Friday, December 27, 2013


I have a countdown on my phone and I have it set to the day we arrived in country. Today it says nine months and twenty days. I want to point out that most women are pregnant about this long with their babies and also that my mom was pregnant with me for longer.

Never have I appreciated just how long 9 months can be for one dramatic thing. Way to go pregnant women of the world, and also, my mom, who did it longer to bring this awesome piece of work into the world.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Getting crafty

It's almost the new year. Christmas is over and it's time for me to start thinking about fresh starts. It probably doesn't help that I've spent the past few days with a bottle of wine and two of the best chicas on this little island. When the girls get together the gabbing is in no short supply!

Because of all of the future talk, and all of the fresh startness I am doing we decided to be crafty on out last night. We have some charla paper, and we are going to work.

Ashley and I are making sort of hope, dream, or happiness boards, while Conner is doing a more exotic piece of realistic artwork.

The crayons are out and "Don't stop believing!" is blaring through my iTunes so I guess it's time for me to feel powerful and write something wonderful to inspire 2014 to be as wonderful as 2013. It may have been a year of firsts, a year of development, a year of the highest mountains and the lowest valleys, but that doesn't put any of it in short order. I love my life, daily, and I expect 2014 to be just as exceptional.

Christmas in the Campo

This was my first Christmas out of the good old United States of America.

Now, I wouldn't say I come from a huge background of tradition. Let me explain before my wonderful family full of tradition jumps back in shock. We do have very many traditional things that we do and love to do. I have had Christmas trees, ornament traditions, mornings with stockings and cousins and even pajamas and light viewing. What I mean by not having tradition is that my Christmas is always simply based on where I am and who I am with. When I think back to the past 23 Christmases in my life I have stints when I am with the same people (The beginnings are Mom, Gabby and I in a little apartment spending the season together, that is followed by another wonderful stint, this time in Colorado with the cousins, quiche, a blue penguin, a magical giant Christmas tree, and baking cookies with my aunt, and finally, the mystery years, I had no idea what I would do or who I would be with in the years that followed. Last year was a movie with my sister and I didn't even put a tree up. Because of this lack of tradition, I wasn't as sad to be away from home as some of my friends. Some other volunteers have spent 20+ years in the same house or with the exact same people. My life just hasn't been like that. I didn't even think about heading back to the states. I miss the Christmas season. I miss my mom. I really miss my sister. Other than that, a new type of celebration wasn't all that strange.

I started my celebration with a trip to the capital. I was going with another volunteer, Sara (she's the cutie in the coral dress in the group photo I keep on my blog), to visit a third volunteer, Ashley, in her site, Boyá. I left my host family house around 6:45 in the morning to make my way to caribe tours. I took a giant bus to the capital and met Sara at the metro stop. We took the metro to the end and went to La Sirena for lunch and to purchase supplies. We crossed the street, or should I say river of black water, and finally made our way onto the most overcrowded bus I've ever been on. I got into a verbal fight with a Dona over the course of the two hour trip and we finally landed in Boya.

In this country, it seems that the Christmas eve dinner is the most important part of the holiday. They roast an entire pig and dig in. We had rice, salads, and a few other choice Dominican dishes. The holiday felt very different, but the pig was great. I love pork and therefore I love this holiday tradition.

On Christmas morning the three of us woke up, forgot and then remembered and then forgot again that it was Christmas, and watched a few holiday episodes of FRIENDS. Later we went back down to Ashley's friends house and tried to get our internet to work enough to talk to our families back home. It didn't really work, but it's the DR, what can you expect?

That afternoon we made eggless cookie dough batter (thanks for the inspiration Gabby!) and watched movies while drinking wine and talking. I got a lesson in how to knit, and gave a crap lesson on how to crochet, because I only had a knitting hook, and that doesn't really do what I want it to.

Today, the 26th, we are going to go on a hike, and tomorrow we are going to try to go to some after Christmas sales in the capital and then I will head home. I think I'm just ready to jump head on into my new project and life. Things are looking up for me in this world after a lot of time spent in limbo.

The new year is coming and with it many new beginnings.

Know that I love you and miss you all, and while I would love nothing more than to spend next Christmas in America, I can't say that I know where this world is taking me. I do know that I have a long list of friends and family that I miss this season, but let's get real, I miss you all every day that I am not with you, and that doesn't' just include this time that I am spending in the Peace Corps. You are my life my world.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Peace Corps changes

I'm going to subtly jump back into a life of blogging. For now I'm just going to give you a list of the good, the bad, and the interesting from my new site.

1. My "Dominican" host family is a Hatian woman, a Canadian man, a combination of kiddos and me, an American girl. We speak a combination of English, Hatian creole, Spanish, and French. No one speaks every language, but it looks like we are going to get this communication thing accomplished.

2. My new house is wonderful. Not only is my family great, but they prepared me my own room, living room, and bathroom. The electricity is all the time and so is the water. I think I've fallen in love!

3. I was on a moto the other day. It was darker than I would have liked. This was confirmed when a dead Labrador appeared out of no where and we ran over it. I was convinced I was about to experience paralyzingly road rash, but the dog was merely a speed bump. Thank you moto driver for not swerving.

4. I went to an English speaking church that was only 40 pesos away. I really enjoyed worshiping in English, but I think a closer more Spanish speaking church may become the permanent home.

5. I just listened to the entire Miley Cyrus CD... Did you know her album has a version of the "N word" openly stated on it? I guess that's the new Pop style! Ha ha.

6. I now live in a world where other PCV's are 10 or 15 minutes away... As is a grocery store... As is a book store... As is a Chinese restaurant. What is this life? I guess this is the new Peace Corps style.

7. Goats are funny.

8. I have been openly hit on three times in my new city. I guess I'm better looking the closer I get to the ocean.

9. I live real close I the beach. I wish I cared about it more.

10. It's Christmas and I'm on an island and I haven't bought a single present.

11. I just realized I lied. I bought one gift. I forgot. ... You know who you are. You should feel so lucky. My pesos are valuable and I spent some on you, so that was a thing.

Okay. That's it. I promise to write more. I just didn't have anything to say about sitting in the capital and watching the calendar fly by.

One last thing. My Spanish is getting better which means more people think I'm Dominican every day. This is a whatever thing, but I will say it helps me not get overcharged and I'd say it adds to my safety in tight spots. Yay for genetics and being a bit of a middle man.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Off the radar

Okay... I've been a little of the radar. I've moved and am now living with my new host family in a new town near a great city. I'll let you in on it all when I have more time. For now I'll just tell you I've lived a perfect Amanda day.

I woke up and took my time doing it.
I dressed for church and took in breakfast with my family.
I caught a crowded guagua to a new church.
I took another crowded guagua into the city and got out when it felt right.
Now I'm sitting in a little Chinese restaurant sipping sangria and reading a book.

Don't try to tell me my life isn't great!

I miss casual Sundays. I think I'm going to bring them back into my life.