The Last 40 Days

I can’t believe that my exchange will officially be over in 40 days. I also can’t believe that I have been living in Barbados for 7 months! It has gone by so so fast, especially since I came back at the end of January.

There is going to be a lot going on in the next 40 days, including finishing up my classes, writing exams, my sisters (Ivy and Elle) coming to visit, and soaking up as much sun as possible before coming home.

My classes here run later than the universities at home because I had a month long break at Christmas so I don’t finish classes until the 18th. My exams also start late because we have a study break before exams, so I have an exam on May 3rd and one on the 7th.

I am really excited that Ivy and Elle get to come to visit me and we are actually all flying home together so they are going to be embracing my last week of living in Barbados. We just placed a massive swimsuit order (like I needed anymore!) for their trip and I swear Ivy is going to have enough swimsuits to wear 3 different suits a day and still never wear the same one.

When I lived in France for a year I wrote a journal every single day and I wanted to turn it into a book. But honestly, my 16 year old writing skills were not that great and I still can’t read that journal without crying. I decided that I would also write a journal here in Barbados and lets just say my 20/21 year old writing skills are much better and so, I have decided that my summer project is going to be turning my journal into a book. (Who knows, maybe it will be a hit and I’ll become a millionaire and can stay in the Caribbean forever).

My journal and an empty cup of coffee

I know that leaving is going to be so hard but I am excited for new adventures in this upcoming year, like starting my fourth year of university (talk about time flying by). Yes my year definitely won’t be as warm as this one but I know that it is going to be a good year.

Love always,

Family Vacation

March has been a crazy month here in Barbados. A few weeks ago my Mom, Dad, Gramma and Grampa came to visit me for 10 days! School is at its busiest time, all final assignments and essays are do, tests are being written and presentations are being given. That being said, after taking a 10 day vacation, I have been playing catch-up for the past two weeks and I am finally nearing the end and I can relax again.

On March 11th the family came to Barbados and we had an amazing time together. Our main activities were lying on the beach all day and snorkelling, and honestly I needed a break so bad. I have been so busy with school and with no reading week it is just constant work so I glad I got to get away for a little bit.

I also got to go scuba diving with my Dad which was a lot of fun. He did a Discover Scuba course with Barbados Blue (the dive shop I dive with) and he learned the basic skills then got to come diving with me in the ocean! He was really lucky and got to see a baby octopus which is really cool.

My Mom and Gramma are actually the best/coolest people ever and they decided to re-celebrate my birthday when they were here. My Gramma made me a pink birthday cake and my Mom brought me a deep dish pizza all the way from Chicago. If that isn’t true love people I don’t know what is.

We actually ended up planning our next vacation while they were on vacation, and I am super excited because we taking a girls trip to Mexico in October! I am so excited to go diving in the Pacific Ocean, hopefully with some dolphins or whale sharks (fingers crossed!).

It was an amazing trip and I’m glad I got the chance to show them where I have been living for the past 7 months. Next up is Ivy and Elle in May! It was bittersweet to see them leave, but I know my last two months are going to be a lot of fun and are going to fly by. I know that it is going to be super hard to leave this island which has forever gained a piece of my heart.

Love always,

My First Week as a 21 Year Old

Well another year has passed, yet in some ways everything feels exactly the same. Last Wednesday was my 21st birthday and honestly I was a bit sad not to be at home having reading week and having a party with the fam jam. But, I have some really amazing friends here and they made my day so so perfect.

I only have one class on Wednesday’s so it isn’t a bad day school wise and it was even better when my friend Camryn found out that most of her classes were cancelled for the day which meant she could hang out with me all afternoon. We went to the beach and it was so so hot, but it felt so good to jump in the ocean and then warm up on the sand.

I had made reservations at a fancy Italian restaurant on the south/west end of the island called Buzo. If you are ever in Barbados and in the mood for some really amazing pizza then this is the place you have to go to. 6 of us went out and it was a really fun dinner; I had a glass of champagne, pizza, and they even brought me a piece of cake and sang happy birthday.

Even though it was late when we got back, Emily and Jana said they had another surprise for me. They told me to close my eyes and when I opened them I had a cake in my hand. Not just any cake, a pink cake with sprinkles that said “Happy 21st”. I am seriously blessed to have such good friends.

Time is starting to fly here in Barbados, probably because I am having so much fun. My weekends are jam packed with homework, scuba diving, beach time and adventures around the island. On Saturday, a group of us made a trip up to the North point of the island to see the Atlantic ocean and the crazy waves.

School has actually been going pretty well this semester. I am taking three French classes and two Political Science classes. I tried to schedule my presentations and projects early in the semester so that I didn’t have to worry about them when my parents and grandparents come. So this week I had two presentations and a test, which I am glad I got over with. I can’t believe the fam jam comes in almost a week! I am so excited!!!

This weekend I have another busy weekend ahead of me including two dives on Friday and a cave tour on Sunday (if you have every visited Cenotes in Mexico I think it is going to be like that).

I hope that you have a great rest of your week and a fabulous weekend. Love always,

My Scuba Experience

In May I decided that I wanted to learn how to scuba dive. I was going to get my certification in Canada but with work I didn’t have too much time and diving in a lake does not sound that appealing to me. I decided that I would get my certification in Barbados and I am so glad I did.

I finished my exams on December 12 and I signed up for my Open Water Certification class for the 13th, 15th and 16th at Barbados Blue. I called my Mom after I finished diving in the ocean on the 13th and all I could say was “THIS IS THE BEST DAY OF MY LIFE”, “THAT WAS AMAZING” and “I LOVE SCUBA DIVING”. Seriously it was one of the most incredible experiences of my life, which is why I decided right away that I wanted to sign up for my Advanced Open Water Certification. And I did just that.

On the 17th I did an e-learning course for the Advanced course and then I started in water training on the 18th. With the advanced course I got to dive to 100ft which is literally crazy when I think about it now. I also got to dive through some shipwrecks which was super cool.

I got to see a ton of aquatic life on all of my dives including sea turtles, sting rays, lots of coral and fish, sea snakes, eels and even some super rare seahorses. Sadly, I did not have an underwater camera with me so I couldn’t get any pictures in the water but next semester I will hopefully get lots of cool pics.

It is crazy that I did two different certifications in six days but it was so worth it. I did get pretty sea sick on the 16th and when I got back on the boat on the 18th I instantly felt sick again. Because I was usually doing two dives in the morning, we would get dropped off of the boat, go diving for 45-50 minutes, get back on the boat and wait for anywhere from 45-60 minutes (to allow excess nitrogen to leave the body), and then go diving again for another 45-50 minutes. The main issue for me was the wait time in between dives, so I ended up floating in the middle of the ocean beside the boat so I would not feel the boat rocking.

Next semester I plan to go diving as much as possible (and as much as I can afford to) because I will never get a chance like this again to go diving whenever I want to in the Caribbean Sea. Overall, I think everyone should try scuba diving once in their life but be warned, it is super addicting.

Love,

After I finished my PADI Open Water Certification
My instructor Kane and I after I finished my PADI Advanced Open Water Certification

All I Want For Christmas Is A Real Good Tan

I know it has been a few weeks, but I have been studying away trying to pass my four 60% exams of death. Thank goodness they are over and I am now back to going to the beach everyday and living on island time. 

ooooooooh don’t ya think it’s a pretty good plan, all I want for Christmas is a real good tan. ~ Kenny Chesney 

Thanks to Kenny, I actually have a Christmas song that I can relate to. And it’s true I am working on my tan so that I look like I am a true beach bum and to hopefully beat my Aunt Karen’s incredible tanning skills. I am officially finished my exams which means that I have to recuperate from sitting in room for the past two weeks studying. Let’s just say I don’t remember what it is like to look this pasty. 

Yesterday, was probably one of the best days of my life. I took my first class for my PADI Open Water Scuba Certification and it was amazing, awesome, wonderful, beautiful and crazy exciting all mixed into one. My instructor Kane is really nice and he said I was a natural. I spent the morning in the pool with him learning skills and then he was like “okay time for the ocean!“. And I was like “whattttttttt“. Let’s just say I was not expecting to go diving in the ocean in my first class. But I am so happy that I did. We dove to 40ft and we saw some sting rays, sea turtles, a seahorse and some shipwrecks. Literally now my snorkeling seems so lame compared to what I was seeing under water. I have now spent 48 minutes underwater and it only goes up from there. I have a completely new respect for the ocean and the earth in general, I still can’t believe how lucky we are to live in a world filled with all these different wonders and beauties. 

Today, was my break day so this morning I went to go and pick up my passport because my visa was ready. After I got back from the immigration office in Bridgetown, I went to the beach with Meike and Emma and Tyler met us there. We spent quite a bit of time there and let’s just say my pasty skin did not take too well to being reintroduced into the sun for that long. When I was sitting on the beach I was thinking about how bittersweet it is going to be to leave the warmth and ocean. 

Tonight we are headed to Oistins for the last Friday night fish fry of the year! Tomorrow I go back to scuba and write my exam, so wish me luck! 

Love, 

A New Level of Tan

You know it’s bad when WordPress emails you to let you know it has been awhile since your last post. 22 days to be exact. Well for the past 20 days I’ve been telling myself, “Okay Libbey, today you are going to put out a new blog.” And finally, here I am sitting at my desk typing out the words that can  hopefully be pieced together to make a good story.

Well, on November 7th my Gramma, Aunt Karen and “Aunt” Karla came to visit me in Barbados, and every single minute of it was awesome. We stayed in an Airbnb only 3 minutes away from my school, so I pretty much got a week’s vacation which was obviously a way different experience than what I have been living since I’ve been here. Let’s just say that I have never, ever been this dark in my life and it was a pretty proud moment to be at Aunt Karen’s level of darkness. It was a super relaxing week (I don’t want to go into too many details because one of my favorite guest bloggers aka Gramma is going to write about the trip, which should be up in a few days). Obviously, I was sad to see them go, maybe not as sad as they were to leave and head back to the snow, but in about a month I will be headed back for Christmas vacation. 

Time is just flying by and next week is pretty much the wrap up for all of my classes, so then I have a week “off” before exams start. I have been busy finishing up last minute assignments and studying for my scuba diving course. I am so EXCITED to get my certification, I’m counting down the days until I get to goto the bottom of the Sea. 

So other than that, I’ve just been doing the typical; school, beach, sleep.  Maybe the order of those aren’t accurate, but it will please my mother thatI put them in that order. 

Keep looking for my Grams post coming later this week!

Love always, 

Two Months

Two months ago, I was beyond scared and excited to be leaving on another exchange. Two months ago, I was stepping on a plane in Detroit as someone who I am not today. These past two months have taught me so much about myself and the world, overall giving me a new perspective on life, opportunities and taking chances. And I am in shock that I am already writing a blog with the title Two Months. The past two months have flown by. I am officially at the half way point for my first semester, and before I know it I am going to be getting on a plane headed to Detroit for Christmas.

The past few weeks have be insanely busy, which is why I haven’t written anything in a while, so I apologize! They have also been a roller coaster of emotions, but I will leave out the bad today and only discuss the good.

The University here puts out a draft exam schedule to make sure that no students have overlapping exams before they put out an official schedule. As of now, I will have my four exams from December 4 – 12, which means I have a 10 day vacation before I come home for Christmas. I am super excited because I am going to take my PADI Scuba Certification during that break which should be a lot of fun. Mom keeps reminding me that more people die from vending machine deaths than sharks so I hope the odds will be in my favor.

Last week I was looking at flights to Europe and they had some pretty good deals on, so I thought what the heck, I want to go to Europe during my break in January! After mentioning to my Grams, she decided she wanted to come too, so in January we are going to London, Paris and to see my Mamie and Papi in France! I’m still in shock that we just casually booked a trip, but I am so so excited.

While on the subject of Gramma, she is coming here in 12 days with my Aunt Karen and her best friend Karla! I can’t wait to see them and get out of residence for a week! I am hoping that the weather is nice and that it won’t rain as much as it has been the past few weeks.

Obviously, this is just a small part of what I have been doing the past few weeks but I hope you enjoyed reading about my upcoming adventures. I can’t wait to share more with you all in the upcoming weeks!

Love,

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Just Keep Swimming

Since the summer I found a new found love for sea turtles. All summer I talked about them and how much I wanted to go swimming with them. Well if you follow any of my social media accounts and have seen an overload of sea turtle pictures, it’s because last Saturday I finally got to go swimming with them. And it was AWESOME!

I didn’t realized when I booked the tour that I had done so through a third party site, so when we got to Barbados Blue Diving, they had no idea we were coming. But, they were super quick and amazing and brought us on our own personalized tour which was great! If you’re ever in Barbados, I highly recommend them. We ended up getting on the boat with a bunch of scuba divers, and once we dropped them off we had the whole boat to ourselves! We not only got to see and touch the turtles but we also got the chance to see three shipwrecks.

Overall, it is pretty hard to explain how happy I was that day because pretty much that was the main thing I wanted to do while I was here; and check!

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Tyler, me, Raymond, Emma, Grace, Meike

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My Face the Entire Day

Also if you want to learn more about sea turtles and how you can protect them you can visit Barbados Sea Turtle Project. Simple things such as using reusable bags, water bottles and straws go a long way! Don’t hurt our oceans!

Love always,

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One Month

Well today officially marks four weeks in Barbados. Four lovely, hot and glorious weeks in this beautiful country. This month has been about learning new things, trying new foods and reminding myself every single day how blessed I am to be living this life. Don’t forget that no matter where you are in the world, you are so so lucky to be living in this beautiful world. Over the past few weeks I have heard the words “well aren’t you afraid” several times. Here is my best advice to that: get busy living. Don’t be afraid to try new things or go new places because you think it might be scary. Try EVERYTHING! You will look back at the things you didn’t do one day and regret all of it. So what if you get lost, or scared or end up not liking something. At least you tried it, that’s what is important.

This week was the first week I have actually been really stressed out about school. All of my classes have some aspect of group presentations (some more than others) and it I find that it is super hard to work in groups to get even a simple project done. Because not too many people live on campus, not only do you have time to meet, but then some people don’t do their work or I am busy and can’t get to things at a certain time and it can get really stressful. Classes seem a little disorganized here as well (ex. not having enough chairs for everyone, people showing up and leaving when they want etc.) I guess it is just the little things that I’m not used to that I will have to learn to adjust to.

This weekend I knew I had to do homework/ presentations to get done, so I devoted my mornings to the beach and the afternoons to studying. On Friday though, a group of the other exchange students and I went to Oistins which has a massive Friday night fish fry on the South Coast. It was one of the coolest things I’ve seen, hundreds of people walking around and eating at picnic tables, listening to music and watching people dance.

The rest of the weekend has been pretty relaxing, mainly focusing on school (which is so hard to do here, when the ocean is calling my name). Later this morning I am going into Holetown with Meike to do some grocery shopping and to maybe pick up some souvenirs! It’s nice to walk around the little towns here, because it seems that every one of them has something different to offer.

I hope that everyone has a relaxing Sunday and a great week at, school work, or home if you’re lucky enough to be retired (aka Gramma). Please let me know if you have any questions about my exchange so far or if you want to see something special on The Blonde Traveler!

Love,

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Hurricane Issac

Well I know that I said I was going to write about my weekend adventures but I have been super busy prepping for a hurricane and class. Never thought I would say those things in the same sentence, but I just did. Sunday morning, we woke up to notifications saying that Barbados was officially under a hurricane warning and that all necessary emergency supplies should be purchased. Meike and I got this notification on our way to a Southern town called Hastings that I heard had a good breakfast cafe. The Artsplash Center not only has art, but a farmers market and amazing breakfast. I had a smoothie bowl and I honestly can say it was one of the best things I have ever eaten in my life. If anyone comes to visit, I will definitely be bringing you there.

We went grocery shopping on Sunday afternoon and Morning afternoon, mainly because I forgot to get water (which was on the hurricane supply checklist). Also, I bought my first ever pineapple and I can’t believe how sweet and good it was, and why I had never eaten pineapple before?

This week school went by pretty fast, though I did start to freak out a little bit over how many readings that I have to do every week. Most of my tutorial classes started this week and I have to do a presentation in most of them, so I am trying to get those done before November. Why November you ask? Because my Gramma, Aunt Karen and my Gramma’s best friend Karla are coming to see me! It was supposed to be a surprise but I have supersonic hearing and heard my Grampa talking about it in the background!

All week it has been raining or gloomy outside, which means I haven’t been to the beach once and I think I might be going through withdrawals. Wednesday night the hurricane passed us (250km north of the island), so I am well and safe. It is supposed to continue raining for the rest of the weekend, but I really REALLY hope that it doesn’t because I need sand in between my toes again!

Wednesday, I officially booked my flight to come back home and then back to Barbados in January. I can already feel the days slipping away and I haven’t even been here for three whole weeks. I want to do and see so much stuff but at the same time I have to focus on school, which not going to lie, sucks.

Last night I was as I was just about to fall asleep a massive centipede crawled on my leg. You see at the time I did not know it was a centipede, I felt something move on my leg so I jumped out of bed in a panic not knowing what type of bug was in my room. I flipped on all of the lights and looked everywhere and finally after pulling out my bed I saw it still on my covers. I was kind of in panic mode after this so I’m not really sure how i got it off of the bed, all I know is that I had to step on it several times and then eventually jump on it before it died. Overall, I did not sleep well last night, though the cleaning lady told me it is a good thing it didn’t bite me otherwise my leg would have swelled up.

I hope everyone has a fabulous Friday and a great weekend. More adventures to be written about soon!

Love,

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