Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Back Home for Some Snow

Hi Everyone! Happy New Year.

I am back in St. Kitts and ready to unroll the carpet of fun for 2013 in our new home. Julie and myself headed home for the holidays which coincides with Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine's winter break. The break is the longest of the three breaks during the school year, which all take place between the three semesters.

We decided not to fly out during the mass exodus of students leaving the last day of school. Sure, we were eager to get home for the first time since August but there was no point of trying to squeeze onto the overfull planes like a trailer full of cattle and stress ourselves out during the break.

We flew out on December 17th through American Airlines, which a lot of people have problems with because of connections, luggage, etc., but we also smartly booked a hotel in Miami and overnighted so we wouldn't be rushing in Miami International Airport to make our connecting flight.

An Aerial view of Miami International. I believe almost as many people work there as live in St. Kitts and Nevis.

I would suggest if there is any other airport you can fly back into the U.S. to, then do it because we always wait at least an hour in the immigration line. There were other friends and students traveling on the same plane as us and I have no idea how they made their connecting flights on time.

After staying in Miami for the night we jumped on our plane to Cleveland, Ohio. As the plane dropped down out of the clouds the first sight I noticed was how dark, gray, and dreary it was. The temperature was around 40 degrees, it was raining, and there wasn't any snow on the ground yet, just dark dismal yuck.

Dismal Cleveland photo courtesy:http://blog.cleveland.com/metro/2008/03/water_floods_roads_across_ohio.html
Personally I was excited to have read that a snowstorm was headed our direction from the Midwest. Can you say White Christmas?? We didn't have one last year in Pennsylvania and it was due time for one. (Apparently, the media had once again attempted to cause mass hysteria with this storm, which turned out to be just a regular snowfall for December as I remember them.) I didn't know they started naming winter storms either but I guess they do now.

Julie's parents were right on time picking us up and it rained all day while we chatted and caught up on new happenings both there and in St. Kitts. The rain continued and the temperature dropped for the next two days until it finally brought some snow.

I was really surprised at how much my body had adjusted to St. Kitts weather in only four months. I was freezing in Ohio, but there was a temperature difference of around 55 degrees between the two places. It was still well worth seeing family during the holidays.

My brother-in-law, Jay, who I wrote about in the last few posts flew in from Colorado just before the snow hit too and barely got to Denver's airport ahead of the storm. My sister-in-law Jennifer and her husband Dan drove in from Chicago and drove mostly in snow. Before you knew it we had a full house, including Cazimir, the three-legged, "tripawed" cat Julie had rescued at her old practice. Caz, as we call him for short, got his leg caught in a trap in Pennsylvania. Julie surgically removed his leg, arranged all his tiger-striped fur neatly, and re-homed him with Julie's parents. He has been a wonderful cat for them and enjoys the easy life as an inside cat now and ambles along just fine.


With all of us together in the house it didn't take long before funny stories were being told and the house was filled with laughter. My personal favorite story for the Chrismas season was the one Jay told us about the Toronto Ikea Monkey. First of all, you have to see a picture of this monkey if you haven't already. He is the cutest and most sheek monkey I've ever seen. Heck, the monkeys here in St. Kitts don't even bother to wear clothes.

Photo courtesy:http://www.thetimes.co.uk/tto/news/world/americas/article3626431.ece

The monkey, Darwin, is still behind bars or actually a cage in a Toronto animal sanctuary until a judge decides whether to give him back to his owner. The case just gets more bizarre and interesting over time. If you're interested here is a link to the story: Ikea Monkey I just feel bad for the little guy. For him it probably feels like he lost his mother.

Of course we didn't just share stories we also shared lots of great food and it felt like eating marathon with so much good American food. Julie's parents still had a roast I sold them before I left the U.S. and had to shut down my grass fed beef farm. Oh how I miss good beef.

We even had some good breakfast omelettes made by chefs Jay and Dan. Julie is in the middle.
On December, 22nd we all loaded up into two cars and headed to Columbus, Ohio where we visited with both of Julie's sets of grandparents, who both live in Columbus. We celebrated Christmas at both grandparent's houses and also ate two dinners.

Grandparent's house number one.

Grandparent's house number two.

The following day we opened presents back in Wadsworth, Ohio. I was really happy because I got so many useful gifts for St. Kitts. The most surprising and probably coolest was a prescription snorkeling/diving mask. The whole time I've been snorkeling I haven't had a mask with my prescription in them, but now I can see so much clearer. Thank You Julie.

I also got a diving knife, a dry bag, a camel back hydration bag for hiking and a really awesome Caribbean fish identification book, now that I can actually see good enough to identify the fish. This is the book and I actually have two now because of a shipping mishap, so if you're interested I have a brand new one available:

Reef Fish Identification

The following day my parents picked me up and I spent the last week in Pennsylvania. On the way home from Ohio we stopped at my Uncle Bill's house where they decided to have their Christmas party early too. It's amazing because there are now two more additions to our new generation of Williamson's, one being born only a few weeks before Christmas. Of course my favorite of the new generation of Williamson's is my first and only nephew Wyatt. He is going on four years old and was really excited to see me. I explained to him that I live on a tiny island across the big water and he understands that. I do miss him a lot though.

Wyatt, who dressed himself I was told, my cousin Susan, and her baby boy.

Cousin Will, his wife and their new baby.

As usual during the holidays we sang some karaoke. I felt somewhat different when I sang "Kokomo" by the Beach Boys for the first time in many times singing the song because now I was living where they sang about.

After another meal there we headed back to Greenville, Pennsylvania to my parents rural farm of 60 acres. It was really nice to be back home, especially in with the snow. I got to see my parents dogs and they remembered me like I hadn't even left.

Doing what dogs do best, looking for something to hunt. Slinky, the dachshund is on the left and Coco, the lab on the right.
The snow was deeper than my little buddy slinky is tall. I love watching him bounce through the snow.

And of course, my family household wouldn't be normal if it wasn't abnormal. My dad and mom had been looking for a live Christmas tree for a little bit but dad argues that we have plenty of pine trees that we planted years ago so we should just use our own and it's free. So that's what they did. My dad cut down probably a 20 foot pine tree, whacked the top off with his chainsaw, and voila, Christmas tree. But, they all look good from the ground but once you get them inside you realize they rival the Charlie Brown Christmas tree for worst looking tree ever. Amazingly dad doctored the tree up enough that it looked surprisingly good for what it was. Unique and Williamson-esque it was!

Try not to laugh
 The snow kept on coming and before you know it we had nearly a foot of snow and my mom kept saying that it was my fault that we got so much snow because before I came home I kept saying that I wished we would have a white Christmas.

Did I mention it was really cold too?

This was one of the warmer days.

I did end up catching a nasty cold for the week I was at my parent's house but it's no wonder with all the travel and temperature change.

I definitely can't forget to mention that Julie and myself celebrated our first wedding anniversary on December, 30th.

Julie and myself with our one year anniversary cake
After close to two weeks in the U.S. we said goodbye to the snow and back to St. Kitts. I'll admit, I really did miss St. Kitts and being away made me kind of miss our cozy apartment, island time, and the weather. They say absence makes the heart grow fonder and I finally feel like St. Kitts is our home.

St. Kitts and Nevis from our plane window. Nevis is on the right.