Friday, March 31, 2017

Where Did March Go?

This is for people who have been worried or who have been pretending to be worried how I’ve been feeling. My nausea has finally subsided for the most part. Except I get extremely bad acid reflux every night which makes me feel nauseous because I feel like I’m constantly in the middle of throwing up. Luckily, it’s not bad enough that I can’t fall asleep, so maybe I just need to go to bed earlier before it even starts. I’ve been getting awful headaches that I’ve been somewhat able to manage by eating and drinking more consistently. And I even got my doctor to prescribe me neck massages from Billy! One of the things I love the most about Billy is that his hands don’t ever get tired from massages. I’m not even trying to be dirty by saying that. I pride myself on giving pretty good back and neck rubs, but they still get tired pretty easily. Billy could rub my neck for hours and it makes me love him so much more.

I still haven’t reached the phase where I’m hungry and can’t ever get full. That is one of the things I’ve been looking forward to the most in pregnancy. I would love to just eat nonstop. I usually have to force myself to eat just so I don’t get headaches. And I don’t really enjoy the food unless it’s hummus and garlic naan. Very weirdly specific, I know. People keep asking if we’ve eaten at all these awesome places in Chicago, but I’m scared to try new places for fear that I’ll hate them simply because I’m pregnant. I don’t want to ruin these awesome places with my palette similar to that of a toddler’s!

I’m getting quite anxious to have my belly button pop out. I never thought I would say that either. But right now, my belly button sort of just folds in on itself and looks like a belly roll—which makes it look like I’m just fat, not pregnant. I’ve also been having pain in my tailbone whenever I walk—which is fun for living in the city. I think I need to get back into yoga. I thought this stuff wasn’t supposed to happen until I was much larger! I have been able to go to the gym and lift weights and power-walk until my tailbone started hurting. I can’t run at all because my boobs hurt too much when they bounce and my injection spots on my bum from all the shots still hurt pretty badly when I run. I feel like they should have been healed by now, so it’s probably the baby’s fault. As is everything else. If I didn’t love this little shit so much already, I might be pretty angry at him when he finally gets here. He’s getting guilt trips for life. ;)

We found out we are having a boy on March 23. I finally convinced Billy to go to a private ultrasound place where you just pay $50 to find out the gender—I’ve been begging for him to go since I was 14 weeks. Our ultrasound at the hospital wasn’t scheduled for a few more weeks, so he got as impatient as I’ve been. The place was a little creepy, but they had the equipment, so I guess that’s all that matters. It took forever to find out. At first, little guy was spread eagle for the camera, but the cord was going right between his legs so we couldn’t get a good view. Then, the ultrasound tech made me do some twerking to get him to move and the cord moved, but he stuck his foot right into his groin, so we couldn’t see anything. Then after twerking some more, he had put his foot down but turned all the way around so we couldn’t see anything. The tech thought she knew what it was the whole time, but she wanted to make sure before she told us. But she called him a “He”, so I knew that’s what she thought it was. Then we finally got confirmation and a little picture. I was shocked, because I had felt like it was a girl. I’ve been calling him “she” for the past few weeks. Poor guy. I started crying when we found out, so Billy thinks that I was upset it’s not a girl, but I would have cried no matter what she said. I cried during the new Fast and the Furious trailer, for hell’s sake! Obviously I’m going to cry at that special moment. It just makes it so much more real now that I can picture my little baby as a toddler and in elementary school and high school (YIKES). We also got a 3D ultrasound since it was only $10 more. I’ll spare you the pictures, because it is freaking creepy. I’d recommend waiting until later in pregnancy to get one of those done. He is so scrawny still.

We had friends and family come visit over the weekend and it was the best! Billy is doing an ophthalmology surgery rotation and his hours are ridiculously nice, so he actually got to hang out with all of us. He usually gets a 3-4 day weekend. So, on Friday, it got up to 82 degrees and Billy’s brother was staying with us, so we went to explore the Lincoln Park Zoo. We were so hot and sweaty, it was delightful! I forgot what it was like to be hot and looking for air conditioned buildings. This is the first winter in maybe forever where I haven’t gone somewhere warm on a trip. We had to miss our Cabo trip because of the little life-sucker growing inside me. I didn’t realize how much I needed a tropical vacation for my mental health. Anyway, the Lincoln Park Zoo is pretty awesome, considering it’s free. I mean, it’s no San Diego Zoo, but we still enjoyed it. There were people jogging the trails because it is literally a park. It made me wish we had a little toddler already so we could just go on a stroll through the zoo.

            My best friends from high school were also in town to see Hamilton (and me, of course), so we had the best time being tourists and eating everything we could find. They also spoiled our baby with his first shopping spree from the Magnificent Mile. He’s gonna be such a little stud. Although, I will admit that baby boys get kinda ripped off with their fashion selection. Does anybody have any recommendations for places to shop for baby boys? Toddler boys have a great selection, but baby boys’ stuff is so limited! And I seriously HATE the onesies that say “Daddy’s Little Sidekick” and “More Milk!” and “Slugger” or whatever. I don’t know why, but they make me angry for some reason. Although, I did contemplate getting him one that says “Pants Optional”. I feel like I could design baby boy’s clothing to be way cuter than anything I’m finding.

I’m very curious what you moms have found to be NECESSITIES for baby items. I keep seeing all these sponsored lists by bloggers for items to have in your baby registry, but it seems like SO MUCH CRAP and I prefer to be a frugal minimalist (especially since we could be moving right before/after the baby is born). I had a friend suggest getting the Dockatot, since it can be used as a bassinet, tummy time mat, or lounger.  And to just keep one of the pink bins from the hospital as a baby bath. I’m really interested in getting the Doona infant car-seat stroller that converts to a stroller in seconds. There is nothing I loathe more than carrying those bulky infant car seats around. They are so awkward and I am so weak! And I feel like if I have a stroller in the back of the car, I will just end up carrying it instead of pulling out the stroller because I’m lazy. So, those are the kinds of tips I would really love to know. If anybody has any suggestions, please send them my way!

I start a new job on Monday, which is really exciting, but also terrifying. I really need a job badly to make sure we can pay our rent, but I’ve been such a freaking bum for the past couple months. I don’t know how my body will react to working full time. I don’t even have the energy to sit full time most days. I’ll be working as a bookkeeper/development associate for a nonprofit organization that fights homelessness in Chicago. It’s actually exactly what I wanted—a job that will help me gain experience in the accounting skills that I’ve learned through my classwork. I’ve been a little worried about being in the accounting industry and the stereotypes that come with it. It would have been great to get an internship or a job at one of the large accounting firms, but I was worried I’d get sucked up into that world. Working for a nonprofit has always been my long-term goal, so I’m really excited.

I even told them I was pregnant in my interview, and they didn’t seem to mind. They are a pretty liberal organization, which I obviously identify with. Their whole philosophy is to give housing to homeless women and their children with no strings attached. There is no requirement to get clean and sober, no requirement to get a job, or to meet with a case manager. The do have to be accountable to landlords, so if they are doing anything illegal like dealing drugs out of the apartment, they can obviously still get evicted. They offer programs for the participants to use if they would like, but it’s not a requirement in order to live at the apartment complex. But they have found that it encourages them to do these things on their own time. And they have really great success rates of people who have turned their lives around and eventually go on to get more education and become home owners. Plus, they have determined that it costs about $17,000 per year to house one woman. The cost of running a homeless shelter for one woman is about $40,000 per year. And the cost of incarcerating one woman is about $70,000 per year. It’s something I can really get excited about!

The real miracle is that I still got the job even with my random blushing attacks. Has anyone else ever started blushing more when they are pregnant? It is so bad! I blushed at the most random time during my final interview! And I blushed after I gave a comment in Sunday School. And in my pregnancy class. And then I get actually embarrassed because I’m blushing over nothing, so I go an even deeper shade of red. I feel like I'm an awkward middle schooler again. It’s awful!

I know this is super long, but I have to tell one last story. I’m in a pregnancy support group since my doctor is worried about me since we have no family around here. Anyway, our first class was this week and we learned about nutrition. At the beginning of the class, we talked about making sure this is a safe place, so no making fun of anyone or attacking them or anything. Then, we all went around and told what we ate the day before. One of the husbands/boyfriends was there and he said that for lunch, he had his brother’s leftover cereal. As if it were a reflex, I yelled out “Gross!” and laughed. I’m such a dick! This poor guy probably hates my guts now and doesn’t feel safe at our support group! In my defense, there is nothing that makes me more nauseous than someone else’s cereal milk. My brother-in-law lets his dog drink his cereal milk after he’s done eating and it makes me dry heave, which I have said to his face multiple times. There is a place that actually sells milk flavored with cereal flavors, so it’s like the leftover milk after you eat cereal and I have no idea how they actually sell any of that. I know I’m probably weird, but that is the grossest thing I can think of. So, I embarrassed some dad-to-be and now he won’t want to go back to the class. I’m the worst. I also went and got Taco Bell after we learned about pregnancy nutrition, so I am the literal worst.

Saturday, March 4, 2017

And 6 Years Later...

I am pregnant and due August 26th! And the baby is Billy’s! Well, it is as long as we don’t have a perverted specimen collector who switched out Billy’s sperm for his own. That is one of my biggest fears. We used our last two frozen embryos back in December. This is going to be so annoying to anyone having fertility problems, but this was our last attempt before we changed the game plan to adoption.  We tried to plan it so that there wasn’t too much pressure on the cycle. Billy is always worried about me getting my hopes up. So, we planned it so that if the cycle didn’t work, it could end up being a good thing. I graduate from my Master’s program in May and I would love to get a few years of experience in my career without having to worry about whether I should be at home with the baby. Now that I’m pregnant and due in August (and we may be moving at the end of July), we have to really make some big decisions and sacrifices. Basically, we made it harder on ourselves, but we are so ecstatic that it finally worked and we wouldn’t want it any other way, even if we tried to trick ourselves.

For some reason, this cycle was so much more relaxed for me. This is also going to be so obnoxious to anyone that has had fertility problems. I can’t tell you how many people told me to relax and it would happen. Just so you know, it is physically impossible to relax when you want something so badly. And it’s rude to tell someone that something they are doing is preventing them from having kids. Because I guarantee they have tried EVERYTHING. But I think I was relaxed because we didn’t have too much hope for this cycle, so I wasn’t as concerned. I even missed some of my injections some days! And I am usually a psychopath about sticking to my schedule. Plus, Billy was with me this time for all of the appointments and injections, so I had a punching bag.

 Does anybody else remember when Kim Kardashian was first pregnant and she would whine to reporters about how hard pregnancy was? She acted like she was the first woman to ever get pregnant. Well, this whole post is going to sound a lot like Kim K, unfortunately. As soon as the nausea and cramps and headaches and fatigue and heartburn hit me, I had a hard time remembering why I wanted to get pregnant for so long. And I used to get so pissed at women who would complain about being pregnant, when it’s all I ever wanted.  You probably didn’t know I was upset at your whining, but I understand you now and I’m sorry if I flipped you off behind your back. I thought I was sick with my first pregnancy, but this one has been soooo much worse. I’m constantly whining to Billy that I feel nauseous or tired or I have heartburn or cramps. There has literally never been a time when I didn’t have at least one of those symptoms.
At least I don’t have to experience my awful period cramps for the next 6 months, right? WRONG! I can literally feel my uterus expanding. They call them “round ligament pains”, but it feels like someone is grabbing one side of my uterus at a time and yanking on it. With pliers made out of razorblades.

Let’s talk about boobs now. My boobs. They are their own life forms now. How does anyone with big boobs ever run? Or find shirts that fit? Or find shirts that don’t make you look like a porn star? It’s awful. Billy usually cracks my back for me, but he hasn’t been able to for the past 4 months, because the girls are always in the way! I’m sorry to say this Billy, but I will NEVER be getting a boob job. I can’t wait for these bad boys to shrink back into their training bra and get out of my way.

I’m terrified to stop taking my nausea medication. It’s called Diclegis and it seriously saved me from being curled up in bed all day. Instead, I was just curled up in bed half the day. Anyway, I needed to get the prescription refilled a couple weeks ago. But I was approaching my second trimester so I figured I’d try to not take it and see if maybe I didn’t need it anymore. That was a mistake. That was on Valentine’s Day and I ended up puking all night. I tried to take some expired pills I had from my first pregnancy to see if it would stop the puking, but I threw those up too. Delightful. Luckily, it didn’t ruin Giordano’s deep dish pizza for me. I still want it every day. So, I ended up refilling my prescription, but it isn’t working as well as it used to for me. I still get pretty sick on it, so I may need to up my dosage. What the hell, second trimester? Where are all the good times you have waiting for me?

I’ve been told I need to start sleeping on my side. Not by a doctor yet, though, (since I’m still waiting on my insurance to approve me) so I’m politely ignoring the advice. I’m a back sleeper and I have no idea how I am going to start sleeping on my side. Like, I don’t think it’s possible. Hopefully when I have more of a belly, my body will figure it out.
I’ve also recently been informed that I’m not supposed to eat deli meat, but I think that was all I ate from weeks 6-11. Whoops. I’m starting to crave sushi too and so I feel like our kid is gonna be a rebel.

I have an at-home fetal Doppler that I use probably a little too often. If I ever feel a weird twinge or I’m worried because I need something to worry about (but, I LIKE to worry!” as my nephew, Sawyer says), I just find that sweet little spastic heartbeat. Billy gets mad at me, because one night I couldn’t find the heartbeat since I was digesting SO LOUDLY. It’s actually kind of hilarious how loud my body can be. Anyway, he could tell I was worried until I found it again in the morning, so he thinks it’s bad for my mental health. But it’s really the only way I can be reassured when doctor’s appointments are so few and far between. And so much can happen and I’ve been eating a LOT of deli meat.

My nails are growing like crazy, which is a challenge for someone who is trying to stop biting her nails. I seriously have to trim them twice a week. It’s a good thing I can’t afford to get manicures. Oh, and my armpit hair gets a 5 o’clock shadow about two hours after I shave. Which should be fun once summer rolls around. My head hair better be growing this fast too, although I haven’t really noticed it since I never get ready anymore. See how I’m very skilled at taking positive things about pregnancy and making them negative? It’s a god given talent to be able to do that. Maybe I should teach a workshop.

On that ambitious note, does anybody in Chicago want to hire a pregnant lady who has a hard time waking up before 11? The other day, I was livid because squirrely Jeff Session’s stupid press conference interrupted Ellen interviewing President George W. Bush. Like, I was fuming. I was so upset about it and I realized that was the most eventful thing that had happened to me in days. So, maybe I won’t say that in my job interviews, but I think it shows how badly I need a job. In case you’re worried, I still got to see the part when she asked W. about the ordeal with the poncho, so it didn’t completely ruin my week.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

VDay Chicago Style

The only reason I look forward to Valentine’s Day anymore is because it is the end of our celebrations/gift giving for the entire year. Don’t get me wrong, I love giving gifts, especially to Billy. But when we have Christmas, then our anniversary on December 30th, then my birthday on January 21st, then Billy’s birthday on February 12th, and THEN Valentine’s Day, it gets to be a little much. We’ve found a way to semi-manage the chaos by not doing anniversary presents and planning a trip instead. This year, we couldn’t handle the dullness of celebrating once every week, so we decided to throw a fun move across the country into the mix. Poor Billy hasn’t gotten a birthday present or Valentine’s Day present yet.

On the morning of Valentine’s Day, I drove Billy to the hospital so I could run errands and get out of the house finally. I hadn't really wanted to leave the house until that day because it is so frrrreeaking cold here. And we discovered the greatest way to start your Valentine’s morning is to get rear-ended by a FIB (Fu*%ing Illinois Bastards is what we’ve been told out-of-staters call the drivers here. For good reason). The lady was extremely nice and admitted she was completely to blame. Plus, the damage on our car isn’t too bad. Her car was fine and she said that any damage we saw was from the accident she got in last week. I’m sensing a pattern here. She also told us that unless someone is hurt, there’s no point in calling the police—they don’t really care about traffic incidents here and might not even show up. Which is maybe why all the drivers are so shitty. Anyway, we were all unscathed except I have some wicked whiplash and had a headache the rest of the day. Or maybe I was just milking the “I got in a scary accident” card to get a Valentine’s massage.

            Oh and then when I went to run some errands, I parked in $8 per hour parking garage which I thought would be validated by the place I went shopping, but nope, not so. I’m such a city rookie. Although, I am getting really skilled at putting my grocery cart on the cart escalator. So, that’s kinda fun.

We started the tradition several years ago of getting take-out or pizza on Valentine’s Day so as not to deal with the reservations and crowds. Now that we live in Chicago, we had to get the Chicago style deep dish, of course. It was delicious going down, but not quite as delicious when I puked it up later that night. My only wish is that this incident doesn't ruin Giordano's for me forever, because I just barely fell in love with it. That would be too cruel. We also rented “Arrival”—which is about as romantic as our movie choices ever get. So our Valentine’s Day was one to remember—complete with car accidents, expensive parking and lots of vomit.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Moving Yet Again

Our life is so crazy and confusing, that we find ourselves explaining it to people multiple times a day and even we don’t really get what’s going on. But I’ll try to summarize. Billy has been waiting to start his 3rd year of medical school, otherwise known as his clinical rotations (not residency), and we have been living in Utah until we found out where we were placed. Billy has been driving as a taxi during January for the Sundance Film Festival. I quit my job at Bella Lash too early because I thought we'd be moving in January. Then, when I found out we weren't moving until February, I got a job at the Sundance Film Festival, working in the box office. And I started my last semester of my accounting program a couple weeks ago. So, we are all over the place.

But the real news is, in December, we found out that we are moving to Chicago! We figured we loved safe, warm, and slow-paced Grenada so much, so why not move somewhere dangerous, freezing, and bustling? All kidding aside, we are pretty excited. Chicago was our #2 choice and we are at the perfect time in our lives to live in a city. We’ve been placed there for Billy’s clinical rotations for at least 6 months. Everyone please pray to the clinical placement gods that we can stay there longer, because I hate moving maybe even more than I hate Donald Trump.

            I can’t tell you how excited I am to finally be in our own place again. My in-laws have been so wonderful to let us crash at the compound for so long (we call it the compound because there are 9 Strongs living there at the moment).  At first, we were just going to stay there a couple of months, and then it gradually got extended month by month until February. Every in-law’s nightmare. We’ve been here since July with most of our stuff in storage and so I’m ecstatic to not live like a hermit anymore. And to explore a fun city that I’ve never been to. I am going to be needing a hella long list of places to eat and see while we are there, so please send me your recommendations now.

            We finally signed a lease on an apartment with only 10 days to go before we head out there. I used to complain about how Billy’s school only tells the students where we are going for clinicals about 3 weeks before the student needs to be there. But, we actually found out where we were going about 2 months early and we still left everything until the last minute.  But it’s still more fun to blame the school for everything.

We signed for our apartment without ever going there in person and now I'm worried that it smells like smoke or cat pee or something. We did a video tour and saw lots of pictures but I forgot that places can smell like crap. We had such good luck with our apartment in Grenada, and we bought a car from California this fall without ever seeing it either. We like to live on the edge that way, and somehow it keeps working out. Fingers crossed for a smell-free apartment!

            I’m embarrassed to admit that living on our own with our own furniture and belongings will be a first for us, and we’ve been married for 6 years. When we first got married, we lived in a furnished apartment for 4 months. Then we did summer sales in a furnished apartment in Minnesota. Then we moved in with my parents, then Billy’s parents, and then to a furnished apartment in Grenada. We haven’t needed our furniture or even some of our wedding presents until now.  I have no idea what we even own. We considered getting a furnished apartment in Chicago, since we're only guaranteed 6 months there, but it's high time we act like adults. So, this’ll be a real adventure for us. I'm all about adventure, but grown up stuff is not really my jam. Talk to me once we’re settled and I may concede that it was fun. But it’s too soon to tell at this point.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Werk, Werk, Werk, Werk, Werk

I took a brief sabbatical from blogging, which actually means that I was having so much fun this summer that I didn't have time to write about it. I only write when I have nothing that interesting happening in my life. Sorry reader(s?).

I recently worked a forty-hour week for the first time in 2 years. And I am EXHAUSTED. Thank goodness my first weekend back to work was Labor Day weekend so I had a few days to recover. I hadn’t enjoyed a weekend like that in forever! In Grenada, on the rare occasions that I remembered the day of the week, I would be so excited about Fridays for a split second. And then I’d remember that Billy never stops studying and I can stay out late and sleep in on any day of the week. And I’d actually end up dreading the weekend because Sundays were the only days I actually had somewhere I sort of had to be.

I forgot how annoying it is to wake up before Billy, scramble around in the dark, and then get a text from him while I’m at my desk at 10 AM that says “good morning”—I must have repressed those memories in order to save our marriage. They invented the middle-finger emoji specifically for that situation. The other morning, we had stayed up until 1 AM the night before and my 8 AM wake up call was brutal. I got up to turn off the alarm and start the day, and Billy says from the trenches of the covers “I’m so proud of you” before he turns over and goes back to sleep. I could have slapped him. So, before I leave I always lovingly shake him to say goodbye and kiss him in bed. It’s very gentle and loving, I swear.
I know 8 AM is when most normal people wake up without an alarm, but let me remind you that for the past two years, I could wake up at 11 AM and it wouldn’t even matter. Since I’m a night owl, I would stay up until 1 or 2 in the morning. Then wake up at 11, check my snapchat and Instagram, decide between the beach or the pool or Netflix for the day, and maybe do some studying once the sun went down. We watched our nieces in June for a few days while their parents went on a trip, and the hardest part was the lack of sleep. To hear that door creak open at 5:15 AM still makes me tremble in terror.

Looking back on the past two years that I was “retired”, I genuinely wonder what I did all those days. I vaguely remember being stressed over certain situations—like when Billy invited all the missionaries over for dinner (I panic at just the thought of feeding more than 3 people). Or when my exams were due and I convinced myself that I’m a worthless accountant and was going to completely fail them. Or when it would rain every single Thursday. Pool days were on Mondays and Thursdays, so for a while there, I was only allowed one pool day per week. So tragic. 

Anyway, now that I’m a working woman again and I run errands on my lunch breaks and do homework from 5-10 before I pass out watching Stranger Things with Billy, I’m kicking myself for what a lazy ass I’ve been. Yes, yes I’m partway done with my master’s degree, and I’ve learned a few recipes, and I discovered my love of running. But I only took 2 classes each semester, I haven’t cooked since May, and in addition to running, I discovered my love for Stroop wafels. Seriously, what did I used to do all day?

I will admit that working full time has made me a better wife/human. Besides the tender shaking awake when I leave for work. I come home exhausted, but happy. I feel bad ass that instead of adding to our compounding debt by shopping and entertaining myself, I’m working to pay off our loans. Well, more like the interest on our loans. Okay, it’s actually more like I’m working to pay off the credit card debt we racked up this summer when we re-discovered Target and Amazon. But I love that I get to learn the ins and outs of a new industry and solve problems bigger than “When’s the last time I left the house?” Oh and another positive of working is that I can wear all my nice clothes again and not feel like I wasted money in buying them. I mean, I guess I could have before, but I didn’t really ever want to get dressed for the day if I didn’t go anywhere. And before you say, “Shouldn’t you get dressed for your husband?", just know that we’ve been married for almost 6 years. That shit stopped about 5.5 years ago. When I walk in that door, the bra comes off and the sweats come on.

The grass is always greener. When I’m working full time, all I want to do is sleep and watch Netflix all day. When I am actually living a life where I sleep and watch Netflix all day, all I want to do is get a job. I feel like I probably need therapy. 

The faces of a couple with nothing better to do than play all day. RIP.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

The Final Countdown

I think I’m just barely recovering from the whirlwind that was our Christmas break. We went to Utah, then Cabo, then back to Utah, then Virginia for Christmas, Georgia for our anniversary, back to Virginia to watch our two nieces, then back to Grenada. Oh, and throw in a few daytrips to DC for good measure. We slept in 7 different beds over a 5 week period. It seems only fitting that this hectic break was the bookend to one of our most hectic years. 2015 was a doozy. Billy and I were in different countries for 88 days in 2015. I can’t tell you how excited I am to never do that again. It's been wonderful to both stay in one place for a full term.

We are now in our last term here in Grenada. We’ll be leaving this place for good at the end of May--2 short months. I’ve been trying my hardest to sabotage Billy’s studying plans because how great would it be if he failed this term and we stayed a little longer? Someone should really put me in the running for world’s best wife. We have a lot of friends out here whose wives will go home for various reasons for a couple of weeks, and they always ask Billy (since I had to be gone so much last year), “how do you do it with her gone, man?” And he always answers,“It’s actually really nice, you’ll love the freedom!”*** In response to this, the other guy usually backs up and washes his hands of being involved with our dysfunctional relationship.

***Billy wants me to point out that he never actually said this and I'm exaggerating. When I'm gone, he really does miss me, even if he does get better grades.

Most of the other wives out here wake up early to cook breakfast and pack their husband a lunch, and have a hot dinner made every night, so it really would be hard to survive without them. I’m trying to figure out how to get myself a wife like that. My philosophy in wifery is that popular saying--“If you can make a man some toast, you’ll feed him for a day, but if you teach a man to toast, you’ll feed him for a lifetime.” I make some damn good toast, but every once in a while, I’ll let Billy practice his cooking skills. Or else he’ll probably starve.

In all seriousness, I really have such anxiety about leaving Grenada. The lifestyle here is so much slower and laid back, and I’m really worried about being sucked back into the materialism that had such a strong hold on me in Utah. I was all about accumulating stuff and clothes. And now I want to have as little “stuff” as possible.  Until moving here, I never realized how owning everything that I wanted (instead of what I needed) was really weighing me down. It’s the best how all the wives here show up to a function all sweaty with frizzy hair in gym clothes or a swimsuit, and it’s completely normal.  

And don’t even mention makeup—there’s really no point. Some of us will put some mascara and blush on for church, but then usually regret it after the first hour as we’re dripping with sweat and fanning our armpits. One time, I made the mistake of putting some eyebrow gel on for church and by the end of the meetings, my eyebrows extended down to my cheeks. I don’t even have a blow dryer, flat iron, or curling iron down here. I took them home after our first term. I curled my hair once for Billy’s white coat ceremony, and by the time we walked down to the bus stop—an 8-minute walk—the curls were gone and I was seriously contemplating shaving my head to get the heat off my neck. 

I hope it’s always mind-blowing to me that there are inventions like garbage disposals and dishwashers. And can we talk about how amazing dryers are? We did so much laundry while we were in Virginia, just because we could do more than one load in a day. Billy and I just kept crazily throwing more loads in with big grins on our faces. And our clothes were so soft and smelled so good and they actually fit me! When I went to Utah in October, I weighed myself and realized that I had lost 20 pounds from taking up running. I was shocked. I knew my clothes were all loose on me, but they were always getting looser and more stretched out before that because they were never getting shrunk in the dryer. Why, thank you dear Fitbit, don’t mind if I do.

Reflecting back on these two years, I kind of see this time in my life like a mission (but so much better because I can swim and swear and not have to work or be nice to people). I obviously would not qualify to be a missionary, but what I mean is that no one can understand the experience unless they’ve gone through it too. Whenever I go home to visit, I just want to talk about Grenada and how awesome and sucky it is at the same time—and then I realize that people are just being polite when they listen to me venting about how there wasn’t butter on the island for a few weeks because—newsflash—nobody cares, Tori! It’s kind of like how you try and listen and stay interested when a returned missionary is going on about this one person they taught, but really you don’t care, and you just wish they would move on with their life already. Or maybe that’s just me.

Anyway, I’m really scared to go back to America and to have this time in our lives only be a fond memory. I’m not ready! I’ll probably have to un-follow all my friends out here because I can see myself getting seriously depressed when they post pictures on the beach or at the pool or hanging out with turtles. And then I’ll have to deal with it by going to Chipotle and Target, but those places can never replace Grenada. Thinking of getting on the plane and knowing that we might not ever return is making me tear up right now. Ideally, we'll return one day to show our kids where we lived and to visit our friends here. But getting out here costs about as much as going to Europe and we've already done almost everything on the island. But, who knows?

It’s so hard to describe the lifestyle out here—I know everyone hates my guts when I complain about how hard it can be, because I live in freaking paradise. And I’m an asshole, so I love rubbing it in people’s faces. But, in reality, I’m not at a resort all day long. I have to actually do normal living things out here. 


·      Clean bat poop off my porch walls in the blazing heat.

·      Sweep my floor five times a day—except I now own a vacuum that I smuggled into the country which is my most favorite possession in the entire world!

·      Deal with immigration (they make me cry every time) and really bad customer service from every single business here.  Do you remember that “You Had One Job” Buzzfeed list? This one. It would be really funny if it weren’t so applicable to every customer service experience I’ve had here.

·      Grocery shopping with a scooter is a little difficult/giving me scoliosis.

Not to mention:

·      Running the AC is expensive, but luckily our apartment is 600 square feet (if I’m being generous). And we are really rich in love.

·      Having to hang dry all our clothes, and our towels get extra crispy and smell like onions after I use them twice.

·      We can’t leave dishes in the sink or crumbs on the counter or else: ANTS.

·      Mosquito bites are a daily occurrence, but luckily we haven’t gotten dengue or chikingunya or zika YET.

·      Groceries are really expensive because everything is imported.

·      All of our electronics are fried and won’t hold a charge from the crazy electric current here.

·      Our bed is the size of an American full bed—if that.

·      We have pregnant friends that have to leave us because of freaking Zika.

·      My eyebrows are never properly groomed, because the lighting is so bad in our apartment—I’ve even plucked them in the school bathroom before.

·      We don’t get very many channels, and so we’ve actually started to kind of like Two and a Half Men and Big Bang Theory. So embarrassing. 

·      The stench that my armpits produce out here is unfathomable.

·      People don’t realize that I don’t have a phone number anymore. Sorry to the guy who has my old cell number—I’m just really popular. But you seemed pretty nice when Billy accidentally FaceTimed you. The guy who has Billy's old number, on the other hand, is a douche. When held hostage in a group text about my sister's labor, he did not understand the beauty of dilating cervixes and instead protested that he didn't know why he was in the text. Which my family ignored, because they've come to expect my sarcastic commentary. My bad!

·      Amazon doesn’t ship here.

·      You have to drink your drink at restaurants super fast or else the ice will melt and it will water it down. Good luck trying to find fountain drinks anywhere!

·      I don’t see my husband very often.

But, so as not to be a total downer:

·      We’ve never had a centipede in our apartment.

·      Since we run the AC all the time, we’ve never had a problem with mold.

·      I’m not scared of a terrorist attack out here.

·      Yes our apartment is tiny, but we always have running water, and if it hasn’t rained too much, it even gets pretty hot.

·      We have the best view of sunsets over the water from our porch.

·      Our ghetto scooter has never gone out when we needed it.

·      Washing dishes by hand is a pain, but I read that people who don’t own dishwashers are healthier/less likely to develop allergies because they are allowing more bacteria into their bodies and building their immune system. Yum.

·      Our favorite beach is a 15-minute walk from our house.

·      We got attacked by sand fleas our first month here, so daily mosquito bites seem like nothing in comparison.

·      Our 2 lizard roommates eat most of the bugs.

·      We’ve only lost electricity twice.

·      Thanks to Hola, we can watch Netflix and Hulu all day long. (Although Netflix is getting smarter, and so I just have to put up with Spanish subtitles while watching Anatomia de Grey). 

·     We've had so many friends and family come to see us, with more to come! If we were in Iowa, I don't think we would have any visitors. 

·      I’m not able to work here, which means that I was able to branch out and start my master’s degree in accounting. That probably never would have happened if we were anywhere else. 

·      We’re in major debt, but feel so privileged that someone will even loan us money to live on and to further our education—and the money we get is way more than most people in the world lives off of. Thanks, Obama. But really.

·      We got to see Jurassic World the day before it came out in the US.

·      We live in a time where we can easily talk to and see friends and family back home.
·      Local mangoes and avocados and bananas are amazeballs.

·      When Billy gets some free time, we don’t have to go anywhere for a relaxing vacation, because we live in the Caribbean. We just barely went snorkeling on Billy’s dinner break.

·      Butter melts super fast.

If you got through this whole list, you’re probably thinking, “Tori, didn’t you already say you realize that nobody cares?” Why, yes. Yes I did. I'll miss you, Grenada.