Latitude 17N

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Tonight is the night before Julian and I fly out for the rest of the summer. We are both very excited! Julian is sooooo excited to see Grammy Jane. We had some friend stop over tonight to say goodbye. They will be transferring to another school so we might not see them ever again. It is kind of sad because they were a really fun bunch of guys. Their names are Chris, Rian, Bombay-aka Chief Guju, and Dan-aka The Mexican. Now Jaime will be the lone Mexican once again. Haha. Chris, Rian and Dan have all been accepted into St. Matthews which is a school based out of Grand Cayman which has an affiliation in Portland Maine. Good luck to them, we'll miss them a lot. On another note, Julian and I are packed and ready to go. We have some last minute stuff to do in the morning like saying goodbye to Spencer LaPray who might not be here when we get back. His parents have been trying to decide whether or not it is a good idea to send him back to the U.S. to live with his grandparents, to get back into public school. I have a feeling he will be gone when we get back so we will go over and say goodbye tomorrow just in case. And then we have to also say goodbye to our friend's The Adrian's. Dusty, Michaila and Nolan will be leaving Nevis to go back to school. All of them...the kids will go to class and Dusty is a teacher so she will go back to teaching high school...history I believe. So good luck to them also. We'll miss them a lot too. They have been a lot of fun for us this summer. And then we will pick Jaime up at 11:00 after his morning class and we'll pick up our luggage and then he will drop us at the curb and send us on our way. Our flight leaves at 1:50. Our plans for the U.S. so far are...Friday afternoon-Stratham Fair. Saturday-Camp and Attitash Alpine Slide. Sunday-Molly's Birthday Party. And that is it so far. We have lots of potential plans that will be ironed out once we get there. So those in Nevis, ta-ta for now and those in the U.S. we'll see you soon! Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

2 More Days!!!!!!! Julian and I are busily packing and getting ready to leave this ant hill for the rest of the summer. Yesterday we took care of our visa duties. We headed down to the "Old Bath Hotel" which houses the Premier's Ministry. Whatever that is. All I know is that's where you go to renew your visa. So we head down there knowing I had not had mine renewed since January. Although I went off island in April so I was actually stamped through until the end of May. So I sat down and she told me I was over due and started calculating out what it was going to cost me to renew. I asked her if I could go ahead and pay up until the end of the year and then I explained that Jaime is a student here and he is good until Aug of 2006. So she told me they should have done mine at the same time as his and mine would have been the same. I told her I arrived a month later than him but that Julian is good until the same time as Jaime. She said "Oh, he must have come with your husband?" And I sad "NO, he came with me, that is what is so weird!" And so she laughed and went in to talk to her boss and came out and asked if we had our marriage license. I told her I didn't have it with me but had it here in Nevis. She told me if I could go get it I would be all set. So I thanked her and drove all the way home (25 minute ride) and went all the way back. She was still working so I went right back in to see her and I got my letter ok'ing me until Aug 2006. Last fall I tried to do this and they wouldn't do it. See because they were changing the rules and were going to make spouses pay the visa fees. But maybe it has changed now. I didn't want to ask because I was getting mine for free which is what we had been told by the school in the first place before we came here. So I was a happy camper. So if anyone is having a problem with their visa make sure you have a copy of your marriage certificate and go down there and talk to them. I spoke with Ms. Meredith Brooks. She was very nice. I have spoken with her boss before and she is sensitive to the plight of students on Nevis especailly married students with families so we are lucky to have her and Ms. Brooks on our side. After I got my letter I had to go to the police station to see the immigration officer. He has the official stamp for the passport. The last time I did this it took a couple of tries to arrive at a time when the guy was in. He was actually there with no one waiting! So I went to see him and got all stamped up and legal! So now I should not encounter any problems before I leave. After we left there we went on a wild goose chase for Julian's school uniforms. In case you haven't heard we have enrolled Julian in a new private school that is opening up in the fall. I wanted to get his uniforms before I leave so he has something to wear on his first day. So the place that the school told me to go to has no shorts for the kids. The want medium grey shorts. All they had was tan and navy. I asked her if there were any shirts ready yet with logos and she looked at me like I was crazy. I told her that the Lynn Jeffers Secondary school was expanding into primary in the fall and they were supposed to be having logos put on the shirts. She didn't know what I was talking about. So I got a shirt without a logo, again, so he would have something for the first day. Then I went to 4 more shops in search of the medium grey shorts and found nothing. The closest I came was a woman who supplied the secondary school with their pants. The older kids wear pants. She said she could make some shorts and she showed me the fabric she had. It was the most synthetic polyester you could find. I told her no thanks, I'll try the U.S. So if anyone out there has seen plain, medium grey shorts anywhere please let me know. That is how I spent my day yesterday. I was in town for 5 hours walking around getting the famous Nevis Runaround.  Posted by Picasa

Saturday, July 23, 2005

Julian and his new friend, Archie, over at Oualie Beach today. They had a Sea Fair today over there. It was a lot of fun for the kids and the adults too. They had lots of food, games for the kids such as a conch shell hunt, fishing, pie contests, face painting, sand castle contest which our friend Makayla won 2nd prize! Way to go! And the funniest contest was the greased pole contest. On the dock they had a big long pole hanging out over the water. They greased it up with some good old black grease and the people who signed up (over 12 years of age) had to try to walk out to the end. The first poor entrants had a hard time getting out even a couple of feet but after a while the grease started to wear off and they could go out further and further. Finally a guy made it to the end and won a fishing trip for 4 and a case of Carib Beer. It was a fun day for everyone. Julian had a blast with all of his friends. Pretty much all of the families that we know showed up for a while. It was a fun day.  Posted by Picasa

Julian's friend Ian's Dad, Jason Bishop, the chef at Oualie Beach was up all night preparing food for todays party. It seemed to be a success given the fact that the food was gone by late afternoon. Here he is grilling a lobster for some happy person to enjoy. Posted by Picasa

The steel drum band played for us for about 4 hours. After they left a dj came up and blasted us with a bunch of american tunes with a caribbean flair! Interesting. The dj was really LOUD and he kept teasing us with his departure but didn't leave until about the time that we took off. The steel drum band was very mellow and soft and made you happy to be in the caribbean.  Posted by Picasa

Julian "fishing" at the sea fair at Oualie Beach today. He got a few fish and won some cheez curls as a prize.  Posted by Picasa

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Julian helped build this very fancy sand castle today. His friend's name is Patrick. He is the son of Jim Johnson the hiking guide on Nevis and he could double as Harry Potter. It was really impressive. They had all kinds of little pyramids next to the big tower. One of them even had a set of little steps up to the top. We had a great day at Oualie Beach for our weekly beach outing. The day was hot and sunny and the kids all got along pretty well. Oualie's mascot stingray was floating around out there today and the kids were all swimming around trying to get a closer look. We had a pleasant surprise today as Cache's Mom, Carol, showed up for the first time at one of our outings and added a lot to our fun. She is a really interesting, fun woman who who has sailed the seven seas and lived to tell about it. And that pretty much sums up our day. Now I am watching re-runs of Will and Grace and having my bedtime snack. 7 days till I'm back in the U.S! I will kiss the ground!  Posted by Picasa

Monday, July 18, 2005

We make Julian earn his t.v. by running around the house. He technically gets 30 minutes of t.v. for 8 laps around the yard. But we're pretty flexible with that. He also runs to the school and back which is about 2 miles and the other day he braved the airport route. His choice not mine! To the airport and back which is a bit over 3 miles! He did great! I go with him of course and it took him 47 minutes to do that route. He didn't even stop. Once we get home we are going to run one of the local 5k races. I think that will pump him up being in a race with other people. An actual race. He hates running around the yard but doesn't seem to mind when I run on the road with him. And when he does that he gets to watch more t.v. So it's good motivation. We checked out a new fitness center in town called the F.I.T. Center. It is above Ram's, the "big" grocery store. It was like walking into a different country! The place is really nice with stairmasters, eliptical machines, treadmills, bikes, free weights, weight machines, fitness classes, and a juice bar. The guy who runs the place is really nice and personable. And he is in perfect shape which is a good trait to have in an athletic club manager/trainer. So many that I have seen are in marginal shape and it's not very motivational. So that is the new exciting news on Nevis. Posted by Picasa

Julian out for a trail ride with his horseback riding class. It was a small class last week with only Julian and Ian the boy in front of Julian. And there was another woman who went with them also. She is a local woman who rides there a lot. Erica is in front, Julian is in the red shirt riding Big Red.  Posted by Picasa

Sunday, July 10, 2005

Coconut Grove - The ultimate tiki hut dining experience. This is an oasis on this little island. Dinners START at 40.00US per plate. On Tuesday nights they now have a special for 40.00 you can get an entree and an appetizer for 40.00 or for 35.00 you can get and entree and a dessert. I'm not sure if you can choose anything off the menu or if they have a limited menu on Tuesdays. I will probably never find an answer to this mystery.  Posted by Picasa

This is the inside of the restaurant, Coconut Grove. They serve French cuisine. It is a really neat looking place. The bar area is off to the right and has two L shaped sofas with beaded silk throws and two huge heavy wood glass top tables. It is however out of our student loan budget but it is fun to go and look at. Julian and I were here for the pre-independance day party last weekend. They had a barbecue outside which we could afford.  Posted by Picasa

Here is Julian flexing his muscles while we wait for a pizza. Posted by Picasa

This is the new pizza shack in Nevis. It just opened up in front of the fancy Coconut Grove restaurant. It has really good pizza and they whip one up for you in about 10 minutes. It's the closest thing to fast food that you can get here in Nevis.  Posted by Picasa

I volunteered for the Special Olympics event that MUA sponsored yesterday. I was one of the people in charge of the bake sale. Everything was paid for with tickets. You had to buy the tickets at a booth and use them to pay for your things. We had lots of different stuff for sale. There was a humongous cake that everyone wanted a piece of. It was like 18 X 24 and about 5 inches high. People thought it was the best looking cake. People would ask us what was the best dessert and we would tell them that if they want the most for their money then the cake is the way to go. Then we would pull it out of the pan and they would just laugh because the thing was just huge. The kids were in heaven! We had cookies and muffins and 3 other kinds of cake and a couple of frozen desserts too. The desserts were a big hit. The campus was full of people. We estimated about 250 people were there. The students had some of their own activities along with the special olympic events. Some of the events they had for the olympians were swimming, basketball and track events. They each were given 20 tickets to pay for food and treats. There were about 30 kids in all. The proceeds from this event were given to them to be used to travel to the next area special olympics. They had face painting, balloons, coloring contests, food, treats, swimming, a martial arts contest, pie eating contest and lots of other stuff going on. There were 3 students there playing their guitars, they had a basketball and soccer tournament for the students. There were tons of kids all over the place and everyone seemed to have a great time. It sure seemed like a good event between MUA and the community. When I arrived at the campus at 8:30 it was quiet and nobody was there except for Sam, the girl in charge. She seemed a bit nervous but knew in her heart that things would come together. Soon after I arrived the woman who runs the cafeteria showed up and we started bringing food inside to keep cool. Then the volunteers started coming in and from there it all just kind of happened. By the time the kids showed up it was all pretty much under way. This all happened within 30 minutes which is quite impressive I must say. Great job to Sam and all the rest of the volunteers who helped make this happen. The kids all had a great time. It is the best event for kids we have been to since being in Nevis.  Posted by Picasa

Here is Julian, yesterday, getting ready for the pie eating contest. Our pies consisted of oreo cookie crumbs for crust and 3 different kinds of pudding for 3 different pies, all with gummy worms. Each participant had to finish the first pie and then move on to the next and finish all 3. Julian didn't really get into it too much being his first pie eating contest but he had fun anyway. The guy who won finished his pies in less than 2 minutes. It was amazing. What a mess!  Posted by Picasa

Monday, July 04, 2005

Three Little Monkeys Sitting on a Tree! Yesterday we went to a Pre-Independance Day Party over at Coconut Grove. This is Julian with his friends Nolan and Makayla. They are really nice kids. Their father is a student professor and the Mom, Dusty and the kids are only here for the summer which is a bummer because they are a lot of fun. Dusty is a teacher in Illinois and her husband didn't think it was a good idea for her to leave her job and come here to live so they see Brian, the father during the breaks and they come here for spring break and summer break. So we went to this little party at the fancy thatched roof place. This is probably the only time we will eat there because it was a burgers and hot dogs kind of menu which we can afford. They had a volleyball net set up but unfortunately they didn't have much of a turn out. I think maybe the guy was expecting a lot of students but it is the day before Black Monday so everyone is studying. We met some nice people. We met the guy who runs the Mount Nevis Hotel where my parents will be staying. He is a really nice guy. We also saw a few other families that live here on the island some that we knew and some that we didn't. It was all in all a really fun day. The kids all had a great time playing and jumping off the tree.  Posted by Picasa

Friday, July 01, 2005

This is a new kind of time out! Haha. Actually the kids worked hard digging a hole big enough for all of them to fit in and we got to bury them! They didn't last long in there before they all busted out. This was at Pinney's beach right next door to the Four Seasons and Sunshines Beach Bar. It used to be one of my favorite beaches because it is nice and sandy but now the water is full of rocks which pretty soon will breed a bunch of seaweed if they aren't pulled out of there. We'll see what happens. That is all that is new from here. It's the same old same old here in Nevis. We're counting down to our vacation...27 days to go. Jaime is busy studying for his next block of tests on Monday, the 4th of July! Isn't that supposed to be a holiday? Oh well, Julian and I will be going to a pre-4th of July party on Sunday at Coconut Grove. Hopefully their beach party burgers won't be as expensive as their dinner selections which are 40.00 and up US dollars. French cuisine. We have not eaten there, being a LITTLE bit over our budget but I have heard that it is really good. I have been in the place to look around and it looks really cool inside. They have a pizza hut out front where you can get pizza for 30EC which is the best deal on pizza on the island and I have heard that it is very good so we'll be trying that at some point. We found out last week that my sister Jen is going to be coming for Christmas this year along with my parents. We are very excited about that. They had to sit their kids down to discuss how they would feel about being separated for Christmas. Jim and the kids are going to go skiing. Jacin looked at them with an expression of surprise and asked when they would do Christmas so they told him that they would do Christmas early as a family. So he said "Well...Okay...well, yeah...that's every kid's dream to have Christmas early!!!" So that made up their minds that it was ok. It will be fun to have some people here to hang around with. My parents will be here for 10 days and Jen will be here for a week. Finally some visitors!!!  Posted by Picasa