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Check out our pictures, videos, and journal entries of everything we encounter.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Hello everyone and happy April. It is officially spring as you know, although nothing has changed here. The seasons don't really seem to exist except for hot and breezy and hot and not so breezy. Hopefully you all are starting to see some change in weather. Here, It's been very dry lately and the next few months will start to bring some more rain.

This past month has been moderately eventful. Kater is preparing for finals in a few more weeks, and we're both getting pretty excited for the semester to end and to get our break. We've been very lucky to be treated with a ticket to Florida so we can see my family for a week. Kater had a birthday this month! We celebrated her birthday and our anniversary with a quick trip over to Nevis to be together away from the regular routine. We took the ferry over and back which was an adventure all on it's own. I took Kater to dinner and we stayed at Nisbet Plantation and relaxed. Most of our time was spent laying by the beach or the pool doing nothing at all. The property was beautiful, right on the beach, and felt very private.
Above is a picture of the grounds going towards the water. All the cottages are scattered through out the area.
The grassy area leads down to this very nice beach.
After our little break from our routine we returned to St. Kitts on the ferry which blew an engine half way across. There was a lot of black smoke pluming and oil spattering out from the engine room! Lucky for us this particular boat had two engines so it didn't disrupt anyone's schedule. We made it home in one piece.

We got ourselves settled back into our apartment and got ready for out week ahead. We had two cats to spay! That's right, Scrumpy and Saba are officially big kids! Saba was scheduled to go first but she was such a terrible, uncooperative patient that they couldn't work with her and took Scrumpy instead. Apparently this cute, cuddly, little cat of ours becomes an abomination in the clinic. Scrumpy's spay went off without a hitch, and she returned home to us a little woozy but in good shape. Saba went back in the following week and did a little bit better but still not too great. Needless to say they got the job done and there wont be any little kittens running around here. They have recovered very well from their surgeries and seem no worse for wear.

On the school/work side of things, Kater has been on calf watch. There have been a few new calfs born on campus and she has been going in to check on them and make sure they are doing ok.
I was hired by Paula (Joli, the boxer's mom and my part time employer for dog/house sitting jobs) to help her out while her family visits the island. She had me make a schedule of things for them to do and book some fun events for them. I got to tag along as well. We went up to Brimstone Hill Fortress, we went on a rainforest safari ride, a bat-cave hike, zip lines, and a catamaran trip. They were a great group and they had a lot of fun- and I did too. I played tour guide and taxi driver for the week and showed them around while Paula had to work half days. They said they had a really great week.

I guess that will wrap up this update for now. Thanks for reading!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Hello again. It's the start of a new month which means another update. I'm now officially 3 for 3 for staying on track and consistent.

Last month I wrote about our new apartment, which we still love. We are officially settled and really enjoying our new home. We have a couch finally, which only took about three weeks to find, order, and have delivered. Things here are realllly slow sometimes. It was frustrating but at least it's over.

Kater just finished midterms (already!), which means this semester is halfway through. She did very well and as always worked super hard. Today she is off at campus working on a necropsy presentation she has to give with some other students on Monday. Very busy all the time.

For me, I've gotten back into the water again after a long break. I swam and snorkeled so much my first few months here that the novelty had worn off and I had lost interest. But I've gotten back into the water a few times since the last update and every swim has been incredible. Most notably was my first full moon snorkel for lobsters! A few friends and I went out into Half Moon Bay around 9pm during a full moon with some thick gloves and underwater flashlights. It was an unbelievable and almost indescribable experience. Aside from catching lobsters with my own hands, the water was clear and the light from the moon shone through the water and cast the most beautiful dancing light across the ocean floor. It was mesmerizing. Many times I would turn off my light and just float to watch the light dance. It was one of the most beautiful things I've ever seen. I wish I had taken my camera, even though I doubt the photos could have done it justice. I will try next time- as we plan to make a monthly thing out of it. As for the initial reason for going out in the first place, the lobsters! To catch the lobsters we would scan the reef with out lights, looking for eyes that reflected the light. There were a lot of crabs, shrimp, and many other critters out too. We came across a moray eel, a sleeping green sea turtle, and lots of little squid. Once we located a lobster, the idea is to shine the light on them- creating a 'deer in the headlights' situation. Then, as quickly as possible I had to reach out and grab on to them very tightly. If able to catch them, we would then put them in a mesh bag that we carried with us. Regulation says we are allowed to keep any lobster with a carapace (back) longer than 3.5 inches. We ended up having to throw a few back for size or eggs, but our grand total was ten when it was all said and done. There were five of us so we each brought two home. I cooked mine the following evening for dinner. They were very tasty.

My next great snorkel outing a few weeks after the lobster adventure, was also very fruitful- in the sense that I had the camera and got a few great shots. Shown below are:

Hawksbill sea turtle.



Lion fish.


Stripped pufferfish.

Giant Sea Star.

This swim was probably one of most exciting and one of the best for pictures as you can obviously see. I'm planning to go back out again in the next week or two.
Next up on the my list of updates, Nirvana. Nirvana is a new restaurant just up the road that opened recently. Kater and I went on a date last week and had a really great time. The food is incredible and the property is just as great. It's set on a renovated plantation home up in the hills and overlooking the ocean. They have nice gardens to walk around in, and there is a lot of history to the place. Things are well labeled around the property and they tell the story of its past owners and so on. Here's a few shots of the property and of us:

We really enjoyed it there. It's a nice place to get away from the typical dinner menu and also a great place to not see everyone you know. I'm sure as it becomes more well known that will change and we'll see other students up there. For now though, it feels like it's our little secret place.

I'm not done yet! There's a few more things that happened that we have to write about.

Last week we had quite an exciting afternoon when the field behind our house caught fire. It's not determined as to exactly how it began, but it got going pretty good! Here's a few pictures of the fire, and us helping try to control it.

It was pretty exciting and came close to a few houses in other neighborhoods. No one was injured and no property was damaged except the field itself. John and Kater helped get the horses out of the field to the owners. There were about ten or so scattered throughout the field for grazing. The fire was controlled safely enough where the fire department felt comfortable leaving. Some small areas still smoldered and there was an occasional small fire but they felt there was no risk of anything taking off again.

Alright, phew, almost done! Last but not least- an art update. As I've mentioned in previous posts, I've been working on and off with a charity organization starting up for the benefit of animals called ONE LOVE "helping animals in need". I just got some of the merchandise that they have made with my designs. They gave Kater and I each a few shirts, tags and a sweatshirt!
Take a look below:

I believe last month I posted their website with some of the art I did for them. Turns out they were unhappy with their web designer and their marketing people decided to hire out to a different web company. They will soon have a new web address that will be linked to the current one (displayed on all their merchandise) and once that is done, these things can be ordered off their site. It's beginning to look like they will be getting some great press soon, including an add spot in a Mighty Dog commercial, and the possibility of some airtime on a major network TV show. I'll keep you posted. It will be very surreal to see something I designed on TV! Imagine that?!

Well that's it for now. Thanks for reading.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Happy February! Please take a break from all your snow and enjoy some caribbean sun.

We have a few new things to update you all on that we're pretty excited about. First and foremost, we moved! That's right. Some friends of ours let us in early on an apartment opening below their apartment, and it's great. The new place has some great amenities that our last place did not, including a washer/dryer, dishwasher (rare), spare bathroom, and all internet/cable/utilities included. The best part; we have a breeze! That's right, finally. We're still slowly unpacking the last few boxes and waiting on a few more pieces of furniture to be delivered by the landlady- who is great. The new place is even closer to campus, making an eight minute walk now about three or four minutes. We can also look to our left across the small horse pasture and see John and Kalahari's apartments- I could probably hit them with a rock if I tried really hard. Kinda fun.
So if you'll humor me, I'd like to [attempt to] take you on a little tour:

First, the view from outside. Shown here our little porch with an incredible, uninhibited ocean view, and a few seats to enjoy it. Next, the view itself, and a bonus of some nesting American Kestrels which is pretty fun to be neighbors with. They are hard to see in this picture but there is a pair sitting together on the rim of the structure, about a third from the left of the photo.

The living room and kitchen (please excuse the mess as we finish unpacking!)
Washer/Dryer! You have to understand how big a deal this is for us. Before we had to carry out laundry around the building to the basement and share with everyone else living there. Now, that's not the worst thing in the world- but this is just great!
Bathroom #1
Hallway storage and tour guide Scrumpy
The bedroom (still messy, but deal with it!)
"Master Bath". I should mention here that the best breeze comes through this room's window. It is so refreshing, almost like taking an outdoor shower!
Saba pretty comfortable on the new bed (which is also a queen size, an upgrade from our previous full size.)

That's about it for now on my rather crude home tour. As the bingo man down here says, "moving onnnn-a".

Next up, I unfortunately get to remark on the experience of encountering food poisoning for the first (and hopefully) last time last weekend. Right in time to move too, which meant that Kater had to do most of it. I wasn't able to get out of bed for about 16 hours or so without being in a bathroom.
Last Friday night after our volleyball games we went out to eat at Cathy's, formerly known as my favorite little beachside place to eat. It might be a while before I can go back for a meal. After some investigation amongst our group, we determined it must have been the cole slaw that made me sick, because I was the only one who ate it. Not fun, not fun at all. But enough on that topic.

This past month I was once again approached by charity organization ONE LOVE "supporting animals in need". I was hired by this organization last fall to design their logo and animal tags which are now in production and for sale. They hired me again to create some art for their website. I created about ten cartoon pieces to accompany articles on the site. Their website is up and will be finished next few weeks so make sure to check in and take a look: www.supportonelove.com. You can see one of my pieces about halfway down the home page on the left. It says "track us" with a dog sniffing some foot prints- that's me!! They will also offer long and short sleeved t-shirts, and hooded sweatshirts, all donning my designs!!! It's been very fun and exciting and an incredible experience and portfolio builder. I'm sure there will be more. In the mean time, you can visit their Facebook page here: ONE LOVE. You can see the tag I designed and their company logo.

New for me also is the renewal of an illustration project for a book to be published. I've hired to illustrate over 30 pages worth of art for a science-fiction, historical-fantasy novel. It will include humans, creatures, boats, buildings, places, and maps. Very cool! I'll post an update on that again soon, as I'll be putting a lot of time into it.

Kater continues to plow through her studies: Pathology, Virology, Pharmacology, and Bacteriology. I don't know how she does it! She also took out kitties to a "wet lab" this weekend to learn about handling and how/where to approach a cat for blood draws and inspections. The kitties were very good patients, but Scrumpy returned home with a funny hair cut on her neck and forelimb so the students could both practice clearing fur and finding veins. She doesn't seem too bothered by it though.

I'd say that about covers it for this past month. Like I said I'm planning to update once a month, regardless of what has or has not happened. Until the next one- stay warm while we're trying to stay cool.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Happy New Year! We've been living on St. Kitts for a year now. Wow.

It's been since August since I've updated- obviously you know that. One of my resolutions this year is to try to be better at this. It got tricky to know what to write about, the novelty or honeymoon stage of being here had worn off and I felt like there was less to update about; or that I was always writing about the same things.

So anyway we've just returned to the island after an amazing two and a half weeks in New Hampshire. We saw tons of family and friends and had an absolute blast. We even got a special two-foot snow storm just for us! Here's Kater and me shoveling off the Ackerson's roof in Lyme:
We got the perfect winter fill of warm fire places, family, friends, games, and absolute silliness all the while.

One thing I realized about coming and going from St. Kitts, is that I always like it more every time I return. Before leaving I always have an incredible itch to be home in New England, I miss everything about it. Little things about the island would start to irritate me and I would lose my appreciation of this place a little bit. Once I know I'm soon to return to the island, the nostalgia kicks in and I think of all the things I like and miss about the place. Funny the way that works, that cycle.
So we're back and the weather couldn't be more perfect. When we landed the sky was just cloudy enough to take the edge off the heat, and we were so comfortable walking across the tarmac. It's wonderfully breezy- windy even- and a lower humidity than a month ago.

Since our last post, a lot has happened, but one of the best things is we are now the proud parents of two little kittens! Kater adopted two lit while I was home in the states in September (with my permission of course). We got them at four weeks old because their mother had been poisoned and the litter was found by some students. We have tons of pictures of them but here are a couple from soon after we got them, and more recent.

The black one is named Saba (the name of a neighboring island), and the grey tiger is names Scrumpy (just a name I wanted to use). They are best friends and do almost everything together; eat, sleep, fight, play. They are a constant source of laughter and we are very happy to have them.
While we were in the states a friend up the street looked after them. We were so excited to get back to them.
So currently we're working on unpacking all of our bags. We brought back a lot of food stuff and are trying to sort it all out. The kitties keep distracting us but that's ok; breaks are good.

I'll leave you with that, and like I said- I'm going to try to get better at this, regardless of how seemingly uninteresting I think the post will be.