Friday, February 29, 2008


I secretly feel super cool that I was just tagged.

I am assuming I am supposed to copy and paste the questions and answer them. What I think is funny there are only three people reading my blog (me, Shauna, and Kristen) so I'm not sure who I should tag.

I am looking at my disgusting abrasion (that's a med school term for - nasty scrape) and thinking of why in the world I am sitting in my room on a Saturday night. I am waiting for Craig to call me so I can go to bed. But, I am not tired so I am thankful for Kristen for giving me something to do!

10 years ago:

- I was stressing out about prom. (I am SO old)
- Shauna and I would sing "Mmm Bop" by the Hansen's in the school parking lot.
- I would make out with Craig in his Eclipse.

Things on my to do list today:
- Get thru all of Microbiology and outline the lectures. Woe is me - I only got thru 8.
- watch all 8 hrs of today's lectures (I only got thru 6).
- Go to health clinic and pick up supplies to clean my scrape this weekend.
- Look up grapefruit diet.
- Buy veges and fruit and find eggs.
*Don't be jealous of my exciting life*

What I would do if I suddenly became a billionaire:
- HAVE A BABY (and adopt 2-3 more)
- become a foster parent for Golden Retriever Rescue Foundation
- buy Craig a drum set and a Mustang (car not animal)
- pay off debt
- pay off all debt for my family
- buy a plane and rent a pilot so I could fly anywhere I wanted
- buy a house with an outdoor kitchen that included a pizza oven
- SHOP in my rattiest clothes and have a "Pretty Woman" moment - "You get paid commission, don't you? Big make mistake. Huge."
- go to a nearby school, pick out 1000 names of underpriveledged kids, and set up college funds for them
- set up college funds for my nieces and nephews and future kids
- hire doctors and buy medical supplies and equipment and do medical missions year round
- SAVE!!!
...I could go on forever!!

Three bad habits:
- I weigh myself every time I go into the bathroom and get upset if the numbers go up.
- Surf the internet WAAAY too much.
- Plan things then get upset when they don't turn out how I envisioned them.

5 jobs I've had
- Bealle's department store gift wrapper
- Steak and Ale waitress
- Leasing Agent
- Day care worker
- Office manager

5 things people don't know about me:
- I get up at 5am
- I am terrified at trying adventurous things but only do so for Craig.
- I smell everything.
- I LOVE Skymall magazine.
- I worry about facial hair.

I tag: Shauna, Ashley Pearman (my friend here who's in my bible study), Andrea Morgan (another bible study friend), Tracey (Harper), Lindsay (Burton), Kristen (Ayers)

BTW - Test 1 (we call them Mini's) went OK. Not great - but OK. But, God is still pushing me along and telling me I need to keep going. Less than 3 weeks til Mini 2- so prayers please!

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Craig's weekend...

My husband is hot!!!

Ok - Craig is still here and it's Sunday night. He told me I have to blog now because this week I will be SUPER busy catching up with school work. And, he's right.

This is his 3rd trip to Dominica. The last two times he came he visited when I was in 1st semester. Back then, I was a good student and went to class and studied while he was a good a husband and watched movies while I did work. NOW - that I'm a seasoned veteran at this med school thing (hahahaha) - I decided to take a vacation as well. So, NO STUDYING FOR ME!!!

He landed on Thursday and I was at the hospital doing a rotation, practicing physical exams and doing patient interviews. It was pretty fun but I realized I have a LOT to learn before I trust myself in trying to heal the sick. But let's face it, I was more concerned with him landing safely than I was about looking at patient's ear drum.

Me playing doctor with Sonia.

My friend Andrea was picking up her husband's friend at the airport. So I was relieved to have her there to welcome Craig and give him my housekey to let himself in.

He got to my apartment about 30 minutes before I did so I got to walk into my place with my hunky husband waiting for me!!! I was thrilled. There is nothing better than coming home to the ones you love.

Friday we hung out at the beach and layed low. We had big plans for Saturday.....

OH SATURDAY! What a day!!! We bought tickets on a boat to take us to a neighboring island called Les Saintes, Guadeloupe. It is a French territory and boasts yummy french eateries and good times.

The day started out idyllic. The sun was out, the skies were was going to be a good day.

Then - the boat showed up an hour late. Hmmmm - it must have been a foreshadow of things to come.

We got on the boat and took residence in the back on two lawn chairs. The sea breeze was nice and the ride was going well. They had food and beverages and we were feeling good.

Me pre-sea sickness

About 20 minutes into the 2 hour boat ride, we got soaked by a wave. Hmm - that must mean the waves were pretty high. Yup - the waves were high and the ride from that moment on was choppy. We moved to another spot closer to the edge of the ship "in case" we got sick.

Nope - we full out got sick. Craig projectile vomitted over board while I ralphed into a blag trash bag. Yuck.

craig not happy when we arrived

The rest of the trip my head was between my hands and praying to God that He got us safely to the island. FINALLY we arrived.

We decided to rest a bit before we explored. It's all the rage to rent scooters (yup - Joe if you're reading this SCOOTERS!). So we fell in line to rent scooters. They speak French on the island so there was some language problems. But, thanks to my 4 years of French - I was able to decipher that the nice French man and his wife were saying "we can't rent to her - she looks like she'll crash our bike." So - they rented to Craig and we would double up. We were excited. We had our helmets on and were ready to go!!

If only we knew...

Then - it happened. CRASH!!!! Poor Craig lost control and it was only by the grace of God that we didn't break any bones. The locals and some friends of mine rushed over to us. The only thing I remember was thinking "Don't cry. It'll make Craig feel worse." Then the nice French man who rented us his scooter came to us and all he said was "Enough."

Looks worse today - ouch.

This is the worse of his scrapes - I couldn't take a picture of his bruised ego.

So - I crawled to a nearby house and waited patiently as Craig ran to the boat to get the first aide kit.

So - now, I'm limping, bleeding, Craig feels awful, but I am STILL determined to make the most of our trip. We decide to hoof it around the streets in search of a beach to relax on. Then came the rain. It started to rain so we took cover in a store where I bought more bandaides. We realized that the only pretty beaches could not be reached on foot so we decided to eat ice cream.

The gelato was amazing. The highlight of our trip. But we decided to only eat ice cream because we didn't want to get sick on the way back home. So - 5 scoops of ice cream. The best part of our Les Saintes adventure.

But, I decided to be positive and we tried to find a beach again - this time in the other direction. We walked between two buildings where there were boats docked. I think it was someone's home but there was just enough sand to put down a towel and enjoy the water. Craig was able to get in all the way and enjoy the water but all I could do was put my feet in because I was scraped from the shin up. Then - I look to my right - and there - is a woman and her family and her BOOBS. Great - my romantic trip with my husband and the only person who's showing her breast-eses is some French lady.

Craig enjoying the beach. But his boo boo is stinging!!

We had 2 hours to kill so I bought Craig a shirt for 1 Euro and myself a magnet. We got on the boat for our trip back home to Dominica. Since I didn't eat anything ALL day I figured I'd be alright on the way home. NOPE!!! Upchucked again for about 20 minutes straight. Craig was lucky enough to not get sick.

Let me tell you something - I had never been happier in MY LIFE to see Dominica. We docked and waited for customs to clear us - then we got off the boat and headed home.

What a day.

Craig - being the positive one in our happy marriage - looked at the bright side.

"At least we didn't break any bones."

"At least we know now to NEVER ride on a boat."

"At least we know now to NEVER ride on a scooter."

Hmmm - the one thing I learned from our trip - is - no matter how crappy an experience may be, the only bright side to it was that I got to spend it with the person I love the most. Isn't that what life's about - taking those trips that are horrible but knowing that coming home to or with the one you love - is what counts.

Oh - the love of my life!

Craig and I BEFORE the trip!

He leaves tomorrow so please pray for his trip home and pray for strength for me as I finish the last few weeks of school.


I have a lot to catch you guys up on, but first let me start with what exactly I'm doing here.

Ross University is a offspring of DeVry Corporation. It's one of the only schools in the Caribbean that's recognized by the U.S. a.k.a. - Ross isn't pumping out quack shack docs but legitimate physicians.

It's an ACCELERATED program. Meaning - what all medical schools in the U.S. have to cover over 4 years we cover in a little over 3 years. Ross does this by cutting our breaks to 2 weeks between semester and cutting our semesters by 1 month. So, instead of doing an Aug - Dec semester we do a Sept. - Dec. semester. Our curriculum follows National Board of Medical Examiners criteria just like any school in the U.S. We take the same standardized test and sit for the United States Medical Licensing Exam (aka USMLE) just like U.S. students.
It's not better it just faster. And because of this, my brain is constantly in work mode and I become socially inept by the time breaks roll around.

So here's the break down:
16 months in Dominica - 4 - 4 semester basic sciences (For me - Jan 07 - April 08)
3 months in Miami - transitional semester where I take the COMP (comprehensive test of my basic sciences) - for me - I take the COMP May 23rd in Miami and start my 5th semester right after
IF - no WHEN - I pass the COMP - I register for Step I of USMLE to take in October. Once I get my scores and I PASS (God willing) - I start my clinical rotations in Dec. 08 for 180 hours of clinicals.
I'll do my clinicals in either Atlanta, New York, or Cleveland (pray for Atlanta).

THEN - I'll sit for Step II at the end of my clinicals and graduate in March 2011.

During this time, Craig (my hubby) and I have been apart but plan on being back together during clinicals.
He visited me this weekend and I have some stories to tell!!! I'll leave you with a few words to describe our weekend: crash, vomit, scar, topless, Gelato.

Til tomorrow!

Thursday, February 14, 2008

People I miss

I am ultra stressed out and praying like a maniac for God to put confidence in my heart.

At times like these, I miss my friends and family.

So - I'm taking a study break to tell you who I miss:

- Chap (Christi) - I just have not seen her! She was the best roommate ever and one of the people I know I can call on if I ever need someone. I didn't get to see her last break but this break we're going out Villa West style.

- D'ville crew - all of you. I miss laughing. I love how we've been friends for over 14 years and how we've shared our lives together.

- STACY - my Shauna #2 - I love and miss you more than you'll ever know. You are going to be an AWESOME mom. I wish I could tell you how much you mean to me. Your friendship the past few years has meant the WORLD to me. When you have little Jack or little Charlie - they'll play with little Isabel or little Noah Hounsel = and we'll force them to be friends.

- my mom and dad - wow - I only aspire to be half the individuals they are. I love and miss them.

- my sisters - crying now - they are everything to me. I don't know where I would be without them.

- my nieces and nephews - crying even harder now - I miss seeing them grow up and "get big."

- Craig - BOO freakin' HOO - he is my world. He is my #1 support, an awesome provider, knows how to make me laugh, knows me to the core and still loves me no matter what.

You know what - I just realized going through this list - how incredibly blessed I am. I pray for God everyday to get me through med school. I often forget all the wonderful things He HAS provided me. I know God will get me through this time and I know - no matter what - I have friends and family that will be there for me.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

TEST #1 - MONDAY - FEB. 18th at 8AM

Please start praying.... that's it just - keep me in your prayers this week and on Monday love ya'll!

Test #1 - Feb 18th
Test #2 - March 17th
Oral exams - April 7-9th
Test #3 - April 11th
Test #4 - April 14th
Test #5 - April 16th
Test #6 - April 18th
Test #7 - April 21st
Final exam - April 24th

Monday, February 11, 2008

5 reason's YOU'RE glad you're not me

5. You don't have to take a test on Monday over 4 classes. I have about 15-20 lectures per class, each lecture has a power point presentation that's 50 - 300 slides, and I have to know ALL of it.

4. You don't have to go to bed at midnight and get up at 4am (unless you have kids or a really bad sleeping schedule).

3. You haven't seen your husband in over a month.

2. You don't look at your lettuce and wonder if you'll find a worm in it (thanks to Jamie - who DID!!!)

1. You don't have have to do a female pelvic exam tomorrow (and you didn't have to do a rectal exam last week).

Welcome to my life :-)

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Dear Shauna,

Since you are the only one that reads my blog I've decided to write a letter to you.
First, thanks for setting this up for me because it gives me ANOTHER reason NOT to study. I really should be studying right now but I just got done running by the ocean and was thinking about more reasons to not look at my notes about vascular tumors.

Seriously, I can't believe we have been friends for as long as we have. It seems like yesterday we were hanging out in Ms (aka Tex) Lowe's history class, wearing matching sundresses while dancing barefoot to the 8th grade dance, being not so good at church lock ins, making up fake identities on the river, singing at the top of our lungs while sitting on your parent's van (not just any song - "Somewhere Out There - from An American Tail)...and that's just grades 7-9. We have shared so many memories and have been invovled in every important moment in each others lives. True friends are ones that you let take a part of your soul and carry it with them through life, because you know, there is no way in HELL (yup I just cursed) they would ever do anything to hurt your heart. YOU, my dear, are that person.

I don't know where life is going to take me in the next few years. But
I do know I will be priveleged to have you as a friend as I walk through the many challenges God will faithfully put in my path. I know you'll be on your knees in prayer for me, jumping up in times of my accomplishments, and walking by my side - even in spirit - as I continue on my journey.

I am in awe at the friendships God has placed in my life. I am thankful for you everyday.

Ok - enough. I can't cry and mess up my make-up...oh wait...I don't wear makeup on the island!

If you are reading this blog and NOT Shauna, I hope and pray you have a friendship in your life as great as the one her and I share. And PLEASE leave me a comment - it makes me happy - and with a test coming up over cardiovascular and respiratory systems - I need a lot of happy (and prayers).

I'll leave you with a picture of the sunset (this is what I get to see everyday!). I'll blog more later about how this Ross University works. I'll take you for a ride on my rollercoaster I like to call med school.

Love you, Shauna Bean!
Czarina Burrito

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Meet my friends

Really quick. I wanted you meet some people in my life that are important to me here on the island. I'm not really sure how to put the pic with the description so I'll do my best.

Jamie aka Jamers: God put her in my life at the exact moment when I needed a friend the most. She hails from Wisconsin (when you meet her ask her to say bag), a Packer fan (I've forgiven her for that), an awesome Christian and my soon to be roommate in Miami. We love making dinners, drinking Dominican Sunshines (concoction of Rum, passion fruit juice, and lime juice - yes - it is awesome), skipping class to go to the beach, talking about our weight, and IMing each other all day as we look at the Skinny Website together. She is my Shauna on the island.

Zahra, Sonia and Lauren - my New York crew. They ooze designer duds and have mouths that would make the Sopranos look like little school girls. I've been friends with them since I got to the island. They are young'ens - being 22 and 23 y.o. They remind I'm NOT old, taught me the greatness of Flip Cup, and keep me laughing.

Kim (aka KIMMY - think "My Best Friend's Wedding) - she is now in Miami. She's semester ahead and I met her last semester. We became instant friends and bonded over us both being married. I miss her so much and can't wait to see her and her hubby in a few months. We'd go on hour long walks up the mountain to lose weight, get excited about stomach bugs because it'd be a chance to lose MORE weight, coined the phrase "smart AND skinny", and totally gets me when it comes to Pet Parenting.

Jen (aka my SAVIOR!) - she is also in Miami and is Kim's closest friend. She was my peer tutor in 1st and 2nd semester and got me through all my tests. She tried tutoring me last semester over Rum and cokes on the beach - THAT didn't work! She is from New Orleans and is your classic southern gal. She makes killer biscuits, cheesey grits, my fave sugar cookie pancakes, and can drink any man under the table. I love her and can't wait to see her!!

Mike (aka Mikey) - he's getting added because he was my very FIRST friend on the island. He hails from the Lone Star State and is an Aggie (NEVER will forgive him for that). He has a knack for telling stories and keeps me calm. He is now dating Jen and I like to think I had a part in the budding romance. He's a great guy and is hopefully off the market for good :-)

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Ok - Here goes.....

Hey ya'll!
I can't believe I'm doing this. But, my best friend since 7th grade has forced me to do this :-) Shauna Bo-Bauna - you are my soulmate (Craig and Kip are a super close 2nd).

Ok - I started medical school at Ross University in Dominica. When people ask why Dominica - in all honesty - it's because it's where I was accepted. I took the MCAT and scored average. I had average grades in undergrad. I had average extra-curricular activities. But luckily for me - I have an ABOVE average God.

My journey to Dominica for school has not been an easy one. It has taught me humility, desperation to know Christ, tested my friendships, proven to me that Craig is first and fore-most the single most important person in my life, and most importantly proven to me that if it's God will for your life - He doesn't ask you if this is what you want to do - He commands you to do it. And, I thank God everyday for the journey, for the trials, for the tears and for teaching me that obedience in Him is freedom for me.

I'm not sure how often I'll be able to post but I'll try to post every couple of days. I have my first big test Feb. 18th. So, I'll use this as my way to get prayer requests world wide. If you are reading this blog - put me on your prayer list. Pray for me by name, that I pass my exams (A's would be nice :-) but passing is just fine), I find strength in each day, that God continues to change me to the person He wants me to become and that my fears and anxieties are turned into confidence .

Here's a pic from this semester. I went river tubing with some friends of mine on the Layou River. Tubing in Dominica is NOT like tubing on the Guadaloupe. If you've seen those adds for white water rafting - that's what its like - but I was in a tube!! I'll post more pics later.
Have to study ----again.

Dear Czarina,

I just want to first tell you that I am so proud of you. You are one of the strongest, most hard working, beautiful people that I know! I think you are amazing! I created this blog for you today because - enough is enough - you need one. For those of you who don't know Czarina - she has been in Dominica for a year and a half or so (right?) in Medical School at Ross University.

When I met Czarina {in 7th grade}, she was going to be a doctor. When we both took French class in 9th grade for the trip to France, she was going to be a doctor - by the way - why didn't I go on that trip? Cheering at football games - doctor. Partying it up in college - maybe got a little side tracked from becoming a doctor?? :) Marrying her high school sweetheart - doctor {not Craig...her} :) . And now. Now she is really doing it. And I want to hear about it. So does the rest of the world. And your kids {hopefully coming in the near future} will want to hear about it too! One of them will probably need to hear how hard Medical School is so he or she can prepare to take over your practice one day.

So - here you go. This will be my last post on your blog - it is up to you now! Get to it!

Love always,


What a blessing!

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