• Jennifer
  • posted by Jennifer

  • Cory and I arranged our trip this last weekend to be home in time for Kelly's welcome home bash this afternoon. Here is a small snippet of Kelly's last post upon her return from DR.

    I got home at 7:30pm last night. My mom, dad, Stacey and Jayson picked me up and then we went out to dinner where I had a YUMMY salad (Iâ??ve missed salads the most) and some pasta.

    I fell asleep in the car on the way home. I dragged my bags into my parents house, fell asleep in my old bedroom and I donâ??t think I moved until I woke up this morning.

    When I did wake up I had a realization. I love life.

    Usually when I come home from a long trip in Latin America I have a weird â??readjustmentâ?? time where Iâ??m not quite sure I like America or Americans. I have these weird feelings that I donâ??t belong. That I wasnâ??t ready to leave the country I was visiting. You name it. This time is different.

    I realized that I now have a home in the D.R. I have friends there. I can go back any time. I am planning to go back too. I have finally realized that there are differences between countries, cultures, people. Instead of comparing them and favoring one, I just need to look for the good in all and appreciate them for what they are.

    I will miss everything Dominican. But, I now appreciate having power 24 hours a day. I appreciate running water. I appreciate drinking from the tap.

    I missed American things. But I now appreciate down time. Sitting and talking, or sitting in silence with someone. I appreciate â??just beingâ?? and not feeling the need to â??doâ?? all the time. I appreciate simple things, simple life, and most of all I appreciate life. The fact that I am here, and that I can do, see, and be.

    I also realize that none of this would have been possible without a home base. Without the support from my family this would have been a very difficult thing to try to do. My mom paid my bills, changed my flight, got me a seat on my last leg home, my sister changed appointments, sent me emails with info I needed. My dad spoiled my cat â?? so I didnâ??t have to worry about her while I was gone, and Jayson sent me some emails that reached me on some difficult days.

    And you, my friends, sent me emails. Kept me grounded. Read my long accounts of life in the D.R. and it was just nice knowing that you were there with me on my trip, experiencing it with me.

    I am missing my home in the D.R. It really did feel like home to me. But, I know that itâ??s in my power to return, and that I will be going back. So, that helps me not to miss it so much.

    In the mean time I have my friends, my family, and my photos.

    Thank you all for reading, and for responding. It was an incredible experience.

    - Kelly

  • Jennifer
  • posted by Jennifer

  • Hello and Happy Day to you all!

    What a fun filled day. I thought Iâ??d write a quick email to fill you in. Itâ??s Tuesday â?? rice, beans and tuna flavored potato day. YUM!

    During preschool the kids were CRAZY wild and out of control. But, by the end we were playing outside and they were mostly behaving themselves. We had a good time chasing each other around.

    Lunch was good, then I came back and took a quick nap before a 1:00 meeting. I love sleeping here. Somehow my body has an internal clock that just wonâ??t quit! I wake up EVERY morning at 5:57. Why? I donâ??t know. Yes, I usually roll over (carefully since I sleep on the top bunk) and go back to sleep. Then, in the afternoon, if I look at my watch and have time for a nap, I take one. If I have 1 hour, I sleep for about 45 minutes to 1 hour. Today I only had 10 minutes before my meeting, so I closed my eyes and woke up at 1:00 on the nose! Itâ??s really weird, and I donâ??t know why itâ??s happening, but hey, Iâ??ll take it!

    I have been taking care of Orlandi in the afternoons. Orlandi is the daughter of the principal at the school. He is here all day and Orlandi has nothing to do in the afternoons. So, they bring her to my house (usually at the end of one of my naps) and we hang out until itâ??s time for the workshop and then she comes to my workshop. I think she is about 5. She is adorable and an absolute kick in the pants.

    Anyway, I had to talk to Marijo today about buying paint for the mural that lines the inside wall of the orphanage. So, Orlandi and I started walking towards the office (about a 5-7 minute walk from my volunteer house) and we stopped by the swings to swing for a bit. We then continued on our way â?? stopping to pick flowers, balance on the curb, and do other 5 year old things.

    We get to the office to find that Marijo wasnâ??t there. So, we walk another 5 minutes to her house. I was going to just give her the paint list, but she was going into San Pedro anyway and offered to take me with her and weâ??d do the paint thing together.

    We went to the paint store, Jumbo, got gas, and then went to this DELICIOUS frozen yogurt place. I had no idea that they had frozen yogurt here. But, they do. You pick out 3 fruits (which are cut up and frozen) and then they blend it together into yogurt. Fantastic. Today is Marijoâ??s birthday so I bought her yogurt for her and we sat and enjoyed a frozen yogurt.

    Today is Imryâ??s last night. So, when I got home I ate some Top Ramen, then went over to the other house to wish him bon voyage. We stacked up a bunch of Oreos and put a candle on top. He was happy.

    Then, we all decided to walk over to Marijoâ??s house and surprise her by singing happy birthday. SO, we got our flashlights, put on our shoes, and 16 of us headed over to Marijoâ??s house. Along the way, Dominique (Swiss Dentist) found a plant that feels EXACTLY like a spider. So, she would randomly walk up behind someone and touch them with it. She got me first. I screamed like a school girl and was batting away what I thought was a tarantula.

    Then, she got Kelly Q. She touched her neck and Kelly bent over, screamed and ran trying to brush off the tarantula she thought was crawling on her neck. SO, all during the long walk to Marijoâ??s everyone kept screaming out thinking a tarantula was on them. It was awesome.

    So, we finally got there, and sang Happy Birthday to Marijo in 7 different languages. She was at Kiranâ??s house, so he came out and offered everyone an Oreo and we stood around for a minute and chatted then we left.

    It was a fun night. I love random stuff like this. If I were at home, I would have been sitting alone, on the internet, or stressing over something, or thinking about something. But here, I love my reality. My reality is that I work, I sleep when Iâ??m tired, I eat when Iâ??m hungry, I stay up as late as I want (because I can always nap the next day), I hang out with the tias, the kids all know my name so if Iâ??m walking and they want to play catch, swing on the swings, or spin a top on the ground, I just stop and do whatever. I love that I have no distractions other than to â??be.â?? If someone is going somewhere and I want to go, I do. If I donâ??t, then I donâ??t. If I am asleep, and someone wants to talk to me, they just come to my window and wake me up. Then, we chat. Weâ??re all here together. We are all in the same boat, and we are all taking each day as it comes. I need to remember this when I get home. Be present. Or, as Garth said in Wayneâ??s World â??Live in the now.â??

    So, right now, Iâ??m sitting on the porch. Itâ??s 10:30pm. There is no power, so itâ??s dark â?? with the exception of the porch light that runs on an inverter, and the glow of computer screens. Janvier has his bachata music on. Susana and Christian are speaking in Spanish about something, and Monica and I are checking email. I love this life.

    On a funny note, here are some Dominican beliefs. The folks here do believe these are TRUEâ?¦

    1) If kids play in the water, they will get the flu.
    2) If you are losing your hair itâ??s because a centipede is in your bed eating it
    3) If you work too hard you will get sick (this is actually true I think)
    4) If you are sick, water with lemon will cure ANYTHING

    I am signing off. Love you all, Kelly

  • Jennifer
  • posted by Jennifer

  • You have been asking for a cacata photo. While we were walking back from the batey we ran into a little furry friend. So, I gave Janvier my camera to go back and take pictures. (I was too tired and headed to bed.)

    So, at last, here are some long awaited photos of tarantulas in the DR.

    :-) Kelly Dominican Republic Travel Photos

  • Jennifer
  • posted by Jennifer

  • I have a new talent. I can eat an entire meal with a spoon. It seems we only get one utensil for meals and depending on what youâ??re eating, you either get a spoon or a fork. Unless itâ??s bread and juice night, then you donâ??t get either.

    Anyway, today was Wednesdayâ?¦ my favorite meal day. I can now eat a chicken thigh, rice and salad with a spoon. Now you should be able to tell that this is not an easy task! But, one that I have mastered after 3 weeks of eating beef, chicken and fish served with rice & beans with a spoon.

    I painted with my preschoolers today. Painted their whole hands then they put them on paper to make a flower. Afterwards I thought Iâ??d have to help them wash their handsâ?¦ but the tia (Tia Juana) said, â??Oh no, they can do it!â?? So I let them goâ?¦ aloneâ?¦ to the bathroom to wash their hands which were COVERED in finger paint.

    Afterwards I went in expecting to find a mess, and the bathrooms were SPOTLESS!!! SO, I watched the last little guy wash his hands, and when he was done, he took some water in his hand and spread it around the sink to clean off any paint splatters!!!

    These kids are 2 â?? 4 years old and 16 of them can wash their hands and not get a drop of paint anywhere they arenâ??t supposed to.

    It all amounts to expectations. Iâ??ll be expecting a lot more from my students next year!!!
    Oh, and some of us found another way to tell the Dominicans from the Americans. (Other than the obvious â?? thank you smart aleks). When the sun is out, the Americans can be found sitting in it, in a lawn chair, reading a book, trying to get a tan. The Dominicans will be inside, or under a tree, or walking with an umbrella trying to avoid it.

    And if it rains? Americans will walk all the way to their own house, regardless of how wet they get. Dominicans RUN as fast as they can to the nearest shelter â?? regardless of whose house it is. Then theyâ??ll wait it out.

    Kelly Q. and I were laying on the sidewalk today waiting for someone or something (weâ??re always waiting for someone or something) and Veronika (she is Austrian I think) walked by and saw us. We had a good laugh over the weather differences I thought you would too.

    Oh, and itâ??s been really hot lately. The sort of hot where you just sit there and the sweat rolls down your face, back, legs, everything. When you stand up youâ??re dripping and your clothes are wet. The only other time I have sweated like that is in spin class, and that is ONLY when Bridget or Val teach and they make us work so hard my legs cramp up.

    So, what Iâ??ve noticed is I smell good for about 20 minutes a day. I take a shower, scrub all the sweat off, put on deodorant, scented lotion and put gel in my hair. Then, for the 20 minutes after my shower I smell FANTASTIC! Fresh, clean, ahhhh. Then, my hair dries, the heat hits me and I start to sweat all over againâ?¦ I canâ??t actually smell myself, but Iâ??m sure I donâ??t smell super fresh. Especially after working in the baby house with Antonio who hasnâ??t worn diapers in 3 days, and after running around with the older kids playing â??pato, pato, gansaâ?? (duck, duck, goose).

    THEN! The flies, and other bugs bother you cause youâ??re all hot and sweaty. So, I try to sit on the porch and read my book but I continually have to swat flies away. They are buzzing my ears, landing on my face, in my hair. They are EVERYWHERE! Iâ??m sure youâ??ve seen insects crawling all over people on the tv, and that is exactly what itâ??s like. Last night I swatted at a fly that was on my forehead. When it didnâ??t go away I grabbed it and it was a spider! Iâ??m a bug playground. Good times.

    OH, yesterday Katarina tried to comb my hair to make it â??softâ?? and it turned into a giant rats nest. I just got it all untangled. Scary stuff. but it was fun. I feel like a giant muneca (doll) because theyâ??re always rubbing my skin, arms, playing with my hair, trying to braid it, etc.

    Well, I just got out of the shower and am enjoying my fresh smelling self. SO, on that note, Iâ??ll sign off for now.

    H appy Wednesday!

  • Jennifer
  • posted by Jennifer

  • from Kelly....I have commentary at the end so I'm quoting her words....

    "I love Wednesdays.

    We have the best lunch. Chicken, yellow rice with corn, and salad (which consists of cabbage and carrots).

    Itâ??s delicious.

    Tonight we get to read to the kids, and they love it.

    Dinner is batata (greenish colored sweet potatoes) with scrambled eggs on top. YUM!

    So, thatâ??s why I love Wednesdays.

    Right now the sky is dark, the thunder has just started and it began to rain as I walked back to my house after lunch.

    Love it."

    -- So I'm posting this one day late, but tell me...why do you love Wednesdays? or any day for that matter.

    I love Thursdays since it's like friday to me. I work from my home office on Fridays so Thursday marks the end of the "work week" so to speak and I while I don't take Fridays off, I get to work from home, usually with Nicole, which I love to do.

    I love Thursdays because I'm usually sore. This signals a good workout week. I usually praise my efforts with a glass of wine!

    I love routine, so I love Sundays. Laundry, groceries, cat litter...normal Sunday chores.

    I love Sundays as it signals the start of a new and exciting week.

    What do you love?

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