Friday, February 20, 2009

Wholly Guacamole!!!

Have you ever seen an avocado this big?? It is about half the size of Summer's face. I walked past them twice, thinking they were mangoes and finally asked the produce man to direct me to Holly's latest craving. I seriously laughed when I saw them and I was told by the cashier that they get even bigger ones in. Okay so it cost close to $4 US but when you consider how many you'd have to buy in the states to equal the same amount...probably not so bad :)

We thought you might enjoy a few more little tidbits of information unique to the culture here on the island. The following are terms, phrases or pasttimes that are common here but new to us:

"Cricket" is a SERIOUS SPORT. I watched a bit while waiting my turn at the driver's license division. I made the mistake of asking one of several Caymanians glued to the tv if it was a cricket game. I thought it was baseball at first until I took a closer look and saw that it was a flat board and not a bat, and no one appeared to be running bases. After numerous explanations from eager Caymanians, I still don't get it. Dare I say I found it rather boring???

"Football Pitch"--otherwise known as the "Soccer Field" or maybe it is a part of the soccer field. Not sure yet. I only know it has nothing to do with Football as I've always known it :)

Gas is sold by the "Imperial Gallon"

Our Caymanian Currency has a $25 bill. I love it! Wish we had them in the states.

"Topping Up" This is what you do to add minutes to your cell phone. We chose the plan where you pay as you go. You simply go to a little machine--they have them all over town--or you go online to "Top Up" your phone. I love using the phrase. Holly makes fun of me for it!

"Robot" If you're from South Africa, like many of our friends, you refer to a stoplight as a "robot". That is seriously what they call them.

"I'll give you a shout." another way of saying "I'll call you."

"Four Half" otherwise known as "Four Thirty" when stating the time.

"Civvies Day": that celebrated day designated for leaving the uniform at home and wearing "normal" clothes to school. In addition to the last friday of each month, certain holidays apply :)

Summer is in Grade Six, not Sixth Grade. Holly is not a Jr. in High School, she is in Grade 11--if you mention "Junior" people look at you strangely.

While we're on backwards stuff, the date always throws me. Day first, month second, year last. Ed has resorted to writing the month instead of giving it a numeral.

And here's my favorite: The other day I was shopping with a hand held basket that I had overloaded. A kind older gentleman who worked for the grocery store commented that I had a heavy load. "Let me get you a trolley," he insisted and returned with a shopping cart. Charming! I think we should call them trolleys in the states :) Living in a new culture is a lot of fun. It's a big, beautiful world and I am loving it!

Friday, February 13, 2009

How's the weather where you are?

Holly just took this picture about five minutes ago...thought i'd share it:)

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Caribbean Dream

Holly and I have been enjoying the Sunsets on the horizon beyond our deck. She's been capturing the beauty with her camera. I love it when she calls out for me to come running before I miss some visual feast of sun, water and sky. The rays often shoot down through the clouds creating the bands of light you see in the picture above. (Credit her for the amazing shot!)

Even more impressive to Holly is the beauty of the Caribbean Moon. She proclaims that she is "obsessed" with it. When we go out at night the moon is aglow and closer somehow. Little white puffs of clouds sail on the breeze beneath a starlit sky that seems more bright as well. Very dreamy.
Yesterday morning we really had a treat. I woke up early around 5:30 and walked into the darkness of our greatroom. The shades were open and out the vast expanse of windows (this condo is great for views) I could see the water shimmering in the light of a bright moon hanging low in the sky. I had to wake Holly up. We were mesmerized by the beauty as the silvery waves gently lapped the shore. In the distance, we could see a speck of light. As Holly got ready for school I watched the speck take shape into a cruise ship coming to port in Georgetown. It was big and beautiful with its decks all lit up.

Today I woke up for a replay and was not disappointed. Thursday is a big day for cruise ships. We will have four today with a total of 12,000 visitors on the island. I've seen two already this morning.
We'll have to get a camera that takes night time pictures of the scene I described above; However, there's nothing like seeing it in person. Many of you are coming to visit, when you do, make sure you wake up early one morning to enjoy the magic.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Dive Right In!!

Let's face it, true fulfillment is all about relationships and we, Ed, Denet, Holly & Summer, are excited about the fascinating people we are meeting here in Cay-man! (Hopefully when you read this word you are hearing it with the local pronunciation. It is not pronounced Caymen as we say it in the states, it is K--Man with the emphasis on the Man!)

We'll start from the bottom up with Summer. Summer has met many new friends and is loving interacting with them. This past weekend she spent the evening friday and again on Saturday with Chloe & Dean. They are twins whose parents are from Capetown, South Africa. Their father is a doctor on the island and coincidentally Ed has a physical with him monday morning (we discovered that as we were introduced to them. Small community :) These children are two of the most polite, gracious, delightful children I have ever met. In addition to their charming british accents, they have a lot of knowledge of the world and the island and we enjoyed conversing with them as though they were two little adults--complete with giving us suggestions for restaurants we should try. Their mother Shelley and I met briefly and bonded instantly. I look forward to developing a friendship with her. Interesting coincidence: On friday after we dropped her friends at their home, Summer remarked to me that Shelley reminded her of Rochelle, in fact she said, "I think Shelley is your new Rochelle." The next day when she saw Shelley again, she told her about Rochelle. Shelley told Summer that her best friend also died in a tragic car accident. Interesting how the universe brings people together...

Holly went out to the movies on friday with friends from school and then to dinner and a party on Saturday. May I say that her friends are wonderful as well. They are surprisingly protective of her standards. A couple of them from the states know what it means to be a mormon and they are quick to point out that Holly is a "good girl" and as one young man put it, "there are few of them left in the world so keep her that way." They won't allow anyone to offer her alcohol, they apologize when they curse around her and they even changed the movie they were going to see so that she could come along. Wow. Such respect. I'm thinking she may have an easier time living the standards of the church here on the island than back in Utah :) They taught her to play Dominoes which is THE game on the island. She caught on quickly and gave the champion a run for his money last weekend. Her friends are from all over the world and it is fascinating to her. She says she now thinks in different accents and finds it very strange!!! She gets to take a school trip to COSTA RICA in May. Can you stand it? Such great experiences....

Denet: I am looking forward to lunch this week with author neighbor Marilyn Jax. (See picture above.) Her novel is "The Find" and I tried to buy it here and it is sold out until thursday. The reviews on amazon are great. I can't wait to read it and I am so excited to get to know her. She is lovely. The condo unit we are staying in is called The Sovereign. It is filled with retired couples , mostly from the US, Michigan, Minnesota, Tennesee and Florida. They all stay for the winter and then return to the states in April or May. They are delighted to have children around and always want updates on how the children are enjoying school, etc. They have been so welcoming it is great.

Ed works with interesting people from all over the world and there always seems to be a function we are invited to. The Dart "Family" is great and very comfortable to assimilate into. Ed also has the opportunity to work with the missionaries at church. (See photo above) Elder Wilson is from Jamaica and a lot of fun! Elder Mason is from a small town in Utah that we'd never heard of, the Bradleys are a wonderful couple from New Jersey who are on their way to The Bahamas. We are sad about the transfer because they are a lot of fun and also they are not being replaced with another senior couple. The mission is losing 5 senior couples.

To all of our friends and family in Utah--We love you and miss you and will remain close to you. It is great to expand our circle of friends but we treasure our bonds with you!! I hope you are all well and happy. Spring is coming--I promise!!! If it makes you feel any better we have been in sweats--it turned a little cold here last week. Our neighbors claim it is the coldest they've ever seen it in 20 years of coming here (high 60's low 70's.... but the breeze was nippy) Things are set to warm up again this week.

QUOTE FOR THE DAY: People who say it can't be done are often interrupted by someone doing it!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Sticker Shock #3

#3: "Mom I need a graphing calculator. It's expensive. You can get one at "Kirk's"."
I know where Kirk's is, it's the grocery store just before Georgetown on West Bay Road. While I'm there I can buy groceries!! Wow I am turning into such a local. Somehow I take a wrong turn. I know the beach is somewhere on my right. Eventually I turn enough times that I think I'm going west. Suddenly I'm in Georgetown, right where I wanted to go yesterday... (See earlier post).

I head back towards seven mile beach and eventually find Kirk's. I pull into the parking lot on the right side which is the wrong side and someone gives me an unhospitable gesture out his window which helped me recognize my mistake. I park and enter the store. After finding some hangers (8 for $.99) and feeling like I hit the jackpot, I ask someone where calculators are. I am directed to the aisle where a knowledgable sales professional is stocking the shelves. I approach her.

"I'm looking for a graphing calculator for my daughter for school. Her teacher said I could find it here."

The nice lady from the Phillipines gives me a quizzical look. "Oh, I'll bet she meant Kirk's office supply. Do you know Shedden road?"

I give her a blank look. She continues. "Exit the parking lot. Turn right. Turn left at the first signal. Go straight through the roundabout. Before the next signal is Kirk's."

Sounds easy. I thank her and leave. I exit the parking lot, remembering to look right before crossing the street to drive on the left. There's the first signal. Turn left, no problem. Straight through the roundabout hmmmm..... Well, if it were possible to drive straight through the roundabout instead of around and around, I would probably end up taking the 2nd left, right? Because the first left would be like turning left and the third left would be like turning right and the 2nd would be like going straight. Several blocks and an industrial park later I stop to ask the nice man from Ireland (red hair and an enchanting accent) if he can help me find Kirk's.

"Go back the way ye came... and take a left at the junction. Kirk's is on the right," he begins.

"Which left? Do you know the name of the street?"

He shakes his head. "No but it's the busy one. I hope ya find lots o' nice things ta buy there!"

I thank him and pull out of the parking lot.

A few turns later I am near the airport, an area I am familiar with and I know I am lost. I pull into another parking lot and walk into a furniture store. The lady behind the desk is an American, with an attitude.

"Are you familiar with the roundabout next to Foster's?" At this point I am not familiar with anything.

"Right at the Roundabout. Right at the signal. You can't miss it."

As I'm pulling out of the parking lot, I look left by mistake and begin to turn right into a lane of oncoming traffic. I am going to die. I correct myself and continue driving while shaking. I don't see anything resembling the building or any street signs that say Shedden road, even though I followed directions precisely. I pull into another parking lot ready to cry. Some man with an unrecognizable accent and very bad teeth smiles at me when i ask him for directions to Shedden road. "I'm looking for Kirk's office supply," I add.

"That's right next door. You can walk."


When I arrive at Kirk's the Jamaican drumming on his leg leads me to the calculators which are gone. He takes me to the front to the lady behind the register. She greets me with a smile. "Special order only. 3-4 weeks delivery. You might try Lee's office supply," She gives me directions while patting my arm. She can tell that I've had a bad day. She speaks slowly in her Caymanian accent, "Turn left out of the parking lot. Stay to the left. Make the turn. Lee's is on your right."

I find it. They have it!!!!! I don't care how much it costs. $175. Hey, less than the back pack!!

Graphing Calculator $175/Not having to ask for any more directions: PRICELESS!!!

Sticker Shock #2

No Summer is not leaving for vacation with a piece of carry on luggage--this is her back pack :)

Day one of school I was told by the office that Summer would need a rolling back pack as she would be unable to carry her load of books. They told me where to go in Georgetown and what type of back pack they recommended. What they didn't tell me and what I failed to ask was.... the price. That same day I ventured down to Georgetown and got caught in traffic. Directions here are another blog post but suffice it to say no one uses addresses or maps, they go by "landmarks" and if you don't know them..... 90 minutes and several trips through Georgetown later I arrived at the shop to find it closed. Everything closes here at 5:00 or 5:30. I reassure myself: At least now I know where to go. Sort of. I mean I have no idea how I arrived but if I did it once, I should be able to do it again right?

On Day Two of school I send Summer with a "Book Bag" of Holly's that is larger than the bag she had on Day One which was totally inadequate. She comes to the car on day Two struggling to carry the bulging bag and Holly remarks in horror "You tore my bag!!!" We weigh it when we get home. 18 lbs. and those weren't all of the books--and she only weighs 70 lbs.. Imagine carrying 25% of your body weight in books. I drop the girls off and head immediately to Georgetown. Miraculously I find a parking spot in an area that looks vaguely familiar. I grab the spot and begin walking, praying I won't get lost. I pass through a parking lot with a stray Rooster and within a block I am pleasantly surprised to smell the aroma of the KFC landmark that is right next to the bag shop. I emerge near the shop where I saw the "cute little red back pack with the monkey on the zipper" in the window the day before and rush inside, quite pleased with myself that I found it so easily and feeling a little less like a tourist. Before approaching the register, I check the price $188. I can't believe it but I am left without an alternative. There are no rolling backpacks anywhere else-- I did check. MY FIRST PAINFUL CAYMAN ECONOMICS LESSON: When you need something "NOW" on the island you are in TROUBLE. So plan ahead and only buy groceries here... (when absolutely necessary to sustain life)

Back Pack $188/ Relieved Daughter: Priceless

Sticker Shock #1!!

I was prepared for a cost of living increase but I did NOT expect:

1) Holly needed color and a cut (yes she is naturally blonde but prefers not looking like all the other grampp girls... So we got a referral from a co worker of Ed's and the place looked a lot like a "Great Clips" when I went in (Paul Mitchell products for sale near the register), so I felt I was in my price range but I made the big mistake of not asking for a price FIRST. $248 U.S. Dollars. (before the $25 tip) I was stunned. I've decided to fly Mark David down here to do everyone's hair at once. It would save me money :)
1 Haircut $275/ Happy Daughter...Priceless!

Monday, February 2, 2009

First Day of School

Aren't they sweet in their little matching uniforms? Okay, they hate them but I love them :) Today was truamatic to say the least. It felt as though we were dropping two children off for kindergarten all over again. These two little homebodies have lived all of their school years in Draper and didn't know what to expect from being the "new kid". As it turned out, everyone welcomed them with open arms and Summer thoroughly enjoyed being the center of attention--literally. After school I asked Holly where she was and she pointed to a large circle of kids with Summer right in the middle of them. Holly was also warmly welcomed but less enamored with the whole attention thing. She is overwhelmed and still very homesick. She is the bravest kid I know. She is AWESOME to move forward and give this everything even though it is painful and the most difficult thing she has ever done. The counselor told her to expect a rigorous schedule including 2-3 hours of homework per night. She is enrolled in the "IB" program which stands for "International Baccalaureate". It is above AP level and puts the students in a very favorable standing when applying to Universities. Go HOLLY!!

So tonight I asked everyone what thing they miss most about Utah and what thing they love most about Cayman. Here are their answers:

Ed: 1) Doesn't miss Utah 2)Loves the weather

Holly: 1) Toss up between Taco Bell & the Mountains 2) The color of the water

Summer: 1) Misses her friends 2) Her new cute "crush" (Matthew)

Denet: 1) Misses Sunday dinners w/my married kids 2) Loves lounging on the beach, walking on the beach, jogging on the beach, looking at the beach.....



Sunday, February 1, 2009

Last night, as Summer described in her post, we went to an event at Camana Bay (Ed's FABULOUS development.) I thought I would include a picture. Allison just taught me how to upload pictures with my post so now pics will be included. Make sure you scroll all the way down to catch the earlier pictures I posted.

Today was a wonderful day at our little branch. The testimonies were powerful. There are so many converts it is exciting. A convert was confirmed today and another Baptism coming up this week. Ed is Branch mission leader. We will be feeding the missionaries on Tuesday. Tomorrow is the first day of school--exciting!!!!