Back Home Again

Trip Start Feb 14, 2006
Trip End Apr 06, 2008

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Flag of United States  , Indiana
Tuesday, December 12, 2006

I realize that it has been forever since my last entry, so my apologies. I will try to fill you in on what has been going on the last few months. But first of all, let me start off this entry by pointing out that I LOVE THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA!!!! I came home Sunday night for a Christmas vacation and I cannot get over how much I missed everything. Don't get me wrong, I love my life in the DR, but I have been mindboggled by all of the conveniences of home - hot water, wireless internet, reliable public services, paved roads, and the dazzling array of foods available at any minute of the day or night. I came home to homemade cookies and muffins, and Mom had stocked the fridge with all of my favorite foods. We went to Target yesterday and I felt like I had died and gone to heaven. I will be home until the 28th of December, after which Paula will be headed back with me to the DR for some New Year's revelry and a vacation. I am so excited to have my first visitor and show off my life in the DR. I will be in Indianapolis during most of my time here, with quick trips to Chicago to see my sis and Michigan to see the family.
So, as far as an update on things in the Republica Dominicana. We had our Peace Corps Thanksgiving celebration in the capital. We rented a country club and played sports, swam in the pool, and ate ourselves silly with American-ish food. It wasn't quite the same as Thanksgiving at home, but we had a blast. There was also a dance competition and talent show, which I opted out of in an effort to leave Thanksgiving with my dignity intact :) Other than that, I have been hanging out in my campo a lot. I was there for 3 straight weeks before Thanksgiving and then for two weeks afterwards. Last weekend I hosted a potluck for the volunteers who live in the Altamira area. We try to do one every month or so and it is always a good time. Afterwards a few friends stayed the night with me at my house. We were bored and trying to think of something to entertain ourselves, and someone came up with the brilliant idea of having a competition to see how long we could hold our heads underwater in a 5-gallon bucket. Now, in the USA this would seem like a ridiculous way to pass the time, and I guess it is, but in the Peace Corps you have to make your own fun so we jumped on the idea. We came up with rules (complete face submersion covering the ears and up to the hairline) and discussed the best techniques (the nose plug). I didn't end up winning because my friends made me laugh and I snorted water and had to pull my head out of the bucket but it was pretty funny. I am going to post some pictures on my Flickr site so check soon. This is just to give you an idea of the creative ways we have to pass time. A month or so back a few of us stayed the night with a friend of mine who lives in a much more remote campo than I do with no electricity, and our activity for the night was to throw things at the huge pig tethered outside of his house in the dark and the first person to make the pig squeal won. Yes, this is my life.
I am hoping to catch up with as many friends and family as possible while I am home, so I am sure I will be seeing some of you shortly. Also, I do have a Christmastime request in anyone is interested in helping out a poor PCV . . . I am starting a children's group in the new year to do art, nature, and educational activities and I am soliciting donations from home. I am looking for plain white drawing paper, construction paper, crayons, markers, scissors, glue, and children's books in Spanish. Also, any items that could be used for creative projects (yarn, glitter, stickers, etc) would be really helpful. I don't have enough room to take back a huge stash, but I would like to have enough to start off with and then try to make the project sustainable through fundraising or soliciting donations from Domincan companies. So, if you find yourself Christmas shopping and are able to pick up a few of the above-mentioned items for me, I would hugely appreciate it, and so will a group of little Dominican kids! The opportunities for creativity and education for these kids are extremely limited, so I am hoping to give them the chance to expand their minds, learn some new skills, and exercise their imaginations. Any help you can give would be absolutely wonderful.
Hope everyone has a wonderful holiday with their loved ones. Take care of yourselves, and hope to see some of you soon!

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