Sunday, September 19, 2010

chaos. beach. rest. peace.

Well again I find myself apologizing for taking so long to write another blog post. To be honest last week I was quite overwhelmed for the first time since I've been here. Psalms 51 really has turned into the cry of my heart. I REALLY missed home, didn't feel like I could go to anyone and was feeling very insufficient in everything that I did. All these were of course lies that I was choosing to believe. Luckily that week I was proved wrong as the week progressed. I am beyond blessed to have an incredible community both here and home. Not only did the Lord once again reveal to me that HE cares, but also He used others around me to remind me that they did care. That they do know me. That they do notice when I am not myself. That week I was also lucky enough to have my very first house guests, Clay and Melinda. Melinda was a student teacher with me last year and her boyfriend, Clay I have known since freshman year of college (random connection story). But it was a very nice taste of home where I felt safe and could be myself.

On that Thursday Melinda, Clay, Robyn (the other student teacher) paid a visit to our host family from last year. It was way more special that I had expected. I forgot just how much I missed them, and oddly enough it was like a little taste of home. Not sure how. Perhaps because Maria had been our mom for 3 1/2 months. Also another bonus was that we know WAY more Spanish than before so we were able to communicate a little better.

[the family in La Colonia]

The week really did seem to get progressively better, especially when we went to the BEACH on Friday! Man, was it exactly what I needed.
To give my mind a break.
To give my heart a break.
 To give myself a break.
I found myself working ALL day until I go to bed, so going to the beach I was pretty much forced not to think about school. Got to soak up some rays, eat some good food, see the brilliant stars with no street lights blocking my view and have some good quiet time with God and with my friends.

[eating some breakfast. i especially love the Friends sign above us]

[3 amigos again in Cabarete]

[THIS is why i love the beach]

[9 people in 1 car on the way home. check. whitney and i are sitting cozily in the front seat]

On another note, I feel like I am getting better at just enjoying my students. I have such a special class and I need to take time to listen to their silly stories, laugh at how ridiculous they are sometimes, and really just love them better. Last Friday they were chosen for "5 minutes of fame" at Revolution (which is a little assembly type thing every other Friday that we have with the whole school). They chose to do a step routine that my assistant, Jerry, taught them, who is also the dance teacher! They were so incredibly adorable and I felt like a proud momma!

[abigail and nalleli eating their snack at recess]

[ms. leahs 3rd grade class]

[my whiteboard finally arrived! it was more exciting than you think]

Little funny Dominican story for you: So the policeman here are called aumets (not really sure how to spell that one). But they are quite inconsistent with the way they enforce laws. The wearing a helmet when you drive a motorcycle law to be exact. They really just got on these sprees of enforcing the law. So one day we are walking home from school and there is a crowd of about 15 people standing there and their motos were being loaded onto the back of a truck. I also would like to add that most of them were women. But just wait the story gets better. We walk a little further and there is an aumet standing in the middle of the road with no moto or car or weapon trying to stop these motorcycles that were zooming right past him. We stood there for a few minutes watching this poor aumet helplessly trying to stop them. So really the people would just speed up and swerve right past him. Oddly enough it seemed to kind of bond the community becuase as we walked down the road there would be groups of Dominicans chatting and probably laughing about how they dodged the aumet and warning other people driving that way.
Lastly, this weekend has been QUITE restful. I've babysat twice, and today Amanda and I spent decorating our house. Well to be honest we had about 15 unfinished things going on at the same time. Our dirty kitchen from lunch, doing laundry, pictures out all over the table, our Bibles out trying to pick a verse to paint on our wall, cut burlap trying to make some wall hangings, a hot glue gun from another various craft, pictures in my room that I was hanging, my half cleaned bathroom, and my half made bed from me changing my sheets. Someone tell me why I must be so ADD? Perhaps it was the coffee I drank this morning for the first time in months....

until next time friends.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

You never said the road would be easy.

The song of my heart currently: Have Your Way by Britt Nicole

Feels like i`ve been here forever,
Why can`t you just intervene?
Do you see the tears keep falling?
And i`m falling apart at the seams.
But you never said the road would be easy,
But you said that you would never leave.
And you never promised that this life wasn`t hard,
But you promised you`d take care of me.

So I`ll stop searching for the answers,
I`ll stop praying for an escape,
And I`ll trust you,God, with where i am,
And believe that you will have your way.
Just have your way.
Just have your way.

When my friends and my family have left me,
And I feel so ashamed and so cold.
Remind me that you take broken things
And turn them into beautiful.

So I`ll stop searching for the answers,
I`ll stop praying for an escape,
And i`ll trust you, God, with where i am,
And believe that you`ll have your way.
Just have your way.
Just have your way.

Even if my dreams have died,
And even if i don`t survive,
I`ll still worship you with all my life.
My life.

And I`ll stop searching for the answers,
I`ll stop praying for an escape,
And i`ll trust you, God, with where i am,
And believe that you will have your way.
Just have your way.
Just have your way.

I know you will.
I won`t forget.
You love me.
Have your way.

So I know that it has only been a month since I've been here, I sometimes feel like im drowning. There is just so much going on all the time, so much to do, my mind is always running with trying to translate etc. AND of course being a first year teacher is never easy. Not that I am complaining, because I am so blessed to be in such an incredible school with the best staff/community I could ever ask for, and wonderful family and friends that support me from miles away. But just like the song says "You never said the road would be easy, but you said that you would never leave." So really this is just a blessing in disguise because I have a Great God that is in control of it all, and He has promised that I don't have to try to do this with my own human strength. Thank God. 

On a lighter note...heres a little recap from my week:

[My walk to school]
  • My class is still wonderful. I had my first birthday in the class, Marbelyn. She is seriously adorably tiny. She curls up in her little chair sitting on her knees and its so precious. So to make things even more adorable, she wore my birthday crown for the day that pretty much swallowed her. Were STARTING to get in the swing of things at school, which is good and bad. Good because they know what to expect and what I expect of them, but bad because now they are comfortable enough to be all chatty all the time. Granted I have a class of 14 girls and 4 boys, so you can imagine how chatty it is. I can't blame them because I am a chatty girl too :) 

[Happy 8th Birthday to Marbelyn]

[Centers on Thursday afternoon. They were so excited about these games.]

  • New things this week: Bible study! The girls at school have finally split all up so we could start out Bible study! I am SO excited to really get to know these 7 women and learn from them and really build some deeper relationships. Also, I had my first Spanish lesson! YES! I am taking it with 2 other girls, Robyn and Maggie, and we are taking them from a Columbian lady who has given lessons to teachers in the past. She is really patient and an incredibly sweet lady. We will be having lessons 2 days a week for an hour each. I sure hope this puts me on the fast track to being FLUENT! baha.

  • Friday night was Tim Scarborough's birthday (a fellow Aggie). So him and his wife decided to throw an 80s themed chili cook-off. 80s themed because he was born in the 80s, and chili cook-off because he's from TEXAS! Duh! It was seriously the BEST party! Although Amanda and I didn't win the chili contest with our chili, incredible and spicy chili I might add, it was still a blast. Most everyone dressed up and there was lots of dancing, eating and laughing. Oh and because I didn't quite have any clothes to wear to an 80s party (those clothes didn't quite make the cut in a 2 suitcase limit), Amanda and I went out a bought some very BRIGHT and Dominican-style clothing. See below for the insanity. 
[Our very bright outfits we purchased in Jarabacoa]

[Some girls at the party]


[Birthday boy/chili judge testing the chili]

  • Saturday we got a last minute phone call from one of the other teachers, Sara, who asked us if we wanted to go to Santiago to go to La Sirena. Of course we jumped on that! Bonding time with Sara and a free ride to Santiago. Amanda and I laughed as we got semi "dressed up" to go "into town." We figured this must be how small town people feel when they go into town. La Sirena (spanish for mermaid) is somewhat like a giant wal-mart. We spent quite a bit, or maybe it was just quite a bit compared to what we are used to buying in Jarabacoa. But we got some much needed things for our house and some GREAT food. Lunch meat, CHEESE, snacks, sour cream, bagels! Man it was a treat and will continue to be while were eating it for the next couple of weeks! 
[yummy things that were purchased]

[p.s. you can see more of my pictures on facebook if you are interested.]

until next time....

Sunday, August 22, 2010

not soo good at this blogging world...

Ok so I am fully aware that when you blog, it should not be every 3 weeks. I promise to TRY to get better at this because I know I have so many avid followers (bah ha).

Since I haven't written since my first week here I could get a bit lengthy, but I will spare you all. I will do my best to give a recap of some events from the past few weeks.

  • We have been working hard to fix up our house with decos and painting. Amanda, Melanie and I painted our house aqua, sky blue and green apple. I know what you're thinking...that must be nauseatingly bright, BUT it actually isn't! It is quite pleasant! Also, I got my bedspread in the mail on Wednesday so my room now feels complete (well almost) and a little more home-y.
[my room!]

[my earring holder that we made out of burlap]

[our oh-so-bright color choices for our house]

[the finished product.]

  • During staff training for our Expedition training (an expedition is the basis for our curriculum at Doulos and every semester each class has their very own expedition, so we get trained in how to lead one) we went to a place called a Batey. In short, a batey is a community where Haitian sugar plantation workers live. The living conditions are very poor and their wages are incredibly low. We went there to visit with the people there and hear first hand what life is like there. We also gave them some water filters because they have no clean water. It was a very humbling and wonderful experience.
[a day in the life at the batey]

[is this my future?]

[playing with the kids]

  • The staff had our staff retreat at Pico Escondido (the Young Life camp here) and it was incredible. Incredible worship time. Incredible team building. Incredible view! Also, I have become very clumsy the past few weeks. I wiped out while playing basketball at the retreat, fell about 10 times hiking to a waterfall, and I skidded on the ground while swinging on a tree swing. Let's pray I get my "Dominican legs" sometime soon so I don't embarrass myself quite so much. 
[Pico Escondido]

[staff worship]

  • Most importantly, school started on Wednesday!! I was unsure if everything was going to come together, which it almost did...minus my whiteboard coming in. :) I was extremely nervous and even more nervous that the kids were gonna sense it! But the day went SO GREAT! They even wanted to spend the night in classroom when I told them school was almost over for the day! They are seriously a top notch group of kids and I have only heard great things from their 2nd grade teacher last year! Also, I got a brand new classroom! I feel so blessed! 
[First Day of School!]

Special surprise: Ms. Leah made playdough! 


[Amy. Yasli. Daniel. Cristina]

[Amanda. Mayelin. Franckely. Esthefany]

[Marbelyn. Elena. Gaby. Yadi]

Ok so, I know that a very brief overview of some things but my goal is to write more often so I can offer some more details about things that are going on! 

Monday, August 2, 2010

Flights, fans y mosquitoes

so my journey on Saturday morning started off PRETTY early. 4 am to be exact. I was flying stand by so I attempted to catch the 7am flight. then the 9am. then the 10:45. Man, oh man, when my name was called to board that 10:45 flight I felt like I won a prize or something. Luckily for me, I had the lovely Tricia Wood (who works for American Airlines) wait by my side the entire time and helped me maneuver my way around flying stand by. So special shout out to Tricia. You are amazing. Once I made it to Miami, my flight from Miami to Santiago was pretty open. Open enough to even let me fly business class. Let me tell you, it is as good as they say. I didn't know whether to take a nap because I had so much room, or eat the free food they gave me! So I did both. Napped then ate the free food. Even though I had just had a huge burger (my last plea for great meat), I still ate it. Call me a pig, I don't care. I had to take advantage seeing as I may never fly business class again. 

[We all know I had to take a sky pic from the plane. It's just too marvelous not to]

[This is some of the teachers in Santiago with our large load of bags]

Reunions: On Sunday morning we got up and went to church at the church that I attended in the fall called La Vid. Most of the staff goes there so it was so wonderful to see everyone! Most of all, I got to see 2 of my kindergarteners from the fall, and it was such a sweet moment. One of the girls, Anais, saw me half way through the service and had this huge smile across her face. I of course did as well. When we were worshipping, I felt like I had never left. Like it was just any other Sunday. That's really how it felt all day. Just normal. I even went a whole 5 hours without even looking at my watch to see what time it was. I was so at peace, which I guess is exactly how it's meant to be.

Mosquitoes: At my new house, I was told I should sleep under a mosquito net. Last time I didn't ever, so I thought it was kinda weird. So last night I thought I would be fine without it. WRONG. Very wrong. I woke up about 3 times being eaten alive. Put on some bug spray. Went back to sleep. Finally I had just given up and at 3:30, I had to get up and put that darn net back up. Another thing, I'm just going to have to get used to again. I was told that getting a fan (which I needed to anyways because it's so dang hot at night) would keep the mosquitoes away. So I went today, very elated to get a fan. Got home. ATTEMPTED to put it together. There were 5 girls, make that 5 Aggie girls [insert Aggie joke here], trying to put that thing together and it just wasn't happening. Needless to say, I will be taking it back to the furniture store and kindly asking them to put it back together.

 [This is the tiny screw we had to screw in. Without a screwdriver. How did you do that you ask? Tiny scissors. Too bad that still wasn't the solution to making that fan work]

[This is me putting the new student teachers to work. jk. This is us being defeated by that fan. Also, yes, that is in fact my janky way of putting up my mosquito net in the background.]

[Today I bought a bath mat from la canchita and just had to have this one. Minus the fact that I love the van, even more I love the "Pray for sure." I want to know who translated that for them. Any guesses on what phrase they were trying to get at? I think it's what they think Cali surfers would say. "Pray for sure mannn." Who knows]

Tomorrow I'm super pumped to see all the staff from last year that are getting in town tonight! More staff training etc. this week! 

Friday, July 30, 2010


Welp, in 15 hours I will be hopefully (I am flying stand by, so pray that I can get on!) be boarding a plane and making my way to the Dominican Republic. It really is hard to believe. If I knew exactly how I was feeling at this moment, then I would tell you, but the thing is I don't. I am not over anxious. I am not over emotional...yet. I just think I am feeling an array of emotions. I am elated to start this new journey. I am not sure what to expect, but I do know that the Lord is going to teach me quite a lot in these next 2 years. Another feeling I KNOW I am feeling is blessed. Absolutely, incredibly, positively blessed. Emotionally, spiritually, financially blessed. So thank you, all my family and all my friends for being the reason for this. Words cannot even begin to convey my gratitude.

I am going to keep this first blog short...because let's be honest I'm leaving in 15 hours...and counting and I have quite a lot to do. Yikes! But I would like you to know a few things.

  • I love you all. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you for all your love and support. I know that phrase may be overused, but I truly mean it. 
  • I will try to update my blog as much as possible. And I will try to keep it spicy, spunky, interesting and entertaining. 
  • I have made a flickr account because we all know just how many pictures I take. I have uploaded some from my going away party, but I'm new the the flickr thing, so hopefully it worked right. [if you have a flickr account and can help me out...give me a shout]
  • I humbly ask for your continued prayers. Prayer is the most important thing I need right now. :) 
I will leave you with this [long] quote from a book that I read this semester, Through Painted Desserts by Donald Miller, that just resounded in my heart. I feel it sums pretty much everything I want to say.

"And so my prayer is that your story will have involved some leaving and some coming home, some summer and some winter, some roses blooming out like children in a play. My hope is your story will be about changing, about getting something beautiful born inside you, about learning to love a woman or a man, about learning to love a child, about moving yourself around water, around mountains, around friends, about learning to love others more than we love ourselves, about learning oneness as a way of understanding God. We get one story, you and I, and one story alone. God has established the elements, the setting, and the climax and the resolution. It would be a crime not to venture out, wouldn't it?

It might be time for you to go. It might be time to change, to shine out. 
I want to repeat one word for you:
Roll the word around on your tongue for a bit. It is a beautiful word, isn't it? So strong a forceful, the way you have always wanted it to be. And you will not be alone. You have never been alone. Don't worry. Everything will still be here with you get back. It is you who will have changed."