Saturday, April 11, 2015

My First Month So Far in the DR...

Mi Profesora, Dalsia. She's one of the best teachers
This past week was extremely busy and draining, but now that I've been here a bit over a month, I wanted to give an update.

My host family nieces. They were TOO FUNNY!

FIRST OFF, I must say, that I'm glad I did my research before completely plunging into this experience!  Had I arrived here in a typical American  bubble, a closed tourist mindset and an American Pride persona, then my experiences and adventures would have been completely miserable!

There are several psychology articles/stories on line that discuss the emotional stages that one goes through when taking this leap abroad.  I admit that I have fallen prey to a couple of them, but I QUICKLY snapped back into reality when I re-focused on my purpose (that my life has a purpose and I AM NOT ALONE in this - It's not about me).  With that said, others that start off living abroad may find it harder if they don't have a higher faith or belief...especially if they're still stuck in their own world (mindset).

This is Melyssa. She has had my back FROM DAY ONE.
She picked me up from the Airport and checked up
on me almost everyday!! She helped me SOO MUCH!
Heaven sent...THANKS MELYSSA!!

Stewed fish w/rice & Salsa

So far in ONE month I've:
  • PRAYED, PRAYED and PRAYED/ Given GOD SOOO MANY THANKS for being as blessed as I am.
  • Purchased a DR prepaid cellphone plan (extremely inexpensive)
  • Moved into my 1st Apartment
  • Made many new Dominican & Haitian friends
  • Finally met Caitlin (YAAY!) and started volunteering with Project Esparanza
  • Viewed much of the country, but still so much more to go...
  • Met several like-minded Americans
  • Fired my immigration attorney
  • Tremendously improved my Spanish (But most importantly, learned Dominican terms)
  • Learned the transportation systems
  • Cried
  • Went on a hike with the local Haitian kiddos
  • Teaching & playing with the kiddos
  • Washed my laundry by hand
  • Been bitten by mosquitos more times than I'd like to count
  • Been without electricity for extended periods (Only during the daytime hours though)
  • Tried new food dishes. Loved them all.
  • Walked...Walked...and Walked some more. My apartment is in the boonies.
I am blessed to say:
As a solo woman here in the DR, I have been safe and I feel safe.  Of course I will always be on alert, but I have NEVER felt threatened at any point while I'm out & about.  The locals here are truly kind and will help.  The neighbors are extremely friendly...not in a "suspicious" way either.  Additionally, the taxi \ concho drivers haven't tried to take advantage of me by overcharging.  The other passengers in the taxis are always willing to help, if they can understand you :-)

Stewed Okra, a Bowl of Seafood soup,
and Chicken & rice. I was very hungry
that day...LOL!

We have to stop being so closed-minded. Stop FOLLOWING the trends, the statistics and the Nay- sayers and just LIVE. Anyone that knows me, knows that I'm not a follower. I am not "That Girl" who has to go to lunch with someone in the office, who has to attend  functions\parties with others or even dab with messy drama (A'int Nobody Got Time For That)! Before moving abroad, I found myself being bitter at times with small things (at work, home etc...) I found myself trying so hard not to add my 2 cents in on negative conversations\situations here-and-there, but just being around it was draining and hard to do.  I tend do what I want to do, regardless if I blend in or not. No one can make me feel guilty about the choices I make...that's just how I am!

Living here in the DR is so laid back and I'm at peace.  But man, I thought blacks & Hispanics back home were bad about timeframes...they have us beat in that area here in the DR..LOL!  Life is Life, The day you die IS ALREADY live while you can and do the right thing by others. It's not a race.

This is Project Esparanza (one of the schools)
& the Shop. Items in the store are made
by the locals and they sell them here
to support their families.

In a previous blog, I think I casually mentioned one of my favorite books called "The Dream Giver" which I read several years ago, but unbeknownst to me when I read it, it was the seed that was planted in my head which opened my eyes to how we're living in the rat race of life.  It's hard for many to initially see it...they may call it the norm at first.  You don't have to leave your home country, but you should think about starting to do something FOR SOMEONE else. Even if that someone else is YOU (for now) at least you're taking a baby step.  Continue to plan for tomorrow, take time out of your hectic day and start PLANNING to  make a change in something your doing.  The daily rat race is a beast. It's a vicious cycle that's created to ensure that you DO NOT have the time or funds and that you CONTINUE TO STAY IN DEBT.  Simply DO YOU. Stop going with the flow.  Make your own river.  I once read that "on the other side of FEAR, are all your dreams".

Bye for now - About to chill!