Hi Everyone,

I know it’s been a while since I’ve posted, but to be fair, we’ve been busy. Since our test on Saturday, we had to cram in as much touristy sites and places in two days as we could.

First of all, the test went well. After studying until 12 to 1 am every night preparing from the test, it was all over in a couple of hours. I was fairly confident when we finished the test, and was very happy with my grade when we got the tests back later that night. Now all we have to do is finish up our binders before the end of January. Hopefully I will have a little of time before the semester gets too busy to work on it.

After the test was over, we headed down the road about 45 minutes to Dunn’s River Falls. This was one of the coolest things I have ever seen. We actually got to walk up a water fall, splashing and playing the water the whole way up. Not only was it a beautiful sight, but it was also a fun type of exercise. I would definitely recommend it to anyone who is traveling to this area of Jamaica. Dunn’s River Falls is even on the $100 Jamaican dollar bill, it’s that cool.

After getting back from Dunn’s River Falls, we had dinner and then one more lecture about the religion in Jamaica. We learned more about Bob Marley (who I am starting to like a lot) and the religion he followed. After the lecture some people went out for one last night snorkel and then we sat by the docks just talking and relaxing (since our test was done), enjoying Jamaica fully for the first time. We then headed to bed because we had a big day ahead of us in Ocho Rios.

The trip to Ocho Rios was the farthest trip we had taken yet. It took about 45 minutes to an hour to get there. The first stop we made was to the Walkershore Spice Factory where we learned about different plants and spices and how they make their famous jerk sauce. We then had the opportunity to buy some marinade and sauce, which I’m excited about using. After the factory, we stopped along the road at Fern Gully. There are over 500 different types of ferns that are found in Jamaica. Fern Gully is a trip of road where ferns are lined all the way up the hills on the side. We stopped and took a couple of pictures and enjoyed the beautiful plants. Then, we went up into the hills to a garden that had an amazing view of Ocho Rios. We were taken around and show the many different types of plants that were in the gardens, and we even saw a Doctor Bird – the national bird of Jamaica. Finally, we headed into Ocho Rios for some shopping. Jeremiah Drews and I ate at Mother’s, which is a place that sells Patties (my favorite Jamaican food), which are pastries with filling (chicken, beef, veggies, or fish) inside of them. After that, we headed into the market. It was very exhausting haggling with the many different vendors, but I think I got some good deals. After a long day of shopping, we headed to the beach to catch a few rays. Unfortunately, it was sprinkling on and off so it didn’t get too sunny. We then headed back to the buses to be taken back to the lab after a long day. That night they brought in a mentos reggae band and we had a jerk chicken barbecue along with ribs. It was a delicious meal and a great way to spend the last night in Jamaica. We also had a dance party and I think we entertained the band as much as they entertained us.

The morning that we were leaving, we all grudgingly got up and made the final preparations on our suitcases. We headed down for breakfast for one more meal with Precious (the cook), and then we packed up the vans and headed to Montego Bay. We then had a couple of hours to shop or go to Doctor Cave Beach (one of the most famous in Jamaica, possibly the whole Caribbean), which is featured on the back of the $50 bill. After an hour or so of on and off sprinkles, the sun came out and we got an hour or so of sun before we left. I don’t think anyone wanted to leave that beach to go to the airport, but it had to be done.

After we got through the check-in line, we had a couple of hours to waste. Several of us went to Margaritaville, which was right next to our gate. The food was good, but the service was terrible. We made the best of it however, and had a a nice time with each other before we had to say goodbye.

Our flight was suppose to be early, but we ended up leaving an hour later than we were supposed to because of a connecting flight and luggage that was running behind. We also ran into some storms while we were traveling, and it wasn’t until after the flight was almost over that they told us we almost landed in Arkansas. I would have been upset because once I left Jamaica, I just wanted to be home.

Customs went very quickly – the longest part was getting our luggage. Finally, it was time to say goodbye to our new friends. It was hard to believe for me that I had only know some of the people from MLC for only a week and half – if felt so much longer than that. Hopefully, we will all keep in touch with each other, and not forget the time we spent together.

I will never forget the time I spent in Jamaica. Although at times I was homesick, and this trip made my month long Christmas break so much shorter, I wouldn’t trade this experience for anything. I also would recommend this class for anything considering going. For the three credits that I will earn, the work was definitely worth it. Although at times it was hard, it was fun to learn about all the organisms and if you are not really into science this is the way you should try to learn. For how much you get, the price of this course is completely resonable. Hopefully, everyone else had just as amazing of a time as I did and that the future courses are just as good as our was.

It’s been a joy blogging to you, and hopefully you’ll enjoyed my thoughts and descriptions.

For now it is time to say goodbye, but hopefully sometimes in the future we will meet again. :)

Until next time,

Katie