Tag Archives: travel

What You Need is a Nice Warm Goal, eh?

Standard

Goals!  I love goals! July is going to be all about goals. For example, I would like to try and make 100hrs preaching.  I have never, in my 4 years of being a pioneer, made it past 90.  I just want to see if it is possible.  Second goal, I want to start being creative again.  Art and craft supplies have been a luxury I have not felt necessary since I have moved to the D.R.  But I think it is time to spend a little time being creative again since it really does make life so much more interesting.  Third goal, I must have an adventure.  Now it’s true that pretty much every day here is adventure.  In fact, it is very much like a video game.  Ask anyone who has been to the DR.  It doesn’t matter if you are walking or driving, getting from point A to point B can be an obstacle course, and it would not be out of place to have the Mario brother’s video game music and sound effects playing in the background.  No, I mean a real adventure where I get to see new things and explore.  The middle of this month Nikki and I plan on going with Joseph and his brother who is visiting from the NY Bethel to Samana where we’ll be staying for a couple days with my friend Lauren.  I am sure that will qualify as an adventure.

Image

Another gorgeous sunset from the rooftop.

Image

`Rainbow!

This past month has been extremely busy with all kinds of activity.  The beginning of the month I had the pleasure of visiting Bethel with a few from the San Jose de Afuera (the campo) congregation.  There are two sisters, Kellen and Sabrina, who moved here from New York area to serve there.  Rosa, the sister I stayed with in NY is Kellen’s mom and she was here visiting, so of course Bethel was on the agenda.  Also at the last minute the special pioneer couple in the congregation, Johnathan and Nancy, decided to join us and we had a wonderful time at the branch.

Image

The beautiful Special Pioneer couple, Jonathan y Nancy.

Image

Left to right: Kellen, her mom Rosa and sabrina

Image

All the girls! Sitting outside the lobby at Bethel.

Image

Nancy trying to get mangoes from the tree.

Also, last week we had our C.O. visit from Ricardo and Waleska, a very sweet Dominican couple.  I am really loving the ASL congregation.  I feel like ASL is so different from everything else I have done and I am constantly having to change the way I think in order to become a better teacher.  During the C.O. visit I found a deaf call of my own!  The woman is very kind and hospitable.  She currently attends a deaf church here and so she actually knows ASL quite well, which is not very common.  She said I could visit her, so on Friday we covered the first lesson of Escuche a Dios.  I am so happy to have my own calls and to feel like I am actually being useful.  It is so true that Jehovah gives us exactly what we need when we need it.  Being in a place to see so much of the work being done with such positive results is a true blessing.

Image

El Salon Del Reino de Cienfuegos

Image

Dominican kids playing checkers made with bottle caps!

Teresa has left to the States for her annual visit and so I have the responsibility of keeping up with her Bible students.  And so that is definitely keeping me busy.  Yesterday I worked with Dana all day! We only did four studies; my call, Teresa’s student Sara, and two of Dana’s students.  We started at 9 and didn’t get home until nearly 7pm!  We traveled all over because being in ASL, our territory is quite large.  It includes not only all of Santiago, but many of the neighboring campo towns.  Last week I went with Joseph and Emi to Navarette to help them find their Chinese calls and to ask for deaf.  I was told about a few deaf who live in one of the barios, so I will try and visit again next month.  It takes about 40 minutes to get to Navarette and the guagua is 120 DOP for round trip (about $3USD)

Image

None other than our very own Teresa! Check out the Watchtower for her article.

Image

Out in the Campo walking the dusty, long road to Dana’s study.

Image

Emi, Sarah and Nikki in afternoon service.

Image

Afternoon service with these guys is a blast. It is amazing to be preaching in Chinese, Spanish, English and ASL. Really whatever happens to come our way!

Image

Sarah’s last night before she headed back to New York. A wonderful sister with a big heart and a true inspiration. Love you Sarah Bear!

Well basically I am loving ASL, my new living arrangements and generally being here in this crazy and interesting country.  Having said that, I am very much looking forward to October!  It is my parent’s 20th anniversary and so my aunt and her family will be meeting my parents and I in New York where we will take a cruise and then return to gallivant around the city and tour Bethel, the museums, etc.  I am particularly thrilled because I will have an autumn this year! And not just any autumn, a New York autumn! Saying that I love that time of year would simply be a gross understatement.  I ADORE autumn, with all its colorful leaves, spices, pumpkins, hot coco magnificence.  Last year I missed out because here in the DR the only marking of autumn is the greater possibility of a hurricane or tropical storm.  So this October I hope to overdose on everything that is fall and autumn.  We have such a wonderful creator who would give us such beauty and the capacity to appreciate it.

Image

Taking a shortcut home through the old airport where the grass grows tall.

Dinosaurs! RAAWWRRR!!

Standard

DINOSAURS!! The first thing that comes to mind when I think of Jarabacoa is Jurassic Park and Dinosaurs. In fact,  The waterfall Salto Jimenoa Uno was used in a scene of the movie.  With absolutely breathtaking views of giant green mountains and magnificent waterfalls, it is no wonder that this is my favorite place on the whole Island.  When I first visited the Dominican Republic last year we stayed in Jarabacoa for the first 5 days, and I remember how sad I was to say goodbye.

It is no surprise that Jarabacoa has become a tourist hot spot; there is so much to do!  Horseback riding, hiking, river rafting, paragliding and loads more.  Yesterday I was able to go and visit for the first time since last year.  Isabel and Bella took their guests who are staying with them, Michelle and Maurice up to visit a sister there, and they stayed the night on Sunday. Then Marty, Aaron, Graham and I headed up early Monday morning to meet them for lunch.  It was a bit of a kufuffle getting there since you first have to get a bus to La Vega and then from there you take another bus to Jarabacoa, but we made it just the same.  To give you guys and idea of what travel costs here, I had to take a concho from my house to the guagua station: 20 pesos. Then the bus to La Vega: 80 pesos.  From La Vega to Jarabaco: 90 pesos.  moto concho to the sister’s house: 25 pesos.  So the trip up the only cost $5.30 usd!

For a late lunch we went up the mountain to Jamaca de Dios, a fancy restaurant with a amazing view.  Graham and Aaron thought that they would take motos all the way up the side of the mountain.  So we sent them off and followed in the car.  However, once we arrived at the entrance to the mountain, there the boys were, slightly dejected: no motos allowed.  So we cram them in the car with us and attempt to chug up the mountain.  When the car made a funny noise and stopped, I took that as a sign that we needed to get out before we ended up rolling back down.  So Laurine ( a super sweet sister from Santa Barbara, CA visiting her Aunt Jovita who lives here) and I made the trek up the mountain with the boys.  It was definitely worth the effort, the view was breathtaking.  As we were enjoying our meal we could see Para-gliders launching off the mountains and some even coming quite close to us!  Also, it was actually cold up in the mountains, in fact they had to light their deck heaters for us.

It was a great day.  Unfortunately the ASL group there has been struggling because there isn’t as much need, otherwise I would seriously think about moving.  I hitched a ride back with the Bells and played the Jurassic Park theme for the rest of the day.  Check out these awesome pictures!

Laurine, me and the boys (I was uncomfortable with the invasion of personal space)

Laurine, me and the boys (I was uncomfortable with the invasion of personal space)

Strike a pose!

Strike a pose!

Graham lookin pretty conspicuous....

Graham lookin pretty conspicuous….

Trust Aaron to capture the worst face I pull all day.

Trust Aaron to capture the worst face I pull all day.

Laurine has an AMAZING instant camera

Laurine has an AMAZING instant camera

Back in Samana

Standard

 

IMG_1106

I love how I am always surprised when things don’t go as planned.  You would think calling for the bus times would be a simple task, but it really isn’t, at least not for Esalena.  After getting hung up on twice because the woman “no hablo Ingles” though I was speaking to her in Spanish, I got a little peeved.  When I finally got through to some one who spoke English, it wasn’t much better.  By the third question I got told “Oh my God, so long with the questions!”  Ya, well it would be all worth it at least if the the information I was  given was correct.  Wah, wah….

So there was a big group from the  English congregation going to the Capital to do a tour of Bethel.  I wanted to go with them since in order to get to Samana, you have to first go to the Capital and then catch a bus from there.  I figured that since I was in the area it would be a nice treat.  It turns out the bus was full, so I was going to have to meet up with them after taking Carribe Tours, the public bus.  I would have to take the 6 am bus because the Bethel tour was at 9:30 am.  But the Bells and I got invited to Marty’s for dinner, and I was going to take advantage of Marty’s beautiful full oven to bake some goodies for my trip.  We ended up staying really late singing Kingdom Melodies in all different languages, and enjoying the good company.

So, needless to say, I did not wake up at 5 am the next morning.  But it was ok, I decided that I would skip the Bethel tour, and just get to Samana earlier.  I was told the bus to Samana left at 12 pm, turns out no…not until 2:30… I arrived at 10:30, so I had a lot of free time on my hands.   I decided to try and catch the Bethel tour, but by the time I got there they were just finishing up. I got to hear a few words from Jose Pena, a wonderfully encouraging brother who is in charge of all the needgreating work in the country.  He urged everyone to make an appointment to come and talk with him if there was anything they wanted to discuss.  Any difficulties  and struggles he said he would love to make time to help in any way possible.  The branch really appreciates the needgreaters, and they take good care of us!

Jose Pena with the group

Jose Pena with the group

Afterwards, the group was going to the Mall next door to have lunch, so I tagged a long.  It was good to see everyone having a good time.  I had a little look around the mall but by that time it was time to go to back to Carribe Tours to catch my bus. 4 hours later and I’m in Samana and it’s GLORIOUS!!! It brought back so many memories, and it was beautiful as ever.  It is the cruise season, so they had all the booths up and it was all very festive.  I hopped on a moto with my suitcase and headed up to Lauren’s.

The view from Lauren's patio.

The view from Lauren’s patio.

 

Glorious weather for December!

Glorious weather for December!

Her roommate, Bailey is engaged to a brother I had met during my trip to Samana last year, Lovesky. (pronounced lo-ve-ski)  The three of us, Lauren, Bailey and I are all very similar.  They are both in the ASL too, so it has been fun.  Today we went out and did a few studies…easier said than done.  Samana is all hills, super steep hills.  I nearly died today, no joke.   But I love the ASL ministry here! Amazing people.

IMG_1109

 

IMG_1110

 

IMG_1111

 

 

Lauren’s neighbors are a family recently moved here from Canada.  We met three of the brothers when we went to Holly’s house for the ASL class.  It was Christmas day, so no one else showed up for the class.  We sat and talked instead.  The twins are hilarious and they are learning Spanish and ASL!  Smart kids.

Zavie, Cazzy and Dante

Zavie, Cazzy and Dante

 

Last night we were starving because everything was closed for Christmas.  But around 7 pm things started opening up again.  Turns out that Christmas day is when everyone comes out in their new fancy clothes, all done up to the 9’s hanging out on the Malecon aka Boardwalk.  Larren, Bailey, Lovesky and I all went out for pizza.  We had a good time.  The Christmas decorations here could give Martha Stewart a run for her money!

 

A roasting pig made of bottles and trash.

A roasting pig made of bottles and trash.

 

photo

A Christmas tree made of bottles.

Well I work all day tomorrow, but I get to go to the ASL meeting, so I am excited.  I gotta go now because its BEACH TIME!!! YAY!!!  I’ll be sure to post those pix with my next entry.  Also, I love all the emails, keep ’em coming!

The Case of The Missing Photos…x

Standard

I just got some photos sent to me that were from the congregation’s beach trip back in July.  So here ya are!

On the gua gua!

The Group

Me, Lindaura and Naomi

Also, here are some photos from today, just a bunch of insanity happening really…I blame the weather..

Oh Avocado Tree…few things are more beautiful than thee…

Dominican Recycle Truck

Yazmely and me at Square One

The Struggle

Standard

I have been in the Dominican Republic for almost two months now, and what is my overall estimation of the whole experience? I think I have decided this:  Life is amazingly easy in some ways here, yet incredibly difficult in others.  I think my body is starting to get used to the change, however come noon, I am still finding myself switch off for nap time.  The weather is getting increasingly hotter, yet today is absolutely gorgeous! It’s a shame I have class this afternoon, its a perfect beach day!  Though, this Saturday I’m going with the congregation so I can wait.

The semester is coming to an end for two of my classes this week, so that will give me a little break before the daily classes start up again.  It will be nice to do some afternoon service for a change.  Last Friday I did a nice long day, door to door in the morning and a few studies with Isabel in the afternoon.  I need to put my application in for the Taller still, but it is in Spanish and I need to take the time to fill it out with a translator.  Also I have to wait until my card is moved to this congregation and that takes a little while.  So hopefully next month I will be set. 

Also I think I am starting to feel the effects of attending meetings in a foreign language.  I do my best to study up in both English and Spanish so when I am at the meeting I can fully understand what is being said.  But it definitely is not the same as going to meetings in your own language.  I think I need to make a visit to the English every so often.   Teresa has gone to the States, so I haven’t gone out in the Sign for a while.  I’m going to call up Denise and go out with her though because I miss the service, it is really fun!  

So that is all the news for now, here are some pictures for ya!

 

Image

This picture really doesn’t do the situation justice…even with an umbrella, every part of your being will get soaked…as well as all of my books, exams, etc. Yep that was a fun day…

Image

Again, this picture doesn’t do the scene justice. I had decided to walk home from the Institute instead of taking a concho. It was a long walk, but I got to see this in the late afternoon sun, with the warm breeze blowing and the sounds of city life starting up. It was a good feeling.

 

Out in the Ministry

Standard

The ministry here is always interesting.  The other day we were working in ‘Fracatan’ I have no idea what that means, but its fun to say!  I’m still struggling with giving my own full presentation, but I can sure read a scripture, and ain’t no body holds out a magazine like me!  Here are some pictures for your viewing pleasure.

ImageImage

ImageImage