Tuesday, July 14, 2015

What an amazing 2 months...

I'm still volunteering in Puerto Plata Dominican Republic as an English teacher and I'm STILL loving it! Presently, I'm back in Texas, but I'm flying back to the DR tomorrow. I had to fly back home for a month to assist my hubby in getting relocated to another State for a job. Unfortunately for me, the new job is in a VERY COLD STATE. If you know me, then you should know that I don't handle cold climates very well. Needless to say, I'm sure I won't be there during those wintery months too long...I'll more than likely be back in the DR (LOL)...or Texas. 
Since my last post, several GREAT things have occurred:
The month of May was really fun for me, but EXTREMELY BUSY  with a lot of volunteer activities and personal heart warming surprises. Initially, there was supposed to be a full-time volunteer coordinator starting with Project Esperanza, but she ended up quitting on her 2nd day. A volunteer coordinator is a person that lives at the volunteer house and assists the new volunteers with getting their activities started. Additionally, that person is assigned to primarily the volunteers feel comfortable, assisting them with translation...along with working on various other administrative assignments as needed.

Well, when the new-hire quit, the founder of the organization immediately reached out to me. She wanted to see if I was interested in the position. Initially, I was, but I had to decline the full-time opportunity considering that I would NOT be able to LIVE in the house right away because I have already paid my rent at my current apartment through the 1st of September. I didn’t want my rent money to go to waste. So she had found someone else to fill in as the coordinator during the day and asked me if I could at least stay at the apartment during the UPCOMING nights and weekends…due to the fact that a few volunteers (primarily teenagers) would need to be supervised that weekend. I agreed, under the condition that I would not be available the 2 weeks that followed (my husband was arriving then...and I hadn't seem him in 2 1/2 Months).

The next day, I met Ashley & Kayla.
This is me, along with Ashley and Kayla. My partners in crime.

Spending an afternoon at the public beach

 These 2 women stayed at the volunteer house and we IMMEDIATELY became inseparable. They’re both from Canada and are volunteering for 3 months as part of an assignment to complete their Master Degrees. The day I met them, I was expected to spend the night at the volunteer house…which was unbeknownst to me and wasn't part of our initial conversation. I was under the impression that I was going to start staying at the volunteer house the night the teenagers arrived (later that weekend).

After the day-shift coordinator showed them around the town of Munoz, the 3 of us walked back to my apartment gather my belongings for my stay in the volunteer house. My apartment is about a 12 minute walk from the volunteer house. The walk seems MUCH MORE LONGER when the sun is beating down on you! I TAKE AN UMBRELLA with me at all times to shade from the sun. I live down a steep hill which also makes the walk MUCH MORE strenuous when you’re carrying anything. It’s a great daily exercise though!! Upon arriving back to the volunteer house, we discovered that the housekeeper had accidently locked us out. The girls HAD NONE OF THEIR BELONGINGS with them since it was now locked inside the house. We had to tote ALL my things back down the hill to my apartment which is where the 3 of us ended up spending the night.
 My apartment has an on-site restaurant with a pool table down by the river. Since the girls had NO cash or personal belongings on them,  I bought them dinner and drinks and we sat down by the river chatting and meeting the other tenants at my Apartment. One of the tenants in my Apartment is David, he’s from America. He would soon be an inseparable part of our little clan.

The volunteer house has 3 bedrooms and a 1 bathroom. In my bedroom there is 1 twin bed and a bunk bed. Two bunk beds are located in the other bedrooms. The house is on the main street in Munoz. It’s at an intersection…a great place to people watch and socialize. It has a Colmada (small store) across the street and next door. On the other side of the house is a family that sells sno-cones and other small snacks. I like the location. Living in the house has a lot of challenges. The primary challenge is the lack of privacy and the 1 bathroom that everyone shares…especially when it’s co-ed. My 1st weekend in the house was chaotic and frustrating to say the least. Several men from Morehouse College in Atlanta moved into the house the 1st weekend. Sharing a bathroom with 5-6 men was just down-right excruciating painful! Nonetheless, our 1st night WE HAD SO MUCH FUN!

 Up on the rooftop of the house just dancing and having fun!

Ashley and I with the fellows from Morehouse

  That following week, I was expecting my husband to arrive into the country and was very excited. It had been 2 months since I had seen him last. He flew into Santo Domingo. That morning,  I rode the local charter bus (Metro) down to Santo Domingo, then took a cab to the airport to pick him up. We spent a couple of days in the capitol. We stayed at Hotel Conde which is on a very touristy street (Calle Conde). I'm not fond of touristy areas, but wanted to show my husband around. This is a VERY nice hotel. The staff was extremely accommodating and the location of this hotel in the CENTER of EVERYTHING.

The Living Room of our suite. Came with Fridge, utensils, sink ...just everything

 Afterwards,  we rode another local bus (Bavarro Express) over to Punta Cana to stay there a couple of nights. NOTE: THERE IS ONLY ONE BUS COMPANY that drives to Punta Cana and it's Bavarro Express.  It's the only bus that offers transportation TO/ FROM Punta Cana. So if you ever need transportation to/from Punta Cana from ANYWHERE on the island, then you'll need to find a way to Santo Domingo to catch this bus ride.The bus ride on the Bavarro Express was quite impressive and extremely inexpensive ($2 one way).  In Punta Cana I met up with my old ex-coworker, Mike Hewitt who was visiting the country during that time with his lady.
We walked over to his resort, then walked down to a local bar for drinks and to catch up. It was a pleasure seeing my old friend again. He has a very crazy/fun personality and loves to drink!  He caught me up to speed on what's happening at my old job...I'm not missing a damn thing.

My husband and I departed Punta Cana and headed up north to my apartment in Munoz, Puerto Plata. I couldn’t wait for my husband to see my place and meet my new friends. He spent the next 5 nights with me there. We ran into my friends; Kayla, Ashley and David. That evening David took us all out to an area in Puerto Plata... where mostly expats live, called Cafemba. We had dinner and later ended our evening in a fun-filled bar where there were plenty of available (wink) women. for the men.

My husband ended his stay with me in Santiago, where I showed him the school I attended, then took him to my favorite restaurant (Square One). Square One reminds me of the Cheese Cake factory back home. The only difference is that they have several great Dominican items on the menu.  The menu is massive with options to choose from...like the Cheese Cake factory. This place has amazing desserts!


All-in-All the month of May/June was action pack and fun-filled.
The week after my husband’s visit, he received the job offer (and accepted it).  With that news, I had to interrupt my stay in the DR during the month of June (for about 6 weeks) to head back to Texas and prepare for the move.
Prior to leaving my DR apartment in June, I wanted to hang out with the kids from my class and show them a FUN TIME.  For several weeks, they had been asking me to hold the class at my apartment (Sun Camp). Sun Camp is located right near the river and has an amazing view and restaurant.  I asked the owner of Sund Camp (Diane) andshe said SURE! She didn't mind me bringing the kids down.  So Ashley, Kayla and I walked up towards the school the next day and the kids started running towards us.  I told them that we're going to have class down by the river at our apartment complex.  NOTE: Kayla and Ashley moved out of the volunteer house after a month and moved into Sun Camp. We all walked through the batey gathering all the kiddos and we all walked back down towards our apartment. THE KIDS WERE OVERLY EXCITED!.   They had so much fun, swimming in the river, playing pool and other games.  At the end I gave them all a present, then the ladies and I walked them back home.  I would do this everyday with them, if I could.
That's Joseph in the background, One of my favorite students.  He's very fluent in English and HELPS translate Haitian Creole or Spanish to the kids when I need it! Awesome Kid!

Kayla is helping the kids swim in the river

My other angel!



The little girl that I have my hand on is another one of my amazing kids.  Her name is Alicia. She so determined to learn English and loves the games I come up with.

Me, Ashley and Kayla with the kiddos.

FUN TIME IS OVER...We're walking the kiddos back home.

That night, my 3 favorite folks( David, Kayla and Ashley) took me out on the town as a "farewell...not good-bye" get-together.  We partied on the beaches of Sosua and Cabarete. An Amazing night! Man, I can't wait to see them again tomorrow! We've been keeping in touch while I'm here in the States, but it's not the same.
Me and Kayla at Cabarete Beach

Ashley and David, in Cabarate with us.


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