So Long, Farewell, Grenada…

What can I say, it’s been real, Grenada.  We’ve had our ups and downs that’s for sure, but I appreciate the experience.

When Matt and I moved to Grenada in January of 2010, we had just got engaged a few weeks earlier.

December 22, 2009

It was such an exciting time for us, with Matt starting medical school, and the beginning of planning our wedding.  Sometimes I can’t believe that two years flew by so fast, but then I stop and think about all that’s happened since we first got to Grenada, and then I can believe it’s been that long.

As we say our final farewell’s to Grenada tomorrow, I thought I’d leave you with…

Ten Things I’ve Learned Over The Last 2 Years While Living Abroad in Grenada

1.)  I learned how to cook! 

It’s kind of funny because prior to getting engaged, I had maybe cooked Matt a real dinner one or two times.  I know, it’s kind of crazy considering we dated for about 2.5 years before getting engaged!  I guess I never needed to learn, we lived with his parents, and his mom cooked delicious meals every night!  Why learn?  It was kind of a rude awakening when we landed in Grenada, and Matt looked at me to fill the shoes of his mom’s cooking (and trust me, those aren’t easy shoes to fill!), but I tried my best, and somewhere along the way I learned a thing or two.  Here I am now, whipping up all kinds of different meals, like chicken parmesan, lasagna, chili, chicken fajitas, an array of fish dishes, roasted whole chickens, homemade banana bread, pumpkin pies, meatloaf, minestrone soup, etc.  (P.S.  I just got really hungry talking about all of those foods.)

2.)  You never want to get sick in 3rd world country.

Matt and I learned this the hard way.  Matt got e coli the first semester we were down here, and it was not a good situation, to say the very least.  We ended up at St. George’s General Hospital in the city of St. George’s, and let me just tell you, it was the stuff nightmares are made out of…cockroaches on hospital beds, extremely UN-urgent medical care, dirty equipment lying around, and generally stuff that you might see residing in Dr. Giggles’ office…Let’s put it this way, I wouldn’t want to get a head injury, or anything extremely serious like that in Grenada.  Get my drift?

3.)  I’m not a very outdoorsy.

I’m pretty sure that I mentioned this already in a post, but here it is again; I don’t like nature.  Okay, that’s not exactly it, I love nature, I just prefer to not be thrust out into it.  Instead, I prefer to observe it from afar, and not be involved in activities such as, getting my make-up/hair messed up, getting sweaty/and or dirty, anything requiring me to trudge through rain or dirt, or any activities involving the ocean (other than lying on the beach and also observing it from afar.)

Exhibit A.

After looking everywhere for me at the Kauai Coffee Plantation on our honeymoon, Matt found me in the tiny section in the gift shop where they sell soaps and perfumes. It goes without saying, that I was not very interested in the coffee beans, but very engaged in the pretty things. P.S. He took this picture without me knowing.

4.)  You might have to bond with a local in order to understand the culture in Grenada.

It’s kind of ironic, that the first time I really started to understand the Grenadian culture was just about a week ago.  Matt and I have had a taxi driver named Bernard for nearly two years now, and he drives us around on the rare occasions that we go out to dinner. Bernard has lived in Grenada his entire life, and has never left the island.  EVER.  Recently on a trip to the Immigration office, it was just me and B-nard (as I fondly like to call him), and we had quite a nice little chat.

Before I get into that, let me explain that Bernard and I often have awkward encounters when it comes time to pay him for the rides.  Usually he says something like, “Just give me whateva you tink (tink is “think” in Grenadian), Saaaaaaaahhhh-rah.”  This inevitably confuses me, and I have no idea how to respond to it, so I usually say something like, “Well, I have no idea, Bernard!  You have to tell me how much!”  Then, we go back and forth, until I get flustered to the point where I throw money at him (not literally), probably over paying him.

So, on our trip to the Immigration Office, we were chattering away, and Bernard revealed to me that he has no intention to ever go to America.  When I asked why, he said it simply.  “In America you don’t get nothin’ for free.  If yer hungry in Grenada, someone will give you some callaloo (a vegetable) for free if you need to eat.  You have to pay for everyting in America.”

So, there you have it.  I finally understood why Bernard and I had all of those miscommunications about paying him for his services.  Perhaps if I had offered him some callaloo a time or two, we may have understood one another a long time ago…

Me, Bernard, the fam, and the infamous taxi van.

Matt and Bernard's child, Jerome. He loved Matt, as all children do.

5.)  You should never go to a foreign country and expect it to be like America. (I learned this one the hard way.)

If I could pass on these words of wisdom to any American traveling abroad, this would be it.  I had a quite the eye opener when I got to Grenada.

Me:  “Wait, there’s no milk for two weeks straight?  Or eggs?  Or chicken?  And this is normal?! Waaaaaahhhhh!! <– (Snookie style.)

Especially when we first got down here, I found all of these things very frustrating.  I didn’t expect Grenada to have the same abundant supermarkets as in America, but I at least thought they would have the essentials.  The lack of food options has been one of the hardest parts about living here for me.  I’ve had to really let go of a lot of my expectations of what I think is normal, and try to improvise more with our meals.  I think if I would have come to Grenada free of expectations, than I might have been pleasantly surprised. Instead, I thought it was going to be something it wasn’t, and it made it that much harder to adjust.

And other non-American things to adapt to in Grenada…

No hot water (or no water at all for that matter, for days at a time), laundry shut down due to water droughts for weeks on end, humongous spiders, centipedes, lizards, and frogs (yes frogs!) in your apartment from time to time.  Ick.

6.)  To be patient.

Okay, so this is probably a blatant lie, but I wish I had learned to be more patient while living down here.  In my defense, I think I’ve definitely had a few break-through moments, in the patience department, but for the most part my New Yorker self (I can call myself a New Yorker since I’ve been living there over 10 years) was astonished at how slow it can take to do a simple task.  I’d be lying to you if I told you that it didn’t frustrate the hell out of me, but I think this also goes along with what I said earlier about expectations.  On a side note, one time fire alarms were going off on campus, and the fire department came two hours later after the students had already put it out themselves!  Now do you see what I mean?!

7.)  How to KIT

Prior to moving to Grenada, I’ll admit that I wasn’t always the best about keeping in touch.  I was always working, working, working, and it was typical for me to not see or speak to my girlfriends for weeks, or even months, at a time.  I’ve always made a point to call my parents every day, but I didn’t always go that extra mile for my friends.  So sorry friends!

When I arrived in Grenada, I realized how much I needed those people in my life, though.  I began working harder to bridge those gaps, and found that it was essential for me to do so.  Thankfully I had Skype, to stay connected with family and friends for the entire two years we’ve been in Grenada, and I also utilized Facebook to send little messages here and there, or an email just to say hello, a postcard, or a phone call.  I really do think that all of these things help you to stay grounded when you are so far away from home, and I would recommend it to anyone traveling abroad.

8.)  To not be alarmed if you cross paths with a cow…or goat…and one time, a bull.

Yeah, I just stand in fields in wedges and mini's while bulls are a few feet away. <--Not so much. This photo was taken by a good friend and photographer named Ashley Willis, somewhere in upcountry Grenada. P.S. Yes, that's a bull. When he started charging me, I ran like wild banshee away from that sucker it as fast as I could.

When we first got to Grenada, seeing random cows crossing the road, alarmed me.  I was sure the bus drivers were going to hit them, and each time, I would clench my eyes closed and pray I wouldn’t hear a thud.  Poor cow-ies.  Instead, I never heard anything, but I did feel my head jolt forward, as the driver swerved to maneuver the bus around the huge cattle.  Cows, and array of other animals crossing busy roads, are as common as deer running out in front of you on a highway in the dead of winter in Michigan.  It took me at least three months to get used to it, but when I finally did, I had a peaceful bus ride.

9.)  It’s totally normal to see machete’s.

People walk around wielding machete’s like they’re Rambo here!  It’s kind of rad, actually.

Oh you know, just a little ol' machete...

The first time I saw a Grenadian man with a machete, I was out for a run.  I totally thought I was about to murdered, but when I saw him happily chopping down some kind of pickery bush, and paying no mind to me whatsoever.  I realized then, that he was not interested in killing me at all, so I let out a huge sigh of relief.  I blame all of the shows like Disappeared, Dateline, and 48 Hours Mystery, for my hysteria.

10.)  How to Write!

It all started with a little blog called “Sarah Smiles Awhile…and sometimes not so much.”  (By the way, I recently asked Matt if I should change the name of my blog, and he said, “Well the ‘and sometimes not so much’ part sounds a little bit like you’re depressed.”  I thought that was so freaking funny, and brutally honest, that he would say such a thing!  Then, I explained to him that the ‘and sometimes not so much’ part is supposed to communicate my sassiness to the reader, to which Matt replied, “Well, you are quite a sassy little broad.”  Bwaaahahaha!  Love him.)

Anyway, I learned to write, by writing on this blog…and taking two novel writing classes in one semester (<–P.S. What was I thinking?!)  I really, truly don’t think I would have ever started writing if it hadn’t been for Grenada.  Like I said, before living here, I rarely ever stopped to smell the roses.  Grenada gave me the opportunity to discover new hobbies and ambitions.  (Hint, hint: More to come on that later…)

I think my entire experience in Grenada can be summed up in these lyrics to the Paul Simon song…

“You Can Call Me Al”

A man walks down the street
It’s a street in a strange world
Maybe it’s the Third World
Maybe it’s his first time around
He doesn’t speak the language
He holds no currency
He is a foreign man
He is surrounded by the sound
The sound
Cattle in the marketplace
Scatterlings and orphanages
He looks around, around
He sees angels in the architecture
Spinning in infinity
He says Amen and Hallelujah!

Have a listen…23 You Can Call Me Al

So, Grenada…

Here we are.

What can I say?  It’s been real.

We’ve broken up and gotten back together quite a few times.

But I’m sure at some point, somewhere…

I might even miss you a little bit.

xo

Sarah

~The End

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It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas…

I can’t believe it’s already December, and that Christmas and my birthday are right around the corner!

On Saturday, I am getting the best birthday gift of all, which is to fly back to New York…ahem… first class.  Woo-Hoo!  I seriously cannot wait!

It’s crazy to think that today I spent one of my last days in Grenada soaking up some sun, but by Saturday, we’ll be back to the blistering cold again.

Here’s a shot from the beach today…

Grand Anse Beach

And how appropriate that we should return back to a New York winter, considering the first time we arrived in Grenada, we were escaping one of the worst New York winters ever!

January 2010. One of our first days ever in Grenada.

I guess you could say, we are coming full circle.

I’m definitely looking forward to some snow, which I can’t believe I actually just said, but I truly am.  I think what I’m really excited about is just being back in the great U.S. of A, and being with our families for the holiday season.

I have to give it to Grenada, they really do a great job bringing the holiday vibe to the island, despite the uncharacteristically hot, balmy weather.  Since mid October (yes, mid-October) all the workers in the local shops have been sporting red Santa hats, and everywhere you go, they play Christmas music.  Get this, one of the most popular albums they play is Dolly Parton’s “Home For Christmas!”  If that’s not random, I don’t know what is!  Let’s just say, I’m thrilled about it!

Snazzy outfit, Doll.

I have to admit, though, it definitely hasn’t been easy to get into the holiday spirit, even with Dolly on my side.  That is why I cannot wait to soak up all the holiday season has to offer in New York with Matt’s family, and Michigan with my family.

I fully intend on watching some of my favorite holiday flicks like…

1.)  Serendipity

This movie captures the holiday’s in NYC perfectly, complete with a glove war at Bloomingdale’s, and ice skating at Rockefeller Center.

And maybe Matt and I might finally make it into the city for some frozen hot chocolate at  the famous Serendipity 3, where we’ve meant to go since we started dating 4.5 years ago!  We haven’t made it yet, but here’s hoping.

Serendipity 3, where the film Serendipity was shot. P.S. It's right around the corner from Bloomingdale's, too, which could be dangerous...or fantastic!

2.)  Little Women

Don’t make fun!  This is one of my movies ever, mostly because I remind myself of Jo.  By the way, I took a Facebook quiz not too long ago called, “Which March sister are you?”, and I got Meg!  I was seriously so mad, I took it 3 more times, until I manipulated it to tell me I was the most like Jo.  True story.

Oh Marmee...P.S. I think I might have my future children call me Marmee, how cute is that?

3.)  Love Actually

Does anyone remember the scene from this film where Keira Knightly marries her husband, and he surprises her with a gospel choir singing the Beatles tune “All You Need is Love?”

Well, Matt and I thoroughly looked into getting a gospel choir our wedding, but after some in-depth research on YouTube of other people who apparently thought it was a cool idea too, we decided against it.  Let me just say, some things are just better relayed on film than in real life, but I fully intend on reliving that moment watching “Love Actually” this Christmas.

4.)  A Christmas Story

This movie is such a gem.  If you’ve never seen it, I highly recommend it.

“You’re gonna shoot yer eye out!  You’re gonna shoot yer eye out!”

Poor Randy...

5.)  Meet Me in St. Louis

Come on, you knew a theater nerd couldn’t resist a musical to get into the holiday spirit, right?

Wasn't Judy G. a total betty in her day?

I don’t know, there’s just something about the way Judy sang “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” that gets me every time…

Anyway…

Hmmm…other things I’m looking forward to this holiday season…wearing my new down coat, sporting my Uggs with chunky sweaters, getting my huuuurr did, eating lots of cookies (particularly the sugar cookies with frosting that my sis-in-law makes), spending time with family and friends, eating my mom’s stuffed peppers, eating my mother in law’s meatloaf…I’m starting to notice that most of the things I’m looking forward to revolve around food…not done yet, though…drinking hot chocolate with whipped cream, pumpkin spice Coffee-Mate coffee creamer, Starbuck’s chai lattes, the sugar cookies with the Christmas tree’s and bells in the middle, my dad’s egg “mcmuffins”, pizzelle’s, and maybe some banana pancakes (made by Matt hopefully!).

So…

What are you all looking forward to this holiday season?

~The End

Photos by Amazon, IMDB, Wikipedia, and bytesdaily.blogspot.com

The Hoarders Have a Garage Sale…

Okay, so Matt and I aren’t really having a garage sale, per se, but we are selling all of our junk on a Craigslist-like website for his school.

We dedicated an entire evening last weekend to taking pictures of all of our junk, and typing out in-depth descriptions of each item.  Matt even included a time-lapse video of a chicken cooking in our Nu-Wave oven to really entice.

We had an array of stuff to say buh-bye to, like two coffee makers, a crock pot, an air purifier, two plug-in ovens, vast amounts of pots and pans, Tupperware, bed sheets, towels, two huge transformers, desk lamps, silverware, plates, bowls, and the list could go on and on and on and on.

(If you need some catching up on the back story of all of this, feel free to reacquaint yourselves with One Stack of Sh*t Away From an Episode of Hoarders.)

If I'm going to be a hoarder, I'd at least like to look like this classy broad while being one...

There was so much stuff to sell, that Matt actually looked at me at one point and said, “I’m a little embarrassed about all this junk!  People are gonna think we really are hoarding in here.”   We had a good laugh, and I think it’s safe to say that we were committed to getting rid of all the clutter, and I for one, felt a sense of relief just taking the first few steps to do that.

So, at the beginning of last week our post went up, and we waited for all the takers…

Two days went by and nothing…

Three days went by, and still no word…

However, by the fourth day, we had some pretty promising offers on our Nu-Wave oven. We didn’t even have any bartering, which I must say, really surprised me.  SCORE!

So, now that we’ve agreed to sell the Nu-Wave, there has been a shift of emotions on both of our parts.  I didn’t want to be the first one to say it, and I even held it in for a few days, but when Matt declared, “I don’t want to sell the Nu-Wave, it’s cooked me so many wonderful meals!!”

My first reaction was that I was relieved he was also a little sad to sell our trusty Nu-Wave, because it really had been such a life-saver (there is no proper oven in any of the dorms on campus), and I have to admit, I was feeling a little melancholy also at the thought of seeing it go…

But then…

A few words rang back in my head…

“It’s cooked me so many wonderful meals!!”

Wait, didn’t I cook those meals?!  The Nu-Wave was just an accessory!

My wistful feelings of the Nu-Wave immediately diminished, and suddenly I was not sad at all to see it go!

On a serious note, though…

As I looked at my first square Pyrex pan that cooked us so many delicious meals, I suddenly knew exactly what he was trying to say…

We’ve had some wonderful memories in Grenada, most of them revolving around food, but that’s another story for another day…

And although it’s time to say good-bye we’ll always remember these little gems…

Giada's Winter Minestrone Soup

Baked turkey breast

Barkoff family Easter treat...Hard-boiled sausage eggs...

I made this cake in a crock pot for our first Valentine's Day here...I even made the pink frosting with red food coloring.

Meatloaf also made in a crock pot. P.S. I'm laughing because I almost dropped it. If I had actually dropped it, I don't think I would be laughing...

Homemade pizza that got a little burnt on the edges...

Valentine's Day 2011. P.S. This cake was not made in a crock pot...Obvi.

Lasagna. Getting all Italian up in this piece...

Stuffing and the infamous Pyrex pan...

In just a few weeks we will say goodbye to Grenada, and hello to whatever the future holds.

~The End.

Photo by Bluntcard.

There He Blows!

Today started off like any other day.  I went to the gym for a quick work-out, I did some homework, cleaned the apartment a little, made lunch, etc.  It was raining all day today, which was a nice break from the sweltering past few days we’ve had.  It was just your typical tropical rainy kind of day.  The kind of day where the rain can fall down in sheets, the next minute the sun can be shining through the clouds, and then back to a rain storm again.

These are the kinds of days that I’d normally stay in all day, unless there are errands that absolutely need to be done.  I was just figuring out what to do with my day when Matt asked, “Are you going grocery shopping today?”

“I wasn’t planning on it, but do you need something?”  I replied.

“Nah, not really, I just need eggs and wraps,” he said.

This is code for groceries are desperately needed.  Matt goes through about a dozen eggs a day, and as I glanced in the fridge to see there were only about five left, I knew it was essential that I go.  Plus, I was out of coffee cream, and my day just does not get started off right without it.

So, I put a hoodie on, closed in shoes, and off to the grocery store I went.

I shopped with plenty of elbow room, which was a bonus.

I waited in line, checked out, and had my groceries bagged up within five minutes.

This was a record fast shopping excursion for me.  I was pleased.  Very pleased.

Well, you all know where this story is going right?  Yeah, you know…I mean you have to know.

I cheerfully go outside to wait for the bus that takes me back to campus, and even thought to myself, “What a pleasant day this has been.”

Then, it happened.  I saw the guy who stands outside day in and day out selling mango’s, making his usual rounds and giving each and every other person his schpeel, “I’m the local fruit man, wanna buy some mango’s?”  To which nearly everyone says no, except for the occasional taker.  Today there was a taker.  He made a sale, and was quite jolly.

He went to sit back down on the curb, which is his usual perch and proceeded to eat his lunch out of a Styrofoam container.  All was normal with the universe, that is until he decided to…

Rip a HUMONGOUS fart.  Now this wasn’t any old fart.  This resonated, even outside, it sounded like a fog horn that had trill-like quality to it.  At least four other people turned around to see who had done such a repulsive thing in public…and there he sat…happy as a clam, grinning brightly with his only two teeth.

Did you really just do that? Ugh. So nast.

If that wasn’t enough, he proceeded to then FART AGAIN.  Yes, you heard me right, he actually farted again.  This one was significantly smaller, but still.  Who does that?!

So you see, what started off as any old day, turned into quite a farty old day.

I should have figured.

P.S.  Matt came up with the name for this blog.  Isn’t that cute?

A House For A House…

Okay people, I think I am losing my marbles.  I know that sounds like a strong statement, but I seriously think…(hint: read caption below.)

I'm goin' cray cray.

I have seriously been so forgetful lately, that it’s not even funny.

First, a couple of weeks ago I lost one of our house keys.  I’m not sure when exactly it happened, but the result of losing one of the only two keys we had, proved to be an enormous debacle.  I racked my brain trying to figure out where I’d put it, looked everywhere, and still couldn’t find it.  I felt like I was going bonkers.  We ended up having another one made, but like anything else in Grenada, it was not a fast process.  It took over a week to get a new key, and in the mean time, it was really annoying because one of us always had to be home so neither of us got locked out.

Then, just last night I was cleaning up my desk and arranging things like books, my multiple sets of ear phones, pencils, pens, my phone charger, etc.  It had been awhile since I had really organized my desk, so I was doing a really thorough job.  After completing the task I felt very accomplished and like everything was straightened out.  However, today I went looking for my phone charger and I couldn’t find it anywhere!  It was like the key saga all over again.  Matt and I were looking under the bed, in closets, and at one point I even looked for it in our kitchen cupboards.  I couldn’t believe I had done it again!

Here’s an interesting tidbit.  I have been known to throw away really important things from time to time.  I know that, that sounds crazy, but I don’t do it on purpose.  It usually happens when I’m cleaning.  For example, this could happen when I’m picking up around the house, you know, just cleaning up and putting things in their place.  I once threw away a remote control for the television.  I couldn’t find it anywhere (like the key and phone charger) and happened to think to look in the garbage…low and behold there it was!  I couldn’t believe it.  I had absolutely no recollection of having thrown it away.  I don’t even know what made me look in the garbage in the first place.  It was like I blacked out and walked like a mummy to the garbage and threw it out.  Don’t laugh.  It is so not funny!

It got me thinking, though, after watching an episode of House on Monday night…

House to the rescue.

So, basically there was this guy on episode who just kept giving away all of his money, and then when he had no more money, he tried to give away his kidneys and other various organs.  Okay, so you’re all probably going, “What the h does this have to do with you being a lunatic and throwing away important items?!”  Well, all throughout the episode they make you think that the guy is a little eccentric, but nothing more.  However, at the end of the episode, House comes in and saves the day (of course) and we find out that there was actually something pathologically wrong with the guy.  He had a problem with his thyroid, and it was causing him to be over generous.  I know it’s a long shot, but maybe my unconscious habit of throwing things away is some kind of condition!

I’m really only kidding.

Although…if I happen to need a diagnosis, it’s a good thing I have my own personal House hanging around my house.  Just saying.

Dr. House...Ahhh-hmmmm....I mean, Dr. Palma.

There’s No Such Thing as a Free Lunch…

Did this just make you go, "Wait, what?!" Well, that's the point.

Over and over again in my life I have heard people say, “There’s no such thing as a free lunch.”  Each time I’ve heard it, I never really thought much of it.  There’s no such thing as a free lunch?  What the big deal?  I always thought that it sounded a bit cynical each time I heard someone say this, because of course something can be free sometimes..I mean, can’t it???

To answer my own question…

No, it can’t.  <–I have crossed over to the other side of the cynics, if you hadn’t already made that connection.

The experience I had with this recently doesn’t have so much to do with something being literally free, as it has to do with thinking that you’re getting a good deal on something with no strings attached.

So, the story went something like this.  Matt and I have started to prepare for life after Grenada, which is rapidly approaching in less than two months.  We will be back in New York in December so Matt can take his big exam, the Step 1, in March.  This is a huge huge huge test, as it determines where he’ll be placed for his clinical rotations, and it is also detrimental to his medical school career entirely.  This test is basically a cumulative test of everything he has learned thus far.  Yikes?  Yeah, yikes.  That is why Matt, along with all of his peers, go to great lengths to prepare for this test.

One friend of Matt’s is going to stay in a Monk ward to have proper solitude to study for this exam.

I can't imagine any place quieter than a Monk ward...I think he's onto something.

While others opt to go away to a retreat for six to seven weeks, where you basically eat, sleep, and breathe preparation for this test.

There happens to be a retreat in New York City and in Texas.  Since we will already be in New York, we thought it made more sense for Matt to do the course in the city.  The only catch was that we would have to stay in the city, because the commute from Long Island (where we live) into the city every day would be much too far for Matt to travel, as it would inevitably waste valuable studying time.

So, we’ll get a place in the city for two months, and Matt can go to his retreat, while I can take live classes at school if I want to, or go back to work for a few days, or maybe do a few auditions…

Not so fast, sister.

First of all, we thought renting out an apartment in the city for two months would be easy as pie.  Nope.  Apartments in the area where we would need to stay, in order for Matt to be close to the exam preparation site, are insanely expensive.  Like, they’re so expensive that I can’t even begin to talk about it.

Then, I found a beacon of light.

It came at the very moment I needed it the most.  I found somewhere for us to stay on Craigslist.  It was a gorgeous apartment within 10 minutes from where Matt would need to be, extremely affordable, and in a really safe area.  I wrote to the woman who had the listing, and she responded immediately.  Yes, the apartment was available for when we needed it.  Yes, that was the right price, and she was even going to give us an even better deal for staying for such a long period of time.  All we had to do was send her a check for a deposit and she would reserve the place for us.

As I read this on my computer, I almost died.  It was totally in our budget, and it was perfect!  I told Matt the good news and he was also excited.  For a minute.

But then he said, “There’s no such thing as a free lunch.  This has to be a scam.”

I was like, “No way!  She even ended her email with God bless.  It can’t possibly be a scam…I mean, can it?!”

Matt got on his computer, while I sat on the bed anxiously waiting for the verdict.  Ten minutes went by and he said, “I typed in her name in Google and one thousand hits came up that she is a scam artist.”

Apparently this woman puts up fake pictures of apartments all over Craigslist, and all over the country.  It’s always the same apartment picture on every listing, and she gets innocent unassuming people to send her deposits to reserve the place.  Then, when people show up at the apartment, they quickly realize that someone else lives there.  I even read one story about a girl who sent her a check for $2,000, so her parents could stay at the apartment for a 35th wedding anniversary vacation.  Her parents arrived in New York, went right to the apartment from the airport, and soon realized it was all a scam.  Then, they had to scramble to find somewhere else to stay at the last-minute.  They ended up having to pay for the only hotel that had available rooms, which ended up costing them $5,000.  Some anniversary trip.

I guess the lesson to be learned in this, that there really is no such thing as a free lunch, and if something seems too good to be true, that’s because it usually is.

So…it looks like we’ll be going to Texas for six weeks.

Oh well, at least I’ll escape another New York winter…

~The End

Photos courtesy of seasite.niu.edu and blog.checkadvantage.com

 

 

To Run Or Not To Run, That Is The Question?!

When I don’t have any new music to work-out to, I inevitably become unmotivated.  It happens to me all the time.  When there isn’t anything new pumping me up, I end up just watching the little timer on whatever machine I’m on, tick-tock-tick-tocking away, until IT’S FINALLY OVER!  There is no greater moment, than when I’m done.  It’s not that I don’t enjoy exercise, I really do, but I’m one of those people who needs to be distracted while doing so, or else I become resentful of the whole idea to begin with.  However, when I have new and exciting music to inspire me, I can work out for hours without even thinking about.

Lately I’ve tried EVERYTHING in seek of new things to preoccupy myself with while exercising, but I’ve come up totally empty.  I’ve solicited music recommendations on Facebook, and I’ve even tried listening to audio books on my iPod, which began a whirlwind love affair for a minute, until one day I was so over audio books that I never want to hear one ever again.

Today, I decided to do something different with my work-out regime, and attempted to go for a run outside, instead of my usual elliptical routine mixed with weight training.  I’ve been feeling cooped up inside lately, and I thought that maybe it might be nice to not listen to any music and to just enjoy the beautiful sites of Grenada.  I don’t run very much at all anymore, with the exception of the 5K I did on September 11th, but it’s something I used to do all the time.  As I was lacing up my sneakers, I couldn’t remember why I hadn’t been running in so long?

I went outside and began what was supposed to be a lovely little nature run, and I got about twenty minutes in, and I remembered why I had taken a hiatus from running.

Because (pardon my french) running sucks.

At least in my opinion, it does.

Ugh.  I hadn’t been running, because I freaking hate running!  How did I fail not to remember that?

Here’s the kicker about running…

Ummm...So I kind of hate the term "FML" but this deserves a big ol' FML.

Just like this picture says, by the time you realize you’re not in shape for it, you’re past the point of no return.  That’s exactly what happened to me.  I was jogging along, until I realized I was totally and utterly over it.  Now if I’m honest, I probably realized I was over it about .5 seconds into it, but I was in denial.  I tried to use reverse psychology on myself, and when my mind started gearing toward the negative thought of, “This kinda blows,” I tried to tell myself it was so wonderful to running outside with all these lovely sites to see, and I even tried to think happier thoughts like,”Hooray, what a marvelous run this is!”  However, it was not working.  Not one bit.  I was over it, and I knew it.

Now I’m not sure if it was the uneven ground that I almost broke my back on, or if it was the strange man across the street carrying a machete (Btdubs, don’t be alarmed at this at all.  I swear it’s totally normal for people to carry around machetes here) but something made this experience hit a sour note.  Maybe it was just simply the fact that I was sweating profusely and tired as hell?  Yeah, that was probably it.  Either way, all in one moment, I was done.

So, now what?

I almost hailed a reggae bus (which is basically equivalent to a cab around here), but I realized I had no money, hence the work-out clothes.  Ugh.

I had no other choice but to walk the whole way back (which now in retrospect wasn’t all that far), but at the time, I was not in the mood.  The whole way home I cursed running, and vowed to never ever embark upon such a wretched journey ever again.

So there.

Oh yeah, and me and running?  Well, today we broke up.  Forever.

~The End

Photo by someecards.com