Monday, December 10, 2012

Expedition Video

This semester the Junior class and I have been working on an Expedition about cultural conflict. There were three main questions that were answered over a little more than a month.  A rough translation of questions that the students are responding to are.
1. Should I love a person that is from another culture but refuses to accept and respect mine?
2. Should another country be used to resolve problems between 2 other countries?
3. Is a person influenced by their culture?
The students selected the questions they addressed, filmed the video, and it was all put together by one wonderful student named Sthersy.
If you don't speak Spanish it might be hard to understand, so good luck, and I hope you enjoy the two girls that decided to speak in English.

Time for a break.

Given the fact that this time next week I will be in Kansas City, this will be my last post until I return to the Dominican Republic after Christmas.  I am excited about my last week before Christmas here and I am excited about heading back to KC, I'm really happy that I am not at a place that really wants either one more than the other.
This past week was a good one.  We concluded our Expeditions on Thursday night with Expedition night, it was a fun chance for all of the different grades to showcase what they had been working on.  My juniors had been explore the world of through cultural conflicts and made a video about it that I hope to post soon.  The downside to the video is that it is in Spanish.  Its good to be done with Expedition, but it was good to be doing it as well.
This weekend was spent at Christmas parties and an Aguilas game.  Las Aguilas are the local LIDOM team and have the likes of Manny Ramirez, Bartolo Colon, Miguel Tejada, and others playing for them.  The atmosphere is quite a bit different than in the states and it is a lot of fun.  If you ever have the chance to visit the DR during beisbol season you should head to a game.  Myself a student of mine and his older brother went and outside of the fact that we left following the seventh inning when we were down 7-0, we had a great time.  The funny thing is that after we left las aguilas scored 7 in the 8th but lost it in the 9th.  Oh well.
This week will be spent finishing strong and in a flurry of fun.  Tuesday night YL party, Friday night another Aguilas game, fake ice skating, and cigar factory tour, along with other random events in the evening here.
Hasta Pronto!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012


A Tigre is a hard thing to describe.  In my poor understanding it is someone who is always trying to work a situation to benefit themselves the most, always wheeling and dealing.  They don't work, but they always are trying to put of the appearance of having a lot of money.  They spend a lot of time in the river and eat a lot of fish also.  They also like to have their BlackBerrys out playing music even if there are two other Tigres playing music right next to them.  They are rather hard to describe so here is a picture of what one looks like.


Monday, December 3, 2012

Expedition week!

One of main strategies of learning at Doulos is Expeditionary Learning.  With that in mind, it is finally Expedition week!  Expedition night is on Thursday and that is culmination of what many of our classes have been working towards for a couple months.  There are many different things that go into an Expedition, but part of it is having the students create a product that shows what they have learned and to also have them present that product to a valid audience.  For my junior class we have been working on a video that shows what they have learned regarding culture and cultural conflicts.  Besides the video some of the students are also working on an art project to compliment the video and show some of their personal reflections on culture or express themselves in the culture they live.  Hopefully I can upload the video and have some photos of the art for my blog next week.  All in all this will hopefully be a fun week and something that the students can look back on with pride.

Outside of my school life things have been more or less normal.  Last week I took on the adventure of going to the dentist here and I followed it up by going back for round two; which was them drilling and filling 3 cavities.  If you go to my dentist, forget about numbing the pain.  
This weekend somehow became a weekend of performances, with Friday night being the semi-finals of Festival De La Voz and Saturday night being a Doulos talent show.  Both very fun and a good chance for us to support our students in what they love.  
I also went for a run for the first time in a couple months and it was fun although my heart rate is so much higher than it was and now I very slow again.  Their are a few loops around my house that are a mixture of fun surfaces and places.  The one I did this weekend headed down my street onto a trail to the river and then back up to a big pretty road that is not used much but connects back with my street.  On the big road I was running and came across a smashed tarantula, I always knew they were here but that is the only one I have seen.  I also discovered rhino beetles which are huge, there was one at a friend house the other day so I let it crawl on my arm, it was weird. 

Pray for Expedition week!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

For Fun

After school today, myself and another teacher took 3 of our students on a hike up a waterfall... here are some pics and a pic of a cool bug I saw at my house.

Monastery where the trail to the river starts.

Jumping off the rocks is fun.

Climbing the rocks is fun.

They tried to convince me you can go under the waterfall and still breathe.

There are so many weird bugs here.

Monday, November 26, 2012


This weekend was probably the most unique Thanksgiving of my life.  Instead of a normal T-day with a gluttonous amount of food and lots of family around my day was spent teaching, driving, grocery shopping, and eating at a pizza place on a Caribbean beach.
Even here in the DR we only had a half day for Thanksgiving and had Friday off altogether so a group of friends and I headed to Cabarete for the weekend.  Last time I went to the beach we stayed at a hostel that was home to more mosquitoes than anywhere on earth and was also one of the hottest places on earth.  There was no way that was happening again, so we spent a little more money and stayed at a nice beach rental with our own pool and even air conditioning.  Anyone looking for a good place in Cabarete should check out Olas de Oro, its a little pricey but with multiple people in them they are reasonable.
The weather was perfect this weekend with some of the time being sunny and some of the time being cloudy and cool.  We had a fun little pool in our backyard and when we first got to the house I went straight upstairs to check out the balcony/roof jumping capability and instead of opening the completely clear glass door I walked right into it.  The other calamitous event of the weekend is when we were cooking dinner and someone went to lite the oven and it blew up, most of my leg hairs were singed and most of my body was engulfed in in flame for about half of a second.  These are things that make vacationing in a country like this a little more fun.
In the end we spent most of our time at the beach, playing monopoly or rummy, and eating.  Great times were had by all.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Young Life Camp!

So this weekend myself a couple a few other adults and a bunch of students hopped into some vans and headed to Pico Escondido.  Pico is the YL camp that serves the needs of the Dominican Republics  Vida Joven and Young Life needs.  The camp is at the base of a mountain, so the scenery there is quite remarkable.  I have had the opportunity of being at the camp multiple times before, mainly when friends and I were climbing the mountain it is on.  The opportunity to go with a group of 9 guys was one I was not going to pass up.  I have never been part of a weekend YL camp and I had never been a leader of any kids that I didn't completely share a language with, but through all of it I learned a lot and I hope the students did too.  Four of the students that came with us go to Doulos and I see them almost everyday, its exciting to connect with them on a deeper spiritual level one that we can continue exploring.  The other 5 students were from different schools around here, the only reason I knew them was from playing soccer with them.  I am excited to get to know these guys better and when I am with a couple of them I am sure to learn more Spanish, just from the fact that they don't speak English.
Obviously this week is Thanksgiving and I am definitely ready to have a little time off.  We have a half day on Thursday and no school on Friday, so a group of us have decided to spend a long weekend at the beach.  Its definitely nice to have the Caribbean only a couple hours away (it's okay, you can be jealous).   
I feel like every time I am writing here I think about friends and family back home which makes me think about how long until I am back in the States.  4 weeks from now I will be sweatshirts and enjoying cold weather!

Monday, November 12, 2012

Beginning of a New Season

So after so many hot days I feel that it is finally starting to cool down a little bit here in Jarabacoa.  We had a good amount of rain this weekend and I hope that it has finally drove the temperature down to a place that it will remain for some time.  This weekend was maybe the first time a hoodie was reasonable attire for here.
Besides the weather some other things going on things have been rather low key for the most part.  On Friday night some of our students were involved in vocal competition called Festival de la Voz.  The competition has three first round nights, a semi-final, and a final.  The next 2 weekends are a continuation of the opening round and then the semis and final will be on back to back weekends.  Overall it was a very unique experience to attend, but fun as well.
Next weekend is Young Life camp, so after school on Friday through Sunday afternoon will be rather crazy.  Hopefully things go well and the kids learn a lot about Jesus and have a lot of fun as well.
I looked at my calendar just before writing this and realized that I have just over a month before heading back to KC for Christmas.  Time is flying!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

I forgot something!

So a friend and I were talking and I remembered that I have a bunch of pictures from a very fun YL scavenger hunt we did.  I didn't get to run around with everyone because I twisted my foot playing soccer (its all good now), but I did get to man home base and get the slide show of all the pictures ready, which is why I have all of them on my computer.  So here are some of the pictures of students and leaders doing crazy stuff around Jarabacoa.

Arm Wrestling with a stranger.

Holding a live chicken (turkey was close enough).

High Fiving Jesus!

Petting a street dog!

5 people on one Moto!
With spam!

My favorite... holding a strangers baby!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Random happenings.

So easily the most exciting thing to happen in my week was the fact that Danilo, the President of the DR, stayed at the hotel right by my house.  Danilo's entourage was constantly driving by our house for quite some time.
A close second was yesterday being the The Day of the Constitution, which got us out of school.  The third most exciting thing was that there was much talk of an country wide strike against the Department of Education.  This would have meant no school and angry mobs marching around town slashing peoples tires because they want to get payed more.  Unfortunately I missed out on this and we are at school going about our normal business.
The 4th most exciting was the Manny Ramirez is joining the local  baseball team, Aguilas Cibaenas.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Frogs and the quarter

Last week was quarter grades and had the ability to be a very hectic week.  Fortunately the week went fairly smooth, although there are always things that could have been done better.  The week also ended with some stormy weather that was part of Hurricane Sandy and technically we were supposed to be closed on Friday due to the Secretary of Education closing all schools in the country.  In the end we had school and the weather wasn't that bad.
By Sunday the weather was beautiful again and a group of friends and I hiked up a river to a big waterfall.  The most exciting part of this trip for me happened while climbing on the edge of a large rock face.  While traversing the side of the rock I reached up to grab another hold, when I touched the rock I freaked out about how slimy and soft it was.  I then took a look at what I had touched and there was a big beautiful frog.  The frog blended in with the rock and even looking right at it you could have missed it.  I of course picked up the frog and it basically suction cupped all of its little fingers right to my hand so I had to peel it off when I wanted to let it go.
This is the closes thing I could find to a frog here that looked like the one I picked up, the one I saw had some bright green on it that looked like moss.
Frogs have become a normal thing to me here, twice I have found them in my bathroom and more often than that I find dead ones by our back door, this is thanks to the cat.
Rhythm has entered my life and weeks have started to blend together.  Its crazy that one quarter is already gone, that means 1/8 of my initial teaching commitment is done.  Weird.

Monday, October 22, 2012


Honestly there really has not been a lot going on here besides school lately.  I find it a bit sad to say that the most excitement I have had this week was playing monopolio (that's right we play a bootlegged Spanish version complete with spelling errors) in our city center park/square.  I must admit that I lost, although I was sure I would win for quite some time.  At the same time we were playing there were break dancers practicing in the gazebo you see in the picture (we were on the upper part by the big tree,) which made the experience even more fun.
Quarter grades are due this week, crazy to think I am already 1/8th of the way through my commitment.  Still seems like I have barely been here and it just over 2 months to Christmas as well.  I've been hearing all sorts of craziness about Navidad here, things like carolers that use pots and pans outside your windows at 3:am, and the fact that the date in which Navidad decorations are okay to put up is October 15th.  We are talking almost 3 months with Christmas stuff up here.

This is not my picture... its from google images.

I have gotten to the point were I miss all of my friends and family in Sitka and Kansas City, but things are good here.  It is good for me to be outside of my comfort zone, I find in these times I discover so much about myself.  

Monday, October 15, 2012

A March and a Funeral

So this past week has been one of highs and lows.  Last week we had a lot of things going on at school, one of which was a march that the Junior class had planned to raise awareness on the issue of littering.  This is something they have been exploring since last year when doing an expedition about the trash in the rivers and the pollution that is causes on the coast.  Outside of this I accompanied a group that went to one of the other schools to tell them about the danger of littering and how they can use reusable bags.  All of this was headed up by their former science teacher who is still at the school teaching a math class.

The low part of everything came Saturday night when a student from one of the other private schools hear wrecked his moto and died.  The student had spent a little bit of time as a student at Doulos and many of our students here had grown up with him.  The reason I knew him was that he was really involved with the local soccer club which is located at Doulos.  I had the fortune of getting to know him over the last couple months as we played soccer together every Friday.  It would have been crazy to imagine on Friday as I was playing soccer with him that on Sunday I would be at his funeral.  

In other news...
I booked my ticket back to KC for Christmas recently and in two months from now I will be on a plane.  Excited for the next two months here and the opportunity to spend the holidays with friends and family.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Borders and Late night drives.

This past week was somewhat of a blur and this coming week is sure to be a bit crazy also.  On Thursday myself and my senior class along with a few other adult staff from the school got in a van/bus and headed to Dajabon on the border of Haiti.  The purpose of the trip was to be part of the Border of Lights celebrations and connect it to a unit I am doing on the Palestinian Israeli conflict.  It was a long day leaving the school at 9am and returning around 1am.  Lots of pictures were taken and I think they will tell the story of the days events better than I can.

Monday, October 1, 2012

The Weekend and a Change of Plans

This past weekend was perhaps one of my best weekends here so far.  Last week was getting a little hectic having just come down from the mountain and having a couple other trips coming up while trying to figure out the whole expedition thing as well as processing the next 2 weeks of Outdoor Education.  On Friday everyone decided that it probably wasn't the best time to attack 27 waterfalls and we might need to do something different instead.  What ended up happening on Saturday is that there was a torrential downpour for most of the day and I was able to finish the first book of the CS Lewis space trilogy, as well as watch a movie, and even catch some soccer games.  I left Saturday more recharged than I have been in a long while.  
This week is back to crazy again as yesterday I blew the tube in my tire and then left my moto at a friends house near the moto shop.  Part of today will be spent pushing my moto to the shop and waiting for it to be fixed.  This week will also be a rather different kind of week as I am going to Haiti on Thursday.  The whole situation is rather unusual as well given that we will leave early on Thursday morning, drive for 7 hours, be part of the "Border of Lights" and then turn around and drive home.  The expectation is that I will be back at school on Friday; the catch is that will be getting home from the trip between 2am and 4am.  The Seniors who will be on the trip with me are given a day off, so my goal is to make to school by 10am when I have class with my Juniors.  My brain will be a little mushy by then I am sure, so hopefully I can plan something easy for myself that does not inspire rebellion.
If you are at all in interested in checking out what the "Border of Lights" is go to  And here is a link to an article about the Parsley Massacre,

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Pico Duarte and some future stuff.

This past weekend was spent deep in the mountains of the Dominican Republic.  Much of the men staff at Doulos gathered together in the parking lot of the school at 4am on Saturday and boarded our Guay Guay for a bumping ride ending in La Cienaga.  After some final preparations and mule loading we headed towards the Valle del Tetero, a journey consisting of 3500 feet of climbing over 9.5 miles.  Four hours after leaving La Cienaga I arrived in the beautiful valley and the relaxation began.

After a wonderful day of soaking in mountain springs and enjoying each others company we woke up  early the next morning and headed to our next campsite at Comparticion.  After roughly 5000 feet of climbing over another 9.5 miles we reached our site and had some wonderful lunch.  The thought process here became a little cloudy and we decided to hike another 2000 feet over 6 miles in order to summit Pico Duarte and return back to our camp.  

After returning to Comparticion for the evening we did some more soaking in a frigid stream and enjoyed the night air of the mountains.  

Early the next morning we covered the 11 miles back down the mountain and we all have been trying to recover ever since.  The trip was awesome and I can't wait to get up in the mountains again.
Coming excitement:
27 Charcos on Saturday

"Border of Lights" - As part of a unit my seniors our doing they are heading to the border of Haiti to be part of a festival/walk to remember the Parsley Massacre.  Depending on how things work out, this time next week I will be preparing to be in Haiti for a few hours on October 5th.

Figuring out what it means to do an Expedition well with my juniors.  Starting in two weeks we are going to be investigating cultural conflicts, WW2, and many things beyond this.  Somehow it all connects with plastic bags also.

This is a lot of stuff right now, pray that I don't burn out or blow up.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012


So life is almost at that place where routines are the dominant force of daily activities.  It is nice to have these things set up, but it is also good to not be completely comfortable yet as it helps me wrestle with issues I encounter here instead of just skimming over them.  School is in full swing although the need to be flexible is a constant here as things are always slightly in flux  Yesterday I found out that the Sophomores and Juniors would be going to the Capitol for a college fair field trip, this is one of those good times where I am left with most of the day to plan out the coming weeks.  I am not always this lucky, yesterday when I got home from school we didn't have power for a few hours, that would be the norm.  An exciting thing that is happening to my daily schedule is the fact that I decided to start volunteering with YoungLife, this should add some fun spice to my life.

Some exciting events of the near future...

This weekend: Climbing Pico Duarte and hanging out in the Valle de Tetero with all of the gringo men staff at Doulos.  This will be three days of adventure and hanging out in some of the most beautiful mountain scenes in the county.  We will also tag the summit of Pico Duarte which is the largest mountain in the Caribbean and larger than any mountain west of the Mississippi River.

Next weekend:  Hiking 27 waterfalls with some friends from Doulos and YL here.  27 waterfalls is a crazy area a couple hours away from Jarabacoa that is full of waterfalls that are both beautiful and fun to jump off of.  I am excited to go here because it is not something I would have naturally sought after on my own, but looks like a lot of fun.

Hopefully the links I added will work and you can click on them to see some of the fun places I will be going.

Oh yeah I also made the decision to stay in my home stay for the next year which will be great for my Spanish and continual learning of what it looks like to live life as a Dominican.  We are getting wifi in the next couple days which was the deal maker for me.

Monday, September 10, 2012

So life is moving along at a steady pace as we are already over 2 and  half weeks into the school year.  Now is the time when the thrill of the exciting start to the year has worn off and the realization of the daily struggles is apparent.  This weekend was spent going on waterfall adventures and celebrating a friends birthday with a giant game of kickball in one of the local baseball stadiums.  I think I had a bit to much fun this weekend as I have a bit of a sore throat and am not rested at all, maybe this is what causes me to be a bit more somber in my attitude towards being back in a routine.  Life in general is good, when I told my host I was feeling a little sick she made me some tea that made me feel a bit better before I went to sleep.
Another journey I embarked upon recently was the reading of "The Brothers Karamazov" of which I am greatly intrigued by it so far.  I don't know if I would recommend it yet, but I'll let you know soon.
So I said I made a video of my home and here it is.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Good to know.

So I basically know all of my roles at Doulos now and it is kind of exciting to be cemented into them now.  This semester I am teaching Junior and Senior Social Studies, a selected devotional, and a Freshman devotional.  As well as those classes I have also become the Guide for the Senior class which is more or less like a class Sponsor.  I am excited to get to the know the Seniors really well and explore what it means for them to be in the final year of school, and I am honored that I get to celebrate all they have accomplished with them.  Some things we will be thinking about are if they want to do a prom of sorts, what a graduation party might look like, and how are we going to pay for these things.  
On a sort of different note YoungLife had a chance to checkout what exactly it is here in La Republica Dominicana.  Myself and a few others made the 5 mile drive to Pico Escondido which is the amazing camp that services the DR.  Entering into life here has been a big change and I am processing what it would look like to be involved with a ministry such as YL.  The weekend itself was a blast and we got to do their giant swing, go swimming, and have a good time spending time with each other.  
Really close to the house I am living in is a fancy hotel that you can stay at for $75 a night.  I went and took some pictures there so you can see how beautiful things right around the corner are.  I also made a video of my house, but its taking forever to upload so it will be up another day.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012


I just wanted to update this to let people know that my life dramatically changed after school yesterday.  To many of you this may not sound like a big deal, but trust me, my standard of living is going up 10 fold.  I bought a motorcycle!  Its a X1000 CG150, so by US standards it is really small, but here it is bigger than average.  I am so sick of walking everywhere and sweating like crazy, as well as having to flag down motoconchos (motorcycle taxi) that I broke down and spent the RD25,000 (roughly $650, the conversion is 39.02:1)  it cost.  I am buying a helmet after school today so I can learn to ride better, a lot of bikes here have a hand clutch which is very different than motorcycles in the states so its funny to learn at first.  Doulos also does not let anyone in the parking lot without a helmet on.
Life has been good and it just got better.    

Monday, August 27, 2012

Mosquitoes, Toilets, and Hurricanes

School started this week amongst a flurry of craziness.  Given the craziness I felt that now would be a good time to make a list of why I think that some people might hate living here.  There are some redeeming things about it that I will make another list for as well.  Also I am making a list based on my personal situation and the same does not go for everyone.

Things that could make you go crazy.
1. If you open our refrigerator the door falls off, and the door doesn't actually close all of the way; this means the temperature inside of the refrigerator is only 10 degrees cooler than outside of it.
2. Mosquitoes live to make your life horrible.  I’m easily over 100 in the number of them I have killed.
3. Cold showers, other people have hot ones, but not I.
4. Regular loss of power
5. More frequent loss of power during a hurricane
6. Loss of water during hurricanes hasn't happened to me yet, but many of my friends are water less right now.
7. You can only drink filtered water, good thing it is cheap.
8. Toilet paper goes in the trash can not in the toilet.
9. You have to wash your vegetables before you eat them or you will get something awesome like Typhoid or an amoeba.
10. No internet at home and when you are somewhere with internet it will probably go out a few times, normally when you are planning school stuff and you need online resources.
11. There is no good beer here; the closest you get is crazy Czech and German stuff.
12. Dominican Spanish is similar to Spanish but with many new words and with a totally different accent than you will hear anywhere else.
13. Anything imported, which is a lot of stuff, is very expensive.
14. Almost no air conditioning anywhere even when you are in a stuffy little classroom with one window and 15 students while it is 95 degrees out.
15. There are no dryers, which isn’t a big deal until it rains for a week straight and your clothes are clean but still wet.
16. Platanos (Plantain), am I the only one that thinks they are disgusting?  Anything turned into something called Mongu is not good.
17. The lady I live with has a dog named Giorgio, Giorgio is the son of Puka and Joanfie, Joanfie is also the son of Puka.  This is not considered weird at all to the Domicans.  It is also normal that every dog in the neighborhood barks at anything in the street no matter what time of night.
18. I’m sure more will come eventually but I will leave it at this for now.

Things that are redeeming.
1. 2 Grande Aguacate (Large Avocado) y 2 Cervezas = 2 US dollars
3 Grande Mangos y 2 Grande Aguacate y 1 Aji Rojo (red pepper) = 3 dollars
When I say large, I mean like 3 times the size of ones you buy in the States.
2. School gets cancelled at noon because of a hurricane!  No school the next day!
3. Climbing a mountain during a hurricane… I mean really, who isn’t trying to check that off their bucket list.  In other news I climbed my favorite mountain 30 seconds faster than ever before, but I threw up at the top.
4. Climbing beautiful mountains with sweeping views of the lush Cibao valley.
5. Waterfall climbing.
6. Jumping off waterfalls.
7. Aguacate y Mango taste way better here than where you are, guaranteed.
8. When it rains the air temperature is the best ever. 
9. It’s weird, but I love rain and it has been raining all the time.
10. The beach is 2 hours away!
11. You can rent a horse here and take it wherever you want.
12. There are Culebras (snakes) but no Serpeintes (poisonous snakes) on Hispaniola.
13. Living with Dominicans has caused my Spanish comprehension and speech to dramatically increase.  Although my spelling of the words is probably wrong siempre (always).
14. A huge double scoop of ice cream at Bon for just over $1.
15. I’ll add to this later also.

Quick recap of the last few days as they have unfolded.  Wednesday was the first day of school, although school didn’t completely happen because most of it was orientation stuff.  Thursday we started having school and then we were told that we were only going to have a half day because the Secretary of Education was cancelling school.  While hanging out with friends last night we found out there was no school today because of the increased concern about Hurricane Isaac.  So what was the best idea, climb a mountain today, best idea ever!  By the time I post this it won’t be Friday anymore because I probably won’t see the internet again until Monday.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Two Days Away!

This past weekend we had a long weekend for a couple reasons.  One reason was because on Thursday Danilo was inaugurated as the new President of the Dominican Republic and another being that we are starting school on Wednesday and a couple days of fun and rest were needed.  Because of the time off we had the opportunity to get out and enjoy the land a bit.  One of the Dominicans had a secret river spot she took a few of us to on Thursday which was followed up by a couple days and a night at the beach.  This was a good break away from the planning for school and many hours spent in professional development.  The picture on the top is from our expeditionary training in which we went to La Cueva de las Maravillas for a tour.  We weren't supposed to take any pics but I was able to sneak in one good one of some of the cave art.   The beach we went to is famous for kite and wind surfing so there was a lot of that to be seen.  The last two pictures are from one of the many rivers around Jarabacoa, and proof that I am still alive/tough.

Saturday, August 11, 2012


One of the things I have done for fun every weekend so far is climb the largest local montana.  The name of the mountain is Megote and I have heard it is the 5th or 6th largest mountain on the island at just under 5000 feet.  Today I decided to do it by myself so I could see how fast I could make it up and down, both of which are good ways to make yourself want to throw-up and turn your legs into wobbly jello.  In the end I made it up in just over 54 minutes and back down in another 25 minutes.
Up Megote by djb5w5 at Garmin Connect - Details -hit map and then terrain to get a topo look.
Anybody that wants to visit me in Jarabacoa might take a look at the specs on the climb I posted so you can become familiar with the leg destruction that will happen.  Soon I will get some pics of the view from up top, but it will have to be a day in which the hiking is slower than today. 

In other none climbing life news... I went to the church of my host last week and it was cool, although I don't understand much of what is going on except for when we sing.  Its easier for me to process what is being said/sang when I can read it.  Every day my Spanish grows a bit so life continues to be more livable.  Tomorrow I am planning on going back to the same church and I hopefully can understand a few more words.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Dos Semanas

It has now been two weeks here in Jarabacoa.  At this point I am rather firmly planted into life as I will know it for a while although school doesn't start until the 22nd which will change my routines a bit.  For know I am familiar enough with the city and culture to get around rather easily and I can even halfway function without having a very large Spanish vocabulary.  Everything is generally close and most Doulos staff live close to the school also.
My home stay location has been good so far.  I live about a mile and a half from school but it seems a lot farther when everyone else can walk to the school in under 5 minutes. My hosts name is Mariluz and she works for YWAM, which is JOCUM here.  There is an Australian guy staying at the house as well, and it is nice to have someone to speak English with, although it is probably stunting my Spanish growth.
As for the fun times to be had... I have already bagged the peak of the highest local mountain (Megote, somewhere near 5,000 feet) a couple times as the trailhead is conveniently located about 100 yards from the DR's YoungLife camp. This weekend I went into Santiago for a viewing of The Dark Knight Rises and have been able to spend lots of time getting to know new friends.  Many goods times to come I am sure.
I haven't been able to take as many pictures as I would like, but I will get on it soon.

Monday, July 30, 2012


This weekend we had our first chance to explore the area.  On Saturday all the new staff went on a waterfall hike and on Sunday I went with another guy on staff to run/hike up a local mountain.  There are definitely a lot of places to explore around here, and I hope to get out as much as possible.  I brought my camera on the waterfall hike and here are some pictures.


Thursday, July 26, 2012


So I have a second in between orientation, spanish class, and lunch... so here are some pictures from the teacher lounge.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Dos anos.

So I leave tomorrow?  It feels like I just moved back to KC a month ago, and I all of the sudden I am moving again. I think I am ready, I'm not sure how you can tell if you really are, but I think I am.  My bags are mostly packed, most of my business is taken care of, and I am almost done with my last project before my Masters is completed.  I'm sure I am forgetting something.

The blessings I have received through friendships made and deepened in the past two years are something that I will be eternally grateful for.  I am not very good at the reflective thing, but being back in KC has been an interesting chapter of my life, one that I will be appreciating the memories of for a long time.  I am pretty sure that the DR will not be very similar to my experience in KC, but I can only hope that I will make relationships as solid as the ones I have here.

I'm not sure what else to say right now besides that I will miss lots of people.  Oh yeah, enjoy the 100+ degree temps KC.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Hi friends and family!
Welcome to where I will be sharing some of my experiences from the Dominican Republic with you.  I hope this is something you will enjoy/help you understand what I am doing in the DR.  This is just something I wanted to get up quickly meaning there will be changes to the format and look of the blog as time progresses.