Been busy, can you tell?

May 22, 2011

So when last we left off, I had finally gotten my car back, completely repaired and was oh so happy.  I neglected to mention that the day previous to that, I went to pick up my tote that I shipped down with Tropical.  I had a really bad experience, so I don’t think I’ll do that again.

So I only sent down one tote this time–I’ve gotten my little apartment pretty cozy and you have to keep in mind that out of everything you send down here, 90-95% of it will stay, so it makes you shop very carefully when you’re at home.  There are tons of nice, convenient things I would love to bring down here, but this place is a money pit.  So since I had only shopped for consumables and the bare necessities that I would need for the next 12 months to make it bearable here, only one tote to send.  Even it wasn’t filled to its usual capacity of bulging, requiring almost a whole roll of duct tape to secure it.  I had a case of sugar-free Red Bull (because you can only find regular on the island), another stand fan (because it’s hot and my A/C is making my electricity bill astronomically expensive), some giant cases of Slim Fast powder (ugh I need diet), some water filters for my Brita pitcher, some sugar-free powdered drink mix (to make water drinking more bearable), among other stuff.  It ended up costing ~$250 USD for Tropical to send it down here (I can send 2 totes for $300) because the major costs incurred are the freight charges to ship it from NC to Miami–you’re really better off using Tropical if you have a lot of heavy stuff to send.  And then when it got to the island I wasn’t able to work with my usual broker, Mr. Jeff, who charges me $20 EC–instead I had to work with some old, crazy lady who charged me $50 EC, and then the customs lady had a field day with my tote.  She opened EVERYTHING and got pissed off at me because I had taken the labels off of things.  She found my shocks for my Jeep and charged me outrageous duty on them, charged me for my Red Bull (I’ve never been charged for this before), charged me for my fan, and because I was in a hurry when packing my tote and stupidly left them in the box, she charged me for my Brita filters.  DAMMIT.  I ended up having to pay $230 EC in TAXES.  @#$( NEVIS CUSTOMS!  SO ANGRY.  So, yes, I will NOT be shipping anything else down.  Those crooks can take my money and stick it where the sun doesn’t shine because they won’t be getting another dime from me.

I got home, unpacked my tote, savored my expensive consumables, got the shocks to Don, he put them on my Jeep and I got my Jeep the next day.  I studied all weekend for Neuro and Psyc exams on Monday.  Neuro went well, though not as well as I would have liked–apparently the material was ridiculously easy and technically wasn’t even Neuro yet, so those of us who scored in the high B range are extremely apprehensive for the next exam.  Psyc was stupid.  Yet again, just like EBM and Epi, there were argumentative, unclear questions with multiple correct answers.  I scored in the high 70s and was disgusted that I’d spent that much time studying for that stupid class, then Psyc prof gave us a 10 pt curve (only it wasn’t REALLY a curve, according to him) so I didn’t feel so bad.  I ended up having the same grades for both classes, which was ok, but man it’d have been nice to have started the semester out with A’s instead of B’s, oh well.

The rest of the week went ok.  We’ve started child development in psyc, which is definitely more interesting than Mood disorders.  Psyc prof is passionate about it because in his previous career, he was a child psychologist.  There’s a lot of memorization, though, which doesn’t seem like it’ll go well with our other blocks (which will all be together and normal for this block 2).  Neuro has been nuts.  All kinds of memorization and learning and stuff I’ve never heard of, which still sounds very important.  Unfortunately, I haven’t touched my notes for this block–we have our first microbiology exam this coming Wednesday, so everyone’s stressing about that.  There are over 70 pages of notes–MANY charts to memorize, lots of bacteria to know, lots of tests to know.  Ugh.  So that’s what I’ve been doing all weekend.

We had a mock exam Thursday for the Biochem/Genetics TA session that I think went really well.  We had excellent attendance with over half of the class there.  Many people were frustrated that we weren’t going to put the actual exam up on the student server for everyone until today, Sunday.  We still feel it’s for the best, though.  There were a lot of questions that prompted discussion over multiple correct answers and wording, and if you weren’t at the TA session, you missed that and could have been confused.  We gave the kids some really solid advice, though many of them left before we could discuss it, still I genuinely hope they do well.  As we’ve told them, these are easy tests in the beginning that they should really try to blow out of the water and do well on while they can.  Naturally they’re all worried about Physio, as they should be, so I hope our message got through to them.

I’ve been cooking this weekend.  My loan check finally came in last week, so I finally got to go to the ATM and get some ECs to pay my landlady for my electricity for March and April ($920 EC, OUCH), and to go shopping with more than a $75 EC budget.  The Best Buy in Gingerland is really improving–they have fresh meat now, and rotisserie chicken.  I made a rotisserie chicken salad last week to eat in Oat Bran pitas for lunch or dinner (my “one sensible meal”‘ of the day on the slimfast plan).  It had raisins, apples, celery, onion, grapes, walnuts, and a bit of mayo.  Out of this world.  I wanted to go back and get more chicken but they were out, so I settled on a package of split chicken breasts and stew beef.  Yesterday I cooked the chicken breasts in Kraft BBQ sauce in the crock pot and made shredded BBQ chicken breast when they finished–again to eat with Oat Bran pita points.  Last night I cooked the stew beef in some Campbell’s beef gravy–it smells good and looks great but I don’t think I’ll make it again–it ended up being ~$14 EC for only 1 serving while the chicken was ~$20 EC for 3 servings.  Plus I’m trying to stay away from red meat.  Today I’m making a “chili” of sorts in my crock pot, again, with Ragu Mushroom tomato sauce, Hormel beanless chili, onions and garlic.  I’d love to have it over spaghetti but due to fiber, carb, and calorie concerns, will probably eat it like a stew with pita points.  Also I found some giant zuccini at the store which I chopped up into spears and stirfried with some olive oil and soy sauce.  So hopefully my cooking for the week will be done.  My plan is to continue having oatmeal for breakfast, slim fast for lunch, and then one of my cooked meals for dinner.  I’m still having a problem getting my 2 liters of water in daily.  I’ve found that it’s necessary for me to drink Coke Zero while at school, for the caffeine.  Which means that I have to come home and drink all of my water before bed.  It’s not so bad if I come straight home, but these late evenings when I have lab or TA sessions usually end in me going out to dinner with someone, then coming home late and going straight to bed.  I suppose I’ll have to stop those and just come home instead.  I had two of those evenings on Thursday and Friday so I had to catch up on my water and drank a whole whopping 6 liters yesterday.  I was proud of myself though–Thursday I went out for Chinese with some friends and got Tofu and ate only Tofu and no rice, thus not compromising my diet.  I went home and had some V8 because there were only onions as veggies with the Tofu, but still, you can eat out and not ruin your diet.  Friday was a different story–I went to Yachtsman’s and had a Commodore Burger with onion rings and was in heaven.  Yea, can’t do that very often–my weight has stayed the same despite the water and the strict dieting this weekend, which really kills my motivation–but at least I have a cause for it, and, sigh, I can remove that cause by not going to get massive burgers any more.

I’m in the middle of laundry and more micro studying and I think I’m due to go hang another load out on the clothesline.  Sorry for the late update but things have been busy.  Hope all is well with you all and I’ll try to check in later.

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