People of the world wide web! How are you? I’ve probably missed you a lot, unless I don’t even know you (Not sure exactly how internet-famous I am yet).

I am breaking radio silence after a lack of internet access for the past FIVE WEEKS! Which I’m pretty sure is the longest I’ve gone since…there was internet. A lot has happened and instead of making manageable blog chunks (ew, that sounds gross) I’ve just tried to put everything into one confusing, overwhelming, but hopefully exciting mass of information which is actually a good metaphor for my mind right now. Also, I think a lot of people are just going to scroll to the pictures which is what I would do.

First thing’s first: 

I KNOW WHERE I AM GOING! I will be living in a tiny town in the northern Monte Plata region. What? That doesn’t really mean anything to you? Okay here’s a helpful photo from Wikipedia (I’ll be living in the alarmingly red area):

ImageThe past month and a half:

We wrapped up training in the capital and got ready to move to El Cabreto a small community in the middle of the campo for CBT (Community Based Training). It kind of served as a dress rehearsal for the big show, when we move out to our communities on our own.

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Spencer playing some frisbee, while wearing a moto helmet, in the lovely El Cabreto.

We got to El Cabreto just as the 10 day celebration – Patronales de la Mercedes – started! It was quite a welcome. People from surrounding towns came to our little community for the party. El Cabreto does it well! The yuca empanadas filled with chicken my host family made for most of the nights are legendary. Their family has been making them for 50 years. It’s hard to even write about them now without my mouth watering.

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Tons of people turned up for the last nights of Patronales.

I miss the campo already as I sit here in my room, drunk on internet and overwhelmed by the sheer number of people who live on our street in the capital. There are some real perks to the campo life. For example, KITTENS!

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Blind little babies and the meddlesome mother!

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Our humble colmado on an average night: bachata dancing (yours truly!) and dominoes.

My host family was Censa and Tonito, their 4 grown daughters: Gorgi, Delfina, Carmen and Mikay, and 2 grandsons: Angel and Steven. They were so wonderful to me. They were always so excited to help me with my Spanish homework and fed me so much that my jeans fit a little tighter. I remember on Lisa’s birthday I was feeling down, wishing I could be with her, and my host family just understood (Yes, Lisa, my whole family knew it was your birthday because I couldn’t shut up about it). If there’s one thing Dominicans get , it’s family. When I got back after talking to her on the phone my host family had made me a special dinner and were constantly squeezing my shoulder or patting my back. They were never too busy for people and were content to spend an afternoon sitting in the shade, sipping coffee, playing with kids.

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Me and Steven playing ‘skateboard’.

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My mansion of a room – note the freshly laundered clothes!

Carmen and I were carrying lumber over to where her house is being built and somebody walking by expressed their surprise upon seeing some random white girl struggling with some 2×4’s and Carmen whipped back impatiently, “Don’t you know that this is my sister?” Super cute.

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Me and Censa after visiting Carmen’s house-to-be!

ALSO, my host family gave me a going away present which was so unexpected and sweet that I could barely even so thank you. Then I opened it and it was the greatest day ever because it was a skin tight tank embroidered in gold with blue and silver rhinestones in the shape of a heart and spelling out LOVE. They pointed it out in case I’d missed it. “Do you see? It means amor.” …thanks for the translation, guys.Image

My awesome tank top.

Apart from everything I took away from CBT that will help me in my work, I just feel so lucky to have made close friends with some truly amazing people.

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Planting a garden!

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We bathed Pepito after a morning of making mistolin from scratch (floor cleaner)

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Julia and I shucked corn with Leah and her host family.

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Me and Spencer: Neighbors forever!Image

Enjoying the beach with Leah!

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Obviously, we’re very skilled.

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Leah in action. Truly this country has the most beautiful skies.

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On the guagua on our way to the beach!Image

La playa en Boca Chica

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Me, Leah, Julia, and Jocelyn (left to right) getting a ride to our friend’s birthday!

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Me and Julia enjoying the great afternoon cross breeze in my room!

I really can’t unpack the last month and a half because it’s just so FULL of hilarious stories, rewarding moments and a few struggles, but from here on out I should be posting much more regularly!

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Our love note to El Cabreto.

What’s Next: 

My next post will be after I have visited and seen with my own two eyes the place I will call home for the next two years. A little preview: The name means “Bananas” and I’ve heard, put not-so-tactfully, that it is the “least beautiful”. I’ve been in the region briefly and it was lush rolling green hills covered in forest for as far as I could see, so I’m curious as to what’s in store.  Get ready for some ugly photos of a place that’s BANANAS! It’s gonna be a fun ride people.

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