Saturday, October 31, 2009

I'm now living with my new family in Mata Gorda. I have three little brothers, Junior (11), Jansys (9) and Jeremy (8). All three of them are very cute and love to spend time with the two of us girls. When we go out on walks together, they tell their mom they'll protect her daughters. They love to pick flowers for us and play games with us (Uno is a new favorite).

Our mom is crazy and always full of energy. Her husband works in the capital (about three hours away). He can't come home very often because it's really expensive. He came home yesterday just to meet us but probably won't be able to come back home until Christmas time. There are lots of neighborhood kids that would play with us every minute of every day if they could. I'm working in the youngest class in the preschool (ages 3-5). They are all really cute and fun, but very tiring. School goes from 9:30-2:30 MWR and 9:30-12:00 TF. We have a nap time on the longer days, which I'm very grateful for. A little girl and I share a blanket so I can rub her back until she falls asleep. The teacher I am helping is an American who is working through Students International. She's fun and easy to work with and I'm learning a lot. This is the first time I've ever worked with kids that young in an educational setting. We've also been having lots of potty accidents every day, which the teacher said isn't normal, so hopefully next week will be a little bit better.

Dennisse and I are still having trouble with low iron and lack of fiber in our diet. Dennisse ended up having to go to the doctor yesterday morning because of it. Our mom decided afterward that she was going to start buying us more fresh fruits and vegetables and wheat bread. We're both so thankful! This past week, we've been eating nothing but starch (bread for breakfast, rice for lunch, yuca for supper) and we were getting really, really exhausted because of it.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Well, travel week is over and I'm back at the base. On Friday, I move in with my new host family and start working at Mata Gorda in the school there. I spent the last few days at a resort somewhere in the DR, I don't even know where. But we were really near the water. On Monday, we hiked for a couple of hours through the jungle, got picked up by a boat and taken to a really cool Taino cave, and then to a little bay/beach area where the people from the resort had a barbecue lunch waiting for us. We spent the afternoon playing in the water. Yesterday, we took a boat to Samana Bay and did a little bit of shopping before heading to a private island where we spent the day playing sand volleyball and swimming in the beautiful water. Tonight and tomorrow I'll be at the base in Jarabacoa, and then sometime on Friday I'll be moving in with my host family in Mata Gorda.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Travel Week

Last Tuesday, I said goodbye to my first host family. It was a bittersweet experience. I was a bit sad to leave them, but also excited for the rest of the semester and what it had in store. Tuesday night, we had a Spanish graduation party. It was so much fun! Each level had been working on a song and a skit/dance for the party. We had fun laughing at each other and embarrassing ourselves. Wednesday morning, after getting up at 5:30 to run with a bunch of other girls (we had an American mob running down the road), our group left for Santo Domingo. In the course of the last four days, we've visited caves, six museums, the first cathedral built in the Americas, an awesome beach, and several of the local restaurants and shops. Wednesday night, after eating supper and not being even close to finishing all of our food, a group of us gave our food to a homeless lady on the street. We struck up a conversation with her and have been going back to visit her every day since. Last night, we took her out to eat with us at a really nice Italian restaurant. She was giddy with excitement. Earlier in the day, we put together a care package for her and made her a card. She opened the card last night and couldn't go any further because she said she was just so grateful. We figured out that her favorite fruits are apples and grapes, so we decided to get up early and buy her some for breakfast this morning. Unfortunately, the fruit vendors aren't out that early on a Sunday morning. We ended up just giving her the money. She took us on a very brisk walk/tour and showed us several parks, churches, and beaches. Every time we came to a man she didn't approve of, she shook her stick at him! She was too cute. We are leaving Santo Domingo this morning and heading up north to some more caves.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Our excursion this Saturday was pretty interesting. We went tubing down the river, through rapids. I never want to do it again. It was fun for the first little while, but two hours of it was a little bit much. A lot of us girls couldn't stop ourselves once we got in the current ... thank goodness there are boys on this trip. The boys would go through ahead of us, and then stop and spread out across the river and catch any girls that came shooting towards them. Sometimes we got past them, but they somehow managed to catch us anyway.
Saturday night, Dennisse and I watched Amy and Darell while our parents went to a couples thing at church. A few neighbor kids came over. We played card games most of the evening. After the neighbor kids went home, Dennisse, Amy, Darell, and I cuddled up in bed and watched a Barbie movie (apparently those are the only DVD's in our house?). We were just drifting off to sleep when our parents came back.
We went to one of the rivers near our house Sunday afternoon and played in the water, tried to catch minnows, and made sandcastles. It was a nice study break.