Sweet Summer Recap, Part Dos

June leads the parade of the hottest months in Antigua, and the sweat trickling down your back turns into a waterfall. The heat beats down until the end of the year. At this point, you are more than feverish to get off the island (especially after your first semester). You are ready for the AC running 24/7, driving a vehicle, drinking Starbucks, window shopping at the mall, etc. Just having options at your fingertips. I mean heck, even running for a late night trip to WaWa or Target I took for granted.

Fortunately for us, we were able to fly back home for a quick visit. You can tell by the looks on our faces that we were happy to get on the plane. Oh, and the fact that we found some Gelato…

We arrived at the Raleigh airport right after midnight, took a cab, and spent the night before Jesse’s mom came to pick us up. She was so sweet for driving 4 hours down to pick us up and back. Thanks Mama!

Our summer included late morning breakfasts, drinking mimosas, hanging out by the pool, hiking, family dinners, dog sitting, emergency vet visit,  museum trips,  birthday parties, and sitting on the front porch, swinging into the late afternoons. We got spoiled. It was perfect.


4 days before leaving, we packed everything up and thought we were good to go, until the night before we found ourselves with a few last minute items that needed to be stored. We found ourselves having to weigh our suitcases all over again which was a nightmare because we didn’t go to bed until after midnight. Then, we were up at 2AM to be at the airport at 5AM. We finally get to the airport, check in our SIX BAGS OF LUGGAGE (never again… and side note:if you are traveling with so much luggage to Antigua, I would advise that you pack at least 1-2 weeks in advance) and make it to our gate. They load us in and Jesse and I get all settled. I’ve got my sweater on, my headphones in, and Jane the Virgin episodes on Netflix streaming. The lights turn off and we think that the plane is about to move. Except we didn’t go anywhere. We literally sat on the airplane for 45 minutes due to brake issues. Turns out the plane was too dangerous to make it off the ground (let alone, actually land). So we ended up back in the terminal at Starbucks waiting to see what would happen. See pictures below.

Okay, clearly we look exhausted and in the second picture I’m debating if I should buy the “world’s best travel foam pillow” which was priced at $40…..The expression on my face says EVERYTHING….and I really gotta do something about those black circles under my eyes…

We stayed at the airport from 4AM untill noon trying to get a new flight booked. We had so many issues with Delta and Expedia. I would honestly have to say that it was one of my top worst days ever. Jesse was on the phone for two days trying to get everything sorted out. Also, two of our bags were transferred to a new airplane and they flew down to Atlanta GA. We had to come back later to pick them up and one of them was ruined because it had been sitting outside in the rain.

Our 5lb bag of quinoa completely busted open (this stuff is super expensive on the island.)

The only bright spot in all that happened was that we were in VA for three more days ❤

Oh yeah, and I did not buy that $40 foam pillow at the airport. I went to TJMaxx the next day and bought a $15 foam pillow. It’s the little things guys!







Sweet Summer Recap, Part 1

Hello Everyone!

I’m back and I know it’s been a while since my last blog post. But, I’m busy living life and that’s the important thing. SO much has happened since May, so let me dive right in and highlight the summer events.

Jesse made it through his exams which consisted of late nights, early mornings, gallons of coffee, biochemistry formula chanting, head-desk banging, and zombie eyes – for BOTH of us.

Exhibit A

Jesse’s evolution of studying began on the balcony until the sun started to set. He would then bring in his desk and start the whole process over again. (Notice that he stole my favorite coffee cup which I graciously sacrificed.) I made him a breakfast of champions – fried eggs with cheese, bacon, and kiwi – on the day of exams. The last picture is of Jesse walking out the door wearing his “lets-get-this-over-with” face. He came back after 6 hours. Needless to say, he was exhausted.

But afterwards, we decided to celebrate at our favorite joint Coconut Grove. If you are curious about their menu, click here.


Once that ordeal was over with, we decided that it was time to finally relax and explore the island. Jesse and I had not been to the South side, so we asked Leron who owns Lewis Bus Tours and Taxi Service to give us a tour of Shirley Heights. I would highly recommend him if you are a future student coming down to AUA; he is  friendly, reliable, and has a great wealth of information about the island. His prices cannot be beat! You can contact him on his WhatsApp number +1(268) 728-5556.

It took about 45 minutes to go from the north of the island to the southern part. The  view of the mountains and the houses dotting along side of them are pretty spectacular. Anywhere we drive, it always feels like being on a roller coaster, as the road constantly shifts up and down.

We took a ton of pictures, but here are some of the best ones.

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While the first semester brought its challenges, I would not change a second of it. We figured out where to buy groceries and when is the best time to go, what to cook on a strict budget, how long to keep the AC running, the safest spots to run, the smartest way to study, the fastest route to AUA, how to keep the ants and HUGE water bugs at bay, the prettiest beaches and so much more. We have learned the tricks of the island while managing to navigate through the first months of marriage. I’m so thankful for these memories full of love, tears, sweat, island dust bunnies, power and internet outages, crowded buses, late night Fred’s Ice cream, sun screen, mosquito repellent, and just the excitement of the unexpected on any given day in Antigua and Barbuda. I love you Jesse!

Sweet Summer Recap, Part 2 on the way!



Ginger Lemon and Mint Tea

I know that the summer weather has finally showed up in the states and I can assure you that the heat is turning up down here as well. While washing the dishes today, I had sweat dripping down my nose and I could feel it trickling down my back. Yuck! At times like this, I need a cold drink and to sit down and do absolutely nothing which is the best thing ever to do in the Caribbean. That’s why making this cooling mint tea was a perfect solution for today. 

So here’s how I do it: I boil 4 cups of water, add my fresh ingredients, and turn off the stove. I steep the tea for 8-10 minutes, drop in a tablespoon of local Antiguan honey, and then place the drink into the fridge to chill. 

Just chill out ✌🏻

Coconut Grove

As I’m sure you all know, Jesse and I enjoy trying new restaurants and I wanted to highlight one of the places that we have visited so far.

Coconut Grove is located directly on the beach and right next to Antigua Grande Sandals. It treats restaurant goers to a panoramic view of the ocean while enjoying surf & turf and drinking a pina colada.

Below, you can see Jesse trying my dish which was a mixture of clams, shrimp, lobster, and pasta in a creamy sauce. This was the first time in a while that I had eaten pasta, and it was a glorious experience.

Jesse had the garlic shrimp with rice and plantainos and it was equally mouthwatering.


We finished up our meal with chocolate cake and took a walk on the beach with friends.

Helpful Tips

So for those who are coming down for medical school or considering traveling here,  I have list of tips for you. Just things that I’ve learned while I’ve been living here:

* What you should bring if you are going to live in student housing -pillows, blanket, bed sheets, water, toilet paper, shower curtain, cleaning supplies(the place needed a good scrubbing when we got here), kitchen supplies (they do provide utensils and pots), and a frying pan.

* If you are wondering which taxi driver you should call to come pick you up, I would recommend Linden or Leron. They charge decent prices (10EC/4USD) and they are friendly and reliable.

* You can rent or buy vehicles here for reasonable prices. There are a lot of advertisements at AUA where you can find a car. Most everything around here you find out by word of mouth.

* As far as groceries are concerned, you have the options of shopping at Epicurean or 1st Choice. There are some other grocery stores that the locals use such as . I will keep you updated. Epi has everything you can think of – lots of international food with more organic options, but it is expensive compared to First Choice which carries more local produce. When I do go grocery shopping, I like to visit both of them on the same day, so I can find the best deals. And of course, I’ve talked about the meat market and farmer’s market. The best time to go is 6AM on Saturday’s. Jesse does bring home good food from the food vendors that sell at AUA. There are fruit smoothies, coffee, Indian food, salads and Subway is even an option. Other American food chains that are available down in St. Johns is KFC and Burger King.

* If you order delivery, sometimes you can order by directly contacting the restaurant or you will have to contact a delivery service QuikServe. You can do this through WhatsApp, which is one of the main modes of communication on the island. So after you download the app called FoodBooking, which lists delivery places and their menus, you can place your order. I always contact QuikServe with my address and a picture of my order to make sure there are no mix ups or forgotten items, which does often happen to students. Also, FYI, drivers sometimes take 1 to 2 hours to deliver, so make sure you plan and order ahead if you want to eat  lunch or dinner at a reasonable hour.

* Pandora Music Station does not work on the Island, and Spotify will only last for 1 week abroad. I found that Jengo Radio Station works as well as Sirius XM.

* Hulu does not work down here, and there are some shows on AmazonPrime that will not play, however, great news! Netflix does work!!! 🙌🏻  (If you are living in school housing, it costs 30USD a month for 100 channels including HBO and CineMax).

* When you live in school housing, please know that you will only be able to use 3 devices on the internet ACT. Due to the weather, the internet is not always 100% reliable, so you will lose it at times.

* Be aware that the power will go out and the water will sometimes shut off.  Like I’ve said before, island life is unpredictable. Always have extra EC cash on you in case of emergencies and when you need laundry coins. To wash and dry 1 load costs 10USD.

* Trust me when I say this, but if you are taking medications, make sure you bring 6 months worth of the prescription before you leave home. It will not be easy transferring a prescription down here. There is a long process and you will have to get it approved through the school.

I hope this info is helpful and please leave any questions in the comments. I will be more than happy to answer or add onto this list!



My birthday started off with these lovely pancakes 🥞 and a side of bacon 🐖 

And ended with this beautiful dish that Jesse made for dinner ❤️

In honor of turning 25, I will list 25 random/odd facts about myself. So here it goes:

🎬 I love black and white movies and my favorite actresses are Vivian Leigh, Olivia DeHaviland, Grace Kelly, Natalie Wood, and Elizabeth Taylor.

🌈 And despite not being born in the 80’s I also like watching films from back then such as Pretty in Pink, 16 Candles, Breakfast Club, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, Say Aything, etc. But hey, I married an 80’s baby….Jesse ❤️

🤷🏼‍♀️ I’m a horrible klutz and cannot be trusted to play any sport, unless you would like your team to lose due to my lack of coordination. 

👩🏼‍🍳 I love to cook, but always send up burning or cutting myself everytime, it never fails! 

🍋 I have to drink lemon or lime with my water.

🛁When I finally get out of a hot shower, I immediately sit on the floor in my towel and enjoy the steam floating around the room. 

🍵 I love to try new foods! Recently, we’ve been eating a lot of Indian food. 

🥙 Some restaraunts that I’ve been craving back home are Pho Dalat, Reginella’s, Five Guys, Jason’s Deli, Mongolian BBQ, Sweet Frog and Starbucks just to name a few…oh and empanadas!

☕️ I drink tea almost everyday. Especially green tea. 

🌊 I’m obsessed with any shade of blue.

💇🏼 I used to hate my curly hair, but now I wouldn’t change it for anything. I get the best of both worlds 👌🏻

👠 I don’t really wear high heels except for special occasions, and lately I’ve been only wearing Sanuk sandals which are amazingly comfortable. 

🌺 I will forever take tons pictures of flowers/nature anywhere I go. 

🙅🏼 I can be indecisive, so whenever I buy beauty products, I can stand for hours in the aisles just comparing ingredients. 

🔹The toothpaste must be squeezed from the bottom up. 

⬇️ I’m afraid of heights, but I love to go zip lining. 

🎵 I’ve played the piano since I was 6. 

🎂This is my second birthday away from home and outside the US. The first time was on my 21st birthday while traveling abroad in Israel/Palestine. 

✨ I get lost in thought a lot, and sometimes zone out thanks to my ADHD.

💭 My best ideas come right before I go to sleep at night, and then I can never remember them in the morning. 

😧 I can be a bit spastic when speaking so my words come out fast, and when I ask questions, people don’t have a clue.

🚙 I enjoy jumping in the car with Jesse and taking long car rides, or just driving through our old stomping grounds back when we were dating. 

🌲 I grew up in the country, and made forts in the woods and made an obstacle course out of hay bales for fun. 

🌇 Charleston, SC is my favorite city. A lot of my family is from there. 

🌝What’s the funniest/silliest argument that Jesse and I have had?! Oddly enough, dinosaurs. 
Bonus question: What’s on my mind? Why chocolate cake, of course 🌞

 Black Pineapple

So, we finally tried the elusive Black Pineapple, the official fruit of Antigua and claimed to be the world’s sweetest pineapple. After months of searching in the grocery stores, we got lucky and found an over abundance at the local farmer’s market on Friday. We picked our pineapple priced at $11USD (prices vary on the size). Our taxi driver explained to us that the Black Pineapple is scarcely grown on the island. While that was puzzling, we were excited to try it. After cooking up two thick sizzling steaks for dinner that night (which we only paid 8USD at the meat market, also in St. John’s), we cut open the pineapple. And, I will have to confirm that this pineapple is the sweetest pineapple that I have ever tasted. It was not bitter or tart, due to its low acidity. I almost felt it was too sweet to keep eating. I should have taken a picture, but I did not get a chance (ahem, Jesse!). But, the color inside is more of a softer color yellow, not as bright as the one back in the states. None the less, you will want to try this mouthwatering treat when you come to the island, & dont leave until you do. You don’t want to miss this!