Monday, November 10, 2008

The Rest of the List

This is our final week in New England and things have gotten pretty crazy and I don't think I am going to be able to blog each day (of every other day as I have been). I'm sure you understand that we have about 20 things to do each day before we leave on Saturday. So, I am going to finish our list in one fail swoop.

Here is a refresher of 20-9:

20. Dominican hospitality.
19. The scenic drive from Santiago and Santo Domingo.
18. Mangoes.
17. Baseball.
16. Finally knowing how to speak Spanish.
15. The fruit cart.
14. The "coholo suave" spirit.
13. Service.
12. Church in another language.
11. The weather.
10. Orchids.
9. Wearing summer clothes all year.

And, here is the rest of the list:

8. Rice, beans, plantains, and all of the Dominican foods.
7. Dominican coffee.
6. Learning how to Merengue.
5. The beach.
4. Visiting Eric's grandparents in the mountains on weekends.
3. Watching Eric contribute his Engineering skills to his country.
2. Living near Eric's incredible family.
1. Little Eric experiencing his Latino roots.

We'll be leaving on Saturday and will start blogging about our new adventure on our new family blog. Please keep checking, because we are sure to have some pretty great adventures ahead of us.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

#10 & #9



They are the national flower and they are EVERYWHERE. They seem so exotic to me. I am planning on growing a few in my house so I can enjoy their beauty everyday. My friend Kristi is an avid orchid gardener, so I will have to get some tips from her.

As a sidenote...I looked into plants I could grow that would repel mosquitoes. I am not looking forward to those little flying beasts attacking us. Turns out rosemary and marigolds repel the little buggers, so I will have to find out if either of them will grow in a tropical environment.


I'm inside the top ten so I have to make them all count!

Wearing summer clothes all year!

This is really in my top ten things that I love about the DR and am looking forward to. Really! I love wearing summer clothes, and I especially love to wear skirts. I have actually made a couple of skirts in fun summer patterns in preparation for my move. Summer clothes are fun, colorful and usually more flattering than winter clothes. I also feel like I can get more dressed up AND be more comfortable and casual in my summer clothes.

So here's to flip flops, sandals, linen, skirts, sleeveless tops and lots of sunshine!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

#11 & #12

Oops. Did it again.


Church in another language.

I always love going to church in other countries and in other languages. There is something about being an observer, rather than a participant that is really exciting. Watching people pray for their country gives you a snapshot of their lives. And, being a part of the music and singing is a moving experience.

I know it's going to be difficult to understand everything at first, with my limited Spanish. I've gotten pretty accustomed to our Boston church where everything is either bi-lingual or translated. But, it will be pretty amazing to be a part of something God is doing in another country.

We are hoping to find a church that is serving the community around them. There is great need with much of the population of the Dominican Republic and it would be a shame to miss the chance to serve and help out those in need when we have the example of Jesus Christ to follow.

My faith could use a jumpstart and I am looking forward to a new thing, spiritually, in our new country.


The weather.

You know this last winter kind of kicked my butt in Boston. It was so cold and Little Eric and I spent several days without even leaving the apartment. Right now I am really looking forward to a little tropical sunshine and warmth.

I think there will be moments when I miss the seasons. My brain is wired to expect it to be cold for Christmas and to see changing leaves in the fall. It is going to take some changing in my mind to get used to warm weather ALL the time.

The weather is hot and humid with a chance of rain EVERYDAY of the year. Unless there is a hurricane blowing through and then it is hot and humid with a lot of rain (and lots of wind). Apparently there are months were it is less hot, but I think to our New England-acclimated blood it is just going to feel HOT. At least there is a tropical breeze that pretty much blows through all the time.

So, when your toes are freezing this winter here in the states think of us as we enjoy wearing shorts and flip-flops any day we want. Haha.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

#13 & #14

I didn't get a chance to post yesterday, so I will have two today.

#14...The "coholo suave" spirit.

Probably the most popular Dominican saying is "coholo suave" which means "take it easy." It's so much more than a saying, it's actually the saying that best describes the Dominincan spirit.

For better or worse, I say.

On one hand "coholo suave" means you shouldn't worry so much about things you can't control. Kick back and let life happen. So what if there's traffic, you really aren't expected to be on time to that dinner party anyway. The electricity is out...just go with it and do what you can, the laundry will still be there tomorrow. I see it as kind of a license to stop stressing out over everything, and this is a great lesson a girl who is pre-disposed to worry about everything needs to learn.

On the other hand, "coholo suave" means overlooking things like effeciency in customer service at stores and eating dinner at 10 p.m. because everyone was late to you house. It means that if the water goes out in the middle of you shower you might be stuck with shampoo in your hair. It means that if your only car is broken down and the mechanic says it will take 3 days to fix, it will probably take seven. And, you will look crazy if you complain and raise a fuss about it.

So, whether or not I will easily embrace the "coholo suave" spirit of life in the DR is pretty much up for grabs. Chances are knowing my personality I will have a love/hate relationship with that phrase everyday.


One of the things I am looking forward to the most is finding my fit professionally as a minister. Before having my son I worked for 7 years as a college minister in Boston. In that time I also taught English to Spanish-speaking immigrants; volunteered in a variety of service projects including serving food to the homeless, building a house in Mexico, working with children, and hosting volunteer mission groups visiting Boston. Ministering is my vocation and whether it is with college students or immigrants, it is what I know to do. So, as I move with my family down to the Dominican Republic I will look for opportunities to serve the population I live with in whatever way I can or see God leading me. Most likely I will be teaching English in some capacity. It's one of the things I love to do the most. The idea of teaching English to a group of adults who might have a whole new set of opportunities open up to them because of their new skill is inspiring to me. I am also hoping to connect with former colleagues and friends who are planning volunteer trips to the DR in the next year or so.

My primary goal is to get my family settled, set up our home, figure out how to get everyday things done in our new city, and work on my language skills. But, discovering what else lies ahead for me and uncovering a new vocation is on my list, too.

Friday, October 31, 2008


The fruit cart.

There are these wooden carts that go around the city every morning delivering fresh pineapples, mangos, plantains and avocados. Sometimes they are led by a donkey or small horse and sometimes they are pulled by the owner. They start coming by as soon as the sun is up and throughout the morning hours. At my mother-in-laws apartment the fruit cart comes around 10 a.m. everyday without fail.

Funny story...the first time I visited the DR I kept hearing this guy yell "aguacate" over and over again each morning. I had no idea who this guy was and what he was saying, but because he came by around 7:30 a.m. each morning yelling "aguacate" he woke me up. Truth be told, I had woken up much earlier when the roosters began crowing and the little motorbikes were making their deliveries. Of course, all of this sounds as if you are right in the middle of it because the windows are open. So, one day I asked Eric what this guy was saying and I mimicked his exact tone and the way he said it. Eric busted out laughing hysterically, because to him it was such a normal occurance that he didn't even notice. He explained that they were yelling "avocados" for sale. So, then after that I knew.

I think it's pretty cool that you can get your hands on ripened pineapples, mangos and avocados EVERY morning. I wonder if I'll have the chance to get to know my "aguacate"man?

Thursday, October 30, 2008


Finally knowing how to speak Spanish.

This is something I am looking forward to. I took Spanish classes in Middle School, High School and College and yet I never seemed to get past the Intermediate class. I would have gone further, wanted to go further, in college, but a transfer credit situation frustrated me and I decided I didn't want to take the beginning class a 4th time! I quit and I now realize how useful it would have been to persevere.

I have what I would call a working use of the Spanish language. I am able to communicate most of my thoughts in Spanish, but carrying on a conversation of any depth is very difficult for me. I have travelled to Spanish speaking countries several times and can find my way around, ordering food, giving directions to a taxi driver and even checking into a hotel. But, beyond that I really struggle. So, here I am ready to take the leap into a complete immersion Spanish language plan whether I like it or not.

I am really excited about the end result of being able to converse, maybe even freely, in Spanish. It's all the hard work to get there that makes me tired and frustrated even thinking about it. I am hopeful I will have a tutor to help me, but Eric swears all I need to do is, "get out there and use Spanish." We'll see how it goes, but one thing is sure...I will need to learn how to talk or become an introvert and I don't see that happening anytime soon. Besides, the excitement of knowing my son will be learning both languages simultaneously is very motivating to me to learn as well.

I'm sure he will be teaching me a thing or two about Spanish soon enough!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008


Baseball...not soccer.

Big Papi
Manny Ramirez
Carlos Pena
Sammy Sosa
Albert Pujols
Juan Marichal

So many of the BIG MLB players have been from the Dominican Republic. All little boys grow up with dreams of playing in the major league. Being able to swing a bat and throw a ball comes as naturally as breathing to Dominicans, says my husband. There is a national league there, so surely we'll be able to make a few games. The Red Sox even have a training camp there.

They may not eat apple pie in the DR, but they sure love their beloved national pastime, baseball like no other.