Sunday, April 6, 2014

20 days 'til Paradise (and studying!)

So, here I am, 22 days out from moving to Sint Maarten to begin medical school. Pretty darn surreal.

There is so much to do between now and then... Decisions to make about what to pack, how to assemble my immigration packet, details about the [terrifying] loans I am about to commit to, whether my family will accompany me, and my living situation are all on the table, making me feel a little anxious.  As I frantically shuffle around in an attempt to get all these things organized for the big move, I am slowly realizing that I may feel these little tinges of inner chaos for awhile... Probably until I am settled into a routine on the island. Maybe even after that, until I am in my fifth semester on the island, finally comfortable and settled in, and it's time to move back to America. Who knows?
My heart tells me I am meant to be there, studying the human body and learning about how I can contribute to the health of other people. It feels right.
It felt right in November, when I attended the open house to learn about what the school could offer me. It felt right in December, when my family went and toured the AUC campus (including the new building) in Sint Maarten. It feels right now, as I brace myself for moving away from everything and everyone I know and hold so dearly, and embark on a new adventure that will be my med school experience.

There have been more practical matters than I can count to get in order.

Today, I signed up for Google Voice. It allowed me to pick a number based in the US (I couldn't find any 843 numbers, so I got one from Jackson, WY :) ) so that anyone calling from the US will not be charged long distance. You set a 'forwarding' number with Google Voice so that anyone who calls your google number will be forwarded on to your real number (which makes me wonder, do you pay for it through Google Voice AND your forwarded line?). On Wifi, you can call US numbers while you are international for $.01/minute. I will also be able to make local Sint Maarten calls for $.15/minute, much cheaper than the SIM card plans on the island. Google Voice is a cheaper alternative to Vonage. I am still looking into Magic Jack, and today, Facebook just announced that their Messenger app can make VoIP (Voice-over-IP). With all these communication options, including good ol' Skype, I am sure I will be able to easily keep in touch with everyone at home.

The immigration process onto Sint Maarten isn't complicated (not surprising, since they allow thousands of cruise ship tourists and workers to debark every day). I had to submit a letter from my county deeming me non-criminal, send in a copy of my whole passport book, and a notarized copy of my birth certificate. Additionally, you must submit some health records- proof of immunization to Measles, Mumps, Rubella, Varciella, Polio, Diptheria, and also proof that I test negative for TB and HIV.

My packing process has been fairly seamless- as of today, I have already packed several boxes (to be shipped from Jacksonville by Crowley Shipping for under $150), and I have packed one checked bag (I will have 4 bags on the plane total).  The only things I have left to pack are [some] clothes and my makeup.... theoretically.
However, my momma's motto is to be prepared, "Take enough for 20 months, Victoria." So, I am thinking I will end up with a few more boxes.

Wondering what I am taking? Here is a little list:
Bathing suits and coverups!
1 pair of jeans
Lots of maxi dresses (cool, cute, and comfortable; will mean I don't always look like a [college] bum...)
A few 'professional' outfits- one dress, khaki capris and heels, a few nice tank tops
PJ's, 'loungewear' (nice term for my bum attire), and athletic clothes

Personal Items:
Hair products galore (b/c I am determined to contain the humid island frizz hair problem)
Fluffy bedding, with king size fluffy mattress pad and some pillows (I may be picky about bedding...)
PLENTY of SPF- if sunscreen is $10 a bottle here, imagine what it costs there.
Lotions, anti-aging creams (due to all the sun exposure), and face wash
Extra cotton rounds, disposable razors, floss, and the like
Small first aid kit, including nausea, allergy, and cold meds
3 Bath towels
2 king sheet sets with extra pillowcases

Office supplies:
notebooks, pencils, pens, stationary (b/c I 'plan on' embracing the handwritten note), laser printer (heavy & takes some planning- since I am a hardcopy studier I plan on using A LOT of paper notes), stapler, wifi router, book light, bookshelf in a box from Walmart, power strip, dry erase board

Little necessities:
extra batteries, candles, snorkel gear, beach towel, bug spray!!, Tide PODS (I have been spoiled...), mounting tape for photos/posters, pop-up clothes hamper, door hooks, hair cut kit (will save me money in the long-run)

Seasoning packets (Hidden Valley ranch, Taco Bell taco, onion soup, fried rice, beef bouillon, etc)
Ramen noodles/Mac N'Cheese/whole grain pasta
Whey Protein powder
Microwave popcorn
Peanut Butter, Ritz Crackers
Olive oil
Hand blender

Some health food stuff from Momma (since I have read it is a premium price in Sint Maarten):
Shacklee Protein Shakes and Meal Bars (I have thought a lot about eating while in school realized in college I couldn't/didn't ever find a routine for mealtimes, which we all know is a healthier way to dine b/c you can plan meals and avoid unhealthy choices- theoretically.  Shakes might help me find time for certain meals throughout the day b/c of their convenience.)
Vitamins ('Zeal' shakes and ReViva)

I am taking suggestions, too, for other items I may need!

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