our day date…and cecelia-

may 12.  2017

we all woke up in pain.  a couple of the girls have blisters even…nuts.  they didn’t want to move, and we didn’t want them in the sun at all, so they said they just wanted to lay in bed and watch movies in the air conditioning.  so jarom and i thought we would spend some time together and go do a hike at the national park nearby.  it was a super easy hike, and half way through, there is a ceynote where people swim and divers have dove over 300 times.  there is a natural underwater waterway.  it was pretty cool, and creepy.  we just had our phone flashlights, and it was dark.  i could only imagine a freaky lizard creepy thing popping up out of the dark waters and eating us in one fell swoop.  jarom put his feet in, and i was out of there quickly.  one of us had to survive.  we hiked back out and finished the hike.  a kind man near the parking lot, where his house was chatted with us before our hike and after, he was very nice.  we played with his one month old dog, and headed out.

we headed to la romana, grabbed some groceries and a small pan so we can bake some brownies in our toaster oven and headed home.  it’s so great not having to worry about all the things of life, and just enjoy each other, play and have fun.  it’s been a tough year, and we are so grateful to be together down here.

on our way home, we saw a woman walking on the highway, and i asked jarom if it was ok if we picked her up, i didn’t think she’d kill us-she looked harmless:)  so we pulled over, backed up, and she ran and hopped in, thanking us.  we had a fun semi spanish-semi english chat, talked about each others’ kids, and she said she was walking to bayahibe looking for work, her current job was ending soon.  she was probably 10 miles away still, and she was just happy to be looking for work.  these people are amazing.  i guarantee you most people in america would not walk 20 miles from one village to another looking for work, i don’t know if i would.  she said she normally caught the bus, so i’m not sure what happened and why she was walking.  all i know, it was fun getting to chat with cecelia and how our lives came together for 10 minutes.  i love random things like this.

ps-we grocery shop and make most of our meals-rarely eating out.  we have found rice to be a great filler and super cheap…it’s in a lot of our meals:)  eggs, beans and rice in a tortilla for breakfast-and it fills everybody up!  having three teenage girls is expensive in the food department!


saona island…

may 11.  2016

we met mario out at the beach at 9:30, and his friend with the boat.  we were ready for our boat ride to soano island-our lunch packed-and we were so excited!  we were able to get a deal through mario’s friend who also works at the resort and owns a boat.  he charged us $250 for the day, instead of the regular tourist rate of $86/per person x 6 in our family.  so we saved over half:)  i love doing things for a good deal!

our first stop was the ocean that is like a swimming pool for almost as far as you can see-it’s absolutely amazing.  and the water is so clear, and green.  there were starfish scattered about, we found 5-it was like our own private pool.  the tourist party boats all gather in the same places, so once it got a bit crowded, we headed to the next place.  it was a gorgeous beach area with absolutely amazing beaches.  we spent most of the day there, and about 3:00, we headed back to leave the crowds, stopped by the swimming pool ocean area again, and then headed home.  supposedly some of pirates of the caribbean was filmed on this island:)

we ended up getting pretty burnt, even after applying sunscreen a couple times. we all were feeling it quite a bit.  but we were so grateful to have not paid for the tourist price and be on those huge group boat tours…they are so annoying!  it was so great having our own boat to leave and do what we wanted-we were very grateful.

jarom drove mario to bayahibe and dropped him off at the bus stop, headed back, and at 4:30, he and alex headed back to bayahibe to get our favorite empanadas.  they are just amazing!  and the lady is actually a little nicer to us each time we go.  the first time she wouldn’t even look up at us, and after a few minutes, i walked away.  i wasn’t going to be ignored if i’m paying for something.  the next day she looked up and we placed our order-for a total of 11…she was probably glad she was nice to us i hope.

we watched movies and put on lots of aloe with lidocaine.  it was a great and memorable day.


day 2 of school…we love it…

may 10.  2017

it was such a beautiful day-the sun and clouds made for a perfect day for swimming.  jarom took the girls out on the catamaran, but there wasn’t much wind near the dock, so he hopped down and swam it in-we were laughing as well as others on the dock:)  jarom was also flying his drone and a couple guys came over to talk to him-and they were russian-which has been a lot of fun for jarom since he served his mission in St. Petersburg, Russia for two years.  who knew he would be speaking so much russian in the dominican republic!  they are so many tourists from russia here.  we swam, snorkeled, and laid out-snorkeling here is amazing-schools of fish will just swim in front of you or by you.  it’s like having your own aquarium to swim in-it’s completely fascinating!

we got ready and gathered our supplies that we bought for school, and headed to the lobby for a bit where there is wifi, and finished writing up some flashcards to play games and teach the kids with. we finished up and then drove the 10 minutes to bayahibe to the school.  on monday, mario had told the policeman who works in the parking lot where we park that we will be teaching at the school if he could waive the fee, and the policemen agreed-so that was great.  so we parked, and got to our first classroom. they are probably 6 or 7 years old.  they saw us, and ran out calling us their amigos and hugging us…like a huge group hug, it was so awesome!  you just love these kids instantly.  time flew today, in each class, i think since we were able to plan and have some supplies this time.  we still need to figure out more and better ways to teach i think.  we hope they are getting something out of this!  we certainly are, if not a love for the people of this island.

after we finished teaching, we drove the two minutes to the main part of bayahibe, parked, and ordered some empanadas-which were amazing, and only 50 pesos each…we ordered 11!  we were so hungry, but had dinner for $10.50 for 6 people.

alex ended up staying home today not feeling well, so we got back to the apartment, got her, and we all headed out to the beach and pier to watch the sunset and let the kids play in the water a little more.  we enjoyed the peaceful and tranquil views of the sun setting over the gorgeous green water.

i only wish there was a way i was more business minded to start a business or to get investors, so that i could have a business down here and employ dominicans and help more people down here.  one begins to wish these kids to have a great future, a safe future, a happy future.  i don’t know what the probability is here for them to continue in their education, get good jobs, and be able to provide for themselves or for a family, but i know it isn’t as good as the u.s.  they are a kind people. i love it here.


learning the catamaran…

may 9.  2017

today has been a bit cloudy and rainy, with times of sunshine.  we would lay out and swim during the sun, and run inside during the pouring rain, which on this beautiful island is so awesome to be in.  jarom and i paid $30 for a catamaran lesson, which you only need one, and then after that, we can take it out as much as we want for free.  it was so beautiful being out on the ocean looking at the island with the thunder and lightening over it-so amazing.  it was a good day to not do much.

jarom and madison ran to la romana to the mercado jumbo to get supplies for our english classes.  we are hoping to entertain and play learning games to keep the kids interested.  we aren’t sure what we’re going to do, but we hope it turns out to be fun:)

we ended the day watching movies and fading off to sleep.  it’s quite tiring playing and having so much fun.  this is the life.


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primero dia en la escuela en bayahibe…

monday.  may 8.  2017

we woke up at about 10:30.  we just cannot get our time rolled back like i would like.  i was hoping to start kayaking at 9am, but haven’t made it yet.  we got up, most of us got our swimsuits on, went outside, and it was overcast and beautiful and breezy.  we headed out to the long dock, and jarom and some of the girls snorkeled and took pictures of all the underwater fish.  the water is so clear!

we then got ready quickly to meet mario-our friend who works at the resort, and who offered to come with us and translate for us-outside the resort gates.  he was told the resort didn’t need him this week, so he offered to help us a couple of the days.  he took a bus from la romana-45 minutes away one way-to come and help translate for us-he offered completely on his own…so awesome, what a blessing.

we met him outside the gates, and we headed to bayahibe 10 minutes away.  we got to the school, and it was so nice having a translator with us.  the director told us we could go to the classrooms for 50 minutes each.  we weren’t prepared to teach english, but it’s pretty easy to just jump in, so we did.  we started with the alphabet and numbers, simple phrases, teaching head-shoulders-knees and toes song from primary, playing learning games with what we taught them with the ball…they were super friendly and open to having us-i couldn’t have imagined a kinder place to welcome us.  and of course, we taught colors with m&m’s, and even rewarded with m&m’s to encourage the older cooler boys in the back of one class to get involved-yep-it totally worked.  i’m so grateful jarom and i were guided to find the school in that little town.

we were there from 2:00-5:30pm teaching.  i don’t remember sweating so much, but it didn’t bother me too much.  jarom got his drone out, and the kids did really good not touching it and just watching it-it’s so fun to see how happy and excited they get.

it made my heart happy, i absolutely loved every minute.  i love these kids, and how we are instant friends.  one boy was showing me pictures and telling me words in spanish of the museum he visited in santo domingo.  can we just stay here?  i love that our girls just jump in and enjoy the journey.  no complaining.  just have fun.

the fam jumped in the pool after we hoarded whatever food we could find and eat back at the apartment, i think we were all just starving.  it was a good day.


the sabbath in la romana, dominican republic…

may 7.  2017

i love meeting new people.  i love finding out about their lives.  it gives you new perspective in your own life.  we arrive to church a few minutes after 9, which isn’t too bad considering we got up at 7:00am, 6 people sharing a bathroom, left a little after 8:00am, and made it on time!  The sister missionaries offered to translate the meeting, which was such a wonderful thing, since we don’t understand spanish fluently.  we sat in meetings in guatemala for 6 weeks not knowing what they were saying, and today, being able to hear the testimonies of these brothers and sisters just touched my heart.  it was really beautiful the testimonies they have, of the gospel, the prophet now and joseph smith, of keeping the faith, and to keep going to church.  after sacrament, a handful of people came up to us and said hi and welcome.  the stake president who we contacted yesterday was there today, who helped translate to the bishop that we want to help in any way we can, if there are families who could use us.

we parted ways after sacrament meeting to our classes, and i went to nursery with alex.  there were probably 7 little babies in there ages 1-3.  they had soda crackers, but not really any toys.  someone finally brought in about 2 toys, and some crayons after over an hour.  nadia remembered she had her coloring stuff in the car and went and got it.  by that time, there were a couple babies sleeping on the floor, and a few kids left.  but we made friends.  we talked with them, and got to play:)  jarom said one of the elders translated for priesthood class, and it was so great.  i love these people.  from the minute we got here, people have been really kind.  they have such kind hearts, and you know they probably don’t have much of anything to call their own.  i love them.

we normally don’t shop on the sabbath, but on trips we make exceptions.  we were near the grocery, and went to jumbo-which is like a walmart-and it was beautiful, huge, and so clean!  they even had a ton of specialty items like gluten free things!  it was gorgeous, and a happy site from places we have shopped in the past.  we grabbed some stuff, headed home.  ate lunch, took naps-no swimming today on the sabbath, it’s a day of rest. we will make dinner and probably watch a disney movie together-since that’s one of the english stations that we have:)

excited but nervous for tomorrow.  we go to the school, not sure what we’re going to do there, but we hope for inspiration on what to do with the kids.  just feeling grateful for the opportunity to be here.

p.s.  it’s time to start the parasite protocol.  diatomaceous earth and grapefruit seed extract.  we’re feeling a little yucky in the tummies…i’m just hoping when i get the parasites, i’ll lose some bloody weight!

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under the sea…

may 6.  2017

we woke up again after 11…we’ve got to start getting up much earlier.  i hate wasting the day away.  but it is nice just eating breakfast and lounging, beats american life for sure-all the hustle and bustle full of non-fulfillment, i don’t miss it and can’t even think about the fact that we have to go back home.  we had a lovely day swimming in the ocean, kayaking, lounging, eating, running up and sliding down waterslides, and my highlight- watching the guys who brought in their catch of the day.  seeing about 5 octopus and an eel, and lobster and crabs, and scaling fish with a fork, just amazed me for some reason.  i love new things.

we are excited for tomorrow.  we were able to touch base with the stake president and find out what time church is in la romana tomorrow.  we can’t wait to start making more friends and getting more submerged in the life of the dominicans.  we hope that’s what we’ll be able to do.  we love going to church in a new country-our church is the same everywhere in the world-even the lessons-so it makes it very easy to go and meet new people.

it’s after 9, and jarom and i have been sitting in the comfortable and quiet lobby near wifi reading and surfing the internet just relaxing…quietly away from the kids…they just want to eat all the time.  having three teenagers is expensive!  it’s been nice just having time to ourselves.  we love hanging together and doing these adventures.

here’s a few drone pic’s-just beautiful.