…feeling like I still can’t believe I’m here and this is my life! Now that I feel physically healthy, I am so excited to be here and I can’t wait to start each day anew. We have the most incredible views from my house because we live up the mountain, and every morning I go outside before I do anything else and I just look around at this beautiful place that I have the privilege of calling home for a time. I brought my computer home this weekend so I have a little more time to write.. don’t expect future blogs to be this long J
Last Saturday, for our excursion we went to Santiago, which is a larger city about an hour northeast of where we live. We went to a museum there, which was a mix of history of the country and an art museum. It was a really interesting place and even though the tour guide spoke to us in Spanish for over an hour, I felt like I learned a lot about their culture and heritage from that experience. After the museum, we went to “El Monumento”, which is a large monument in the middle of the city. It looked almost like a lighthouse, so went we went to the top of it we were able to see the entire city because we were so high up. It was gorgeous! Santiago is closer to sea level, and I think that it was about 10 degrees hotter there than it was in Jarabacoa, so we were all thankful for the wonderful breeze that we felt up so high.
The past week has been so good, there have been so many funny stories and beautiful moments. Like last Friday night, Kara and I were both absolutely exhausted from a hard week of classes, so we decided that we weren’t going to do any homework that night we were just going to play Uno and Dominoes with our family. We were playing and having a good time until I went to the bathroom and realized that there was a frog in the shower. It didn’t really bother me, I mean, I wouldn’t actually be nervous about a frog unless it was on my body, but it’s a totally different thing here. Dominicans are really superstitious people, and there are a host of superstitions surrounding frogs. So I told my sister Katherine to come into the bathroom and look. She freaked out and ran back into the living room, and utter chaos erupted in our tiny house. It turns out that my mom, Denise, who is one of the strongest, hardest working women that I have spent time with, is absolutely terrified of frogs. Cockroaches and spiders don’t even phase her, but frogs are another story. So we closed the bathroom door and we were going to wait for my brother Chanel to get home to get the frog out of the bathroom. When Chanel got home he took a grocery bag into the bathroom to catch the frog. He thought he had it but I guess the frog got out of the bag somehow and went into the kitchen. When we realized the frog was out of the bag, my mom, my sister and Kara were standing on top of their chairs, freaking out. Until we caught the frog the next day, Denise looked behind and under and around each thing she picked up in the kitchen before she ever touched it. It was such a funny experience because Kara and I have had our run ins with being afraid of bugs and lizards and other creatures, but it was the our family’s turn to be afraid this time J
Another great experience that has happened is that yesterday I was able to go on a walk with Katherine alone. She has such a beautiful heart and some really great dreams for her life. She is in English school right now and she wants to become good at English so that she can go to nursing school and be a nurse in one of the clinics here that lots of the Americans go to. She understands the worth of being bilingual and she is working hard to become so. She told me that Sundays are good days to walk places because we don’t have classes or homework, and there is more time to just be. I think in the future we will have more Sunday walks, and we plan on going to see our brother Aneudys and his wife, Carina at their house. They have a son who is about a year and a half old, and Carina is pregnant and due at the end of this month with their second son. We also have plans to go to her grandmother’s house, her friend’s house and a colmado (a small convenience store) which is about a mile away. But this week we walked about a mile or so up the mountain into a really secluded poor neighborhood, and we talked the whole time. She is really great about being patient with my Spanish and because she knows a little bit of English we work it out so that in the end, both of us understand what the other is saying. She is getting married to her fiancée, Julio right before we leave in December. She has told me a lot about what he does for a living and where they are going to live once they are married. I loved just getting to know more about her dreams and hear about her excitement for her wedding and that new phase of her life.
The past few days have been so encouraging in light of the fact that I still have three months here. Some days, I struggle a little bit with that idea, three months is a long time. But it is beautiful moments with Katherine and funny frog stories that are making all of this worth it for me. I can’t wait to make more memories and relationships in the coming months.
I know that everyone wants to see pictures, but the 40 or so that I uploaded last week took almost an hour to load, so in the future when I have even less time to be on the internet, I think it will be fair to say that won’t upload a lot of pictures. Also, I want to have some new stuff to show all of you when I get back and it won’t be as exciting if you’ve already seen it all. I know that as always, my thoughts are all over the place, so ask me specific questions if you have them!