Spring is coming, forget the overgrown rat ground hog predictions, it just has to be!
On Monday it was freezing. Take this with a grain of salt I am after all from the Caribbean. That being said it was a very cold day especially considering that we were all in short sleeves on Saturday. This was brought to my attention first thing in the morning since my husband a.k.a. Mr. It’s not that cold out; it’s only 40 degrees exclaimed upon checking his phone “Babe! It’s 25 degrees outside!” My response to that was of course the biggest eye roll in history. That’s my style of late with the weather.
I don’t enjoy the cold perhaps it’s my age, perhaps I just prefer it warm. I don’t enjoy the complete “soak me down humidity” that often comes with the summers of Charlottesville either but, I definitely do not appreciate the cold. We have had so many snow days this year. For those of you who have had news of acceptance to Darden, WHOOP WHOOP!!, do not get excited, it is a very rare occasion when UVA closes school, even for snow. It has just been an unusually snowy, cold season in Charlottesville and I have definitely had enough of winter. I also have never been appreciative of Phil’s predictions of “X” number more days of winter; he’s been on my list since February. Whose bright idea was it to ever listen to an animal who apparently gets scared when he sees his shadow? He brought it into being, I am convinced! I am also ready to be wearing less clothes plus, it’s time to assess the damage from all that hot chocolate I’ve consumed to warm up I have beaches to visit in the summer (yes, leave it alone guys, it’s a girl thing)
Enough, whining, like I said spring is coming. I know this because the birds are out, squirrels are getting brave again, and I’ve been visited by ladybugs and as of Sunday afternoon wasps which was okay but, ended very badly for him when he thought I would be cool with him walking up my arm…sorry. The landscapers at Darden have the right idea too, forcibly bringing in the blooms of spring. As of this week we literally have spring in the garden areas and entry, all around Darden.
If only the weather would get on board now…

2014-03-25 18.26
Kudos again to the second round candidates of Darden Class of 2016!

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Much to do in C’ville

Let it be known all over the world, of Darden, that we are going to be famous!

In August a local Wine and Design opened up in Charlottesville. Yes, we are just cool like that in C’ville. What was even cooler was that they partnered with Living Social for a lovely discount, bonus! All it takes is one to get the ball rolling and with a quick message out on the DPA facebook page, courtesy of Agnes, we had a group to participate.

I am not sure which was more fun, the creative moments and relaxing atmosphere from PUI (painting under a little influence) or the fact that I was able to say to Mr. Man, “dinner is in the kitchen when you’re hungry, I am off to paint”. It is the little things in this life.

To be honest, I was a bit nervous about the whole painting exercise as it had been so long since I had painted anything. However, I was soon put at ease with the easy atmosphere and let’s be honest a few sips of wine. We had so many laughs and the instructor was just awesome with great pointers, including most importantly not rinsing your paint brush in the wine glass. Hey, things happen while you’re in that creative mode.

We had a great night together and with the aid of some wine discovered that we all have a little bit of van Gogh in us.  Now it’s just to figure out which wall will be perfect for the masterpiece and to convince Mr. Man that we could make some money off these skills I apparently have. Bring on the wine!!


Kindly note the addition of Ralph the dog in Veronica’s painting.

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Perseverance and a little friend

I’ve been home a lot this past week, well since I got back from my trip home to Jamaica. Mr. Man also had a study abroad trip to China for his class and I suppose we’ve both been recovering since with trying to get back on schedule and sorting out our items for the winter. By the way, Autumn/Fall officially arrived; it has been wet and COLD! During the days, my favourite spot to read and write, let’s just be honest here and check facebook, happens to be in a chair which faces our porch. I open the blinds, which lets in a lot of light, get cozy on my arm chair settle in with the laptop and I am good to go. One big plus to this arrangement is that with the natural light I feel awake, refreshed, get an opportunity to watch the cars go by but really just check out the view of our little world. It is also my prime location for watching the laundry room, when it’s full. From my vantage point I am able to spy the exact moment when someone leaves with their laundry in hand which means a machine is open! I digress.

We have a tree directly in front of the porch, a Dogwood (I am fairly certain it is a Dogwood but I am no botanist) it has berries, well I should say it had berries. Up until these past few weeks I had no idea that the berries were edible but, oh my friends, they are especially so for our resident Squirrel. He visits our tree every day. I am fairly certain that it is the same Squirrel as he’s a little territorial with the others and looks the same to me at least.

I first became aware of our little friend a while back when one morning, in my routine, I noticed that the tree was swaying in a most odd manner. I figured we must have an animal in it and based on the movements of the tree I assumed it was one of our feral cats trying to climb up for a bird. Not so, it was in fact just a very healthy squirrel. As I watched on that morning I was reminded of a hymn I sang in Sunday school as a child, some of the words which immediately came to mind being …all things bright an wonderful all creatures great and small…, I even had flashbacks of the arm movements we would do while singing. I have grown accustomed to my little friends’ visits. He’s completely unafraid of me which I didn’t expect at all but, after our initial stare down one day we now have a relationship, an understanding of sorts. Now when he sees me watching he simply pauses for a minute, looks me over and gets back to work.


What fascinates me the most about my squirrel is that he is so conscientious. He never stops going, he comes everyday and can be found diligently picking each and every berry. He also doesn’t allow for any waste I have noticed. He patiently climbs to the next branch, settles down for a bit if it sways too much for him to keep moving (my tree is not that strong or big yet) and then continues to move to his destination. Perhaps a week ago we had berries covering the tree, today there are only a few left, and the tree is also now mostly covered in little white buds where we will have flowers in time and the stubs where the berries once were.

In watching Squirrel, I have been reminded of what it means to move through life with a sense of purpose and determination. It’s that old adage “Eye on the Prize!” I often find that when I am consistently faced with challenges pertaining to one particular goal I begin to lose momentum and that little self doubt comes to the surface. I haven’t shared this detail yet in my stories but, I am currently working on registration examinations for my profession. I have 5 more examinations to complete and have so far passed the few which I was most confident and comfortable with. While Mr. Man completes his program we had determined that in this transition period I would have the best opportunity to complete my examinations. I am however, just being honest, a little scared of the next round. One of them in particular the minute I look at the graphic section, causes my stomach to clench and rumble. It’s funny the things that affect us. I am not exaggerating, not much anyway, it is a subject area that is often spoken of in our professional circle as one of the most challenging. You know it’s bad when on the forum for this particular subject area, there is little to no talk of the multiple choice section but pages upon pages covering the graphic section. At my old job my boss shared his experience with this examination, he had struggled with it too and he actually encouraged me often to “take the plunge”, “throw caution to the wind” saying at least you will have the experience of it. Oh how difficult that really is.

I haven’t seen or heard my squirrel this week. I ventured out today, in the cold at that, to inspect and I now realize that his job is done. I also can see that some of the berries which I had determined were completely out of reach for this chubby little fellow are gone! This little fellow having found the jackpot in our tree, having determined that this was some good eats and with the winter scarcity approaching, has worked tirelessly and consistently and in just a few weeks has completed his mission. He didn’t care that the tree branches were not easy to climb, he didn’t care that there were probably easier berries to eat on a neighbouring tree. His job, he had decided was to systematically and thoroughly get each and every one of those berries. This is perhaps why he didn’t care about me watching him, bigger fish to fry for him. He was just taking care of business.

I did some research on our variety of squirrel. They apparently enjoy eating the berries of the Flowering Dogwood among other things and with the winter, although they don’t hibernate, he will become quite scarce. He will do most of his foraging only in a few morning hours so I may not see him for quite some time. They also have a relatively short life span, about 5 years, hmm the same number as my examinations remaining, okay now I am just reaching.


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On Moving…and adjusting

We’ve been living in Charlottesville for 5 months; well technically Mr. Man has been living there for 5 months, I only made the move in July. So far so good in fact it has been a great experience, only the usual fair share of ups and downs. We’re already beginning to create our own stories, perhaps to share with the children eventually; you know the ones about the real life experiences, and how we started out as a couple and even some strange ones like the one with the spider that tried to do the dishes. We can talk about that one in particular at a later date. It is all a part of the journey and even the seemingly insignificant bits matter.

First impressions, Charlottesville VA is a beautiful city. I love the historic architecture, hearing the stories behind the founding of the school and of course about the man himself. The people of C’ville are warm, supportive and caring. All of which helps to ease the transition, especially since we come from a country where the people are known for their friendliness. The city and the community are also a real testament to the necessity of proper research regarding the tertiary institutions you attend. Darden is proving to be one of the best decisions, I feel, we have made together. Now this isn’t to say that it has been a walk in the park. Let us not underestimate the magnitude of this life change. It is never easy to move to a new city and it was a little bit of a bigger move for us, add to that the fact that we did this while school was going. I know some would say that we were crazy to pick up in the middle of a school year moving to a different country but we did it. Just as Mr. Man says “it haffi work!” and it did.

We’ve learned a few things along the way about perseverance and positive thinking, pushing forward and taking a leap of faith. I’ve also learned a few other useful bits along the way . In fact, let me share a few of my thoughts, realizations or perhaps just my own observations thus far. As time passes I am sure there will be more,

  1. During exam time there may be a few sleepless nights, thankfully we have only had one so far. In an effort to support my partner I stayed up with him to offer refreshments as necessary and literally a midnight snack. I figured it would also give me an opportunity to catch up on some of my reading and T.V. shows, Scandal, Breaking Bad just to name a few. In “adjusting” I now realize that I am not as young as I once was. Gone are the days where a sleepless night here or there would be easily recovered the next day. You need your sleep to pack for trips and fix dinner otherwise be prepared to order in, which means keep those flyers that get stuck to your apartment door handy
  2. Laundry is best done weekdays between the hours of 8am and 3:30pm. This must be observed especially during the recruitment period. After which time the Law school and Darden students, despite the fact that you avoided the laundry room on the weekend to give them free rein, charge the laundry rooms to do a quick load or two in the evening. Do your laundry early in the (week) day and don’t forget to time the machines!
  3. Make friends with the bus drivers, they look out for you once they get to know you. Remember to say “Hi, how are you” and “Thank-you” on exiting the bus, it’s the southern way and no matter how much of a hurry you’re in, it matters. Also, while you get your city bearings the bus drivers are helpful in making quick transfers and dropping you off at the right stops. A little southern hospitality goes a long way especially when it’s raining
  4. Try to socialize. Reach out and make yourself available to those partners. The SYs (code name for 2nd year students and partners) have done it before they have been through it all and they can help you out. We all need a friend who really gets it every now and then. You’re not alone, everyone has made or is making some sort of adjustment and we can all figure it out together over a cup of coffee or a drink
  5. If like quite a few partners you are making this transition, leaving your job behind at home, enjoy this time. Yes, I know I don’t always follow this advice, I like to be busy too but, your partner will need the support more than he/she knows during these first months. Also, taking this time to bond with the other partners, getting your own bearings and adjusting in your own way is beneficial to you and is helpful to your partner. Have some fun time, gain your own perspective and along the way you’ll also find your own “new” pace. Yes, please remind me of this the next time you see me in a panic about not having a job yet. Sometimes you need to take the opportunity to slow down and vineyards are fun!

We do miss home at times, I know I do espec001ially on those chilly mornings (yes, the low 70’s is cold for this island girl) and what could beat the ease of going for a weekend trip to the country or relaxing on the beach? But, in the meantime, for the next year I will have vineyard tours and the experience of peach and apple picking at the orchards. I will also have new friends and people to share with in this experience (yay for my Darden partner compadres) and perhaps this is all a little bit of my life Kaizen.


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