A White Christmas

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

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Flag of United States  , Indiana
Tuesday, December 18, 2007

  Hello everyone, and happy holidays!  I am back in the US of A and loving it.  My departure from the DR happened to coincide with tropical storm Olga and we were consolidated to Santiago for the two days before my flight.  I was worried about not being able to get out of the country, but after some flight delays, schedule changes, and one long layover in New York, I made it to Chicago in one piece.  I spent a few days with Paula and got to go to her office Christmas party, have brunch with Victor, and do a little shopping before driving down to Indy for Dad's surprise birthday dinner on Saturday, which was great.  I think he was really surprised and it was nice to all get together.  Since I have been home I have been relaxing, eating lots of delicious food, shopping (despite swearing that I would not spend my whole vacation buying things), and watching movies with Brigid.  This weekend is going to be kind of crazy.  I am going to Columbus on Friday to see Clare and Andrew, then I and trying to squeeze in visits with all of my friends who are coming in from out of town before Christmas, since I am leaving for the East Coast on the 27th and won't be able to see them at all after the holiday. 
  Time always flies too fast when I am home, but it is funny knowing that the next time I come back it will be for good!  I cannot believe that when I get back to the DR I will only have 3-4 months left, depending on when I decide to leave.  We had 25 stoves built before I left for vacation, and I bought the materials for them to build 9 more while I am home.  It is great that I have such good workers who can keep going on the project without my help or supervision.  That is not the case in every community, and I am really lucky. 
  The cold and snow are a big change from the DR, although it has been pretty chilly and rainy there.  When I unpacked my bag, the musty smell from my house hit me like a train.  When it is cold and damp there, NOTHING dries and mildew grows on everything.  I have done so much laundry since I have been home, and continue to be amazed and the cleanliness and fluffiness of American-laundered clothing.  In the DR I have to wait for a day when there is electricity, water, sun (for drying), and my host family is not using their washing machine to be able to do any laundry.  I brought some clothes back with me that were still in the "halfway decent" category of my Peace Corps clothing, intending to pack them away with my other clothes to use when I am done with my service.  However, once I saw how faded and worn out they looked compared to my American clothes, they went straight to the Salvation Army pile.  I forget how easy life is here until I come home and get to use all of the modern conveniences that make such a big difference! 
  I am keeping my fingers crossed for a white Christmas, and not a muddy slushy Christmas here in Indiana.  On my first morning back at home Mom made homemade waffles with sauteed apples and fresh whipped cream, which we ate while the snow fell outside.  Very L.L. Bean catalog-ish!!  I love this country!  So here's hoping that everyone has a wonderful holiday with their families, filled with L.L. Bean moments and lots of snow :)  Merry Christmas!
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