Thursday, January 10, 2013

End of 2012 Travels

Since I had not posted the past few months, I had very much neglected to write about my recent travels. There have been a ton of travling these past few months, but I realized that most of it has been to the capital, which is nothing new for me. However, I have had a few pretty cool new trips!

In early November, I did my first Medical Mission. I served as a translator for the ILAC Hernia Surgery Mission. It was an absolutely amazing experience - I helped with pre-op, post-op, and even in the surgery room! I would translate patient histories, describe care instructions to the patients and their families, and even translate during surgeries, since many were performed under only local anesthesia. These doctors that came were so selfless, and the difference they made in so many people's lives here in the DR by providing free surgeries is overwhelming. They performed over 100 surgeries, and afterwards, they invited us translators to go to the beach for 2 nights! We headed up to Puerto Plata to a fun resort, which was a much needed break for me.
I look pretty good in scrubs!
Translators and med students
For Thanksgiving, we had a big volunteer celebration in the capital. Even though the Capital isn't a new place for me, I wanted to highlight this trip because it was a really special trip for me. I have only spent one Thanksgiving alone, so it was very hard for me to be away from my family. However, it ended up being awesome - we went to a swanky hotel to swim at the pool, gorged ourselves on american thanksgiving food, and had a talent show of amazingly talented volunteers and a great dance party afterwards. I am so lucky that I have made so many amazing friends to spend the holidays with. I really couldn't make it these 2 years without all their support!
The gorgeous pool!
Kati, Jeff, and I
Happy Thanksgiving!
In December, we had a party at the Country Directors house, which was a lot of fun. The following day, a large group of volunteers headed to the Romeo Santos concert, a major Dominican singer. After those 2 days of craziness, Missy and I headed with my friend Ginny to Pedro Santana, her site on the Haitian border. It was really interesting to see a volunteers site so far from mine and so different as well! I stayed there for 3 nights before heading back home.
My girls!
Some of my favorites
At the concert with friends
My first Pilgrimage in Pedro Santana
I chose to spend Christmas in my campo. While at times it was hard, I learned a lot about the celebrations here. And my Dona, Ramona, made an absolutely amazing (and huge!) Christmas Eve dinner. Even though I couldn't be with my American family, I'm glad I got to spend the holiday with my Dominican family
The insane table spread of Christmas Eve dinner.
That takes us to my last major travel event of 2012, New Years Eve, We headed up to Cabarete, a really nice beach on the North Coast of the island for a 4 night stay. It was so relaxing, and tons of fun. We spent a good amount of time playing on the beach and had quite the New Years celebration. I would love to go back and spend more time on that beach - maybe if I get some visitors? 
Love my friends!
So that about sums up my 2012 travels. I am sure 2013 will have plenty more travels to come!

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

A Long Overdue Post

I'm embarrassed - I haven't blogged now in over 4 months. Things have been both crazy and dull at the same time, so I didn't really feel I had a lot to write about. I also got in a little bit of a funk in November and December after some tough events, so I couldn't get back into the swing of blogging.

However, one of my New Years Resolutions is to start blogging again regularly! I didn't really define regularly - I had tried to blog every Friday, but the lack of internet in site made a set schedule difficult. I am going to try to blog twice a month, which I think is reasonable, and more often if I have a busy month with lots to share.

In the past few months, a lot has happened. I did not begin construction, unfortunately, due to delays in my funding. That isn't surprising, but because of that, things on the work front have been rather slow. Good news is that money should be coming in the next week or so, and I should begin either January 22nd or January 28th, depending on when money actually comes through and when materials make it out to my site.
Me and Candi
I also had the horrible event of having Candi, my dog die. I won't really go into details, but she died at the beginning of November, which led to me having a very hard two months dealing with that and the holidays. My neighbors, in an incredibly sweet, yet misguided attempt to cheer me up, got me a new dog - a chihuahua puppy. She was only 22 days old when I got her, but I took extra good care of her and she made it through just fine! Her name is Missy, and I am a lot more comfortable with her since she is very much an inside dog. Since she's only about 4 pounds, she is also easy to travel with. She has been to Santo Domingo and Pedro Santana on the Haitian border, and is currently with me at Playa Juan Dolio. My cat also ran away the first week I got him and refused to come back because of Candi. I hope to get a kitten soon, to deal with mice (which I have already had and killed one).
Missy, only 4 weeks old!
Merry Christmas from Missy and I!

I had 2 visitors during the past 4 months - My mom came in mid-October, and my sister is currently here with me for this first week of January. It's been wonderful having visitors and getting to show them my community and friends. In February my mom will come again with my Dad for over a week, where we will visit the capital, my site, and an amazing resort in the Samana peninsula. It's a huge understatement to say that I can't wait!
Mom and I during her visit in October
That's a fairly brief summary of how the last 4 months have passed, and I promise to not go this long again without updating. I'm sure once I start construction and have visitors and camps in the coming months, I will have PLENTY to write about.