Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Hello Santiago!!! Day 3

Day three!! Today we painted even more! We still had a wall to finish yesterday but we needed more paint. There wasn't that much to do today so while some of the group painted, we took the kids to the park to play. It was so much fun to connect with the kids through sports. 

Lunch today was so fantastic. The host is such a great cook it feels like every meal comes from a 5 star restaurant! She made fried plantains and a Dominican style potato salad that was so delish! 

Today during devotions our team leader led our conversation starting with the verse Jeremiah 29:10. This verse is pretty well known but she really made an emphasis on how God promised that his plans for us are good and that we need to trust him. Our leader explained that on this trip the emphasis wasn't on how much "work" we were going to do but an emphasis on growing to a level of understanding and love for a new culture. Our leader said she is really proud of us for always just going with the flow so far. That being said we are not always needing to know what's going to happen every minute of the day but just being in the moment and being flexible with whatever we do.   

^taking a painting break on the porch of our home! 

Tonight our host family took us to downtown Santiago and brought us to the iconic Santiago monument. It was beautiful and so full of life! We had a great time exploring the sights and learning history about the city. While we were visiting the monument we had some fun by learning some more native dances and games. The host's children and nieces love to teach us new things. I loved learning the dances!! We probably looked so hysterical doing dances atop the monument steps but hey we were having fun. 

Tomorrow we will have breakfast a little earlier around 8:30am and will make our way to the host's church that he preaches at to dig lines for cables...or something. Definitely not up my alley but I know I can use a shovel! 

I hope the weather there isn't too horrible!! It's pretty warm here in the mid to upper 80's and the host family was saying it was chilly tonight. We find it so amusing. 

That's all until tomorrow!! Bye! :) 

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Painting ALL DAY! Day 2

Hellooooo everyone!!! What a great day today was. I was able to fully enjoy everything around me today after I was rested and showered :) 

Going into this trip I really had no expectations because I had no idea what to expect of a mission trip! So far, we have had a pretty go with the flow schedule. 

We had a Dominican breakfast this morning which I couldn't wait for! I have been anxiously awaiting the fresh tropical fruit here. The pineapple. Oh man, I have literally never had a more succulent, juicy and flavorful pineapple in my life. My mouth is watering! We also had ham & cheese sandwiches and a strange looking citrus fruit that everyone was scared to try because of its looks. I recognized it as a fruit I was served in Vietnam but I couldn't remember the name. 

To get to know our surroundings better around our home, the host's sons took us to the park down the street. 

Something that struck me as interesting is the fact that so many people here have such nice cars! I was expecting everyone to be on bikes like in Vietnam. We played basketball for a bit with the two sons, Engr & JJ. They are both in grade school and are challenging us to communicate with them in Spanish :) I can converse un poco (a little) and it's kinda cool when they understand me. I wish I had gone to a Spanish speaking country when I was actually in Spanish class. It would have motivated me better! 

We spent the rest of the day painting our host's house on the outside. The homes here are beautiful & vibrant colors so it was a lot of fun painting with a bright butter yellow and a rich dark maroon. 

All 13 of us were quite a sight painting the house from the passerbys. We had extension rods with rollers on them that probably reached over 8 feet struggling to paint the top of the house. 

For dinner we had authentic tacos and ended our evening with getting to know our host family better by them teaching us to play their games. Let's just say that we were fast learners and there was MUCH laughter during the game as we struggled to catch on. We were all trying to figure out if they were laughing WITH us or AT us hahaha!! It was a great time of bonding between our group & our host family. 

Tomorrow we will finish up the painting in the morning & are going sight seeing in the afternoon!! I can't wait. 

Talk to you tomorrow!

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Exhausted but we're in the Dominican Republic!

We made it!! With only about an hour and a half of sleep, we left to go to the airport at 3 am for our 6 am flight this morning. 

The trip to the Dominican was pretty uneventful in a good way with no delays or anything. Our team was extremely exhausted from lack of sleep and we were so glad to finally land. While descending it was quite a cool sight of clouds and an aerial view of the country...

Once we went through customs and got our baggage we walked outside to meet the family who we will be staying with this next week and a half. MAJOR culture shock as we stepped through the airport doors and outside into the Dominican Republic. At least a couple hundred people were lining the doors anxiously waiting for their awaited friends & family to walk out. It was so loud with cheers and music filling the warm balmy 80 degree weather. Our host family had cute signs for us and immediately welcomed us to their country. 

The first stop that we agreed to make was FOOD. Getting up at 2 am to get to the airport at 3 really messed up our meal times and so we headed to the Santiago mall for what other than good ol' Pizza Hut. Once our stomachs were full we settled into our new home for the next week and a half. All of us 10 girls are in a room sleeping on foam pads on the ground. Talk about bonding!! 
We finished out our night by going to our host's church that he preaches at. We will be doing work there later on in the week. 

The DR is definitely not how I pictured it, it has much more of a city feel to it, but it's a gorgeous country with all of the building different colors. The people are so friendly as well. However, the hardest part for our whole team is the Spanish language barrier. I've taken three years of Spanish so I can understand some conversation but not all. My team has decided that the most used phrase today was "wait, what's going on?" between traveling and going to an all-spanish speaking church we are exhausted! Tomorrow we will be painting and doing work at the church! 

Thank you for your prayers!! Good night! 

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Dominican Republic bound!!!

Hello my friends!! 

Well, here I am again about to lose sight of America's shores! I am leaving for a week and a half to serve in the Dominican Republic with a team of 12 students from my school. This trip is offered through the Tri-S (study, serve & share) program at my school. At Anderson University they offer several trips all over the world for students and most of them are under $2,000. When my mom went to AU she went on many trips through Tri-S, so I've been looking forward to going on one!  

We will be in the city of Santiago and I'm so excited!! For those of you who have followed my blog before when I was is Vietnam a year ago, I've definitely been blessed with many opportunities to travel however, I've never been on a true mission trip like this. I'm not sure what to expect, but I can't wait to experience the DR! My team flies out of Indianapolis tomorrow (Sunday) very early like at 6 am. Because our flight leaves so early tomorrow, my boyfriend Greg and I drove to Indiana this afternoon and we'll stay at my friend's house, who is going on the trip with me, tonight. 

I am going to try to blog everyday because it was such a great success when I traveled to Vietnam. It's fun being able to share my experiences every day to people across the world and it also helps me process and keep a diary of everything that happens during the trip! 

Thanks for reading, I'll talk to you in the Dominican Republic.