12 Feb

I haven’t been blogging much recently, as I’m sure you all have noticed. I am in the last nine months of my service and in kind of a weird place. I’m anxious about next steps—where am I going to move? What are my next career steps? When should I apply for graduate school? Etc.

Luckily I was able to put a few of these worries aside on an amazing 10-day vacation that I just spent with my mom, stepdad and my best friend, Bronwen. The vacation rocked. Our time was filled building stoves, surprise asopaos (special occasion rice dish), exploring deserted beaches, whale watching and eating ass loads of food.

Lunch on the beach in Las Terrenas

Lunch on the beach in Las Terrenas

Waterfall in El Limon

Waterfall in El Limon

Whale Watching in Samana

Whale Watching in Samana

Last night dinner at El Cabito

Last night dinner at El Cabito

It was also a great opportunity to reflect on the past 18 months. My mom and Scooter were filled with questions about the culture, my community and next steps. In fact, the last night Scooter asked me questions that really made me stop and think…

What do you like most about the DR? The culture. I love that you greet everyone when you get on public transportation and that everyone has an open door policy. I love how loud everyone is and that my neighbor screams my name from her front porch when lunch is ready. I love going to the colmado (mini-market) with my favorite doña (older ladies) friends and dancing merengue (typical Dominican dance) over a shared jumbo (big beer).

What about the least? The disorganization. Or what I now call organized chaos. Lines do not exist. Anywhere. You go into a colmado to buy food and it doesn’t matter who was there first, everyone just shouts their orders at the owner. There can be as many as three cars and 5 motos all sharing one lane on the highway. Which yes, is as terrifying as you would think.

What impresses you the most? The landscape. I never thought I would live on a tropical island but this country has really set the bar high for island living. I am constantly amazed at the scenery here. Windy mountain roads surrounded by pine trees to the most breathtaking white sand beaches lined with swaying palm trees. All of which is best seen by moto or a bola in the back of a pick up truck.

And disappoints you the most? Cultural norms. I love the culture here but it also makes me want to scream. I hate that I live in a house that a 50-year old built my (at the time) 14-year-old neighbor. It breaks my heart to see parents yell and hit their children and that kids are raised to think that it’s ok to kick animals. Or that my best friend in site (not Bronwen) is having sex with three people and one is married and the other is a minor and that I’m the person that she confides in. The worst part is that I’ve become desensitized to all of this and think that it is just normal now. 

It was really great to reflect with my parents over the past 18 months and realize that although some days I complain about being here and would love nothing more than constant electricity and hot showers in a swanky hotel, I am looking forward to the next nine months. Last pregnancy of service; let’s do this thang.


One Response to “Post-Vacation”

  1. Lauren February 12, 2015 at 8:57 pm #

    think we should clarify its not in fact Bea who’s the scandalous best friend.

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