Sunday, June 27, 2010

a cenar juntos.. what a blessing! it is so good to have time with our sweet friends and neighbors to laugh and share a meal. we always leave full with so many things to laugh about. i will miss their good company. a couple families we have gotten close to decided they were going to cook a dominican dinner for the gringas this time, so all we had to do was show up! everyone brought different dishes and we had a wooonderful meal!

tanya y yesenia- two of the hilarious cocineras

jose angel- by far one of my FAVORITE neighborhood kids.

sweet smiles.

all the ladies at gloria's

all the muchachos


Sunday, June 20, 2010

abbi and dean

may. 22. 2010.

MY BEST FRIEND GOT MARRIED!

the ceremony was absolutely beautiful. abbi and dean got married at laguna gloria, part of the austin museum of art. it was perfect. classy. vintage. intimate. relaxed.

we got there in the afternoon after abbi had her hair and makeup done. we spent the afternoon walking around the grounds and the bridesmaids hung out with abbi upstairs. it was really relaxed and we were more ready than nervous. you can only "get ready" so long, so of course we had some photo shoots..
court, abbi, me

doesn't she look absolutely STUNNING? i mean seriously. first of all she is one of those gorgeous-in-sweats-with-no-make-up girls already, so put her in this vintage looking dress (one that i might be slightly obsessed with) and stick some flowers in her hand.. whoa.

abbi and her bridesmaids (jessica, carey, courtney, abbi, ashley, rachel, me, charis)

the ceremony was really small. their two immediate families and wedding party watched the ceremony down by the lake. it was sweet and very real.

after the ceremony we walked up the little hill to the reception where many more people were waiting. it was all outside and the weather was perfect. the stringed quartet was lovely and it was so fun to eat and laugh with abbi's family and friends that we have grown up with.

abbi, joe, lisa, evan

..and off they went to enjoy their honeymoon together. mr. and mrs. shirley.

i love you both so much and i am so happy for you.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

may mini vacation

literally a few hours after we had our class graduation celebration, i was on a plane headed to los estados. my best friend ABBI was getting married and while i was in town i got to spend some time with the fam and some good friends.

in pictures, here is a little bit of what it looked like (minus wedding photos.. next entry, people. next entry)

kennedy turned ONE! oh my goodness i cannot believe it has already been a year! she was absolutely adorable in her tutu at her elmo themed party.. she has some pretty cool parents. :) auntie tinkle can't wait for more time with little kennedy!

lunch date with my sista (reeeeally good food. everyone needs to eat at mother's at least once). i was thankful to get some time with court planning the bachelorette party, going to the wedding, and hanging out a little. she rocks.

bananarchy date with becca! becca was the one who first introduced me to bananarchy (a wonderful frozen banana trailer.. pick your toppings right there and wah lah- frozen banana pop on a spoon!). our bananarchy hang out date was great! love me some becca time..

dinner at central market (yeah.. they let it be my choice :) with some of the REC crew. OH how i miss those days and these incredible people! we have some gooood stories..

dia de anna- kayaking and lunch! oh what i would give to spend every morning on a lake with anne.. our entire day date was FULL of conversation, laughs, exploration, scripture.. anne is one of those people that is just good for the soul. i am so thankful for any time we are able to spend together.

my time home was incredible and there are many more sweet people i was able to spend time with and good things i was able to do that i did not document with pictures.. chipotle with brett and kosh. shopping with mom. austin stone and whole foods with tay. worship, the boat, and dinner w/ the boons. nights with friends. back porch conversations in blankets. long runs on new trails. hanging out with the fam. . dallas road trip with mom. dallas with shannon. abbi's bachelorette party. abbi and dean's wedding.. (i know, i know. ashley, quit rambling)

the point?

it was awesome. loved the little break in los estados. so thankful for incredible people to spend it with.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

graduation!

yes, it's true.. we made it through the year!

for a lot of my kids, this was our second year together. in two years it is incredible to think about how much they have grown.. physically, they are bigger and stretching out more and more. their minds continue to expand, they pick things up so quickly, and absorb SO much that we do. they have learned how to learn. their personalities keep getting more defined and growing. they are hilarious. it makes me almost cry to think about how we have formed a community in our classroom; they have the routines and rules down and know how to treat each other and our things (this was a process..). they understand that we are in school to learn, we treat people with respect, God calls us to love people, we are all friends despite racial differences... there is seriously just so much i could say about them.

i am beyond proud.

to be completely honest, it has been a really hard year. there have been many struggles, many fights, issues and hurt from home situtations entering the classroom, distractions, illness, tears.. not easy. BUT..

we made it.

despite all the challenges, we pushed through to learn about the Lord, how to read, how to add and subtract.. we learned how to fight through some of the mess and do it together. there are SO many moments of sweet hugs, dancing, successes, laughing and just joy to remember. oh i am so thankful for that.

so here it is. the end of the year. here's a glimpse at what graduation day looked like:

parents and siblings watching the ceremony

regina getting her certificate

my smart little crazies (class photo)

oh man i love them so much.

Friday, June 11, 2010

taylor

TAYLOR CAME TO VISIT!!

yeah she did. i really do have great friends.. tay and i met the first day of our freshman year in high school and then we ended up both going to school at UT (hook 'em). there's a lot of history.. tennis tourneys, wrecks, birthdays, festivals, sonic trips, different jobs, goodbyes, new people, dorm adventures, concerts, conversations, ut athletics, texas lassos, all-nighters, surprises, tears, living together for 2 years, 2 brain surgeries... a lot.

LOVE you, tay. i'm glad we got to add the DR to our list..

hotness at la playa

tay gets the award for the splotchiest/most awkward sunburn

trying sugar cane- get it!

look at all that dominican food.. including sancocho de cerdo (soup w/ pig) and a block of fried cheese. she's way braver than i am..

fire-blowing, rum-spitting, crazy-dancing man during halftime at a basketball game in puerto plata. oh yes.

hangin' out with bernito and wilner in chichigua

thank you so much for coming, tay. i love me some ashlor time.. miss you.

i love YOU. a lot.

Monday, June 7, 2010

elections

oooh the elections..

everyone gets SO excited and into the elections here. especially in the weeks leading up to voting days, the streets were filled with people waving their party's color, honking, giant trucks announcing different candidates, parades, and just a ton of noise. signs and billboards go up all over the place and candidates make appearances everywhere. the night winners were announced TONS of people in montellano stood outside the public school where they were counting votes to await the results. the streets were blocked off and people were standing around for hours to see who won. people standing on different sides of the school would compete to see who could cheer the loudest for their party.. everyone gets really into it.

THEN after the winners are announced there are MORE loud parades to celebrate. parades down the highway, parades all over monellano.. parades. parades. basically people ride around on vehicles or motos screaming, waving their colors, honking.. (sidenote- the night omar sanchez won kendall and i rode around in the parade on johan's moto. it was nuts. we of course waved white shirts around and yelled like crazy people. i mean, you just have to.. our protective neighbors weren't too fond of the fact we went bc it really is craziness but, hey, we are still here :)

here's a video of one of the parades after omar won the elections.. this is right in front of our apartment. actually, we were driving back from puerto plata and accidentally got into this parade. haha.. ok here it is:

video

i'm not going to lie.. it was fun but i'm glad elections are over!

Saturday, June 5, 2010

DANCE circle!

"so ashley, how was your last day of school?"

umm.. awesome.

"yeah? what did y'all do?"

movie time.. and MICHAEL JACKSON DANCE PARTY (yes, again..)!

video

coolest. kids. on. the. planet.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

bingo!

our neighbor gloria is, well, quite a character. i really don't even know where to start. a couple random/quirky things about gloria:
  • she will force you to eat even if you're not hungry.
  • she sits on her porch all the time.
  • she knows everything going on in the neighborhood.
  • she looooves telling stories.
  • she laughs at everything.
  • she treats our apartment like we are her daughters.
  • she plays dominoes every weekend with her ex husband.
  • she rocks the skinny jeans.
  • she has hilarious children who still visit her ALL the time.
  • she is sassy. quite sassy.
  • AND she plays bingo every week..
kendall, robin, rachel, and i agreed to play bingo with her one week with no idea what to expect. she is so funny.. we ended up at a woman's house in montellano and played bingo on the porch. we all had bingo cards we marked with rocks. well, there were a few women who brought their own fancy chips (time to get serious about bingo). gloria is hardcore and managed to play FOUR bingo cards at one time. yes- four.

it was a really funny night.. oooooh gloria and her crew. :)

gloria and kendall

me and robin (i just WON one and robin is being the caller)

b.i.n.g.o. time.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

eww..

this was in my room.

doesn't it just look like some giant, evil, poison-filled creature ready to sting me while i sleep??

dramatic? maybe.

but really.. what is this?

we had to call ada over to the house to kill it. he said it was "muy peligroso."

disgusting.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

labor day

many places of work here in the good ol' DR have parties or get-togethers for their employees for labor day. it's not always just a day off but time to hang out with people you work with.

sooo makarios people hung out together at la roca in the river. you KNOW that means there was some gooood sancocho made by some of the makarios dominican men. of course there was plenty of swimming and jumping off the giant rock. fun..

some of the makarios dudes

me and kendall

so many people at the river!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

basketball

ahhh basketball season. professional basketball game in puerto plata, anyone?? (and by professional i mean "professional")- i guess i should explain. they're technically professional; it just looks quite different than the nba..

mm.. yes please.

kendall and i met some of the guys at the game. it was nothing less than awesome. one thing i love about being here is that when it comes to sports (well, i'm mainly referring to some baseball games i've been to and some pick up basketball games), dominicans are EXCITED. it is an event.. and every moment is exciting and LOUD. it doesn't really matter what is going on; there is always something to yell or cheer about. so much fun..

in action

wilson, jody, caquito, chris

me and kendall

Sunday, May 23, 2010

abbi!

ABBI CAME TO VISIT. yeah she did! oh my gosh i can't even begin to explain how great it was to have her here. abbi and i have been friends for almost 15 years. she's one of those people you can only hope you'll meet once. i am so fortunate to call her my best friend. ok, if i don't start talking about her visit now, i will be rambling for pages about her awesomeness..

the time she was here FLEW by. she was here 5 nights total.. we took motos to la tienda, spent time hanging out at rachel's, ate dinner at tropi with friends, went a couple beaches, had people over for chili night, went to a dominican basketball game, ate sancocho at the river, visited villages, played with my kids, went to school, walked the malecon, took public, went to church, ate rice/beans, talked, chilled.. y mucho mas.

it means the world to share a little part of what my life is now and has been for two years. i'm just. so. thankful. i really don't have words. i am honored you took time to come here, abs. i love you so much.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

sancocho.. yes please.

ahhh days at the river are so GOOD!
basic agenda: make sancocho, swim, hang out, wait for sancocho, EAT.. this particular trip was especially awesome because ABBI CAME! oh i can't even begin to explain how good it was to have her here in country for a little while. really. beyond thankful.

me and ABBI! love you.

rubia pouring some of the veggies in the amazing sancocho (did i explain this? it's a soup - sooo good)

everyone hanging out while the soup cooks

rubia, jefferson, wilson, jody, brenda, robin

sass. roomies (minus kendall)

johan jumping from the tree

yep. good day.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

double wedding

two beautiful sisters that rachel has been friends with a long time, dudu and chichi, were both getting MARRIED! ..of course that means a DOUBLE WEDDING- woo!

rachel helped them plan, find dresses, decorate and organize.. AND she was in the wedding (as the godmother). basically, she is 1) an incredible friend and 2) a stud. it was a beautiful wedding.

now, let me make something clear.. a haitian wedding ceremony here is totally different than a 20 minute deal we have in los estados. weddings are long (i'm talking hours) and start whenever the bride (or brides in this case) is ready, even if that means hours after the announced start time. there are a TON of people that show up and EVERYONE that has a camera takes pictures the entire time. the couple(s) sit at the front of the church while there is basically a church service (sermon and songs). there are mulitple performers and when it is time to do vows and such at the end there is a mob- a MOB- that crams in the front for the kiss. cara describes it well-it's like a rock concert. people pushing, snapping pictures, yelling, making them kiss again..

we got out to villa early to help prepare for the wedding. rachel asked me to be the "photographer" so i was taking pictures the whole time..

shoes.

dudu looks kind of sad here but i promise she was super pumped. :) her sister chichi is in the back getting ready

walking from the house to the church

and the brides enter..

sitting during the ceremony

the lovely choir

praying

pastor jonny (dudu and chichi's dad) praying

and the cake people watching the reception..

i think rach, cara, and i ended up being out there from 2ish to after 10pm. good day.

it was sweet and i am so happy for the newlyweds!

congratulations. :)