Totes Packed

December 30, 2010

Just finished the daunting process of tote packing.  I’ve spent the last 3 weeks accumulating stuff that looks like it’d be lightweight and useful on the island.  There are many new things but I am making sure to replace: my pillows, sheets, towels and canned food supply.  Spaghettios, canned chicken and cream of mushroom soup comprise most of the budgeted food room.  Oh, and then there are loads of clothes.  No, you don’t have to have camp counselor shorts, hiking boots, and flannel shirts to survive the jungley wilderness as previously thought, so I am revamping the previous wardrobe of thin, easy-to-dry layering t-shirts and gauchos to jeans, thin and regular t-shirts, and dresses all in increasing volume so that I don’t have to do laundry so frequently.  Also, those 2/$5 flipflops Old Navy has?  They are my friends.  The thing to keep in mind is that laundry is an entirely different experience on the island.  The washing and drying cycles are reduced in time and most people do not have a dryer.  You end up hanging up your clothes in your room to dry and regardless they start to smell.  That’s why I suggest never bringing down anything you are truly attached to–all of my clothes were under $20/each and I don’t foresee using many of them for more than a semester or two.

My shoes got pretty muddy walking up and down the pathway from Potworks to school.  I try to shake the dirt off of them after the mud dries but hosing them off and then scrubbing them down with an old toothbrush seems to be the best way to avoid muddy footprints.  Now that lab is over, I’m not bringing down more tennis shoes.

Pillows and mattress topper took up a lot of room.  Once again, took the wrappers off of everything and put all of the non-sealed items in ziplock bags just in case something leaks.  Scratched off all price tags.  Clothes, hypoallergenic matress cover, laptop, iPod, and phones will go in carry-on and checked bag.  Have enough school supplies to start school year, so new school supplies will be ok in totes.

Tropical must receive totes by Tuesday, ships them on Wednesday, then they are available on Thursday of next week for pick-up at shipping port in Charlestown (go to roundabout just past Ram’s and make a right (towards the shoreline) and the pier is at the end of the road–you have to give them your license to hang on to while you’re there).  If possible, bring a local with you who works at the school like Winston or one of the drivers, or even one of the H-bus drivers like Clayton or Don so that people see that you’re willing to use that method of transportation and are getting in with the good guys.  Plan on spending a bunch of time at the pier–about 20 minutes are involved with Tropical, then depending on how much stuff you put in your totes, another 30-45 minutes with the customs officers going through your stuff [all of it], then 20 minutes paying the various people at the pier aside from Tropical what ever duty is assessed.  If you’re nice and chatty and patient, it shouldn’t be too much.  They only get really picky when you’re rude or impatient.  I think I paid duty on my sheets and printer, but all my food (labels removed) and household goods were duty-free.  When in doubt, the small talk/answers you need to remember are 1) always greet the locals–GOOD MORNING, GOOD AFTERNOON; 2) you are a STUDENT, it is your first semester and you are HAPPY to be here; 3) you absolutely LOVE Nevis–it’s a small, but BEAUTIFUL island and the people are so FRIENDLY; 4) you bought your stuff USED from a thrift store or flea market (if asked the value of something, low-ball it to 20-30% of what you paid); 5) NO you are NOT planning on selling the items for profit–they’re SCHOOL SUPPLIES for PERSONAL USE and you WILL be TAKING THEM HOME with you when finished with school; 6) you’re EXCITED about becoming a DOCTOR so that you can HELP people, 7) you are POOR (another reason not to bring expensive, flashy stuff) and don’t have much money at all [especially hundreds of dollars to pay customs on YOUR stuff that you’re importing].

Happy Holidays

December 27, 2010

I hope everyone had a lovely time and did what made them happy, be it family time, shopping, or at least rest.  My vacation back in the US is winding down.  I just got back to NC from Georgia where I spent Christmas with relatives.  It was fun.  Now there’s much packing to do–I’ve spent the entire break shopping, trying to gather things that are not too expensive and not too heavy, but that will make my time on Nevis better or easier. 

There are considerable differences between the stuff I’m bringing down now versus the stuff I sent down at the beginning of the fall semester.  The shelving, stand fan, and printer were all things that took up a lot of room which don’t need duplicating in this Tropical shipment.  Also I’m not bringing nearly as much food, just things that are either rediculously cheaper here than on the island or things that are completely unavailable on the island that I’d like to be able to ration out when I’m having a bad day.   There are a few things I’m bringing down for the first time that I completely forgot to bring down last time, like nail polish remover.  Silly little things that you don’t think about until you’re sitting there looking at your toenails with their chipped polish and would really like to repaint them. 

While most of the deals I was hoping to find after Christmas have not existed in the major chain department/clothing stores, the discount stores and outlets have not disappointed.  Just today I scored a pair of backless, hot pink Keen sandals for half-price at the Tanger outlets in Commerce, GA.  The other day, I found a pair of Teva flip flops at Shoe Show for $15.  T-shirts haven’t been terribly hard to find but gauchos have been. 

Best of luck to all those who are packing and getting ready to fly down.  The island will seem deserted but don’t worry–it’ll be a lot better when everyone gets back and school gets into swing.  Use the downtime to go exploring and find a car/shops/meet people.

So I’m sitting here–it’s 11:00 in rural, freezing North Carolina and there’s nothing to do–totally un-characteristic evening for me, compared to my life during the past 4 months.  I have this stack of the New Physician magazines from AMSA (the American Medical Student Association–of which I am an International member) that my parents have diligently collected, sitting here in my room and I decided to see what they had to offer.  I start to read them and what they lack in quantity (the longest is 35 pages long), they seemed to make up in quality with a variety of helpful and interesting articles from students, mentors, and a busy editorial staff, in addition to applicable advertisements for USMLE study materials, BRS books, and even a Littman Stethoscope ad.  I was impressed.  Desperate for more attention-hogging content and in complete disbelief that the magazine could be over already, I took a closer look at the ads.  There was a brightly-colored ad featuring a free corner of the AAMC website called the CiM or Careers in Medicine site which has diagnostic tools to help a blossoming physician identify career goals and choose a specialty.  I was excited.  I grabbed my always-on laptop and typed in a shortened version of the URL and met the same bright orange background of the ad.  Excited, I read the bullets explaining similar details that the ad promised and then clicked on Sign in to the CiM to create a user-name and get started not being bored again.  Assuming that it would be linked to my MCAT registration information, I clicked on forgot username, gave it my personal details and it comes back wanting to know my access code.  WTF?  The ad said nothing about an access code.  There’s an option to look up your access code via finding your CiM school liason, so I attempt it.  There’s no one on the list outside of US and Canadian Medical Schools.  I think, well, maybe I can subterfuge this and retrieve my log-in information.  I attempt log-in and the system succinctly tells me that it cannot verify that I attend a US medical school (no shit, Sherlock) thus it cannot permit me access to this part of the website.  Back on the main page of the site, in small print at the bottom of the page, it says:

All other visitors, view our Specialty Information, which include basic information about 26 medical specialties. For extensive information about more than 120 specialties please sign in to CiM External Link .

I don’t want basic information, dammit.  I know what a dermatologist does and what the differences are between Emergency Medicine and Nephrology.  I want the same access to the same cushy 8th grade career program that you give the precious US/Canadian Med school kids.

Everything on this stupid website points you to CiM and yet, it’s restricted to US and Canadian students.  What’s the point of sending me a pretty magazine (that’s supposed to cost $4.75 an issue? I’ll take Vogue, instead.) when you so graciously let me, a USIMG join your super-exclusive AMSA society if I can’t access your tools?  According to everything I’ve read, including a couple articles in the magazine, it is just a sign of discrimination [against IMGs] to come.

A bullet towards the bottom of the main resources page for students already in Med School [to help them thrive] supplied a link to the current transfer policies for US Medical schools: http://services.aamc.org/tsp_reports/.  As much as I like MUA and am thriving, it’s the little things like this that make me want to just be a normal, pampered, US med student.  None of these programs even dream of transferring you [IMGs] before the end of your second year (and with your presumptuously excellent Step I score in hand for inspection and consequent review and astonishment) but it’s a sad but true fact that it might be an avenue I will need to pursue in order to end up in something other than family medicine.  ::sigh::

I Miss RDU

December 18, 2010

The trip to Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill yesterday was amazing.  I had a huge list of places to go and people to see but was shocked at the amount that I got done.  To give you an idea of what I missed most while on the island, here were things that I made sure to do while I was back at my old undergraduate home (and I few things I’ve done while at home):

1.  Shopping at Crabtree Valley Mall at my favorite stores and getting small trinkets to bring back with me (Sanrio Surprises, H&M, Forever 21).  ❤ chocolate covered strawberry snack from Godiva.

2.  Having lunch at the Cheesecake Factory with my besties.  Good food and good friends are hard to beat.

3.  Getting t-shirts from student stores at UNC.  There are die-hard Duke fans here and I have to represent my alma mater, UNC.  Any clothes you bring to the island DIE a very painful and dramatic death, and consequently must be replaced on a semesterly basis.  Much like you & your skin, they don’t like the heat, the bugs, the salty water, and not being thoroughly dried.  Bring things you like but nothing you’re attached to, and for goodness sakes, don’t spend more than $50 on anything.  People just don’t care about name brands down here.  It’s more important that you and your clothes don’t smell.

4.  Going to Aveda and Sephora to get skin products.  I made the mistake of bringing regular soap and water for my face this past semester and my skin went to Hell.  I have regular skin up here in the US, but I noticed that down on the island, my skin got very oily, so I made sure to get cleanser, astringent, and scrub for oily skin.  Also, I traditionally have fair skin, but being in the sun so often, I quickly noticed that the makeup I brought down was about 4 shades too light, so I decided to get makeup that was a bit more forgiving.  I opted on some of the powder makeup–Bare Minerals–and went ahead and got light skin shades rather than fair, planning ahead for sun exposure.

5.  Going to REI.  Living in the Caribbean and camping have a lot in common and you find some great stuff at these stores that’s useful in your everyday life.  Nalgenes to keep you hydrated, Buffs to help with anti-death smelling hair during lab/sweat management during long walks, flashlights and lanterns for power outages, and sweat-wicking clothing for exercising on the island.

6.  Sushi-go-round.  The sushi at the Marriott is great when you haven’t had any for months, but nothing’s better than your favorite sushi from home.  I fell in love with sushi at Kurama sushi in Chapel Hill on Franklin St (affectionately called Sushi-go-round because you grab the sushi from a conveyor belt that circulates around the sushi chefs).  The Marriott has ~12 different rolls, but they don’t have my favorites, the spicy crunchy shrimp roll, the Lava roll, and the crunchy crab roll.  With an appetizer of freshly steamed Edamame and a cold Kirin Ichiban, it was heaven on Earth.

7.  Kobe’s Japanese Steakhouse.  There is no Japanese on the island, just Chinese and Indian, so I was hurtin’ for some hibachi chicken and shrimp, sweet carrots, stir-fried cabbage, and fried rice.

8.  Mexican food.  Again, no Mexican restaurants on the island–Pizza Beach does have a few Mexican entrees but they’re just not the same as the stuff at home.  White cheese dip, homemade guacamole, and Fajitas were must-haves.

9.  Panera.  Didn’t have time to sit down to my old favorite, the French Onion Soup bowl, but I did take a loaf of Tomato Basil in thick slices home for later enjoyment.  <3.

10.  Guglhupf Bakery and Patisserie.  My favorite German bakery and consistently voted the top bakery in the Triangle year after year.  Again, I was stretched for time so I picked up a baguette, some pretzels, and some pastries from the bakery to go, but man it was great to be back!

11.  Trader Joe’s.  It’s a shame I have to drive 2.5 hours to get to one but man it was worth it.  Love the assorted baby Heirloom tomatoes, mini Rosemary tree, $2 Chuck white Zinfandel, holiday Ale, low-fat ginger Cat cookies (for people), and 20-month aged Reggiano Parmesian–for $6/lb.

12. STARBUCKS.  Good coffee is hard to find, but easy to enjoy.  Must do this again before I go back, must.

13.  Krispy Kreme.  Thawed-previously frozen doughnuts are available for a steep price at the Best Buy in Gingerland, and Rituals coffee shop over on St. Kitts by the Marriott offers them at night, but there is nothing better than a fresh, hot, glazed Krispy Kreme doughnut.  Culinary sin.

*I don’t think it’ll be an issue for you guys for a while, but something to keep in mind:  when you’re home during the spring and summer and have access to summer clothes, buy extra and store them at your place in the US/Canada for the winter semester.  I had extra clothes from shopping in July and it’s a good thing–I spent hours looking around the mall and outlets and everything is long-sleeved and pants.  You could not find shorts, skirts, gauchos, or even t-shirts without considerable searching.  In the case of extra gauchos–I ended up looking online and finding them at 1 store!

Phone in a Box

December 14, 2010

Rather than have them pay the $30/month Blackberry fee that Verizon charges, I had my folks disconnect my cell when I went to Nevis.  I thought that my phones with Lime and Digicel would work here, with roaming charges of course, and was sadly disapponted that when I landed in Charlotte, they wouldn’t even manually configure to towers here.  What a good thing that my parents came to the airport 2 hours early.

Rather than pay $200 for a Blackberry and sign a contract for usage during the 9 weeks a year I’ll be home, I decided to get one of those pay-as-you-go phones, which I affectionately call the phone in a box.  We stood around for a while in Walmart, trying to decide which of the phones we wanted; unless you’re willing to pay $150-200, the phones are all crappy base models.  There were more options than I thought available, in terms of companies–Trac Phone, Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile, and Virgin among others.  I decided to go with Net10–the phone was $15 and for $50/month when I come home, I get unlimited everything–text, internet, calls, etc.  There were ones that were unlimited for $45 but you had to make a $40-$50 investment in the phone.  I think I came out ok.

Haven’t heard anything from the school in terms of grades or anything.  So far histo prof’s been the only one to send out an email after the shelf, to wrap up or let us know anything.  Even the “congratulations, you passed the class” provided a nice finality.

Sleeping in my old bed has been comfortable and nice, though with significantly more covers than back on Nevis.  It’s been in the teens here at night, so it’s interesting using blankets and a comforter again–on Nevis it was such a challenge to stay cool that sleeping with a flat sheet was all that was necessary.  Showers in my old bathroom with my old toiletries have been fabulous.  It’s been lovely trying to get Emily, my 12 year old Siamese cat , to try and pay attention to me again–she’s quite reluctant.

We had soul food for dinner–meatloaf, baked potatoes and greenbeans.

Too cold to ski just yet.  And ironically, none of the mountains are completely open yet.

Loving TV.  Spent most of my day yesterday and today parked in front of the TV under the throw-sized electric blanket.

Traveling Hiatus

December 13, 2010

Hello, all.  Back at home, in sleepy small town NC, enjoying the niceties of residing in a civilized country again, even if it is temporary.  Grades were just posted.  There is a rumor going around that embryology and EBM are pass/fail and it’s true–I was looking at the grades website and letter grades are not given for those classes–just the final average.  If this is true, my study recommendations will change significantly for these classes.  Hopefully I’ll know for sure when I get back to the island, but definitely if I forget to ask or post, do yourself a favor and ask at the start of the semester.  That was waaaay too much wasted effort just for a pass–and for 8:00 am classes?!

Home is cold, but happy.  It was sooo nice to go to Target today where you can buy food, entertainment, clothes, shoes, and homegoods all in one place.  Meanwhile shopping successfully for island clothes is hard–long sleeves and fur-lined everything just won’t do back at school.  Saw some really cute boots but realized it’s completely pointless for me to buy cold weather clothes given that I’ll only need them for 3 weeks out of the year.  Excited about cooking, specifically baking now that I have access to an oven again and many well-stocked local supermarkets.  Driving was weird–definitely confused about whether I should be on the left or right during turning, but otherwise not too bad.  Can’t believe it’s snowing here–it stinks for the rest of the island folks trying to get home.  Many of the students who live North of the Mason-Dixon line are getting held up in Miami and Charlotte, trying to catch connecting flights that are either canceled or delayed due to the weather.  Looking forward to going skiing, myself.

Off to bed, watching Netflix online account, hulu.com, and iTunes–all happily accessible in the US.

Shelf exams are DONE

December 7, 2010

Hi guys, sooo happy today is over.  I was really worried about the anatomy shelf because there was so much material, but it was sooo much easier than our exams in class.  The level of detail was so much less!  Just make sure you review all of your material throughout the whole semester because there are questions from everything.  There were very few on specific muscles, so I’d say going all the way back through individuals muscles of the foot and hand are low yield, but knowing what nerves innervate groups of muscles–like adductors or flexors of leg–is VERY high yield.  Anatomy prof was right, there were mostly questions on Thorax and Abdomen.  LOTS of questions about perineum–I actually laughed at a couple, they were really random and really unfortunate situations that were described in the questions.  There were also many questions on lymph supply of the thorax and abdomen–for example, if tumor is here, which lymph node will it spread to next?  Also many questions on shunting in patients with bad livers–know your blood supply.  I was done in a little less than an hour–a lot EASIER than the histo shelf, definitely.

Now I’m studying for embryo and EBM.  I had intended to spend most of the evening on embryo but I’m feeling guilty about EBM–the final counts for 50% of our grade–WTF?  I have an A going into it but I could very easily lose it if I don’t take the final seriously enough.  I can see the light at the end of the tunnel now that finals are over.  WOO!

Anatomy Shelf Tomorrow

December 6, 2010

Hi guys, don’t have much time to chat.  Have been studying all day taking intermittent breaks to start packing stuff up.  Donated a bunch of non-perishables to a local church group today.  Took a break with my friends to go to Pizza Beach for dinner–totally recommend the rotisserie chicken breast.  95% of the chicken you get down here is dark meat, so I was really excited to have the option.

A suggestion about studying–the anatomy shelf only counts for 20% of your grade so if you bust your hump to make decent grades throughout the semester on the block exams, you don’t have to worry about the final unless you’re trying to be a TA or your grade is borderline.  Unfortunately, I need a 40% to pass the class.  I know, it’s totally do-able, but my 2 friends that I just went out to dinner really have it made–the one doesn’t even have to show up to the exam to pass the class and the other guy has to make a 2.5%.  Did I mention they were anatomy beasts?

We’re all a bit concerned–the EBM final counts for 50% of our grade and we only have tomorrow (after we get out of the anatomy shelf) to study for it since the test is on Wednesday afternoon.  There’s not a lot of material at all, but they had to implement a 10 pt. curve for our midterm in order to make the average passing, so that tells you how easy they made it.  If you’re bored and want to go over something useful before you come to the island, orient yourself to PICO questions–there’s a butt-load of them on the EBM tests and just to make it a bit more interesting, they pick the most detailed, confusing ones that they can.

I’ve been helping out one of my dinner friends with embryology–it’s the last final but he’s really stressed about it because he didn’t do well on the first test of the class.  He confessed tonight that his mistake was that he studied far in advance for the test.  He said that when he waited and studied the weekend before, that his grade went up significantly on the second test.  I’m inclined to agree, seeing as I do best on tests when I come home, sleep, then wake up and review the material all night long until I wake up and go take the test.  It’s like my brain turns into a sieve when I sleep.

Think happy thoughts for me, I’m nervous but surely I can pull a 40%, right?

Eating out on a Budget

December 5, 2010

If you’re coming down here on a strict budget but you decide that you really want to get out and go eat somewhere on the island, breakfast is the way to go.  True, you have to wake up and sacrifice valuable sleep-in time on the weekends, but given that we have so many resorts down here, it’s worth it.  This morning (11:15) my friends and I went to Pizza Beach, the local pizza place, which does breakfast on the weekends; it transforms into Pancake Beach.  For $20 EC, you get eggs, sausage and either pancakes or french toast (the pancakes seem to be more filling).  Coffee and tea are $3 EC or you can get passion fruit juice for $6 EC.  If you just want pancakes or french toast, they’re only $10 EC.  What a bargain!

If you’re willing to spend a little more, for $14 US, you can go to the Hermitage and have a gourmet breakfast of either coconut crusted or orange blossom french toast with passion fruit/guava syrup, an omelet/eggs any way you want them, fried plantains, homemade granola and yogurt, and coffee/tea.

Generally speaking we love to go out on Sundays because that way, you have Saturday morning to sleep in, then Sunday you go to breakfast, come back and study for a while, then Sunday afternoons we like to drive up to Brick Kiln and get ice cream.  There is a nice 7th Day Adventist lady who runs an ice cream parlor along the main road that encircles the island.  It’s probably a 20-minute walk from school (we usually just drive), but you can get a waffle cone of ice cream for $5 EC, again quite a bargain.  She has a variety of flavors: pistachio, toffee, cookies and cream, coconut, cherry coconut, vanilla, chocolate vanilla, etc.  (The restaurant Flavours also has ice cream but I think hers is better.)

For dinner, the only grocery store open on Sundays is the Best Buy in Gingerland.  Depending on who is driving, it’s about a 15-20 minute drive from school, but many people go grocery shopping on Sunday.  The best part about the Best Buy is that they have a deli inside the store where you can get fresh deli meats and cheeses, but they also make sandwiches.  You can get a huge sub sandwich with whatever you want on it for $6-8 EC–an excellent bargain given that the Subway in Basseterre charges $30 EC/footlong sandwich.  Also, if you’re not in the mood for a sandwich, there is a snack shop on the outside of the building that is quite popular.  I haven’t eaten there personally, but I’m told their french fries are to die for.  Also quite economical.

In case any of you decide you’d like a taste of home while you’re in St. Kitts, here’s the menu from the Subway.  I haven’t been to the KFC yet.  All prices are in EC.

The days are winding down–I fly out in quite literally a week!  I’m in the middle of reviewing a semester’s worth of anatomy, but I wanted to take some time to share some sites with you that have helped me out significantly throughout the semester.

http://www.courseweb.uottawa.ca/medicine-histology/Default_En.htm

I mentioned before that I was very disappointed with the lab portion of histology here.  During one regular class period out of the block, towards the end, the profs will grab a microscope that has a camera attached to the top of it, sit it up on the lectern, and show you slides (via hooking the camera up to the computer and then the projector).  You don’t get to learn how to use a microscope yourself, and you learn quite literally what one slide of the type of tissue looks like.  They do this really odd thing where they’ll let ONE student video the lecture (heaven forbid 2 students try to video it–you’ll get chewed out) and put it on the shared drive, so you can review for the lab but it’s just watching the same old lecture over and over again.

I’ve found that if I completely ignore the lab lecture, aside from making a list of the types of tissue we need to know, and then go and read about the tissues on this website, I usually make either a 93 or a 100. There are always 15 questions no matter how many slides were shown to you in the lab, multiple choice, and unfortunately they always cover more material than was covered in the lab.  What I mean by this is that, if you’ll remember what I told you about the anatomy lab, where their questions were straight identification with NO “what does this muscle do?” “what innervates this muscle?”, HISTOLOGY IS THE COMPLETE OPPOSITE.  YOU NEED TO REVIEW YOUR HISTOLOGY MATERIAL OVER THE WEEKEND BEFORE THE LAB BLOCK EXAM in order to do well on this test–she asks questions about the slides, yes, but the way the answers are presented, you can still know what tissue the slide she’s showing you is, but you won’t be able to answer the question because the answers involve something we learned in the regular part of lecture.  The silver lining, however, is that the histology lab only counts for 15% of that block’s grade, while the lecture portion counts for 85%. Don’t just throw the lab away through–I’m telling you from experience, before I started using this website, MY LAB GRADE WOULD BRING MY BLOCK GRADE DOWN.

Another useful link: wikipedia.org.

You’d think for $10,000.00 tuition/semester that all you should really have to do is show up to class and the teachers will teach you what you need to know, but that wasn’t the case in undergrad and unfortunately it’s not the case here.  The Profs in all classes here love to make powerpoints with these impressive diseases and clinical conditions that have something to do with the area of the body we’re learning, but unfortunately, when they make the powerpoints, I think their eyes are bigger than their stomachs–that is to say, they run out of time.  Generally speaking, they’ll save the clinical applications part of the lecture for the end, so if they end up running late, they’ll say the last few slides are “self study” or they’ll tell us that we just need to “look over them.”  Wikipedia is your best friend.  If they mention a condition or put it on a slide somewhere in one of their powerpoints, they consider it fair game for exam material.  If you don’t understand a disease (even if they talked about it), or you would like to know more about it, take 5 minutes out of your evening of studying and go look it up.  When I’m reviewing for a block exam for histology, anatomy, or embryology, in ALL of them, I will take a sheet of paper, write CLINICAL at the top of it, and make a list with the major details of EVERY disease, condition, syndrome, reflex, etc. that was covered in that block so that I have the details fresh in my mind.  VERY HELPFUL.

Another useful website: valuemd.com

People scoff at this one, but I owe a lot to it.  This is the site where I did all of my research on what to bring down here, it’s where you find out if there are any developments in licensing, how clinicals are going, how well people are doing on the comp shelf and the step.  Just keep in mind that, like Wikipedia, anyone can post on there, and unfortunately there are some bitter people out there, so if you read something that doesn’t seem right, it’s probably not true unless many people are saying it.  Also when you get down here, it’s a good place to start looking for cars and books and office chairs, etc. so that you can go see them in person before you commit yourself to buying them.

Another useful website: seabridgeskn.com

This is the Sea Bridge ferry that carries over people and cars to St. Kitts–it’s also the one that’s closer to campus.  The ferries leave from Nevis on the even hours and from St. Kitts on the odd hours.  There isn’t really a good, reliable website for the pedestrian ferries that go from downtown Basseterre to Charlestown, so I took this photo last time I was in St. Kitts catching the ferry back–it’s off of the side of the building where they sell ferry tickets, so I’m not sure how much more precise you can get:

Finally, one more website to visit before you come down here is gmail.com.

For what ever reason, the school does not provide us with @mua.edu email addresses before we leave the island and start clinicals, so at the beginning of the semester, the “class president” will collect a list of everyone’s email addresses and give them out to the profs who will send out class emails to everyone on the list.  I was looking at the email addresses on the list and I was embarrassed for these people: hotbaby69@hotmail.com? xxxlovemachine@go.com? Seriously?  Do yourself a favor, go to gmail, set up a free account with unlimited space and a good spam filter, and for god’s sake, make it a professional one.