sick. that is the single word that best describes the last few days of my life. i spent the night last night on the SI base with Lowell and Cheryl, who are the directors of the base here and they took care of me and fed me "homey" food. it was a lot like being in a home away from home, very americanized and comfortable. i've been sick for about a week now, i contracted a parasite and getting better has just been super drawn out. the doctor on base, Fernando, finally figured out that the medicine that i was on for the parasite was making me sick, so i stopped taking it yesterday and i can already see changes this morning. thank goodness! it's such a bummer to look back on my first week here and know that i was sick for almost all of it. but i'm getting so much better and i can't wait to feel like myself again! thanks so much for all of your prayers!
all of this aside, the past few days have actually been really good! on saturday we had our first excursion with the whole group. we have little adventures every saturday all over the island so that we can have fun and build community within our group. this saturday we went to the river, at the place where two smaller rivers join together and form a bigger one (sorry i don't know the names). the excursion itself was called "creeking" so i was picturing something like turkey run state park where there really isn't much current and the water is only up to your ankles or so. boy was i wrong! at the most difficult crossing point, the river was up to our waists and the current was incredible.. it was such a work out! when we finally got to the point where we stopped for lunch, a woman named Mary was waiting for us with incredible food! she had cooked rice and beans, chicken and potato salad over an open fire for like 20 people. it was so good! we were able to just spend some time at the river floating back and forth a little bit before we went back upstream.. which was significantly more difficult than going down. i was so exhasuted by the end of the day.
the rest of my weekend was spent resting and doing homework. my dominican mom Denise has been really worried about my health, so i think that she will be very relieved that i will be coming back to her better than i was before. being a part of this new family has been such an exciting experience. they're incredibly welcoming and they've just pretty much adapted Kara and i as part of their family. i was able to spend some time alone with Denise on sunday when everyone else went to church and it ws so nice to be able to be with her, and talk with her. i can already see improvement in my spanish, though i think a lot of it is that i'm just willing to make a fool of myself to try to get my point across. i'm at the point where i'm willing to mess up and botch the conjugations, but i think everyone appreciates that i'm trying and they try to help me speak correct spanish.
we had our first grammar test in our spanish classes yesterday, and our teacher said that everyone did so bad that she's not going to count the first test. i don't know if that's encouraging or not, becuase the first grade she has for us won't be terrible, but i'm sure that she's not going to make the next test any easier. for class, we have a different teacher for grammer than is our normal class teacher, and Arelys is a teacher that is constantly pushing her students. i appreciate that, but for right now, it's just not very easy. i have about two to four hours of spanish homework each night, along with managing my time with some other assignments that are due around the time that spanish classes end. a lot of times i feel like i just do my homework, go to bed, get up and do more homework and go back to class. i find encouragement in knowing that this part of the trip is only 5 weeks long, and academics will lessen significantly for our final seven weeks when we are at our ministry sites.
as always, all of my thoughts are just kind of jumbled together, so ask me questions if you have any! i love you all and miss you!