The Phone Incident

7am on Sunday morning Tyler’s phone rang and the caller ID was, of all people, me. Although, I was in fact still in bed right next to him.

On Saturday afternoon I realized that my phone was no where to be found. After searching high and low, my greatest postulation was that I had placed my phone in my pocket only to have it fall out while on the bus. And likely the fact that I was so exhausted from so much studying and too little sleep, I didn’t even realize.

So back to Sunday, the man on the phone seemed to make no sense to Tyler. Potentially because he had been awake for only 2 minutes or potentially because the man was Grenadian but Tyler was very confused. In the end, we made out that we would meet the guy on the highway near Ace.

We got dressed and left right away and when we stepped out into the early morning sun, only to be greeted by rain. I am still getting used to sun showers, it is just so odd to have it be raining and bright and sunny simultaneously.

Anyways, we met the guy and he did have my phone and he returned it to me. I was so thankful to have my phone back. I was so glad that we did not need to go through the undoubtedly complicated process of getting a new SIM card, transferring credit, etc.

Thank you kind bus driver for picking up my phone and making sure it got back to me. And I will try to refrain from putting it in my pocket anymore.

On a completely unrelated note, I have received a new potential blogging inspiration. I am currently trying to learn how to cook here in Grenada using the local foods and produce that is available without relying on all the expensive imported American food, etc. I am thinking about writing about what works and what I learn and then maybe the next person like me who is looking for recipes and suggestions might just find some help.


St George’s Market

Tyler here making my first post on the blog, Stefanie has dived fully into the swamp of her medical school textbooks so you’ll probably be hearing from me a lot more often now.


Starfruit - one of my new favorites

Last Saturday morning I rolled and Stefanie gracefully leaped out of bed at 6:30am to make our way over to the Saturday morning market in downtown St George’s. Needless to say, that place is a little different early in the morning than it is at night, i.e. a little more our style.

4 months ago, the spice collection in my kitchen consisted of salt, pepper and garlic salt. It then decreased to just salt and pepper after Stefanie threw away my garlic salt. When Stefanie moved in with her kitchen ensemble it ballooned to a mass collection of stuff that apparently Grenada is world-famous for producing, so when we got to the market, we headed straight to the lady who was selling that stuff.

The Fruits & SpicesWhile Stefanie and spice lady were chatting it up I examined my two favorite items – hot sauce and cocoa balls. I can’t wait to bring them home in December to make guacamole and hot chocolate with.

We then moved over to the fruit market and started by grabbing the essential stash of mangoes and figs (bananas). I’ve been craving oranges and to my surprise found someone selling them. They are of course not orange here, but green. I was so excited I forgot to ask what the local name for them was, but I’m going to guess it’s not “orange.”

The Fish MasterNext was the part I was really looking forward to, the fish market. We heard rumors that you could get fresh mahi-mahi here for a little under US $3 a pound. They were out, but we bought ourselves a nice chunk of sailfish and a whole red snapper. It was all so amusing; fish lady was very stern and had a large dull machete which was not quite sharp enough to cut through the fish. She solved that by whacking it with a sledge hammer over and over again. Not sure what to do with a whole fish, I made my way over to a man I called the fish master whom I gave 2 EC to clean all the scales off and make it a fillet. While I fully expected him to discard the head for me, apparently that’s not the Grenadian way so when we got home I opened the bag only to see four eyeballs staring back at me; he’d given us both our fish’s head and our friend’s fish’s head. It was a fitting end to an excellent morning.

Fish EyeA lot of people ask what I’m doing while Stefanie is studying here so this is what an average weekday looks for me so far:

After I wake-up in the morning, I brew some English tea (or Irish breakfast if I’m extra tired) and pour myself a bowl of Weetabix, my favorite British cereal that I used to always eat in Africa. I operate my own freelance graphic design business so after breakfast I fire up my computer and get started on my work. I’m really grateful that so far people have been willing to hire me from afar and we’re trusting God to continue to provide for us that way.

Around 10am I usually meet Stefanie on campus after her morning discussion or lab and we work / study together in one of the study halls until lunch time. Eating out is super cheap in Grenada, we can usually buy a hot lunch from one of the stands on campus for the both of us for around US $8. In the afternoon I go home so I can take conference calls and such and then at 5pm, Stefanie either comes home and cooks or we meet at Options, a cluster of roundhouses down the hill from campus that serve different kinds of food from all over the world. Naturally my favorite is the veggie burrito from Mr. Chipotle! Then it’s back to campus for some more working / studying.

Being that Stefanie’s a med student and all, she usually has a little more to do in a day than I do. Since she has multiple absolutely massive textbooks, I’ve vowed to read all 500 pages of Alister McGrath’s Christian Theology: An Introduction in my spare time by the end of the semester. I’m also working on learning the complexities of responsive web design.

East coast friends and family – we’re thinking of you as you sit out hurricane Irene tonight. Good night all from Grenada!


** Wife Edit: Tyler grudgingly gets out of bed to shower pretty much as I am walking out the door for class – just want to make that clear and all. My 6am loud-as-all-get-out alarm apparently has no effect on him  😉  **


An Ode to Hot Water

Sometimes I remember fondly the days where running hot water and I used to hang out. We would laugh together, play together, even dance through fields filled with wild flowers. Okay, maybe that last one is just silly. But hot water and I were always fond of one another. Hot water made getting up early in the morning easier by greeting me in the shower. Hot water helped to soothe my sore muscles after a long day. Hot water was even there to help me while I cleaned my kitchen.

But here in Grenada, oh me and hot water are no more. Well, not that I have given up on hot water, but hot water has given up on me. There just isn’t any. I miss good ol’ America and our running hot water.

Our kitchen faucet and bathroom faucet do not have hot water. In fact, I actually have not been in any public space that actually has hot water.  If I need to wash dirty dishes I have to boil water on the stove first. And our shower, well, it is pretty unreliable. Sometimes you might be able to get a descent warm shower going. But I find that warm water is at the expense of water pressure so you can shower under a warm trickle of water, or a freezing cold waterfall. Needless to say, my 6am wake-up time does not go well with this.

Sigh. Life in Grenada.


A Vignette of Grenadian Life

Last night Tyler and I were walking back from campus late at night from studying/working. We decided that we would stop at one of the food shacks just off-campus and get a beer. We gave the guy 5EC for a cold beer and kept walking home (no open bottle policies in Grenada). We enjoyed our cold beer as we walked down streets watching the street lights get brighter and dimmer with the constant power surges. We walk around the corner to see a random cow eating some weeds. We are pretty sure said cow escaped from the veterinary school. We are not sure how this was possible. We stare at the cow and drink some more of our beer. We keep walking and walk past Bananas, the most hip and happening restaurant of Grenada. The random mid-week night parties are in full swing and we are perplexed who all these people are (no way these are med students). Eventually we get home to our little apartment only to hear the sound of the loitering Grenadians next door watching TV. This makes us wonder why our cable box still doesn’t work, but we just ignore that fact and call it a night.

Oh Grenada, living here is so strange.


And Medical School Has Begun People

Last week is what I call my fake week of  medical school. Technically school had started. We had orientation lectures for most of the day along with a lot of other things. In all honesty, most of it considered in standing in really long lines for EVERYTHING (medical students are all overachievers so we all show up at the first possible moment we can do anything) and sitting through talks giving us information about school and living in Grenada that I felt like I already knew. I have never really liked orientations.

But, things were not all bad. We finally started making friends. The downside of us getting here so early was that we were here by ourselves. But once all the other students started coming back and the other first term students arrived, it became a happening place. SGU is so filled with diverse people that it has been great meeting so many people form other states and other countries. We pretty quickly got connected with some really cool people. We met a couple other young married couples (who as a plus were all Christian as well) who we really clicked with. We spent a lot of time hanging out with them and learning together our way around actually living here.

One of the best things about orientation is the school sponsored activities and tours that we could go on to see some of the local sights. By far our favorite was visiting the Grand Etang rain forest and the Annandale Falls. The Grenadian landscape is just so beautiful. And we lucked out because the hike is usually really, really muddy and when we went it had not rained much at all that day or the day before so it was fairly simple.

The local Grenadian students who were our orientation leaders pointed out things to us as we hiked. They kept making reference to the “Bottomless Lake” that we were not to swim in because we would certainly never come out. They were really just referring to a large swamp-like lake that had formed. It looked pretty gross, so the no swimming rule was not all that hard to hold to. We went on the hike with our couple friends that we met, and as was common of orientation week, met a bunch of other other people. The one nice thing about all of us first term medical students being in the same boat is everyone is eager to get to know one another and we are forming a tight-knit group already. Below are some other shots from the hike. The one on the right , I almost fell into the mud because I was laughing so hard at Tyler’s facial expression when I looked at the preview in my camera.

After hiking up in the rain forest we went over to the Annandale waterfall. It was one of the larger waterfalls on the island which is quite humorous considering how small it is compared to what we are used to. At the falls were these jumpers who put on this show that culminated in them jumping off the rocky cliffs into the water below. Afterwards we could all go for a brief swim before it was time to head back to campus.

The other main marker of that first “fake” week was celebrating my birthday. My birthday fell on a national holiday thanks to Carnival. We thought that this would be great, however, it really meant that everything was closed! This kind of spoiled Tyler’s big birthday surprise, but nevertheless, we still had a fun night. We went to a local restaurant (which was filled with a huge group of middle-aged scuba divers plus at least 50 SGU students) and had our VERY leisurely 5 hour dinner. It was a blast. The restaurant sat right on the water so we went early to enjoy a drink and the sunset over the bay.








This week was my first real week of school. Classes began and so did the workload. School started with a bang and we are all running a sprint marathon. I do not think I have ever spent so much time studying and  so much energy on my courses. But, it feels so good. I am so happy to be back in school and to be learning and to be challenged. It is certainly a lot of work, but I am honestly loving every minute of it. Even if I do have to get up at 6am and by 8pm my mind is reduced to sugar-free jello.

The start of the term kicked-off with the White Coat Ceremony where we were all officially and ceremoniously presented with our white coats. I wish we had some pictures of it, but my camera battery charger got fried due to a detergent explosion in our suitcase and Tyler was forced to sit in overflow seating anyways. But it was awesome and prestigious and I looked amazing in my white coat. 🙂

One week down – it feels so short and so long all at the same time. One down, 17 more to go and the term will be over and I will be that much closer to being a doctor.


May I Offer You Some Boxed Milk

Buying food in Grenada is the single most interesting experience that we have on a regular basis. I don’t think I ever ran into a time in California when the store didn’t have any milk or was completely out of all kinds of cheese or pasta, etc. At most maybe you bought a different brand.

However in Grenada, they do not stock the stores very often. And on top of that, they usually don’t restock certain goods for what seems to be weeks at a time. It just takes a long time to get things here. So we do our best to buy locally made goods and to buy produce and whatever else we can from little market stands. But that only goes so far. We have realized that buying regular milk from the store is no simple thing. We did good the first time, but we had to buy the pricey organic kind. The last few times, we have been forced into boxed milk. We got British milk the first time and this time we are drinking Dutch milk. Tyler and I are both familiar with this “long-life” milk but it is still so odd. Although, we keep it in the fridge instead of drinking it at room temperature because that is just too much.

Another little observation we have made is that, due to Grenada’s affiliation with the Commonwealth I presume, the imported goods from the UK and other parts of Europe are often cheaper than imported American goods. So we very quickly have developed a little international breakfast spread as we eat our British and Belgian cereals with our Dutch milk accompanied by a Grenadian banana and some French iced soy cappuccino. And that’s another thing, no good coffee here. They just don’t import beans. Still not sure how I will survive, I guess my french store-bought beverage will have to do.

Oh life in Grenada, you’re funny.


Living in Paradise

A week ago today we left LA after frantically and miraculously getting everything we owned packed up and through the grace of God our flight was delayed giving us a much need extra 12 hours and our first class ticket to Miami allowed us to check all 6 of our suitcases cost free! As soon as the plane took off it was hard to believe that we were actually leaving, moving, off to live an exciting adventure of our own.

We are on the top right!

We go into Grenada late Monday night. We were lucky that large SUVs are common here so us and all of our luggage made it safely to our new home. Our apartment is nice even though it is much smaller than we expected. We were extremely blessed to be living in a really nice place in Pasadena so it is a bit of shock to go from that 2 bedroom condo to our tiny basically one room abode. After a lot of work, we did manage to finally get all unpacked and settled. The unfortunate part is that while we are in a fully-furnished place, there are lots of little things that we do not have like a working lamp or mixing bowls which, when you don’t really know where anything is and don’t have a car, can be tricky to acquire. But we are learning that there is a pretty good export business to Grenada so we can usually find most of the American stuff we are used to, as long as we are willing to pay for it. We are trying to learn our way around the local markets to get things like fruit and eggs and spices and try to by as much stuff made locally so we can save money and get what should be fresher and better stuff.

The best part is definitely the beach. It lives up to all of the photographs. It is so picturesque (when it isn’t raining and stormy outside at least) and the warm Caribbean sea is so perfect that you could stay out in it all day. There are basically no waves at all and besides for the little motor boats that try and get beach-goers to tube behind them (which I decided we will do one of these days) the water is so still and calm. I think I might invest in a little blow-up raft and I will just float in the ocean all day while reading my gigantic medical school texts. We also found my new favorite beach-side restaurant, Umbrellas, which has a happy hour where rum drinks are only 5 ECD. That’s another thing about here, it seems that no matter where you are you can always get a cocktail or a beer, but if you want to find a vendor selling food, good luck. Rum is everywhere and so, so cheap!







The SGU campus is huge and amazing. I am in love and it has such a beautiful view of the ocean. I guess we will see if I like it so much once I am spending every waking minute there. Orientation starts on Wednesday so that will be the first day that I will start meeting my advisors, getting all checked-in and registered, getting my books and final schedules, and hopefully meeting some of my classmates.

The biggest adjustment has been getting used to the way time works here. It gets dark by about 7pm and 8pm around here feels like midnight back home. Honestly, going out at night just has not worked out for us. Some restaurants are open, but it seems like the whole area shuts down at night and all we seem to come across are big groups of locals loitering and then really trashy bars that are open late. There isn’t really any where to go. It is also extremely inconvenient should you be hungry at night because it does not seem as though stores stay open late. We went to St. George’s one night expecting it to be this big, cute downtown area that would be really fun to go to and the Reggae Bus (the most popular, steel-drum bumping, transportation around) dropped us off at this dingy bus terminal and there was absolutely nothing around. And we were the only white people there. So we walked around hoping to find something good, got incredibly lost walking through really dark streets and then some really sketchy seeming areas and somehow got back to where we started. So we decided just to take the bus home and go to Bananas, the restaurant near the school that Tyler put their number on speed dial for their delicious pizza.

Our most interesting experience thus far was our attempt at going to Fish Friday. We had heard about this open-air fish fry type event that happens every Friday up is Gouyave, which is in another parish. It doesn’t look so far away on the map so we decided to wing it. It was our fun “date night.” We went by bus to St. George’s which we were familiar with and our driver when we got off started asking us where we were going and such. He kept telling us that it was really expensive to get back and that it was really hard to find a bus or a taxi late at night and he would give us a really good deal, etc. We had no idea what to expect and we did read that public transit stopped at 8, so we decided to just go for it. Well, it took us almost an hour to get there over some of the scariest, windy, dark roads we have ever been on. I think my blood pressure skyrocketed while driving. We got there and our driver told us he would be back at like 11pm, which left us over 3 hours there. Long story short, we were not so much a fan. The food was okay, but certainly not amazing. We didn’t really know what everything was so it made choosing hard. It was much smaller than expected and poor Tyler got super super sick. So we spent most of that night sitting on the side of the road while Tyler puked or waiting for our driver to come back, which in typical Grenadian fashion, he was 40 minutes late. We have since decided that while it does sound awesome, it might not be our usual Friday outing. It is so far away and it is so expensive to travel there and back that it just isn’t worth it.

I guess when you have to pretty much call it a night at 7pm, it should be really easy to be productive. We are looking forward to meeting more people and getting more acquainted with how things work here. It’s all new so it is just taking some time to settle in.