Monday, August 25, 2008

school photos!

these are a little late (from when the group from pennsylvania was here) but i thought some of you might like to see where i will be spending a lot of my time :)

this is from the inside looking through the front door. in the photo are paul (an intern) and doña cristina who cooks lunch and does dishes for the kids at school.the group with the kids in front of the school
emily fixing a boo-boo in the classroom i will be teaching in!
weston with some of the group members in cristina's classroomview from the back porch. on the left is the garden area and you can kinda see the ranchito!
camille sharing some of her coconut (that she cracked all by herself!)

me and some of the kiddos in front of the school :)

Saturday, August 23, 2008

s-club: sweat, set-up, saturday, sim card

friday ~ woooork day. we worked for HOURS cleaning out the supply closet and the two classrooms in the school. it was niiiice and HOT (no air conditioning is a given but we had no power at all so that means no fans either.. and no breeze today. boo) oh and the school is mosquito heaven- yuck.. but it was still really fun to see all of the excited things we have to work with this year. AND we picked our classrooms ☺ oh man, i am so excited!!
we ran errands on the way back, unloaded the truck, and then showered (i have a new appreciation for our cold showers). sharla made dinner and we all hung out at the house.

saturday ~ a saturday that felt like a saturday.. wonderful. in the morning i went for a long run along the beach (on the malecon) to the fort at the end of the stretch. because there was nowhere i had to be i ran and walked all the way back. afterwards felt great but my legs couldn’t move anymore so i lounged on my new bed (bed #3 since i have been here for those counting..) later that afternoon, anne proposed that we walk to town on her favorite street and look for the orchid store. of course i was down so we went and explored a nursery and stores. after buying some avacados on the street (best ones yet) we walked to the orange store and i got my sim card! now i have a phone number! it started raining so we took a moto back to the house. that night a bunch of us went over to the girls’ apartment in montellano to hang out.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

so many goodbyes

yesterday = CRAZY day- i went running at 6am, showered, and met camille in chichigua. OH- this means i walked the cow-path AND caught a public gua-gua ALONE for the first time. (such a big girl, right mom?) ok so i was excited about that.. anyway, in chichigua camille said her goodbyes to everyone (really sad bc she got really close to people after being here 2 years), introduced me to everyone, and explained some of the living situations and relational dynamics. i am so thankful for her desire to fill me in. we had a meeting at 9 so we went to the school and talked about what these next few weeks will look like and what school will be like- SO EXCITED! there is so much to do and i can’t wait!!

after the meeting i went with weston, cristina, and camille to pancho mateo to meet more families and put the kids to their homes and families. one of my favorite boys from last year, lisandro, and his sister walked around with us. i can’t even explain how great it is to hear “ah-sh-leeeee!!” and then see him and his little sister sprinting to me. weston dropped me off at the girl’s apartment (we’d ridden his moto scooter to pancho) where everyone was meeting up. after lunch anne, robin, kate, and i went to chichigua to register kids for school. this process means going into the kids’ homes and asking a few questions (like if they’re coming, have shot records etc). this can actually be tough bc, especially in chichigua, some parents only speak kreyole and don’t understand our spanish. another hard (and really sad) part was that there are many who don’t know their child’s birthday or real age.. all of this was before 2:30. whew!

that night we went to doña luce’s house where weston lives bc they had a goodbye party for everyone leaving. It started at 9:30 though so we were all exhausted. the heat really can wear you out! ..and we have no air conditioning to escape to so it is HOT. the party was fun though. a guy from church made the people leave talk about what they learned and we sang some songs. it was humorous and great. when we got back at like 11:30 we all crashed.

today (21st)
sad day. weston, camille, laurin, and meghan all left. we packed with laurin all morning and then went to camille and robin’s to hang out a little longer. after picking up weston we took them to the airport.. ☹

anne, kate, and I decided we should run errands in downtown puerto plata (partly to distract ourselves from the fact that they actually left) and we took brianna (of the storm family). we searched a few stores for tubs for the classrooms, explored a cathedral, went to the bank, grocery shopped, went to the orange (a phone service like at&t)..

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

venture to new places

the internet has been having issues for days so, again, i shall do a quick review of the past few days..

sunday (the 17th)
the group left after church.. kate, laurin, meghan (laurin’s friend), and i got moto’s to rachel’s art co-op in ascencion (a small village). rachel is a really fun canadian girl who has lived here for about 4 years. to help about 20 women have employment and avoid prostitution, she teaches them crafts and they sell it in this co-op store as their source of income. pretty sweet.. rachel gave us a ride to the highway where we caught public to the house. that night we had ladies night and all went to dinner at taste!

monday (the 18th)
we had a day off- ADVENTURE DAY for me, robin, and anne!! anne and robin both had missions (buy a pot for anne’s plant and check out the chair selection for robin) and, well, i was an accomplice. we went to a cool nursery that felt like a jungle, robin and anne discovered a dog (we named it boris), and we found a fish pond with turtles. discovery of the day: fish don’t eat peanuts BUT they will put them in their mouths and spit them right back out- yes this is QUITE amusing. at the chair store we watched chickens walk all over the furniture and thought anne was kidnapped at one point (robin and i went searching and a man told us where the white girl we were looking for went- to get water- whew!). after turning down a $300 chair, we went to sosua and EXPLORED!! we drove around a bit, found some sweet resorts that we explored with the guard’s permission, ate some amazing fajitas at a restaurant where they had the olympics playing!! i looooove watching and that was the first i have seen bc we have no tv. ahhh.. we met the other girls at the grocery store and gave them a ride back home. that night we had prayer/coffee/dessert time at the girl’s apt in montellano. it was semi-themed as a reflection time for all the staff that was leaving. it was a truly amazing time of prayer and just being all together.
**to see pictures, you should check out robin's blog!!

tuesday (the 19th)
as you might have noticed from the other blogs, i hadn’t really spent much time alone or allowed myself to really rest since i'd arrived. this was day 2 of our days off and everyone had a bunch of things they were doing. i planned on going to santiago (about 1.5 hrs away) with robin and jennie to pick up our mail and meeting camille in chichigua but nothing worked out (plane wasn’t coming in bc of the tropical storm).. and God totally knew i needed that time. after my run i was able to skype with abbi FINALLY which was awesome. i’d really been needing to talk to her and had been really anxious about my sister so she was a huge blessing bc she called her for me. [court has been in the sudan since aug 1st and I hadn’t heard whether or not the group had made it back. there were a lot of nerves from everyone about the trip BUT God brought them back safely ☺] it’s hard not being able to just pick up a phone and call people but everything is ok. i spent the day relaxing, putting pictures up, and hanging out with the storms (the family staying here right now). that night we all went out for a goodbye dinner for the staff leaving.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

"fay"- our tropical storm

apparently there is a gigantic tropical storm over the island right now. fabulous. we spent the day at the beach yesterday.. it rained the WHOLE day. we went to sosua beach and then to cabarete. the group that is here have been really great and went snorkeling and played despite the rain (lashing rain- that's for you abbi ;) it was fun. sharla and the twins came the day before so it was good to spend time with them too. we also had dinner at casanova which i was excited for the ENITIRE day..

raining like crazy at sosua.. the group was definitely still snorkling.
bev and sharla enjoying the nice day at the beach :)

today (saturday) anne and i went running and then we had TYE DYE day at the house.. we will see the masterpieces tomorrow after the dye sets in- get excited. then robin made her special peanut butter balls, kate made her special popcorn, and we watched a movie on the projector. take that, tropical storm. :)

Thursday, August 14, 2008

snapshots of week one

sooo as most of you know, i take about a million pictures.. but i will spare you and share just a few randoms from week one in the DR..

anne and i working hard at the beach :)
the future makarios house! this is the jobsite where jonathan, garrett, and miguel work like crazy
cabarete- check out all that kite surfing!!
the whole group at "taste" (back: jonathan, sarah p, robin, paul, weston..middle: andy, one of krones' daughters, kate, camille, krone daughter, laurin.. front: kate, sarah h, emily, krone girls, jenn, catie, me, anne, garrett)
anne and garrett at "taste" for the krones' goodbye dinner- cute!
laurin and kate on the moto! ow ow!

aaand go!

can someone say “blurr”?
that is how i feel about these past 2 days! we have been up at the school all day helping the group run soccer camp. yesterday was crazy and i am sore from running around with them. i decided my group should sprint from station to station.. because THAT is super fun in the sweltering sun.. no, it really was. my arms are sore too from carrying one of the boys from the play (a field we play on..) all the way back to the school after a huge wound of his was kicked and he started bleeding. it’s good to be sore from playing. i like. after that it was still go, go, go. kate and i immediately started helping anne w/ dinner prep when we got home and then i showered and cut emily’s hair in the street. right after we finished i said bye to emily (saaad. she might be one of the coolest girls ever..) and staff loaded up in the truck and went to robin and camille’s for amazing pizza, german chocolate cake, and Bible study. the power was out and it was kinda fun with 2 camping-type lamps (..then just 1 after the other went out).

i stayed the night w/ robin and camille which was wonderful. camille and i stayed up (probably too late) talking. she has been here 2 years and was teaching when we didn’t even have a building (this past year was the first for the school building to be open). she has so much wisdom and experience and is SUPER encouraging for me. i can’t even explain it. it is really good to be able to talk to the staff about the people in the community, any anxieties i have, and what it could look like before they leave.

this morning robin left early to buy bread and bananas for snack. for breakfast camille and i carried fruit to the school and cut it all up. oh man.. YUM. the soccer program was fun. kate made breakfast with a friend of hers in the village so when lunchtime came i had her preschool class BY MYSELF (well, robin and camille are around to help too..)! ahh fun stuff. kate came back right when we started brushing teeth, which was great bc i am still learning that process. they have their own toothbrushes we keep at the school and we brush and rinse before they go home.

after leaving school anne, kate, camille, and i went to cristina’s house to visit her. cristina will be teaching again this year. she is a beautiful dominican woman and i cannot tell you how EXCITED i am that she is staying this year! i can’t wait to get to know her more.. on a serious note- her mom died last week and she has been mourning since. she and camille are really close and have spent a lot of time together through this. it was really wonderful for us all to get to see her, talk with her, pray with her, and just be with her. i pray she finds peace and comfort through this.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

la escuela!

after girls’ staff prayer and breakfast this morning we hopped in the gua-guas with the group that is staying here from pennsylvania.. and WENT TO THE SCHOOL!! it looks so great and i loved being able to look around where i will be spending so much time all year! last time i was in the DR, the school didn’t have a roof yet and nothing was set up.. so the building is sweet. and the kids? wow! they are so fun! it will definitely be a crazy year and be very challenging in so many ways. the challenge is something that i look forward to and i love that it will be hard and something much different than anything i have done. there will be (and already are) so many areas i fall short in but it is cool to know that where i lack, i can lean on God’s strength all the more.

cool story- the group ran a soccer camp type thing today i was walking back to the school with a 13-year-old boy, ruben, that we hung out a lot with last year. we talked for awhile and i was telling him how i am going to be teaching this year. he graduated from the school this past year but i told him he could come visit and that i will need help with my spanish. he said he would and started helping me with pronouns when i’d say something wrong.. reason this is all so great- i had been watching kate with her class and watched her and camille do songs and just kept thinking about how much i want to learn. i can’t wait to be able to separate kreyole from spanish and learn dominican spanish (different than the espanol I learned in school). talking with ruben was just really encouraging and helped me feel more confident in conversation.

side-note: thank God for His strength today! i didn’t sleep too much because i was skyping late with my family and taylor- loooove skype (and you guys too)! then i was up at 6 for prayer.. also, today was HOT. most days have been, but i woke up sweating (not uncommon here- esp in august!). i guess it was just more than usual.. and then we were playing soccer all day in the sun! THEN we went to pancho mateo and kate gave the group a tour.. wiped out. and loving it.

Monday, August 11, 2008

7 days already!?

i cannot believe the weekend is over already.. and that i have been in the DR for a week! wow. i suppose i will fill you in now. because i am in my orientation/transition phase, i have spent A LOT of time asking a million questions about how to get places, how things work, how much i should expect people to charge, etc. this process has been intertwined with building relationships (which is of course more important to me) and having fuuun.. here goes ☺

Friday (the 8th- 08-08-08 by the way!)

i spent the day at cabarete (a beautiful beach here that is fairly touristy.. we take groups to it on their rest day- KITE SURFING capital of the world i hear for those who care) with the interns and laurin (roomie and intern coordinator). laurin and i rode the public gua-gua over an hour to the beach and met the group at an amazing german bakery for breakfast. the rest of the day was spent relaxing, running on the beach, and having quality time with each other. weston met us on the beach too.. so fun! laurin answered my 10,000 questions and gave me tips about that area. a couple girls left early for jenn to pack. jenn was an intern this summer and had to go to santiago so she could fly out saturday morning. the rest of us rode a huge gua-gua back to meet her and say bye (sidenote- we stopped a million times so it took awhile and my shorts had a huuuge wet stain from the man’s leg sweat that was sitting next to me. haha nice.)

sooo we get to the house and learn she had JUST left. by the time i ran upstairs to put my backback down, a taxi was honking for us (laurin called) and we sped to the bus station to say bye. it was SO good to see her one last time and send her off. that night paul (an intern) made a wonderful dinner for us and a neighborhood boy.. then we set up the projector on the roof and watched a movie!

saturday (the 9th)

woke up and ran with two incredible interns (emily and sarah h) to a fort that is about 4 miles away- a beautiful run on the “malecon” that runs along the beach. great fun.. i couldn’t walk back with the girls b/c i was going with the group to pancho mateo so i took a moto back to the house (interesting driver.. kept asking if i had a spouse). we took the group to pancho mateo for a tour that robin gave. while walking through the area, kids come out of the houses to see everyone and i saw one of my favorites from LAST august! it melted my heart to hug esandro again and see his little smile!! i told him i remember him and I would show him pictures ☺ ahh so happy. for those of you who know- he is the one kissing my cheek in that picture and the one i started painting.

after pancho, we ate at el campito (where we ate rice, bean, and chicken every day last trip) with the group. anne and i took the makarios truck from there to get groceries for the house and i bought phone minutes! we will get all that together soon and i can let you know what my number is.. this was fun for me bc i love the grocery store.. and i love anne.

at night we had tacos with the group on our roof . then we played NERTZ (best. card. game. ever.) and another game “mau” with the group.

sunday (the 10th)

we all went to church in the morning. it is at least 2 hrs long and in spanish which is fun to try and follow (hopefully this will get easier in time). the people at church are sweet and very welcoming. after church i went with anne, garrett, and the group to cabarete (yes, again ☺) we were able to relax and i got to have some good conversations with everyone. we were so tired so anne and i dozed in and out, which was nice. got some good crosswords in too. i think i am addicted (as you know, mom and dad). i brought snacks so i wouldn’t spend much on food. we had dinner on the beach with the group and then sent them off to santiago where they will spend most of their time serving.

monday (the 11th- today!)

this morning i got up early and went for a long run to the beach and then a little around our neighborhood. i was semi-attacked by a stray dog (they are EVERYWHERE here) but I am still here..

after showering, the staff left for montellano. we had a staff meeting at robin, cara, and camille’s apartment. we talked about a ton and spent some great time in prayer. most of us came back to the house to prepare for the group that garrett wen to pick up (oh and he took catie to the airport bc she left today ☹ i miss her already). we made snacks and drinks and greeted them when they arrived. we had another small staff meeting and then went down to prepare dinner. you have to start like 2 hours early to get everything prepared bc there are extra things that add to the process- like soaking veggies in water with grapefruit seed extract (a natural antibiotic) before chopping.. we prayed and ate on the roof. highlight after dinner: weston and jonathan’s dino (popular cookie) eating contest with no hands!

i tried to be brief and if you made it this far i am impressed. i will try to keep up more with this and give you more thoughts than actions..
waking up at 6 for prayer and tomorrow we will play outside with the kids all day soooo bed time it is!

Sunday, August 10, 2008

puerto plata- this is just the beginning :)


the internet has been out at the makarios house since I got here so I have no idea when this will actually be posted.. anyway- the first two days in puerto plata have been wonderful. I knew before I came that everyone here is really great but they have blown my mind! brief re-cap of the first two days in puerto plata:

day one-
breakfast at jim and teresa’s. jim and will drove me to puerto plata. i met anne boon and kate krone- aaamazing women.. i unpacked for like 30 min (i don’t have much) and we ate lunch. anne and i had an orientation meeting and then ran into town to pay rent, go to the bank, and buy phone minutes for anne. OH! and to get to town i got to ride my first moto (motor bike taxi thing- sweet!). after errands we bought fresh cut-up fruit from one of anne’s favorite vendors and hung out on a little ledge for a while. when we got back to the house we had a meeting with all the staff and i got to meet everyone!! let me tell you- these people are incredible. i am sad a lot of them are leaving in a couple weeks..

after the meeting they had a welcome dinner for me! the interns and kate krone made amazing fajitas, guacamole, and bean salsa.. we ate up on the roof and hung out for while.. fun!

day two
we have prayer mornings with all girls every tuesday/thursday so we woke up at 6:30 and everyone met in our room (mine, laurin rennell’s, and kate moorhead’s room) at 7. such a great way to start the day. after prayer we ate breakfast and left for the beach! robin, camille, and weston (who have all been working at the school with kate m, cara, and christina this past year) met us there after picking up a TON of kids from the afternoon classes at school. we played for hours on the beach- what a perfect way for me to introduce myself (and re-introduce to some) to the kids. they are all so beautiful and they crack me up! it made me even more excited about school! names will be tough though- camille was helping me today but I might need some prayer for that one. the beach was also perfect for workin’ on the espanol. prayers there too please ☺ ..after bananas, crackers, and recreos (oreos) for the kids, we jumped in one more time and then they left in the gua-gua and we walked back to the house.

after lunch at home, we rode the public gua-guas (anther first for me!) to a dirt road where we hopped on motos that took us to chichigua. chichigua is a hatian batey where many are cane farmers. about 1/3 of our kids in school are from chichigua. i love that the relationships with the kids goes far beyond school; we visit their communities and really get to know their families and friends. i am encouraged to see how relationships go far beyond student-teacher; there are genuine friendships and understandings beyond any created relationship. it is inspiring to see how kate, robin, anne, and the interns love on the kids and how fun it is for the kids to see everyone. i love it and can’t wait for more! kate (roomie kate) showed me around the batey and we chased kids, played, and visited families. i ended up taking a boy on piggy-back down to a covered area where i talked to some of the teenage girls and held the sweetest baby. ooooh it was wonderful.

he motos came back and we left for home again. after chilling out a little bit we got ready and went to a restaurant, “taste”, for the krones’ goodbye dinner. kate, andy and the 4 girls leave tomorrow morning. we are going to miss them. they have been incredible examples of patient, loving parents and the girls are so fun! speaking of tomorrow morning..i should sleep because laurin, the interns, and i are headed to cabarete beach at 8am! goodnight.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

i am heeeere!

i am heeeeere! safe and sound. no worries. would you like to hear a recap of the day??

went to bed at.. oh wait, i didn’t sleep AT ALL. zach and i stayed up packing, jamming to some music, and he was trying to freak me out over skype..

3:45am- leave the house

5am- goodbyes to the fam ☹

6am- our flight smelled like cherry medicine

7am- land early in dallas. breakfast time. aso played the balance game by myself on the tram thing (that was for you, abbi. you probably would have beat me. i almost fell haha)

8:20am- leave for miami. nice man in my row convinced the guy in between us to move to an isle seat so we could all have more room. my new friend and i chatted about my lack of sleep, obesity trends in america, his son in new york, the dr, his consulting job that he used to travel 50 weeks a year for (yuck).. and then I TRIED to sleep. not much success. (ab- you would have died. i probably did my nodding thing for like 1.5 hrs of the flight..)

12:30pm – “passenger so-and-so please return to gate d42 to pick up your toupee.” sweet.

5:30pm- off to the dominican! switch seats with a girl so she could sit with her fam (this comes into play later bc of who I sat next to)

7:30pm- land in the DR! start talking to the guy i'd been next to the whole time. turns out he’s half dominican, half spanish.. models in new york but comes back to see his family.. he gave me lots of tips about the DR and me, him (“armando”) and his cousin became a team. they were a HUGE help with my bags and customs stuff. they also offered their phone in case i couldn't find the whites bc i had no idea where to look for them. made the night interesting. THEN their luggage never came so i felt i should help.. and stayed with them while they gave their info to the airline and watched their stuff. i started feeling like i should go out to meet theresa and will (the amazingly patient people who picked me up) so we parted ways and i went outside. the nicest guy helped load my bags and pushed them outside for me. everyone has been so nice! i was nervous about carrying my 50 and 65 lb bags, purse, and backpack all by myself but God provided people at the perfect times! yay!

9:00pm (ish)- theresa called us for dinner (which was a wonderful surprise. I was not expecting it at all) and me, jim, theresa, and will had a good time.

10:30pm- going to watch a show on the porch upstairs under the stars!

later- i need to get some sleep! my head is pounding a bit.. but i am SO EXCITED to be here! yay ☺

Monday, August 4, 2008

check-list.. and welcome!

7.28.08 (when i actually wrote this.. just hadn't put it up)

ok so i was going to wait until i actually got to the dr to begin this buuut i guess you could say getting ready has been an adventure too. to fill you in and not write a novel:
  • plane ticket? check. (i officially leave aug 5th at 6am)
  • insurance? check.
  • passport? check.
  • excited? check!
  • fluent in espanol? mmm this is a process..
  • packed? well, um, SOME people might say this takes me forever and I wait too long to start.. and they would be right. madre and i did go buy some infamous chacos, a battery alarm clock, toothpaste.. i’m workin’ on it ☺
i am getting really excited.. it is getting closer! all the time i've spent with sharla (makarios founder/director) has been a constant reminder of how great the staff is in the dominican! i cannot wait to work and serve with such wonderful people. i know sharla and a couple people down there (who are all stinkin' awesome), have heard so many great stories, and have unofficially met many through e-mail and facebook. leaving will be hard because i will miss my amazing friends and family, but it is so encouraging to know how wonderful the people i will be living/working/serving/hanging with are.

perhaps i should go work on this whole packing thing now..
oh and welcome to the blog!