Thursday, September 29, 2005

Dinner: Pumpkin and Lentil Stew

This dinner was really good. I have to use pumpkin a lot this time of year because it and Calaloo are the cheapest vegetables. Pumpkin is only J$65/kilo at the supermarket, compared to tomatoes at J$250. The ingredients were garlic, ginger, green pepper, onion, carrots, pumkin, curry powder, Jamaican all-purpose spice, black pepper, lentils, and vegetables soup stock. I cooked it all for about 1 1/2 hours. Very tasty and served with some wheat crackers. It would have been great with biscuits, but that would have been a lot more work and I don't have a pan. Now we have dinner for tonight already prepared in the old Kelvinator.

Movie Review: The Forty Year Old Virgin

We go to the movies on Tuesday night because it is buy one get one free ticket night. We had a rough day last Tuesday, so we went to Burger King before the movie and each got the Veggie Burger Combo with Diet Coke. Damn it was good. Then we had to see this movie because both of our moms recommended it. I don't know how often this happens, but probably not that much.

Kaelyn: **** (out of 5). This movie was laugh-out-loud, almost pee in your pants a little bit funny.

Shane: ***** (out of 5). The great thing about this movie was the balance of gross sexual humor and nerdy humor, with the struggle for humans to love each other and share their lives (including their sexuality) with each other.

You should definitely go out and see it.

Laundry Adventures

Usually we don't use our blog to "air our dirty laundry" but I think this story of our adventures in doing laundry needs to be shared. It all started Monday night when following our usually laundry pattern we sorted and separated our clothes, picking out the brights because it was their turn in the rotation. We then put the laundry bucket in the shower, added the powder soap and "showered our laundry" since the water only comes out the shower head for some reason. Then we left our clothes to soak in the soapy water overnight. We awoke Tuesday morning and followed the usual routine of scubbing and ringing, soaking in rinse water and ringing, and finally rinsing in the wash sink and giving it a final ringing out. Then we hung them to dry on our back balcony. We went to work as usual on Tuesday morning and by afternoon it had started raining. It rained most of Tuesday afternoon, Tuesday night, Wednesday morning, Wednesday afternoon, and was even starting to rain again when we reached home Wednesday evening. All this time our laundry had been hanging on our back balcony just hoping for the sun to come out and dry it. After checking the week's forecast and realizing thunderstorms were predicted for the whole island for the next 7 days we realized we were going to have to take a different course of action. We consulted with a few of our co-workers on what they do and set to work Wednesday evening. We snatched the clothes of the line as soon as we got home and returned them to the laundry bucket in the shower. Then we soaked them in water with fabric softener added so that we could rid them of the "raw" smell caused by the rain. (Fabric softener is our wonderful new discovery that we are going to start using every time we do laundry because even without the rain our clothes still smell a bit funny.) We gave them a good ringing out in the bathtub and then we tried ironing them dry. Theoretically this would work but we soon realized after spending 2 hours on 5 pairs of shorts that it would also take forever. So on to Plan 2. We strung up two laundry lines inside our house. If we had a hammer and some nails this would have been much easier but we just had to make do with what we had (door frames and curtain rods). We hung all the laundry back up on the indoor lines, opened all the windows and put a fan on them. When we awoke this morning everything was pretty dry except for the socks. So we went back to the ironing technique to try and get the socks closer to dry. We decided just to be cautious we would leave everything up on the lines inside with the windows open while we went to work today too. Hopefully, by the time we get home tonight they will be ready to put away. Then we can start the next load because this adventure has created quite a backlog. Hopefully this time it won't take 3 whole days!

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Book Blog

We have started a new blog dedicated to keeping track of all the books we are reading in Jamaica. It is entitled Books to Take to a Carribean Island and the web address is It is also listed on this page under links. Check it out and feel free to leave your own comments and suggestions. Our ultimate goal is to assemble the all-time, top five books to bring to a Carribean Island.

Happy Reading!

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Chips and Salsa

The thing I miss most in Jamaica (besides my family of course) is chips and salsa. You would think in a land full of pear (advocado) just waiting to be made into guacamole there would a whole heap of chips. But no, none to be found except the "Export Only" bag of Tostitos at Super Plus, with a price that doesn't make it feasible to purchase except on a very special occasion. And the best salsa option has been Shane's homemade pineapple salsa. Which is good but just isn't the same as Margarita's brand that we used to have a permanent supply of in our fridge in Lawrence. However, we made a break through last night which just might allow us to cope without our very favorite food while in Jamaica. To accompany our black beans and rice we paired stove popped popcorn with hot sauce - and not just any hot sauce Jamaican scotch bonnet pepper sauce of course. It was very tasty, and very spicy, hitting very similar taste buds. We also rationalized that it may in fact be more slightly more healthy. But I still miss the real thing, oh what I would give to go to La Parrilla right now!

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Last Day of Summer

Today is the last day of summer. This means nothing in Jamaica. It is always summer here. In fact the only season of any importance is Hurricane Season (and perhaps Tourist Season which would be Non-Hurricane Season). For those who don't know Hurricane Season runs from June 1 to November 30. So far this year there have been 17 named storms. The record is 21 in 1933. This could turn out to be a record breaking year. I have a hunch that we will see another one come to Jamaica before the season ends. We got very lucky and switched places with Dennis when we were coming here - we came the day after it hit Jamaica as it was heading towards Florida. We were here during Emily but did not feel any effects as there was no direct hit to the island and mainly effected the eastern end of the island. It is very surreal watching the "International News" and hearing about places so familiar being hit by disaster. We watch the CNN evening news broadcast on the Jamaican station each night and we usually listen to the BBC or the VOA on the radio in the morning. I can't even imagine what it would feel like to be in the states right now. I don't think I will mind trading in Hurricane season for a more pleasant season like spring or fall. -Kaelyn

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Four Brothers

We went and saw the movie Four Brothers last night at the Portmore Mall. We limit ourselves to two movies a month, and we have popcorn for dinner on those nights. The reviews... (out of five asterisks):

Kaelyn: ** Because of Mark Wahlberg's presence. But he was not as entertaining as he was in I Heart Huckabees.
Shane: ** Because I miss the snow, Wahlberg was ok, and it was fun if you didn't take the violence too seriously.

We now choose our two movies a month based on if they are not awful, rather than if we think they will be worthy. We wouldn't want to miss our monthly allotment by having too high of standards. And they have HPS-4000 sound (for those who don't know, that is High Performance Stereo; that's right, stereo).

New Posts

We have put some new posts on here, but we dated them according to when they were written. So feel free to go back and peruse some old messages. Now that we have regular access we should be posting more frequently. So check back often.

Monday, September 12, 2005

Weekend in Kingston

Hello all!

We wanted to tell you about our weekend at the Peace Corps Quarterly Meetings in Kingston. We traveled safely and securely to and around Kingston with no problems (by bus, walking, and by charter taxi).

On Friday Shane attended the GAD (Gender and Development) committee meeting and was elected to serve as co-coordinator of International Women's Day. Kaelyn attended the SBAG (Small Business Advisory Group) and was elected (offered) to serve as vice-president (there are only 7 members). We had lunch and dinner at this nice restaurant that serves Thai food on the patio and Indian food inside the restaurant (Thai for lunch and Indian for dinner). And we were able to catch up with many of our friends during the day as well as during the happy hour (half price drinks for exactly one hour) at the Four Seasons Hotel outdoor bar (not the same as the U.S. hotel chain but still nice). The happy hour was interesting because it is sponsored by a German club every Friday and was attended by all ex-pats, they served German food and beers (along with the normal red stripe, as well as mixed drinks and even wine).

On Saturday we had a bit of trouble getting to the meeting because there was lots of gunfire near our neighborhood and we didn't want to leave our house until we found out the reason. It turns out that bird hunting season has now started, so nothing to worry about. Kaelyn attended the wardens meeting on Saturday since she is the assistant warden for St. Catherine South. A warden is just the contact person for the volunteers in the parish to inform when they are going to be gone from their site or whenever they are involved in an incident (crime). Also the warden disseminate safety and security information (a VERY important Peace Corps theme) information to the volunteers. We both attended the Volunteer Advisory Council meeting on Saturday which was very, very long and dealt with many issues of Peace Corps Volunteers. Neither of us are on the council so we probably won't attend this meeting very frequently and will just send our opinions with our representative. Shane is going to work on the BBQ sub-committee of VAC for the day after Thanksgiving Peace Corps Staff Appreciation BBQ. We also got some Jamaican coffee (High Mountain not Blue Mountain) from the coffee shop where Shane had breakfast while Kaelyn was in her warden's meeting.

While we were in the Peace Corps office for the meetings our APCD (Associate Peace Corps Director) Jimmy informed Kaelyn that she had been selected to serve on the SPA committee (Small Projects Assistance) which grants money to Peace Corps Volunteer projects. Only a few people serve on this committee which reviews the applications and implementation of the projects. Jimmy also asked us to organize a beach cleanup at Hellshire beach for International Coastal Cleanup day which is this Saturday - September 17, 2005. Some of the Peace Corps staff is planning to attend because this is one of the closest beaches to Kingston - no pressure.

It was definitely a very busy weekend but it feels good to be so involved!

Love you all,
Kaelyn and Shane

Thursday, September 08, 2005


Hello everyone!

We have uploaded some of our pictures onto our flickr account. These pictures cover our arrival in Jamaica, our training at the University of the West Indies and in Ewarton, as well as our swearing in ceremony. The link is

Hope you enjoy!

Love - Kaelyn and Shane