Tag Archives: spouses org

Indigo

One thing that I love about the ocean is the line of indigo at the horizon. This is my favorite part of painting ocean scenes. I love the way that turquoise becomes aquamarine becomes indigo. On sunny days in Dutch Sint Maarten, the indigo line stands out sharply against the clear blue sky, creating the perfect picture of paradise. Indigo Bay is aptly named for its lovely view of this deep blue phenomenon.

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If you look at a map of Sint Maarten, you won’t find Indigo Bay on it. If you drive the entire circumference, you’ll never catch sight of it. Indigo Bay is actually the name of a luxury housing development located on Cay Bay. To find this area and the beach that belongs to it, you have to find the billboard advertising Indigo, turn right, and follow a terrifying road down to the water. The road is actually not as terrifying as it looks, once you start driving. In fact, as you go, you’ll be amazed at the gorgeous landscaping and layout that is invisible from the road above.

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This morning, some of the other med school spouses, kids, and I visited Indigo for the first time. It’s a great place for both kids and puppies. The waves are soft here, even when the rest of the island is dragging out their surfboards to ride big breakers. Here, it is calm and peaceful. Little boys splashed in the gentle surf while little girls ran through the sand to fill little buckets with perfect little shells. My puppy, Kito, contented herself with digging deep holes in the sand and biting any ankles who entered the circumference of her anchored leash.

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I usually am the first to grab a board or snorkel mask and jump into the sea. Today, though, it was a morning for relaxing and chatting. There will be many more days of beachgoing for us in the next 15 months, and more than enough time to dive into the sparkling waters.  Twelve beaches down, 25 to go!

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Med School Block Week

Well, it’s here again.

Block week is the week before blocks, which are a set of important tests that happen four times per semester at American University of the Caribbean. It’s the time when many pizzas are consumed, many blank stares are met with, and many Netflix shows are ignored.

I am always glad to not be a student during block week, but I admit that it’s a little rough on the spouses, too, especially the first time around. I last semester, when we were experiencing our very first block week ever, I wasn’t sure I was going to survive. I can’t go to sleep unless Ben is there, so I stayed up late every night waiting for him to get home. There was a night he never came back from the study rooms, and I finally fell asleep at 2:00 AM. Those of you who know me well will understand what a struggle it was to go to bed that late! Now, I’m more used to it and it’s a lot less stressful to Ben. It’s just a part of life.

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But block week isn’t all bad– at least for us spouses! One thing we all look forward to is bake sale. During the weekend before block, the AUC spouses organization holds a bake sale in the main building of campus to feed hungry students and spend time with each other. We sell nachos, drinks, and desserts to make money for our group activities. Last semester, we made enough for us to go to the zoo, do craft nights, and spend a day at an all-inclusive resort.

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Bake sale is great because we get to meet and encourage hundreds of students. I love talking to them as they pass through the line. Another great thing about bake sale is eating the dregs of the chocolate frosting out of the container with a spatula and not being judged. And of course, getting free nachos is always awesome. But the best part is spending time with friends and making new ones!

Sharpie Mugs and Good Friends

What’s better than a god cup of tea? A good cup of tea to enjoy with a friend. One thing I love about American University of the Caribbean is the people I have met! The spouses organization provides constant opportunities for the significant others of students to spend time together and build relationships. Last week’s activity was decorating sharpie mugs and sugar cookies! Every single mug was absolutely adorable. If you’ve never made a sharpie mug before, you should try it! They are cheap, easy, and leave plenty of room for creativity.

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First, gather your materials. You will need sharpies, a white mug (cheaper ones are better because the glaze melts easier in the oven), and rubbing alcohol.

IMG_9972Second, find inspiration! I posted several photos here to give ideas, and Pinterest has hundreds more.

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Designed by Emily! Visit her blog here

Third, wipe your entire cup with the alcohol. Try not to touch your cup too much because of the oils your fingers leave.

IMG_9963Design away! The alcohol can remove any unwanted marks.

IMG_9968Allow the sharpie to dry overnight

IMG_9967Bake at 350* F (175* C). Put the cups in the oven before you turn it on and leave them in until the oven is entirely cool. Otherwise the mugs will crack.

IMG_0022 (1)Repeat step previous step.

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Enjoy! Be careful with your cup. Do not wash in the dishwasher and be gentle when you wash it by hand.

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A Day in the Life of an AUC Spouse

After my last post, A Typical Day at American University of the Caribbean, I was encouraged to tell about my own typical day. This is a little harder than sharing a typical day for Ben, mostly because my days are never the same!

Here’s what my day looked like yesterday:

We woke up at 6:30, a little later than usual, because we had a late-night Skype call the night before. I made stove-top toast for breakfast, and Ben left for class at 7:20.

Making food has extra challenges here! I don't read Dutch...
Making food has extra challenges here! I don’t read Dutch…

I organized my laundry and took it to AUC’s dormitory laundry room. Our apartment’s washer and dryer don’t work well, so I always do laundry at school. One of the washers had leaked, so an AUC employee was mopping the floor. I stopped to chat with her for a while. While waiting for my laundry, I studied Swahili from a textbook I got a couple years ago in Kenya.

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At 8:15, I met a couple friends– other spouses– near AUC and went on a 3-mile run with them. The air is humid and warm, so two of us decided to walk to the beach after our run to cool off. My friend brought her dog with us, and it was hilarious to watch her play in the surf!

Sasha plays on the beach
Sasha plays on the beach

Around eleven, I went home and made lunch. I try to have it ready for Ben when he walks in the door. Today we had leftovers from a school-catered lunch we had on Monday.

After eating, the two of us spent a little time together. Then Ben studied his vital signs checklist while I cleaned up after lunch, blogged, and read my Bible.

At two, a friend picked me up and we drove halfway across the island to the little league field. We parked behind the field next to three containers. These containers look rather unassuming from the outside, but inside, they are filled with all the wonderful things we loved in our childhoods– a labeled shell collection, a train track running along the ceiling, a remote-control robot, science projects, books, a rock tumbler, and so much more! The little league coach has set up a player development and tutoring program for some of the island kids. Some of the AUC spouses come to tutor the kids and play ball with them. While we were there yesterday, I got to work on reading with a three or four kids, play catch with two little girls, and do warm-up exercises with the boys.

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We left around 4:30 and headed back to our homes in Cupecoy. I went shopping at the Asian market next to our complex and started a dinner of beans and rice. While everything cooked, I answered emails for my freelance art job. Want to see what I do for work? Check this out!

One of the T-shirts I designed for a client (copyright 2015)
One of the T-shirts I designed for a client
(copyright 2015)

At 6:30, Ben and his friend Matt arrived for dinner.

Dinner at the Johnson's
Dinner at the Johnsons’

At 7:05, I ran out the door, a little late for my Zumba class. I go to a free Zumba session twice at week at AUC’s gym. The class ended at 8:00, and I had a little time to talk with friends before going to band practice.

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At 9:00, I arrived at worship band practice. I’m singing and playing in our church’s worship band on Sundays– next week, I’ll be singing back-up and playing the drum. Some weeks, I’ll be helping out by playing guitar or piano as needed.

Practice went late, so it was almost 10:30 before I got home. Ben and I were both exhausted! We talked for a bit, set the alarm, and fell fast asleep.