Sunday, December 13, 2009

A Typical Dominican Wedding

...and I can say typical because my Dominican friend said so :).

1) The wedding "started" at 4. Let me restate that. The wedding was suppose to start at 4, but the bride was not there till about 6:30 so it did not start till 6:45.
2) There was a fog machine for when the bride walked down the aisle...along with a strobe light.
3) People stood in the way around the church to take pictures with their digital cameras. For example, when they kissed at the end, about ten people were on stage to take a picture. And because some of them did not get the picture in time for the kiss, they redid the kiss about four times.
4) People got up and left halfway through the ceremony to go to the reception...say what.
5) Every person that walked down the aisle got announced individually.
6) The couple walked down the aisle to the Star Wars theme.
7) Prom dresses were plentiful.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Never a Dull Moment in this Country



Monday Nov. 23: Ashley and I decided to take Luis Fernando (her fav) out to Caraballo, grab Marleini and Weeson, and have a picnic out on the field. Of course this seemed like the perfect idea, and it was going to go smoothly, taking fun pictures and laughing with our favorite children. We pick up Luis from public school at 5 and hop on a moto, and since there were four of us, Luis had to sit in front of the driver. This 5-10 minute moto ride was one of the more dangerous ones I have been on in this country. I was on the back, and when the driver went over a bump, I definitely got some air and almost fell off the side. I am only giving you this example to help you better understand why what happened next happened. We get to Caraballo, take Luis off the front, and pay the moto driver, and as we are walking away, the moto guy says something to us, and we just kind of ignore him. He keeps saying it over and over again so we look over and realize he was saying, "El hizo caca" (He made/did poop...but I think you all know what caca is in Spanish) because there is "caca" on the driver's shirt and on the back of Luis' pants and shirt...ew ew ew. At this point I could not maintain because I was laughing so hard so I turned and walked away and of course let Ashley handle it all. Apparently, the moto ride scared the .... out of Luis :). So much for the picnic! We had a mini one after Ashley's long adventure of taking Luis to the nearby public school where she had the lovely resources of a bucket of water and notebook paper to clean him off.
Wednesday Nov. 25: After Bible study, Ashley and I left the Makarios house around nine at night to walk to the main road to grab a public car to Montellano. These are not easy to come by at night, and sometimes it can be a bit confusing which public car is for where. We stood by the main road for awhile while full cars passed when finally one that sped past, stopped and reversed to get us. We gladly got in, and the driver started driving for awhile when all of a sudden he turned down a sugar cane road. Sometimes if you pay the driver a lil more money he will take you a bit down the road you need to go on so I thought maybe he was doing this for someone, but he just kept going. Finally Ashley spoke up and asked him where he was going, and he said to Munoz, which was down the sugar cane road we were driving on. We tell him we are going to Montellano so he stops the car and starts getting feisty with us about not paying attention to which cab it was. The old man next to me tells him to drive us back to the main road, but the driver says no we should have paid attention and kept getting mad at us. We get out of the car to walk back down the dark sugar cane road, and the driver gets out of the car and yells at us telling us we need to pay the full amount even though we did not go the whole way. We try and argue with him, but at this point, we are both scared and just want to get back; therefore, Ashley slams the money on his car, and we fast walk it to the main road. In any situation where you are scared, we naturally start praying, praying for a car, someone we can trust. After about ten minutes, a private taxi pulls up and asks us if we are going to Montellano. He says he knows us from church, and he will take us for free (of course we paid him). Gracias a Dios :).
Friday Nov. 27: My mom came in town the day before for Thanksgiving, and on Friday we wanted to take Weeson and Marleini to the beach. We go to pick them up in Caraballo with Robin and her mom, and when we get there, the lady taking care of them is getting high with another lady. The husband is sitting in his voodoo shack possibly drunk, throwing rum around the room, while others in the village are bringing stuff to him to get approved. Thank you Lord for Robin, her knowledge of Spanish, her patience, and well I could go on. The man is telling us no they cannot go because their mom said no (at this point I am thinking where is the mom? I thought she left them?), while another man who is claiming to be their dad says they can go...for the record the mom had told me their dad died so I assume he is newly married to their mom, but not really positive about that. In the end, they get to go even though they are scared of what Ramoncito may do. We decide to take our moms to Chichigua before going to the beach, and guess who is chillin in Chichigua...their mom! what the. Their mom was there with their sister Mileni. To make a long story short, their mom now lives in Pancho Mateo, which is about 5 minutes from me, is looking for a mattress, and once she gets it, they can live with her...so she says.
Saturday Nov. 28: Wilson (my friend, not lil Weeson) asked me to play in a basketball game WestJet Airlines vs American Airlines. I said okay not really thinking much about it...we played in the professional arena in Puerto Plata, with a bunch of really bigggg boys, and I wore Wilson's jersey. All that to say, I felt a tad out of place, and, well, like a boy. It was a lot of fun though! Mary if you read this, I wanted you to be there so bad laughing at me because it was such a typical thing for me to do...you will laugh especially after you see the picture(s) of me and what I was wearing. When I got home, I went into Ashley's room, and there was an infestation of ants...


Like I have said before, C'est la vie!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Bailar con Weeson y Marleini

Michael Jackson. Apparently everyone and their dog in this country know who he is (who doesn't), love him, play his music, and want to be just like him. We have noticed this a lot particularly with our students. They will randomly start dancing like him at school, and it is hilarious, but kinda scary how good some of them are at it. Anyways, we had been wanting to see the new movie about him, but of course like every other movie, I knew I would probably have to wait till I got home...unless in true Dominican style, a restaurant down the street decided to get a bootleg version of it and let anyone for 50 pesos come see it. Ashley, yo, Cara, y Wilson went last Wednesday night, and it was pretty awesome...not the movie, the set up. The filming was awful, and the sound system was pathetic as well, but hey, it gave us something fun to do, and I will always remember sitting in a random place called La Factoria in the small town of Montellano watching the Michael Jackson movie. On Friday, I was helping Ashley with her class in the morning, and for morning meeting we decided what the heck, let's show them the MJ music videos Ashley downloaded on her computer and let them dance like him...awesome. It is probably a good thing I am not a teacher because I think I would have a play day everyday. "Alright kids today we are going to learn about numbers. Wait, did you say that is boring? I completely agree. Recess for four hours then dance party? Fine by me!"

On Saturday, all my roomies were in Santiago, and I decided to stay home. I woke up and decided I think I will play basketball today, I think I will visit Weeson and his sister Marleini, I think I will pick them up, take them to Pancho with me to play basketball and eat lunch with them...and that is exactly what I did. I picked them both up from Caraballo and let them play on the basketball court while I was playing Sili. Several times I watched Weeson because it was such a joy to see him running around smiling and laughing with me or with other kids instead of being stuck in that scary, dirty place he calls home. After basketball I decided to take them to my apartment to eat lunch. I pulled out Shrek 2 that you can also play in Spanish and let them watch while I made them quesadillas and sliced up avocado (Kati if you are reading this email, I know you are laughing at me for making quesadillas). I watched the movie with them, and at one point when Shrek toots from drinking a magic potion, I looked over at Weeson, and he dropped his head back and started laughing so hard. It was the cutest thing! So we finished the movie, and it was almost time for me to take them back home. They both asked me for some water, and as I got up, I thought to myself, they need to laugh and be kids a lil bit more before they go back to acting like grown ups..."You can have water if you dance." They both looked at me like I was crazy. I turned on Kirk Franklin of course :) and told them I was serious. As I was pouring them some water, I look back and see Weeson dancing like the little crazy kid I know he is in front of the mirror. Ha! Marleini was also laughing and dancing to. We had the most fun dance partay together, and then it was time to go. I rode with them to Pancho to meet their cousin, and as he drove off with them, Marleni turned around and blew me a kiss...I love those two so much. I felt like a mom all day, and it was not so bad, but maybe because it was worth it for them. Tomorrow Ashley and I are grabbing Luis and going out to Caraballo to have a picnic with him, Weeson, and Marleini...with our cameras of course!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Update on Weeson :)


C'est la vie!
Last Thursday I went with Cara and Johan to find the casa de Weeson. Robin asked around and found out he lives with a man named Ramoncito in Caraballo. We pulled up to the Haitian side of Caraballo and walked up to this weird looking shack with creepy pictures of saints painted on the outside, and inside, Ramoncito was sitting with some other men chatting. He showed us which house was his, and there I found my lil love and his sister. Cara talked to the lady of the house, and this is what she said: they do not go to school, they do not have clothes, and their mom lives in the city of Santiago. Heartbroken. I go inside to sit with Weeson and notice that his face has sores on it that look awful. I want to cry for him, also noticing that he is famished and his ribs are extremely noticeable. Furthermore, I found out that the man he is living with is a voodoo witch doctor, which explains the weird paintings. We decide to leave, and all I want to do is bring him home with me to get him all straightened out but know I need to put my emotions aside. Of course that does not work so right when I get home, I talk to my roommates about everything and start crying. I felt beyond overwhelmed, but knew the Lord was telling me to be still and just pray. I prayed for guidance and realized that the Lord was going to help me with step by step instructions. The first step: medicine for Weeson's impetigo. I went Friday morning to school and once again felt overwhelmed. You have that desire for God just to fix everything all at once, meanwhile He tells you to be patient and have faith. I sat down with Robin and Ashley, and they prayed for me, encouraged me, and helped me put the medicine together. Ashley offered to go with me to Caraballo after school to give Weeson the medicine, and Johan said he would take us and talk to the lady of the house. (On a side note, there's nothing like good friends who love Jesus. Ones that will pray for you like prayer warrior Robin, one's that offer up there time, health, and ears to listen like Ashley and Johan, and Cara who offered up her time to help me find Weeson.) We went after school, put medicine on his face, gave him some clean water, and showed the lady what to do. Now Dominicans and Haitians in the villages here, because some of them are poor, will sometimes sell things that you give them, like shoes, clothes, medicine, etc. All I could do all weekend was pray and hope that she did not sell the medicine I gave her, and that she was actually giving Weeson the medicine. At the same time, I continually prayed for us that we would not get impetigo since it is a highly contagious bacterial infection. From the pictures, you can see that his face was against me while he was sitting on my lap. Honestly, I should have it, no doubt, yet the Lord has blessed me once again, and I am impetigo free, along with Ashley, who treated Weeson, and Johan.
Tuesday: Johan, Ashley, and I went out to Caraballo to give the second round of medicine. (I did not give the lady the full set just in case she would sell it.) Gracias a Dios, she had been putting the medicine on, and his face was clearing up! Relief set in, and we were beyond thankful for answered prayers.
Thursday (today): He has some scars that are trying to heal, but the infection looks like it is gone. He was laughing, hugging us, and gave me a kiss on the cheek. Precious boy, gosh I love him soooo much. When I updated my mom about him, she was worried about me holding him because I could get impetigo, and all I could say is there's a love that goes beyond anything, no matter what the circumstance. I would do anything for lil Weeson and his sweet heart. I gave him my apple today, and he just about devoured the whole thing after sharing a part with his sister and two other girls. That is when I decided he needs a hamburger :)! Saturday Ashley and I will be in Puerto Plata, and if we have time by the end of the day, we are going to grab Burger King and have a picnic with Weeson, his sister, and Ashley's precious boy Luis Fernando. I will let you know if that happens, and of course, we will take more pictures than we are suppose to :).

Monday, November 2, 2009

"Reunited and It Felt sooo Good"

I sit here with a smile on my face while I am writing this. I have prayed and prayed since I wrote that blog from my birthday. There are days when I tried to block Wilson (Weeson) out of my memories in the DR, and then there were days when all I could do was think about that lil boy, shed a few tears, and pray that he was okay and loved on wherever he was living in Haiti. So this is where I begin...
Friday night was one of those nights. I sat next to Ashley on the couch while we both did our usual computer stuff, and I started going through old pictures, which led to me looking at pictures of Weeson. I started to miss him of course so I stopped after awhile, but selfishly wished I could see him again. I have done that several times in the past I must admit. I prayed that for some reason his family would move back here so I could see him. Then I would remind myself what is important for Weeson is that he would know Jesus and love Him. Back to my story...Saturday I hiked to some waterfalls with my roomie Cara, our friend Johan, and a couple of his friends. Besides falling a few times :), it was one of the most beautiful places I have ever been to. On Sunday, some of us took the older kids from Chichigua to the beach. They loved it! When we took the kids back to Chichigua, we noticed most of the village was in Villa Asencion for a soccer game. Robin got the bright idea to go watch, so once we got home, we quickly changed and grabbed a couple motos to the village. We got there at the end of the game but saw some of our preschoolers and some of the parents we know. I was standing there waiting to figure out how we were going to get home when I look at this boy walking towards me. I just stare thinking "what the, this is some sick joke", and then I realized I was seeing what I never thought I would see again...WEESON! I picked him up in my arms so quick. I felt like I was in a movie. I jumped up and down with him in my arms, tears streaming down my face, and Weeson and I both were laughing. I could not contain my excitement while all the Haitian men and women were staring at me like I was some crazy gringa. I feel like I cannot even do justice to this story. It was such a sweet moment with the Lord, and I was flooded with gratefulness I cannot even express in words. The Lord had planned that perfect moment for me, and I had no idea. I almost did not go to the game because I was tired from the beach. To think! Gracias a Dios :)
Weeson now lives in a village named Caraballo, which is about 10-15 minutes away from my apartment. His mom left him and his older sister Marleini with someone she knows and moved to Haiti with his two younger siblings. I hope to visit him soon, but it is just a matter of finding out the name of the man he lives with, and then, well, walking in Carabello asking people where this man's house is, haha yes I know, crazy white girl is what they are going to think. Hope you enjoyed this precious moment the Lord blessed me with, and no worries I will keep you updated!
Below is a pic of the moment right after I brushed the tears of joy from my face :)

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Welcome to Miami



So overall Thursday to Monday in Miami was great! When I described it in three words to Anne, I said relaxing, humorous, and luxurious...moreso humorous. I realized men never change, like, never, not exaggerating, for real :) they stay boys forever, especially those whom have not grown past their sports career and are still clinging on to it. A great example would be the uncle in Napoleon Dynamite, oh so funny. So instead of blabbing about my blessing of a break with my roomie Ashley and my dad, here are some fun facts from my time in Miami:

-Ashley and I were picked up at the Miami airport by the Miami Dolphins minivan. Sweet mom car.
-We stayed at the Doral Resort, part of the PGA tour.
-I ate real food, had air conditioning, a real bed, television, and drinkable water...oh the high life.
-I had a convo with Dan Marino about my dad and took two pictures with him...Ashley deleted the first :) thanks Ash.
-I got to go to Target and Anthropologie! yay.
-I met the winner from last season's American Idol Kris Allen and took a pic with him.
-Kim Kardashian, JLo, and Marc Anthony walked past me at the Dolphin's game while Ashley and I were chillin in the VIP lounge.
-I ate a slice of sushi...sick.
-Our suite was as long as the end zone, woohoo.
-I ate some of the best black bean hummus I have ever had.
-I heard some pretty funny stories about my dad, of course all inaproppriate/gross boy stuff.

And that's about all I can think of at the moment. I just got back yesterday, and while at the store today, the security guard and his friend started chatting with me. He was nice, thought I was 14 (awesome). If you know how Dominican men who randomly start talking to you work, you know they ask random questions, and then the one eventually comes..."Do you have a boyfriend? My friend really wants to marry a girl like you"...romantic. The creepy part is they thought I was 14, but when I said I am 24, they were okay with the fact that I looked 14. Not even one day back, and I already got a marriage proposal. Gotta love this country!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Love that Dominican Music


If you want to listen to a few quality Dominican songs, here you go...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s5Ms5fK5OtM

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Itny_Vgz8CY

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Avzcy-PcaGg&feature=fvw

As you probably have already guessed, I was being sarcastic (surprise surprise). These songs are popular here so that just goes to show you how awesome the music is here...sorry more sarcasm. I thought I'd let you endure what I hear daily before I told you I was joking :). Cars drive down our street with these huge speakers in the back that blare these songs louder than the human ear should hear. Hope you liked them haha.

Going to Miami tomorrow till Monday with Ashley to meet my dad for a Miami dolphins reunion. Real food, real bed, television, drinkable water...I will blog about my trip next week.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Mmm Mmm Better


Not only was this week wayyy better than the first week of school, it overall was a great one for me personally. I have started to realize how much I love my roomies (no worries, I still miss you Kati :) ) and am starting to recognize the relationships I am building whether it is through my favorite village Chichigua, playing basketball with Sili, or hanging out with the few Dominican friends I have made through my roommates. There are moments that I just sit and laugh and think what in the world am I doing here...when my big tour bus almost goes off the road, a kid bites my hand in the classroom as I am trying to take him outside, the roomies and I get stuck on a two lane highway in political traffic as the car is overheating/we have to turn it off/some man is yelling at us in English as we are yelling back at him in Spanish...but then there are those moments where I look over at Memo, and he is copying what I am doing or just runs over and gives me a big hug, or when I see Sili smiling and laughing while we are playing basketball, and even just sitting in the park with some of my closest friends here eating ice cream and talking for a couple of hours. The small things here can make me so happy to be here and remind me why I am doing what I am doing. Saturday seemed like a long day to me especially after the whole traffic episode, and on the way to dinner we were all riding in the car quietly when all of a sudden Johan (one of my Dominican friends/my neighbor) starts rapping in Spanish about me, Cara, and Ashley. I laughed so hard, and in a way it was a little reminder from the Lord to just chill out and have fun. So that is my lil bit for last week. Oh and one more thing...

I will never bee scared again where I live. My upstairs third floor neighbor Will is pretty much a bodyguard for us girls on the first floor. I have heard about him from my roommates, but I did not meet him until Friday. When he walked through the door of our apartment, I felt like my jaw was going to drop to the floor. As you have probably already guessed, he is a very, very big man. His arms are full of muscle, and he is super tall. Let's just say, he is proud of himself and admitted to us he is trying to be the biggest man in our town of Montellano. He started to tell us several stories about fights he has gotten into or people he has beat up. Some guy stole 1000 pesos from the man he is paid to watch, and Will snatched the money out of his hands and well, you can use your imagination on what happened after. Now you might think 1000 pesos is a lot but this is a mere 30 bucks. I could go on with other stories, but I'll leave you with this fun fact...He at one point was a bodyguard for Vin Diesel and possibly Robert De Niro. All this to say, if anyone ever tries to do anything to me in this town, I will not only scream, I will scream as loud as I can "Willll!" and will know that even if he is 30 miles away, he will hear me and come to my rescue. Only thing is...I feel bad for that person on the opposite end :).

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

me gusta popcorn...

The things you will do for the things you love. In this case, it was all about popcorn. I have been reading the Harry Potter series, and in the past week and a half, I have read one and two. I obviously like them a lot :). After I read each book, as a treat, Robin and I watch the movie that goes with it so this past week on Wednesday, we decided to watch the first movie. Now, how can you watch a movie without popcorn?? You can't. But not just any old popcorn; here you have to actually make it, old school style. In the DR, they have what you call a colmado, which is basically a stand type place that contains all the simple things you need in life, like chips, cokes, and toilet paper. I would compare it to a newsstand in the movies in New York but on steroids. Robin and I decide to go looking for palomitas de maíz at the colmado across the street, and they did not have any. We walked down to the end of our street, and ten colmados later, we found one in tamarindo/montellano that has popcorn. Each colmado kept saying, "No, para allá", which means over there, and they would wave their hand in the same direction as every other colmado would do. We had ourselves a nice lil tour of the town, and I actually ran into several students and saw where they live, so not so bad after all. All for the sake of palomitas de maíz.

Mosquitoes. They like to swarm outside of our apartment. Anytime a door is left open too long, it is bad news bears. When I was changing in my room the other day, about 5 were flying around me, so naturally I am jumping around as I am throwing on my clothes. My roomie Ashley does a little riverdance when she is eating in the kitchen so they won't bite her legs. To get a good idea on how I feel, watch this...
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fFiQV0GAtew
...ok maybe a bit of an exaggeration, but I thought it was kinda funny.

First week of school. The best description I could give is to just say...ha ha (look at pic below). But I'll fill you in on a bit. The first week went like any first week would go. Little girls were crying for their moms, and boys were fighting. One boy ran out of the school to cross the river to go back home so Robin and Charlie had to chase after him through the nasty,infested river water. Other than that, the teachers are doing a great job. Us extras are taking care of the lil ones who are struggling so that the teachers can get going. I had to hold this chunky boy Elijio for an hour, and then on his own he walked into his class and pulled it together. He's a cutie. Please pray for us for patience, perseverance, and the ability to teach in a second language. This is not an easy thing.
Three of our families from Pancho did not send their kids to school on Monday and Tuesday so I for some reason got the bright idea to volunteer to tell them they needed to come to school. Hmm. My friend Johan who can speak English has come with me lately on Tuesdays to go play basketball with Sili; therefore, I figured he could translate for me, and if not him, then Sili because he understands some English. Well, about that...Johan had a flat tire when I called him to go, and when I showed up, Sili was not there in Pancho. I decided I would just go home and forget about basketball and talking to the families, but then I stopped in my tracks and said "Lord I do not know much, but you can help me get the point across." I went and told each family, just saying yes and it is okay to anything they were going on about in Spanish, thinking to myself, they probably think I am some crazy gringa. I left Pancho feeling okay about it until the next day, every kid showed up! Craziness. I thank the Lord for the confidence He gave me when I usually have none and the words to say when I usually have none :).
One week down...many to go!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

"Back to school. Back to school."


Each morning I wake up to the lovely sound of "AGUACATE!" I jump out of bed, grab my pesos, and run out the door to buy myself an avacado. Now these are not your average American avocados. These are huge and dirt cheap, usually costing a mere 10 pesos, and thirty-five pesos equals a dollar so you do the math. This fine Sunday morning I woke up to a different noise. Every now and then trucks packed with veggies and fruits will drive down the streets, while the driver with some type of speaker system yells out what is in the back of the truck. There have been times when one of my friends and I will walk past, and the driver will start whispering sweet nothings into the mic...creepy. Anyways, this morning I woke up to a truck driving by, and the guy was not only singing, he was rapping about what he had in his truck. The only line I could make out was something like..."Con que? Con huevos! Con que? Con huevos!" It was great. I was almost tempted to buy something from him, seeing how much effort he put into it. Oh the Dominican Republic.

School starts tomorrow!! I keep wanting to sing Billy Madison's "Back to school. Back to school, to prove to Dad that I'm not a fool. I got my lunch packed up, my boots tied tight, I hope I don't get in a fight. Ohhhh, back to school. Back to school. Back to school. Well, here goes nothing."I could not be more anxious about this school year and all the new students we are adding. Memo could not have said it better when he said, "Mom, you tell them if we don't start school soon, I am going to a different school." What a cutie. Last year we had two classrooms, fifteen students each. This year we have four classrooms; therefore, we have a total of sixty students. Aye yeye! My work is cut out for me. I will let you know how the first week goes!

Friday, September 11, 2009

It's my party (...and i'll cry if I want to)


This will hopefully be my one and only venting blog...like i said, hopefully. I have not done this before, but I feel like I need to once to get this past week all out so I can get out all my frustrations and then move on. So all that to say, if you are wanting to read something light and fluffy, you should probably go ahead and well, stop. I know as a Christian and missionary I should remember the typical phrases like "time heals all", "God has a plan for you", "you need to see the positive side of things", and so on, but like David in Psalms, I think I have every right to talk out my frustrations and grievances, and am able to ask God why things are the way they are. The past year or more I feel like He has continually taken things from me (not in death), whether family, friendships, or ones that I love that have affected me. I always think of that song "Blessed be the name of the Lord. He gives and takes away." It has been one of the hardest years, at the same time, one of the best, seeing where He has placed me in this country with all of these beautiful kids to love on. And that is where I begin...
The electricity in the town I live in has been for the majority of this week turning off. They do this to save money, but it usually happens during the day when we are not home so it is not too bad. Well this week they decided to do it at night too, and let me just say, it is the pits. Like I have already told some of you, no electricity=no fans=sweating=high pitched buzzing mosquitoes biting me during the night=no sleep. I know that sounds extreme, but really I am not exaggerating. The lack of sleep has been giving me migraines in addition. I knew (obviously) that Wednesday was my birthday so I just looked forward to it and knew no matter the circumstances regarding sleep and so on, this day would make the week. Like every Wednesday, I knew I would visit Chichigua with Robin because it is my favorite thing to do (moreso visiting Memo and my lil baby Wilson) so of course I would do my favorite thing on my birthday. It started off great! I woke up to a Happy Birthday sign on the floor with balloons, and then when I was walking to work with Ashley, all of a sudden, Anne, Kim, and Lauren started running after me with silly string and another happy birthday sign. It freaked me out, and I am positive the Dominicans living right there thought we were crazy gringas. After work, Robin and I left for Chigs where I was first greeted by crazy Memo and his huge smile, which I absolutely love. It is one of those smiles that makes you smile right back no matter what mood you are in. He wanted me to hold him so I did, well until he accidently rolled in chicken poo, and then I said no...ew. I am determined to call him chicky poo now :). Anyways, I am playing with Memo while Robin is talking to the mom of one of our students, meanwhile I am so antsy to go visit Wilson and love on him obnoxiously. As I am thinking this, Robin looks at me and says, "Kendall I have something not good to tell you." I reply with "What? Is Wilson not coming back to school?" "Worse." "He moved." "Yes...to Haiti." Crushed. For those of you who keep up with my blog, you know that Wilson whom I call Weeson was one of my students who I wanted to take home with me everyday. He is one of the most precious boys I know and would hug me everyday before he left to go home (seen in the first picture of this blog). I cried a lot that night, yes I know, on my birthday, and have on and off since (hence the title...I actually said that to Anne when I got to the Makarios house for my birthday dinner haha). The lack of sleep this week and then Wilson leaving have been a bad combo for me physically, mentally, and emotionally. One of my Dominican friends came over this morning, and he asked me if I was sick haha awesome. You know you look wonderful when someone asks you that. But back to Wilson, I feel like I invested so much emotion into that child, and he was just taken from me. I pray every night that the Lord would place a man of God in Wilson's life that would lead him to love Jesus, and I pray that the Lord planted a seed in him by the love the Lord gave me for him. I am confused as to why now, but I know the Lord is teaching me. To end on a positive note, I randomly went to Chichigua last week and held him the whole time like I mentioned in my last blog, and as you probably saw from my two pictures in the blog. To see him one last time when I could have stayed home that day and waited till this Wednesday makes me want to thank the Lord every time I think of Wilson. When I left Chigs that day I remember holding him, telling him goodbye, kissing him on the cheek, and him giving me a kiss back on my cheek. I set him down, not realizing that was the last time I would ever see him. Adios Weeson...love you soooo much and will painfully miss you.
Depressing blog, I know, but thankfully I have Jesus who still loves me despite my frustrations, big and small, and continues to show me grace. I know for a fact that He will answer the questions I have, He will continue to reveal himself and his character in new ways this year, and will continue to heal my heart from this whirlwind of a past year.


Sunday, September 6, 2009

Primera Semana de Regreso

"The first week back" for those of you who do not speak spanish, and it was a great first week. The beginning started out a bit rough. I had that typical missionary feeling that most missionaries get going out on the field. You long to just have the normal, comfortable American way of life with friends and family close by, but at the same time you know this is where you are suppose to be, where God wants you. I had a wonderful summer in Dallas and in Austin, and therefore naturally it was hard to leave, but I knew once I got back here and back in the routine, I would fall right back in love with it. So this week...
We went to Santiago Monday and Tuesday, which is in hour away from here. We had lots of team time and went to a museum to learn about Dominican history. I went on a tour through an area of the La Aurora cigar making factory, pretty cool huh? http://www.miamicigarcompany.com/miamicigar/aurora/home.htm. He explained how they are made uniquely, being just as good as Cuban cigars, except La Aurora's has more variety. The guy we watched make some had been rolling cigars for 30 years! talk about monotonous. After watching that, Ashley and I walked together through the museum and at one point decided we wanted to take silly pictures. Little did we know, there was a security guy walking around making sure no one did that. After we took a couple pictures, one specifically of me kissing a cardboard poster of a Dominican man, the security guy came around the corner. I had the camera in my hand, and as he walked up, Ashley told me to hide it. Well I could not simply put it in my bag because that would be too obvious so I decided to hold it on the side he could not see, and as he circled around me, Ashley would tell me which way to turn (the benefit of speaking another language than the country we live in) and eventually we just walked away. Of course he followed us the whole rest of the time. You can only imagine how silly and immature I got during and after that, trying not to laugh every time he would pop up. Ashley thought we should take a pic of him, but we decided with better judgment not to.
Wednesday I went to Chichigua for the first time since I have gotten back, and it was sooo great to see the kids. I saw Memo first, and he immediately jumped in my arms for me to hold him. Not going to lie, that felt great! I kept holding him for about 10 minutes until, well, some of you can probably guess who I saw...Weeson! (Wilson). I handed Mems over to Holly and picked up Wilson. He had just woken up and was a bit groggy, which I love because that is when he just likes to sit in my lap or just let me hold him. I have been a bit sad lately because when some of the girls went to ask the parents who was coming back to the school, Wilson's mom said he was not going to. I will get back to this later.
Thursday and Friday we planned for our staff/parent meeting we were going to hold on Friday. We put a meeting together of what we should say, and then went out to the three villages to tell the parents and other parents who have kids that do not come to the school. We were a bit worried that we would not get a full roster because we are now going to have four classes with a total of 60 kids. Knowing some kids might not come back, the thought crossed our minds that we would come short... oh ye of little faith. The room was packed with parents! And...Wilson's mom came to sign him up! yay! We gave each of our speeches (yes I did speak to the parents in Spanish. I was super nervous, and Cristina decided to let the parents know right before I spoke that I am learning so they need to pay attention more when I spoke. For those who know me well, you know that I have a huge fear of public speaking in my own language let alone a second language. At the end of the meeting, we got a full roster and even had a waiting list! The Lord is so faithful. This is when it hit me why I am here and why I love doing what I am doing. By the way, I will now officially be a teacher's aide for four teachers. crazy talk. I will switch rooms after each day so that I can go take notes of each student to see how they are progressing week by week. Even though it may be kind of stressful, I cannot wait to get to know the students individually and of course be with my old students again.
Alright, love you guys. And yes, the picture at the end is what you think it is, but no worries, I did not eat it. Bleh.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

And the adventure begins again...


So I am sitting here knowing I should write this blog about Colorado and my arrival in the Dominican Republic, but all that is really going on is me looking around my room at all the stuff laying around, in and out of my suitcases, thinking about the stuff that I need to go get that will organize everything, and the books that I need to read for work...dang multitasking. But I will conquer my one track mind :). For those of you that do not know yet, I will be living in an apartment with three of the girls I worked with the last time I was here: Ashley, Robin, and Cara. I have the room that is suppose to be an office so as of right now there is no closet, storage space, or...a door! haha it really is not a big deal right now hopefully I can rig some kind of pole/curtain thing to make a door.
Colorado. I left August 3 for a three week training program called SPLICE at Mission Training International right outside of Colorado Springs. Beautiful! There were beautiful mountains by us, the Santa Fe Trail to walk on, and an ice cream place down one end of the trail...you know I hit that up several times throughout the trip. I always forget how wonderful Colorado is especially during the summer when the temperature is perfect. Anyways, we spent three grilling weeks of learning about ourselves (conflict, stress, rest, etc), our team, and how we are going to handle the culture when certain situations differ from the norms of our American culture. One of the simulations we had to go through to see how we handle stress went a little something like this...We showed up for the morning session, and the two men in charge put us in two groups. Once I got in my group, I was led with my group to a small dark room with a wooden box inside about 8 ft long and 5 ft wide that all 22 of us were suppose to fit in. Once we got inside we had to close the door, only getting air from some small holes at the top of the box, and there was a track playing that sounded like bombs, gun shots, and airplanes flying around. Now I know reading this does not quite get the feel across, but standing in this box, sweating in pure darkness, and realizing that some of these people will be in this situation in their country made the situation very real for me. We had to make deals with this man who was the enemy, and one of the deals failed so a guy who had gotten caught was "shot." That was it for me...thankfully I kept calm and scratched the back of the girl crying next to me haha. So not me. Like I said, this was to show us how we handle stress, and what I got out of it was that I sweat, I am quiet, and I try to calm others.
I got back from Colorado on the 21st and had a week at home. It was so much fun hanging out with my family and with some of my friends, but the time went by too quick. I had a lil bday party with the family, went and saw mamma mia second row with my dad, and had a going away night with my friends (thank you so much to those who came :) ). I left yesterday for the DR with a full day of traveling, and when I got here, Robin, Anne, and Garrett picked me up at the airport. When they brought Robin and I to our apartment, I walked into my room, and Robin had made me a little welcome home present. So sweet, especially since I was a bit tender when I first got here. The night was sooo crazy...sike. I unpacked some of my stuff that I could, went to get pizza with Robin (Katy I know you will appreciate that), and then we watched Sense and Sensibility.
Well that is it for now. We have three weeks of workshop stuff for the school, and then school starts on September 21. Hopefully I will have some time to go see my kiddos this week. I miss them so much, especially lil Weeson (Wilson). Love you guys and miss you already. Email me anytime to let me know how you are doing, or even if you just have a prayer request I can pray about. Peace out.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Months of the Year...Dominican Style

Ok, so I know I did not write many blogs my last few weeks plus this one is a bit late, but it is definitely worth looking at. Here we go...
The last week of school ended on a Wednesday, which was May 20, and then Thursday and Friday were set up for an American dentist to come and pull our students' teeth. During the Thursday morning period our preschoolers played in the classrooms and waited patiently, either reading books or running around like little kids do. I do not know why I got the urge to do this, but I was sitting with Ricardo and decided to record him singing the Months of the Year song on my camera.
video
As you can see, Ricardo still needs some work on his speech, and well, just knowing what the months actually are. He is only three so no worries. I have a year to work on that boy :).
After Ricardo, Estiven decides it is his turn. This boy is a smarty; therefore, his singing skills were perfecto.

video
Now Regina has caught on to the lil game and decides it is her turn. Ricardo wants to watch so he sits at the table by her. While she is singing, watch her face and Ricardo...

video
All I have to say is I was trying not to laugh, and of course I failed. So wrong of me...oops. We always call Ricardo the school thug, and well he definitely lived up to that name in the video...awesome haha. Next on the list is Ambiorix who got too ADD to finish and just wanted to destroy a book and me.

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That was the last of the videos. Hope you enjoyed! cuz I know I sure did.
As you all probably already know, I am going back to the Dominican Republic at the end of August for a year. Crazy talk I know, but I loved it that much and miss my kiddos. This will be my last blog till September so until then, adios!

video

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Funny Stuff

All the pics in this blog are from hanging out in Chigs on Friday with Lubi (Robin).


So I don't have much to say about this last week, but I will leave a few tidbits for you...

i have at least 22 bites on one arm from mosquitoes...not counting the rest of my body. Those lil suckers are everywhere.
My cobrador (the man who opens the door to the gua gua and takes your money) this morning had a groomed unibrow. It was almost as if he penciled in the middle part because he thought the uni looked good.
Katy and I ate lunch with Wilson today, who works at the airport, and he gave us the lowdown on DR airport security. Several times workers have tested the security, and here are two of the stories he told...A girl filled out one of those lovely sheets we all love about her information at the airport, and she gave a guy's name on the name line and said her destination was "the batman cave"...she got through. Second story. A man went through the metal detector with a gun in one pocket and a cell phone in the other pocket. The detector went off, and he pulled out his phone and said that was why it went off. They said okay and let him go. Awesome. All that to say, come visit me :) haha.
So I couldn't be any more immature than I already am, well maybe. Saturday night at church this girl got on stage to do a choreographed dance. Now, it is not like I was expecting this awesome performance, and let me add that I was kinda hyper that night with Katy. Throughout the whole dance, I had to do one of three things: bite my straw (I had some juice from Luis' colmado), bite my lip, or think of something sad. I knew if Katy, Robin, Cara, or Ashley even dared to look at me, I would lose it. I survived not offending the church, well until Katy turned to me and said, "We will be dancing like that tonight at home." I lost it. Silent laugh of course. And yes, we did go home and do some of those awesome dance moves.