She prepared to pay the driver by reaching across us to give him the money.  He didn’t seem to be paying attention to her, so she yelled what has now become one of my daily mottos.  Like a crazy female Gandalf at the end of his stress rope, she yelled, “STRETCH OUT YOUR HAND!!!”  When he did, she placed the money in his hand and squeezed his fingers very very hard and said, “HOLD IT TIGHT!!!!!”  Here’s a video of me re-enacting the scene, because you have to hear it to really grasp it and hold it tight.

Pray for us.

On to the next thing…

Love, Heartbreak, and Grammar Games

Posted on

You know that moment when you realize the novelty stage is over with something? The point when you realize that, though the thing is still awesome, you can also see its flaws or the hard work involved to keep it good.  That’s when real choice begins, right?  Whether it’s a workout plan, eating healthy foods, or staying with someone you’re in a relationship with, true wisdom says that you make a choice to stick with it, and that’s when REAL love begins, that’s when you recognize the true good in the thing/person and respect that instead of what you’re feeling.  Right?  Well, if that’s true, then I chose to love a ninja today.  Remember this guy:

Well, Mr. Whacker-San started his mow-rate’ at 6am today.  I can tell you that if I’d had a throwing star around, or even a slice of bread……..well…….let’s just say things might have turned out way differently. (I’d have missed, either way, and he’d be one star or slice richer and I’d be wide awake.)(S’why I didn’t do it, actually)  Anyway, on the bright side, the house smells like freshly-cut grass now, with a strong touch of lemon grass, which grows all over the place here.

I’ve noticed two cool things about Jacelyn being in medical school, and they both pertain to seeing things that the normal, non-lab-coated population like you and me never get to see.  First off, Jacelyn got to dissect a human heart this week!  I can safely say that there is a pretty slim population of people who get to SEE a human heart, let alone cut one into pieces.  (I know I shouldn’t be a doctor, because all I’d want to do is hold the heart up high and scream “FOR ENGLAND!!!” or make terrible puns like “NOW we’re getting to the heart of the matter.)  So, that’s the first one.  The second cool thing is that Jacelyn gets to see combinations of situations and people that would be nearly impossible to think up and make happen out in the real world.  For instance, while dissecting the human heart, two I.T. guys came in to work on the computers.  The normal work environment for techies is not, as far as I know, in close proximity to dead bodies (unless you’re in a Bond film).  She looked over at them just in time to see one guy scrunch his face all up and say, “Ugh”.  To which the other one replied with something to the effect of, “It wreaks in here.”  For my part, I’d almost rather watch the techies be grossed out than watch Jacelyn break someone’s heart. (HA, puns!)

Today is a perfect laundry day.  Sun, heat, wind, Ray Lamontagne on the iPod.  I’m going to try to make something out of pumpkin today, being as it’s Thanksgiving time, where I come from.  I’m thinking……carriage.

Next Tuesday, I’m going to Roseau to have dental work done and to meet with the youth director.  I’m hoping to meet with her before I am hopped up on novocain.  While in town, I am going to find Christmas lights; I’ve heard tell they’re 50% right now, which I like!  America should do that: put things on sale as the need for them approaches, NOT the day after the event is done.  Island Time, my behind; these guys are AHEAD of the game when it comes to celebrating the birth of our Lord!

That’s it for now!

Pray for us.

On to the next thing…

The Oracle Has Groggily Spoken

Posted on

These last few days have provided Jacelyn with some VERY interesting experiences.  She is spending this whole week learning about the heart, and keeps expressing how amazed she is at the intricacies and complexities of our bodies.  For example, yesterday she had a lecture about the impulse that travels through the heart, telling the heart muscles to contract.  The professor also spoke of when the blood is in different chambers of the heart and when the different valves open.  That seems easy enough to us “street folks”, but to get an idea of the pace and amount of content these Crazies usually encounter in any given lecture, do this:  Picture standing before a small auditorium of 5-year-olds, asking them to tell you about tigers, jell-o, and dirt, and then trying to take notes on EVERYTHING they say.  Anyway, at the end of the lecture, the professor said, “There.  We just spent 45 minutes going through something that happens in .8 seconds in your body.”  Yes, readers, all of the prior info, the entire class period, was what happens in one heartbeat.  Insane?  Yup.  On all counts.

Next up on “Fun Jacelyn Days”, I give you a transcript of a very short conversation we had this morning:

(While reading a favorite science web site, I came upon a name I didn’t recognize.)

Nic: “Hey, have you heard of Avogadro’s Number?”

Jacelyn: “Yeah, isn’t it six point zero twenty-two times 10 to the twenty-third?”


That was  it.  If you’re not getting how nuts it is that li’l Jacelyn Davidson can spout off that sentence while putting on eye liner, you NEED to read the transcript again.  Next, while I was away on Saturday, Jacelyn was studying at home and felt the whole apartment shake.  She found out on Monday that it was a tremor, or, as I like to call it, “a massive earthquake”.  After she crawled from the rubble, or, as she likes to call it, “Looked around”, she went back to studying like a good Crazy.

The last Jacelyn tidbit is one that I am going to mark down as one of the top 3 weirdest things she’s ever done in the twelve years I’ve known her.  A little set-up is necessary.  Jacelyn is a very heavy sleeper and it is usually difficult to wake her up.  Quite often, when she’s a bit overtired, the wake-up process goes from “Difficult” to “I Feel Guilty Pulling Out Yet ANOTHER Toenail, But Nothing Else Works”.   And once in a while, when all the components come together, I get to experience what I have termed “The Perfect Mumble”.  As she is in that state between dream and awake, she will sometimes begin talking.  I’ve always chalked them up to random nonsense with no psychic or spiritual properties to them at all.  That is, until yesterday.  Yesterday morning, the stars had aligned, I shook Jacely to wake her up, she stirred, rolled over, and said:

“All hatred will be spread through you.”

What do I do with that?  Has the oracle spoken, like some fantasy novel where I’ve just realized that I’m destined to be Lex Luthor or The Joker or Bob Barker?  Hours later, when she was finally fully awake, I asked her about it.  She’s really unable to put the jumble of feelings she was having into a concise picture, which is fine.  If you ask me, “All hatred will be spread through you” is articulate enough.

In other, less demonic news, I got to spend all of Saturday at a retreat center up in the hills outside of Roseau, speaking about Theology of the Body to a group of young adults.  Not only was the setting gorgeous (1,500 feet above the Caribbean Sea), but the people attending the retreat were kind and fun and I had a great time.  I learned many ways in which I am constantly mis-pronouncing things here. (Although, I MUST point out that there seem to be 23 different ways to pronounce that red blossom that I made juice out of)

While I was meeting with the youth director, Mrs Mahalia Paul, in Roseau last week, I saw a bunch of pre-schoolers walking somewhere and, since it has been Creole Days, the kids were all decked out.  I think one of them was even carrying a crowbar.  I bet I know where his mom shops.

I know Im obsessed, but I keep trying record the odd phenomena of sunny day rain storms that we get here.  HERE’S a video of me trying to catch it.

I tend to be a hard worker, not in the sense that I necessarily work hard, but that I like to say I have a strong work ethic.  I often get criticized for not taking enough time to relax and pay attention to the things that really matter, like family, friends, laundry, dishes, making ice, etc.  It’s hard for me to explain to people what it is inside of me that spurs me on, what makes me go and go and go.  Then, while I was looking back over the 420 pictures we’ve taken so far on the island, I found one that exemplifies why I keep on keepin’ on.  It’s because I see these eyes looking at me all the time, silently telling me, “Don’t you think you should get up and do somethin’, man?”

Burt Reynold’s has been doing well here.  The only odd thing I’ve notice, lately, is that no matter WHEN I turn to look at him, he’s ALWAYS poised and staring at me.  I’m not sure why this creeps me out.  It probably has to do with him being able to sense all the hatred in me.

If you pray, when you pray, pray for us.

On to the next thing…

Like A Crabsicle on the 3 of November

Posted on

Today is the 33rd anniversary of the independence of the Commonwealth of Dominica.  It is also the one and only actual vacation day the students get this semester.  So, we’re off to relax.  This blog is short because the day is, too.



The Sound of One Sim Collapsing

Posted on

Jacelyn recently got to go into the Simulator Lab, where they have very expensive dummies that you can practice on.  I know that “dummies” is not a politically correct term, but anyone who signs up to be practiced on by 1st-semester students is dumb.  You aren’t allowed to photograph the “non-smarties”, so I did a quick search to find pics from people who disregarded the photo ban.  Turns out, everyone who’s ever attended Ross University is 100% ethical, which is morally encouraging, but discouraging when you’re looking for a loophole of some kind.  As a result, I have a very nice pic of the outside of the building:

It’s called the St. James Center. I know you’re thinking it should be called The Barn, but there’s already a building called The Barn on campus.  The top floor is a classroom and also where the White Coat Ceremony took place and the lower level is where they keep The Sims. What went on while she was in there?

Well, they got to practice “running a code”.  For those (like me) who’s medical knowledge goes as far as whatever you learned on Sesame Street, “running a code” is when someone has died and you make all the efforts to resuscitate them. She said it was fun because they had to pretend like it was a real event and they had a leader who was shouting orders to everybody; however, because they were all first semester students, none of them knew what to do.  For example, part of the simulation was that the patient’s chart wasn’t in the room.  It was one guy’s job to read the chart.  So, consequently, one guy spent the ENTIRE simulation looking for the chart.  Jacelyn was asked to run a  monitor and she had absolutely no idea how to do that; so, she had to shout above the noise of everybody things like , “Can someone who knows how to run this monitor show me how to work it????”  I picture the scene as being equivalent to when something falls in the way of an ant trail or a playground at the height of recess.

She also got to hit the button that delivered the [simulated] electric shock to the defibrillators. She got to yell, “I’m clear, You’re clear. CLEAR!”.  When it was her turn to do CPR, the instructor just looked at her and said, “What are you doing?”  She is a short girl, so she wasn’t tall enough to do it correctly.  Some of the other students had to grab a stool for her to stand on. (Yes, I, too would sell a family member to the Russians to get a picture of that)

And here’s our latest “Caught On Camera: Goats Edition”.

He looks SO guilty.  I invite you to create a caption for this one.  You can leave it in the comments section on the blog or on the actual pic in our photo album HERE.

A couple of things about my trip to the market yesterday morning.  First, I saw Not Beyonce’ again, but took a different approach this time.  I had initially planned to have my friend Brandi stand by her and I’d pretend to be taking a picture of her, but actually take one of Not Beyonce’.  However, the more I thought about it, the more I realized that I didn’t even want to go that far.  Instead, you wanna know what I did?  I just bought my produce and went home.  That course of action was WAY simpler, AND I respected her haughty-yet-not-so-famous wishes.

The second thing about the market is something I’ve wanted to photograph for a while, now.  When the market is in full force, they block the street off so it’s pedestrian only.  In America, the signs would say “Pedestrians Only” or “No Vehicles”.  Boring.  Here, you get this:

Much, much better, in my humble opinion.  Although, I WILL say that when I think of police diversion, I actually think of this or this.

Jacelyn’s next big test is tomorrow morning, so she’s been prepping for that pretty hard.  On Tuesday, I have a meeting with the Director of Youth Ministry for the island and I’m booked to speak about Theology of the Body at a young adults retreat next weekend!  Well, that’s what’s going on here…. I hope you all have a great day.

If you pray, when you pray, pray for us.

On to the next thing…

Here’s to Vice-Presidents and Stylish Burglars

Posted on

My impatience knows no bounds, apparently.  I was just making a bit of breakfast for myself.  I decided to have eggs and grits.  I was microwaving the eggs (which is healthier and MUCH faster) and Quick Grits, which should’ve been fast enough.  However, not for Mr. Needitnow, no no.  While the microwave was speeding up the cooking process, I inadvertently ate 10 of those vanilla-flavored, styrofoam-textured wafers.  The microwave beeped and I thought, “But I’m not hungry.”  So now, I have to look at this while I’m blogging….

I’m feeling a bit better today, which is nice.  The rain was very refreshing, if you ask me.  I know it was three days straight, but it really brings the temp down (while it’s raining) and it lets me not have to do laundry for three days.  The flip side is that, JUST before it started raining, I hung some clothes out.  And it rained and rained and rained.  Now, three days later, the sun is out and I think they’re going to dry.  If it starts raining again, I’m going to take the clothes off the line and throw them at a passerby.  I know this will accomplish very very little, but I’m going to do it anyway.

So, I mentioned a while back that Dom’s black sand beaches are a result of lava rock being pummeled and eroded over time.  We found out another interesting (and consequently, time consuming) tidbit about that ol’ lava rock:  it’s magnetic.  How do we know this?  Well, my lovely wife has a magnetic anklet that she often wears.  When we came home from the beach recently, she found it to be covered in black sand, which I spent 30 minutes attempting to clean off.  (I had to invent and create a much larger magnet to overcome the magnetic pull of the anklet.)  (That took 29 minutes and 45 seconds.) (Now we need a new toaster AND Jacelyn needs a new anklet.)  Below is a pic of the anklet, almost fully cleaned.  Notice the big blob of black at the magnetic end of the anklet, and the massive, almost bulbous thumb.  (That’s why I usually hire hand models)

I’m not sure if we ‘ve mentioned it before, but Dominica is home to the last remaining population of native Caribbean dwellers, often referred to as “Caribs”.  On the eastern coast of the island, there is a reservation of sorts for them and, earlier this semester, Jacelyn joined a club on campus called the Salybia Mission Project, which regularly reaches out to the Carib people.  SMP is a student-run group that makes frequent trips to the Carib Territory to staff a medical clinic, which the club has built over the last ten years.  For more info on SMP, click HERE.  Last Saturday, Jacelyn got to go with SMP and spend the day in the clinic!  While there, she was able to help with a patient interview, see a medical procedure done, witness a couple of tests being performed, and visit a paraplegic who is sponsored by the Salybia Mission Project.  She had a wonderful experience.  Due to client confidentiality, Jacelyn was not able to take pictures of the clinic,but she was impressed by the wonderful work that is being done to help the needy.  Oh, and I would be remiss not to mention that, due to the extreme curvey-ness of the road, Jacelyn vomited on the way there.  (not uncommon at all for these roads) Here are a couple of pics she COULD take….

…and a guy making casava bread…

Last Friday, some of the other spouses and I made a trip to the capital city to get some supplies.  While there, we got to ride on the BEST TAXI EVER.  It was called “Nick’s Safari Tours” and we paid him a little extra to drive all the way back to Portsmouth.  If anyone’s interested in looking like you’re having more fun than you’re actually having, call Nick at: 767.449.1599.  He only charges 20 EC per person!  Here’s his transport:

You know how I said that it’s rude to just walk up to someone and take their picture here on Dom?  Yeah, well, that pertains to MOST people.  Some, however, yell at you and say, “HEY! COME HERE.  TAKE MY PICTURE” and then pose like a sassy, darker-tinted John Mccain.

Two tidbits about the picture.  First, I purposefully waited to actually take the pic until Little Nosey Boy in the background looked back.  Second, once I snapped the shot, the man stood up (he has two legs, but was hiding the other one to complete the look), took me aside, and said if I needed a place to live in Roseau, he could get me a place very cheap. (Goal of finding a relatable real estate agent in Rosea: Accomplished)

Two trips ago, I glanced out the window of our transport and saw yet ANOTHER site that, I feel, can only happen on The Mystery Known As Dominica.  I saw two chickens walking down a flight of stairs.  That should be enough.  Now, I KNOW that experiences like that only come along once in a lifetime, so I’m not hoping to get it on camera.  However, we did drive past those legendary stairs and, if you will, I’d like you to picture two chickens walking down these, about mid-way down:

Lastly, people say that you lack certain amenities here that you’re used to back in the States.  I can’t say that I agree.  So far, they’ve had everything I’ve ever needed, no matter how random and odd the need may be.  For instance, when we went to town, I was specifically in need of some traditional Dominican Creole attire AND a crowbar…

The Lord provides.  I took MANY pictures of the streets and terrain on the way to Roseau, so, feel free to browse our photo album to see more.

If you pray, when you pray, pray for us.

On to the next thing…

Help Me, Carpenter’s Music

Posted on

I’m not going to blog much at all, today, because I’ve got a bit of a bug and don’t feel well.  However, I DID want to take the time to point out that it is both a rainy day AND a Monday here on Dom and, far from getting me down, it’s actually quite quaint.  I’m going to curl up with a good nook (the e-reader, not a pacifier, thank you) and drift away, either to dreamland or Hogwart’s.  They’re about tied in the battle for my preference.  On the one hand, Hogwart’s is getting pretty darn crazy; on the other hand, I like my dreams, which are usually a mix between THIS, THIS and a random episode of Knight Rider.  Envy me?  Of course you do.

To pass your free time, may I remind you that our Dom photo album is always available for your perusal right HERE, with the most recent pics being at the bottom.

If you pray, when you pray, pray for us.

On to the next thing…

Skeletons In Your Belly Button

Posted on

I came to the realization today that I’ve been a tad false with all of you.  I’d initially said that I would include a blip from my life and a blip from Jacelyn’s each time I blogged, and I’ve noticed that, due to this prevalent selfish, self-centered-ness of mine, I don’t often remember to put stuff about her day in here.  That’s a travesty, especially since she is learning such amazing things every day!

For instance, today in microbiology, Jacelyn learned all about the The Belly Button Biodiversity Project, run by scientists at North Carolina State University.  This is a real study.  They took samples from over 1,400 belly buttons to see what sort of biology was living down there.  Insanely, when all was said and done, the scientists had discovered 662 previously un-named bacteria living in these belly buttons!  Don’t believe me?  Click HERE.  It’s just so crazy all the junk we’ve got going on in our bodies at any given moment. (HERE’S a nice shot of my, bacteria-free belly button)

Which leads me to the next topic: FOOD!!!!!!  I’d like to do another installment “Me Talking About Food Prep On Dom”.  We begin, today with a quick look at how to make Sorrel (so-reel) juice.  For an in-depth study of where it comes from, click HERE.  For our conversation today, we begin by buying a bag of the blossoms from the market.  An entire bag, broken open and artistically strewn on the counter in the sunlight would look like this:

To make sorrel juice, you simply pick up all the pieces you threw on the counter for the picture, toss them into a pot with 6 cups of water, a stick of cinnamon, two pieces of fresh ginger, one chunk of fresh nutmeg.  Boil that junk till the water’s all red.  The juice, when dumped through a strainer, should look like this:

Then, add a bunch of sugar and dilute as desired.  Next thing you know, you’ve got a luscious, homemade drink that no one, including your wife, will drink because, little did you know, it’s supposed to be a Christmastime drink and people don’t do it as much outside of the Season of the Christchild.  If I’d only do my research BEFORE making these concoctions! Blast you, Perfect Vision Looking Backwards.

The second food I’d like you to know about is called Pulao.  There’s nothing all too exciting about it, but it has that hearty, meat-n-potatoes feel to it.  I don’t know what’s all in it, but it’s great and available on Fridays at Sarah’s Snackette.  It looks like this:

The next menu item of the day is the Passion Fruit.  I’m sure many of you are quite familiar with it, but I’d never really been around passion fruit very much in my life.  I’m not sure if the frigid, barren temperatures of Minnarctica killed all possibility of it, or if the word “passion” was a bit too risque’ for a young’un of my sensitive conscience.  Either way, I was 33 years old when I experience passion of this sort, and I LOVED it!  So, here’s a pic with elements of the whole passion fruite juice making process:

First, you purchase your passion fruit.  If you’re like me, you get it from a guy named “Fingers”, who nabs it out of the woods and openly admits to being in and out of jail often.  Fingers has unusually short fingers, hence the nickname.  Nicknames are an odd thing.  I DO understand why they call him that; I DON’T get why they call me “Smells Like Milk”. (It’s all very subjective)  Anyway, Fingers is VERY nice and I get my passion fruit and star fruit from him.  After getting the fruit home, you slice it open, as you see in the pic.  You gently scoop the seeds and all the “phlegm-ish” stuff into the blender cup, add a bit of water and blend for 1.5 seconds.  Seriously.  Like a second-and-a-half.  Then, pour that mixture through the small strainer you see in the upper left corner.  Add a bunch of sugar and some more water and you’re good to go!  Our friend Zephrina said you can make a gallon of juice from about 5 or 6 passion fruits, which isn’t bad.  Passion can go so far if you let it, amen?  Oh that’ll preach.

The final food is something I like to call “Appetizard”.  I have a “before” shot:

Appetizard is a dish enjoyed by only the very poor and the very rich, but NEVER the middle class, apparently.  These little critters run free everywhere on island, including our bedroom, so they’re relatively inexpensive.  Though fast, they’re not very smart.  There are many local suggestions on how to catch them, from placing a bowl of water soaked in moonlight in the center of the room to placing noodles soaked in spaghetti sauce in the center of the road.  Personally, I opt for the way that capitalizes on their limited intelligence: I’ve taught Burt to do a tap dance routine from Act 2, Scene 4 of Funny Girl, which he uses to distract the lizard while I sneak up behind him and catch him with some chopsticks.  (It’s not as easy as it sounds, because I have to try to hold the chopsticks WHILE playing jazz piano AND making the tapping noise, because, let’s face it, no one makes Chihuahuan Tap Shoes anymore)  Once caught, you merely need to roll them in flour and milk and drop them into boiling oil.  As soon as they float to the top, they’re done and you’re ready to eat fresh, hot Appetizards!  Num, num.

(For the record, the pic is real, but the preceding paragraph is NOT)(I just wanted to end with a bang and didn’t have one today)

If you pray, when you pray, pray for us.

On to the next thing…

Willy Wonka’s Caribbean Time-share

Posted on

Gentle reminder: this and all our blog’s are best experienced by only scrolling down far enough to read the current sentence.  There are always going to be pics that act as a punchline and, if you see it ahead of time, it ruins it for all of us, yes?  Moving on.

The weather’s been great, lately.  It rains for a little bit every single day, which is turning the usually boring act of hanging out wet laundry into a weird mix of Farmer’s Almanac, Weather Psychic, and “Don’t Swear At The Clouds Because It’s Not Remotely Their Fault” (a game I recently invented)(In case you haven’t noticed, I invent a lot of games here.)  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve done laundry specifically because it’s SO sunny and windy out, only to hear rain pouring down five minutes after I’ve hung it out to dry.  It makes me think that if we just put our heads together, we’ve GOT to be able to invent a machine that you could put your wet laundry into, push a button, and it will keep it safe until the rain stops and you can put it out on the line.

A couple of interesting things happened at the market last Saturday morning.  First, I saw this rainbow:

Cool, yes?  Interesting aspect of living in the Caribbean, I found the end of that particular rainbow, and it contained a pot of tuna.  Honestly, though I didn’t expect gold, I NEVER expected tuna.  Interestingly enough, I’ve heard that in Jamaica, the end of the rainbow just contains pot. (I have no way of substantiating this claim, however)

The next interesting thing that happened at the market was that I had an encounter with a celebrity look-alike.  Let me set the scene first.  I have never (ever) watched professional wrestling, like WWE.  However, since entering the Caribbean, starting with Puerto Rico, I repeatedly get asked if I am a famous wrestler known as The Miz.  I see the resemblance, I guess, just not in the face area; but, okay.  It is literally at least once a week that someone comes up to me and asks me if I’m him. No lie.  In church one day, a little kid had been staring at me forever and, halfway through service, he leaned over two of his friends and whispered, “Are you a wrestler?”  I smiled and told him no.  He nodded and went back to looking forward.  Five minutes later, he leaned back over and whispered, “Do you have a brother?”  So fun.  The resemblance is so strong for the people here that, while eating dinner at a restaurant in Puerto Rico, the owner came out, took a picture with me, and said he was going to put it up in his shop, knowing full-well I am not The Miz.  Anywhooooo, back to the market.  I was shopping and saw a girl who looked VERY much like Beyonce’.  You could tell this girl was, in one sense, trying to look like her: same hairdo, a bit of makeup, etc.  So, li’l Nic thinks it’d be great to have a photo of “NOT The Miz and Beyonce’ at the Market” for you, my precious readers.  After getting my veggies, I walked up to her and said, “Hi!  I know you’re NOT Beyonce’, but I was wondering if I could get a picture with you…”  She smiled, laughed, and said no.  I said, “Really?”  She smiled, laughed, and said yes.  Then she asked me if I was a first semester student.  I told her my wife was.  She smiled, laughed, and said, “Well, I’ll tell you what.  If I see you again someday, we can do a pic then.  Hang in there!” Then she walked away.  Now, I like people, I do, but REALLY?  I can see the REAL Beyonce’ saying all of that; but NOT Beyonce’.  Come on!  Pose for the pic!  Anyway, I never even got the chance to explain why I wanted the pic!  So, I did the next best thing.  I took a picture of “NOT The Miz and NOT NOT Beyonce'”.  Check it out.

I win.

Lastly, I have finally pieced together a few oddities that I’ve noticed since arriving on Dom.  First, I know that the Caribbean is a wonderful escape for even the most eccentric of travelers.(There IS a Michael Douglas Blvd)  I also know that Dominica, being the Island of Nature, is unique in the Caribbean, due to it’s relative lack of tourist catering.  I am further aware of a definite ‘mystique” to the island, what with the constant foggy-topped mountains, rain in the blinding hot sun, the utterly complete knowledge of Bob Marley songs, and Ninja Gardeners.  Add to that the fact that I have seen very small people around town, buying, selling, and disappearing in a poof of orange and green.  These details had been running through my mind like a CNN ticker, always scrolling, never finding an answer or an explanation.  Until Saturday.  On the way out of the “downtown” area, all the swirling questions and mysteries united and became clear.  THE  one and only Mr. William Wonka has a home here.

He apparently co-designed and timeshares it with the inventor of Pepto Bismol and M.C. Escher’s descendants.

If you pray, when you pray, pray for us.

On to the next thing…

A Dominican Minute

Posted on

Hey, all!  I was walking home and saw something funny and thought, “I can’t wait to blog about that.”  Then, when I arrived home, I thought, “Why wait?”  So, as of now, I’m going to attempt to abandon the need I seem to have to wait until I can do a huge, wordy-yet-side-splittingly-funny blogs.  From now on, if something hits me as funny, you best believe I’ma get it online ASAPGHLITTDEOD (As soon as possible given how long it takes to do everything on Dom).  So….here it is…..


I was just walking and saw a butterfly chasing a lizard.


No lie.  It wasn’t like it flew by and the lizard just happened to be moving.  It wasn’t even as if the lizard got spooked by the butterfly.  That sweet-looking yellow thing was terrorizing that lizard wherever he went.  He was weaving and putting on bursts of speed, but the butterfly was relentless.  As I walked away, I swear I saw the lizard offer his wallet to the butterfly.


If you pray, when you pray, pray for us.

On to the next thing…

I’m not late in blogging, I’m just on island time, Dawg

Posted on

You know when someone asks you, “Hey, what’s your favorite ________?” (movie, song, book, seahorse), and you open your mouth to answer, but then realize that you’ve completely blanked on not only your favorite, but ANY __________? (food, family member, galaxy, prison)  Well, that’s what happened to me when I sat down to write this blog.  I KNOW I’ve been really busy and I KNOW Jacelyn’s been really busy, but when I think about recounting all of that busy-ness to you, all I come up with is THIS.  (Problem is, that’s what pops into my head no matter what I’m thinking of.)  Anyway, after looking through some pics I’ve taken, my memory was refreshed.  So, here’s what we’ve been up to.

First a couple of tidbits that make me laugh.  One of the workouts that we do weekly is walk the insanely steep hill right outside of our apartment 3 or 4 times.  At one point on the hill, the road turns and, at the curve, you see this….

…which is only funny to me because, it’s a board, which looks exactly like a bike jump.  And below it, is a valley.  It’s a wonderful distraction from the thigh pain while we’re working out for me to picture this guy, mid-air, with not a care in the world.  So, that’s tidbit #1.  The second factoid today will introduce you to the Kenip, a Caribbean fruit that is quite plentiful and cheap down here.  I’m planning a three-part series on local cuisine, and this is the first installment.  Let me point out a kenip out to you.

Don’t even think about asking me about either of the other two fruits in the pic, because I’m not pointing at them, now, am I?  The Kenip is one of the cheapest things you can buy at the market, but I’ve found it to be one of the most engaging and exciting fruits known to me.  First, let’s get a bit closer, shall we?

I know what you’re thinking: “Wow!  Did he actually hire a hand model for this shoot?”  Answer: of course.  There’s a local guy who does hand modeling for Caribbean Fruit Magazine Online, which showcases different Caribbean fruit online.  He’s really unique because, though his skin is charcoal black, his hands are this perfect, peachy, fat-fingered Caucasion shade.  He’s eccentric, elusive, and expensive, but you’re worth it.  Anyway, the kenip.  You twist the stem off, place the kenip between your eye teeth, and gently bite down until you hear/feel a little pop.  (You’ll get no picture of that process.  I tried, but because of a sad lack of eye-tooth models in the Caribbean, I had to try it and, believe me, you don’t want to see those pics. It looked pitiful and disgusting and just made the test groups want to pray for me.)  Once you’ve heard the pop, you basically see this:

A little about the kenip’s inner texture.  As you can see, it’s soft.  What you can’t tell from the pic is that, when you put it into your mouth, it’s kind of like sucking on a marble covered in a durable algea/seamoss-type material.  Keep in mind, it tastes NOTHING like algea OR seamoss; it’s very sweet and good, but the texture is reminiscent of how algea/seamoss would feel if you wrapped a marble in it and placed it in a hermetically-sealed skin.  So, you kind of use your tongue and teeth to work at getting all the moss off the marble.  (It may or may not surprise you to know that I actually invented, created, and marketed a game like that when I was seven, but, thanks to the short-sighted people at Mattel, Parker Bros, and Hasbro, it never took off)  When the mossmarblealgea is finally gone, you are left with a seed, which you get to spit out/throw away.  Here’s the start-to-finish of enjoying a kenip:

Picture all the fun you have while eating a kenip, or, “having a kenip-tion”, as I call it.  Twist the stem, pop the skin, gnaw the moss, spit the seed.  Twist, pop, gnaw, spit.  TPGS.  So fun.

So, this last week was fraught with tests for Jacelyn.  Friday morning was the second mini, and Monday brought two different “Practicals”, which, if I understand it correctly, consist of identifying different things in different places.  I think.  Anyway, at the height of all the studying, she had set up the following work station:

Sometimes I walk in and it looks like she’s in some spy movie, trying to “hack CIA mainframe”.  I want to just play the Mission Impossible music all the time.  (Notice the full glass of water?  Oh, the beverages she goes through)  As tough as med school is, I still felt that Jacelyn was getting a bit soft and needed some challenge in her day, so I built THIS outside the front door.  It makes it so she can’t slack off on the 15-minute walk to school in the sweltering heat.

I, on the other hand, set up a slightly different work space, with specifically-chosen tools.  Though I’d prefer THIS, I usually end up with this:

Specifically-chosen tools, from right to left: Super glue, cell phone, coffee mug from world travels, first laptop to hit the market, tin foil, and cake (under the foil).  Yes, folks this is my own little coffee shop where I give and take the orders.  My own Starfruitbucks.  My private Caribbeanbou Coffee.  My li’l Dominicunn Brothers. (The last one was a stretch, I know)

The other day, I caught the Waldorf Posse hanging out.  I was too far away, but I think I caught them smoking.

The blades of grass in the most foreground are called Lemon Grass.  It grows everywhere on Dom and people make a nice tea out of it.  When you pick it and crinkle/crush it, you get a really strong, refreshing whiff of lemon.  Sometimes, I’ll pick a bunch of it and weave it through the bars on the window in our apartment.  Then, every once in a while I’ll crinkle it and it smells….well, like lemon.  When we were on a 1-hour van ride to the capital city of Roseau, at a particularly hilly and winding part of the road, the driver pulled over and picked a bunch of the lemon grass for people to crinkle and smell.  Apparently, it helps with motion sickness.  I DID feel better after he gave it to us, but that might have been because, while he was picking it, I was able to vomit out the window.  Who knows, really.

I met with the youth leaders in the area last Thursday night and it went very, very well.  They explained to me that one of their biggest problems is that they have very little structure or organization right now.  So, the plan is to take the next year and make a concerted effort to get everyone on the same page as to focus, goals, and needs of youth in the community.  We scheduled our next meeting for November 9, at which we’ll assign specific roles to everyone and then begin the process of leadership training.  I’m really excited for the opportunities this will provide to use the training I’ve gotten in the last few years.  As we talked, it was interesting to realize that, though Dominica has many cultural differences, youth ministry is not one of them.  I broke out into a huge smile when one of the leaders was saying, “It’s just so hard, because I can’t seem to get them to want to DO anything.  All they want to do is text and go on Facebook!”  It was also sobering to realize that the ol’ 20/80 rule applies here, as well.  In ministry, as in most things, it is generally 20% of the people who do 80% of the work, and vice versa.  It’s the same here.  From youth ministry to adult ministry to the church building project, its generally the same people, day in and day out, who carry the load.  The difference here is that, while in Duluth, I had about 15 leaders to utilize for my 80-member youth group, on island I have the same number of leaders who need to cover an entire county of three or four churches.  So, your prayers for wisdom for me and the DL’s would be great!  On an up note, they very much liked the idea of the discipleship program like the one in Duluth.  The idea of me teaching them adequately so they could then teach the youth was encouraging for them.  It is perfect for this situation because they don’t know the Scriptures as intimately yet, and I don’t know the youth.  This way, I get to know the leaders and give them what I know, and they learn what I know and give it to the youth they know.  Win/win.  Also, one of the mission trips is already scheduled to come here at the end of February!!!!!  Go Team Kevin!

I will close with one last tidbit.  A while back, I posted a pic, entitling it “The Suitcase of Broken Dreams”.  I will now explain why I gave it that name.  Med school is hard.  It seems to be one of the hardest things out there, schoolwise.  Each exam and each semester seem to bring to light more stress and weaknesses.  Sadly, people often fail, be it one test or a whole semester.  You hear stories of students who can’t take it and just walk away, buy a plane ticket, and go home, leaving all their belongings here.  So, on the shortcut between our house and school, there is this suitcase.  It’d been sitting there since we arrived, and we always just walked by it.  Well, one day when Jacelyn and I were walking home, my curiosity got the best of me.  We stopped, flipped the suitcase over, and unzipped it.  What did we find inside?  Notes.  Med school notes.  Slides printed off.  Hundreds of slides.  This was a suitcase filled with some poor student’s attempts to remember all the info they throw at you.  One student likened med school to trying to get a drink from a fire hose.  I don’t know the story of the student who left the suitcase.  Maybe he gave up and just left it all there one day; maybe his apartment just got too cramped with all the stuff and, since they don’t have “NO DUMPING” signs, the shortcut was a great place to leave it.  I don’t know.  But I know what my mind WANTS the story to be.:

Sherman Dolenby walked back to his apartment, reeling from the ceremony.  He was still wearing his cap-n-tassle to shield him from the hot sun, and his gown was getting drenched from sweat.  He’d done it!  He was a doctor.  Dr. Dolenby.  Nice ring to it, what with the alliteration and all.  His first order of business as a doctor was to pack up all of his notes and donate them to the “Poor Freshman Fund”, which helped first semester students save money by giving them old slides. This would be his last good deed before heading to the airport early tomorrow morning.  Sherman changed into his normal attire: green New Balance shoes, no socks, khaki shorts, and a t-shirt from his favorite diner back home.  He packed his notes in his old suitcase, grabbed a cup of coke with ice, and set out on the shortcut, smiling widely at the irony of actually lugging luggage………

When the sun rose the next morning, the air was tense with rumors as to where Dr. Dolenby had gone.  “Did you hear about Sherm?  Never showed up for his airport shuttle this morning”……”I hear he went off-grid, man.  Couldn’t take the stress”……..”He was such a nice guy.  Let me use his umbrella all the time.”……..”I wonder who gets his Wonder Washer if he never shows.”  He never did show.  “The Disappearance of Dr. Dolenby”, as the biographical film was entitled, began and ended with one cryptic photograph, taken by a local deputy during the investigation:

If you pray,when you pray, pray for us.

On to the next thing…

Ninja-endorsed Lawn Care

Posted on

Hey, all!  I want to put a little plug in for Dominica:


There.  I got that out of my system.  Why am I so keyed up for the Island of Nature?  Well, it could be because I have become addicted to the local commodity the sugar apple; however, it also could be because I witnessed my first mythological creature today!!!!!!!!  My day started out just like yours did, I’m sure: wake up at 6:30am wrapped in a sweaty sheet, due to the lack of AC in the bedroom.  I got up.  Saw Jacelyn off for the day.  Washed the whites, which I wasn’t able to do yesterday. (More on that in a few)  Around noon, I got ready to head out to meet Jacelyn for lunch on campus.  I put my shoes on and went through the normal checklist: “Wallet, cell phone, keys, machete” and opened the door.  There it was.  Across the street.  I’d always thought they were only from movies, but here, before my naked eyes, one had appeared.

A ninja.  Bona fide.  Just going about his ninja-ly duties.

Sure, for a while I just stared at him, my mouth hanging open.  But then, you all popped into my head and I realized that you’d never believe me if I simply relayed the story in words.  I knew–heady, logical, skeptical readers that you are–you’d demand proof.  So, I dove back into the apartment, grabbed the camera (praying he wouldn’t be gone when I turned back around), and snapped two shots for you.  In typical Ninja fashion, he was able to elude a full, close-up, front view, but I got what I could.  I give you…….The Ninja.  And more Ninja.

I know.  How and why do all the amazing things happen to me?  I don’t know, but I’m riding that train while it’s moving, man.  I’ll take Ninjas and their amazing weapons like his any day of the week.  Only a place like Dominica is awesome enough to be able to actually EMPLOY trained, invincible killers to do its lawn care.  Seriously.  You all have to visit.

So, in the last post, I mentioned that we have our chihuahua, Burt Reynolds, now.  I forgot to show you guys a pic of him, so I got a perfect one, very indicative of what he does 23 hours a day.

I think he likes the mix of blustery cold from the AC in the back room, mixed with the sweltering heat that a Mac puts out.  You gotsta love him, though, yeah?

Okay, and I mentioned not being able to clean the whites.  Here’s the deal.  My mother-in-law visited last weekend and I didn’t do any laundry for like three days.  Then, because it’s been raining for three days straight, we had a bunch of “water outages”.  The water company turns off he water because we don’t have a reservoir to purify, which leads to brown water.

So, yesterday, I set out to do ALL of it, winding clothesline all over the balcony and apartment.  However, halfway through the washing process, I remembered something: it had been raining for three days straight.  That reminded me that when we get a lot of rain, the faucet water can turn brown sometimes.  That caused me to stop and look at the water I was about to put the whites into.  I saw this:

I waited until today to do the whites.

I will close our session today with a picture I took on the way to the airport.  When we arrived on Dom, we were so tired that we slept all the way from the airport to Portsmouth.  Consequently, we never got to see vistas like this…

…until Monday.  Beautiful, eh?  Again, who but me is lucky enough to get a snapshot of a T-Rex on the top a rock island?  Do you see it?  I think he may be stuck out there.  No wings, small, stubby forearms.  Yeah, he’s stuck.

If you pray, when you pray, pray for us.

On to the next thing…

Bloggy Bottom Boy

Posted on

Hello, all!  I am very sorry that it’s been so long since I’ve been able to update the ol’ blog for you.  I noticed it has been 11 days since I was last on here.  The real difficulty has been, of course, the lack of a computer.  When Jacelyn was studying for her first mini, there were very few moments when she was was away from this little screen.  It was like that scene in that poorly-written, badly-filmed, and wretchedly-acted movie about teenage vampire love where the girl sat in a chair for like 29 months.  If I’d taken some time lapse photography of Jacelyn it would’ve been of her, stationed in front of the computer, and the only thing that would change was the type and level of the liquid in the glass next to her.  She passed though, and that’s what really counts.

She was also able to take part in a clinic where you learned how to take blood, which I pictured to be like THIS, but later found out it was like THIS, from a fake arm, which I found to be even more creepy than what I’d imagined.  FROM JACELYN: “I hit the vein both times on my first try!”

Jacelyn has had one more big revelation since that first mini, oh so long ago:  “I’ve now come to realize that not only do I have to study more than I ever did before, but I have to study more constantly.  There’s never more than one evening of rest that you can take after a test.  The next day, you have to start studying for the next one.”  I can attest to this.  You know that last few days before a really big exam, when you’re cramming and rallying and crying and in the “bargaining stage” (where you’d sell an organ to get an A)?  Well, as far as I can tell, med school is that, only daily, more expensive, and I get a tan.

I have been finding Waldorg & Co. everywhere, lately!  The latest development has been nighttime sightings.  Obviously, the game is much harder at night; you can hear the mooing, but the odds of finding the source of the moo are small.  For a successful night-finding, the animal basically has to place his/her self directly in your line of sight.

Or…line of smell.  My mother-in-law and I were walking home one night and I said, “Well, I can SMELL Waldorf.  Wonder where he is?”  Almost in the same breath, I glanced to the right.  Not 10 feet away, in a pile of dirt, was Waldorf & Co.

Now, some of you out there, especially the more PETA-ish types, might be thinking, “Nic, you say you’re a loving person, but you keep interfering in bovine life.  You’re bothering them and you have NO RIGHT!!!”  Well, first of all, there’s no need to yell at me.  Second, I’d like to point out that I’ve never said I was a loving person.  I might have said I love BEING a person and you just misheard me.(so, it’s your fault)  Third, if there was EVER any doubt as to whether or not Waldorf and his bovinions (bovine minions) enjoyed my photographic company, I think the nearly ear-to-ear smile on his face says it all.

Yes, my friends, Waldorf has come out and officially endorsed my official endorsement of Waldorf and Co. by posing for this photo session.  So all you animal lovers out there, if you’re looking for a candidate to support in the upcoming election of any kind, Waldorf is the perfect fit.  Not only can he be smiley, he also has a tough-guy pouty look:

Notice the furrowed brow and that bottom lip jutting out?  That’s the Tough Guy Pout, also known as Blue Steel in the human modeling world.  Lastly, just to be fair in the allotment of screen time, here is a shot of some of Waldorf’s “cowstituents”:

The glaring one on the left is Charleston and the illusive one on the right has never given a name, so I call it Nobody.  Rude, maybe, but if he won’t divulge a name, he’s Nobody to me.

You may have noticed the mention of my mother-in-law.  She came for a whirlwind trip from Friday night to Monday morning!  One of the coolest parts was when we went on the trip up the Indian River.  You may remember that Jacelyn and I were able to go on the same trip when we first got here.  There was a noticeable difference between the two trips.  Whereas our first trip involved cramming 14 of us into a little rowboat, this trip was just Marmee and me (which sounds like a third book in a Louisa May Alcott trilogy).  Also, our captain on the most recent trip took us on the stream less rowed and we got to see the exact spot where they built Calypso’s house in the swamp scene in Pirates of the Caribbean II.  The following pic is exactly where they built the shack.  Our guide, Gregory, said that the entire crew was very friendly and careful when they were filming.  They even built the house around the trees, instead of cutting any down.  Just to the left of the leaves in the center is where they built the house.

We crammed a lot of fun into that basically two-day period and, best of all, our dog is here now!!!!!  We were initially planning on taking him with us when we first came, but his paperwork didn’t come through in time.  So, Marmee (as I call my mother-in-law) was kind enough to make the trip with him. I think the heat is a bit of a shock to him, but he’ll adjust.  I was able to get him a job pulling a plow HERE and, because of the patient and understanding nature of the people of Dominica, his boss has agreed to let him get acclimated before they hitch him up!  God always works stuff out, yeah?

I’m still waiting to hear about the computer that was being brought to me from the states.  It arrived last night, I think, so I am just eagerly waiting.  I also want to assure you that I’m doing much more than spying on cows and scouting Johnny Depp photo spots.  This is just the sensational stuff that keeps me on the front page of Blogger’s Life Magazine.

We miss you all and, as always:

If you pray, when you pray, pray for us.

On to the next thing…

A Mini and a Tiney

Posted on

Monday morning is Jacelyn’s first test of med school.  It’s called a “Mini”, but, from the sound of it, it’s not so small.  It IS, however, a bit of a line in the sand.  It seems like those who do well (pass) the first mini, can generally tend to maintain for the rest of the way.  Generally.  That is my limited understanding of the deal.  So, all that to say, “Pray for Jacelyn this weekend, please”.  She will be studying about 13 hours each day from now until the mini.

Remember when I mentioned  “Tiney the Bread Lady”?   Well, today I asked her if I could snap a photo of her in her bread shop to show to all my friends back home and she said, “If I let you, are they going to come to my shop and give me more business?”  I said I could make no promises.  She laughed and grabbed two loaves to pose with.

There she is.  Now, a few of you are going to be visiting our fair island sometime in the next year.  I guarantee you that we will stop by her shop numerous times for some bread pudding or a coconut tart.  Those of you who are on Dom and are reading this, please make an effort to stop by Tiney’s shop at the corner of Banana Trail and the main road, just outside the front gate.  Thanks, Tiney.  You’re now famous, oh so famous.

Lastly, someone sold me one of these two days ago and I’m in heaven!!!  I have a whole new lease on laundry.  We’re completely caught up on laundry and there’s a song in my heart.  I’ve named it the laundry song, because it springs from laundry, is sustained by laundry, and hopes to arrive at laundry.

I got to explain what a missionary was to one of our friends here the other day.  I was thankful for the opportunity.  Any chance I get to talk about why Jacelyn and I do what we do is like a shot of adrenaline for me.

I am excited for how quickly the process has started for bringing teams over here!  Right now, there is a trip coming in February and one in the summer, with a third still looking at dates.  Thank you SO much for everyone who has helped us get here and is STILL helping us every day through your prayers and support.  I feel so honored by your faith and trust in us.  As William Carey said, “I will venture to go down, but remember that you must hold the ropes.”  Thank you for holding our ropes!

If you pray, when you pray, pray for us.

On to the next thing…

A Plague On Both Your Goats

Posted on

So, this will be quick, because it’s 1 am and I’m very tired.

First, Phil (the goat) had gotten himself wrapped around a tree this morning, and was bleating SO miserably that  I put everything down and chased him around the tree like 11 times until he was un-wound.  In the process, I grabbed the tree he was tied to and punctured my hand on one of the thousands of thorns that grew on the tree.  In case you’re counting, I’ve rescued Phil TWICE and ended up bleeding TWICE.  Seriously, I sense a nice Goat Flambe’ coming on.  Stupid Phil.

Also, before entering church on Sunday, we saw a kid being lead by a goat on a rope.  T’was normal, and we barely noticed.  However, AFTER church, Jacelyn said one of my favorite quotes from the island so far:  “Oh look, Nic, there’s a kid with a goat AND a machete!”  Ahhhhh, the bliss of the after-church crowd.

Found Waldorf today.

In case you’re wondering where he is, it’s just below and behind the KFC in town.  The word from all the veteran students is that Waldorf has a particular affinity for the drive-through.  It’s a long, sloped drive-through and people say Waldorf walks up it all the time.  Rest assured, I will be on guard with my camera and I WILL get catch him red-hooved.

I got to see this sunset tonight:

Yesterday, on the way to the capital city, we had to drive through this:

At one point the engine was smoking (so unhealthy) and we were moving very slowly.  Allow me to draw your attention to the overturned house on the left.  That was, indeed, from flooding.  I have 7/8 a mind to buy some red and white-striped stockings and paint some slippers red and wedge them under that sucker; however, with me, the 1/8 usually wins out in situations like that.

That’s it for now.

If you pray, when you pray, pray for us.

On to the next thing…

Roasted Carib-beans

Posted on

(That’ll be the last coffee reference I’ll do.  I’ll branch out in my brilliance.) (you have to pronounce it Carib-BEENS, to make it not gruesome)

Hey, all!  Sorry it’s been a few.  I am currently looking into all the details for shipping the ol’ lappytoppy to me ASAP.  We have our best technicians working on the problem.  Let’s see…what’s been up this week….

Found the Waldorf, but didn’t have a camera, so I took a picture of the land that the goats have been clearing, instead.  They literally eat 24 hours a day.  I have walked by at 11pm and shined a flashlight and seen them just chomping away.  So, here’ what Phil and Sandra (their names) have been up to.

Secondly, we experienced the loudest thunder we’d ever heard in our lives last night.  It’s so funny because, although you KNOW the lightning is the dangerous part, it’s the thunder that ends up shaking the house and making you laugh out loud  in an attempt to avoid running through the streets like a madman. (which only serves to frighten Phil and Sandra)

I grabbed a lobster with my bare hands, yesterday, because my snorkeling buddy (from Wilmar, MN, by the way) did it.  Difference is, he’s a mountain man with a bushy beard and he kept hold of his lobster and I (with no beard) got startled by the spikey nature of the tentacles and let go.  They were only small lobster, like this, but I still wish I was more manly that I turned out to be…

The BIGGEST news of the week was…well….let’s let Jacelyn tell you in her own, sweet, brilliant way, shall we:

Hello readers out there!  This is Jacelyn—I just wanted to send out a quick note.  And, I must start with a disclaimer; when I do have a chance to write something on here personally, I won’t try to make it funny like Nic does—I’m just gonna plain, old write. 

So, I’ve officially made it through my first week of med school!  And I WILL be excited about that, because we’ve got to be proud of our baby steps in life!  I’m also excited about it because this afternoon we had our White Coat Ceremony.  We got to hear really encouraging words from several different doctors; they insisted that we ARE capable of making it through med school, it will definitely be worth it in the end, and we are entering an incredible profession.  It was like an amazing pep talk before a scary and overwhelming event.  I’m really thankful they held it!  They passed out a really great “physician’s morning prayer” that was written by a doctor in the 1200’s, which I’ll definitely be hanging on to!  And, it was fun to take a bunch of pictures with my new med school friends.  You can take a look at them in our on-going photo album!   

Thanks, Jacelyn!  Great to have you on the show.  You were amazing.  I mean it.  Simply wonderful.  Please don’t go.

Below are a couple of the highlight pics from the ceremony….

…fabulous!  And…

 The president of the Commonwealth of Dominica, President Nicholas Liverpool, also attended the event, which was awesome!

I went to the market again, yesterday, and branched out in the seafood category.  I not only got a pound of Yellowfin Tuna, but I also tried a bit of Parrot Fish, pictured below.


You can choose which one I bought.  Let’s just say it was an amazing experience, because they’re so rare.  I also saw the following scene, yesterday:

On the walk to and from school, they are building a new structure of some kind.  They’re currently working on the foundation.  I want to draw your attention to the half-folded sheet of corrugated metal to the right.  It’s held in that shape by some wire.  Anyone want to take a guess as to what it is?  That’s right, it’s the “tube” they use to pour the concrete into place with.  I saw them using it the other day on another part of the foundation.  I always love it when you can see people working with what they have.

Well, I guess that’s enough for today, I guess.  As a teaser, I leave you with this pic, which I’ll write about later and which I’ve entitled “The Suitcase of Broken Dreams”:

If you pray, when you pray, pray for us.

On to the next thing…


Posted on

It could be an instant coffee made right here on ol’ Dom.  It could be an actual coffee shop.  If it was a shop that sold locally-made instant coffee and was owned by a guy named “Dominic”, I think the appropriateness of it all would be too overwhelming, yes?

As for the last couple of days, there’s not been too much to report.  Still trying to work out the ol’ computer problem.  I cooked our first homemade meal, tonight!  I forgot to take a picture of it, but it consisted of: chicken breasts marinated in mango puree and lime zest, oven-roasted potatoes, sub-par corn on the cob, and fried plantains.  All in all, it came out well.  I think the biggest letdown was the quality of the corn.  Just not as good as back in Minnesota.  (Of course, it could be because I paid 2 EC too much for it, according to Tiney, who runs the bread stand on the corner)

I have been slowly making “friends” with the local food peeps, which is one of my favorite things.  (along with, you guessed it, raindrops on roses)  Tiney, is one of them.  She’s VERY friendly and just today remembered my name.  She sees so many new students every semester that it’s way more difficult for her than for me.  I only know one person on earth named Tiny, and there are like 193 guys named Nic Davidson here.  I hope to put up pics of the locals in their respective shops, but I have to go slowly, because it is slightly offensive here if you just start walking up and snapping photos.  That said, I have a story and a photo to share….

Jacelyn’s grandparents live in Columbus, GA.  Her granddad always hangs out at a locally-owned, one-location donut shop called Golden Donut.  There is only ONE Golden Donut in the world, and it is on Manchester Parkway.  The other day, we were walking through the newly-opened IGA grocery store and Jacelyn saw this:

We don’t know the whole story, yet, but I think that picture speaks for itself.  It turns out that Mr. Walter Disney was not blowing smoke when he wrote that repetitive and mind-numbing jingle. (oh, and in case you haven’t learned, yet, when the words are in a different color, you can click on them and they magically transport you to another place in time and space)

Jacelyn has a couple of tidbits for you, channeled through me, of course, because she’s studying behind me repeating “Superficial branch of the transverse cervical artery” over and over and over like a theme park jingle for med students.

First, if a package is labeled “No Trans Fat”, it contains absolutely no trans fat; if it is labeled “zero trans fat”, it is allowed to have up to half of a gram per serving.  Feel like you’ve been duped?  Well, join the club.  I was just eating a bag of White Castle Homestyle Onion Rings.

Second, she was so excited when 5pm came around, today, because that meant she had sat in lectures for 8 hours!!!  THAT is why she’s the med student and I’m the one who is meeting Tiny and playing the new game I invented called “Find the Cow”.  You can always hear one around, so I’ve started to keep one eye out for it.  Today, I found it.  Can you “Find the Cow”?

I named this one Waldorf, so that the game could also be called “Where’s Waldorf”, after the well-known hotel in New York City.

Well, I guess that’s all for now.  The meeting with the youth leaders here in Portsmouth got moved to next Thursday, so, I guess I’ll finish scrubbing the apartment down and work on the lessons for the youth group up there in Duluth.  As always:

If you pray, when you pray, pray for us…

Click for the latest pics

On to the next thing…

%d bloggers like this: