The second half of my time here in the DR has begun and I can hardly believe it!  I thought the first half flew by, but now I'm a week into my time in Los Higos and I feel like my head is spinning...  I love it here.  Los Higos is a small campo community where everyone knows everyone.  I spend my mornings working at Mis Pasos Primeros Prescolar (preschool).  Tuesday and Friday afternoons I teach an English class with another Bethel Student, and on Wednesday and Thursday we help out at a kind of Spanish literacy clinic for adults.  I  haven't felt this at home in the DR since I got here!  It's amazing.  The kids are adorable, the community is so friendly, and the work fits me.
This, as most of my stories, is another tale of God's faithfulness in my life.  I had asked to be placed at an education site, but when we received our placements, I got social work instead.  This was really hard for me to understand and accept at first because I'm going into an education career- education is what I love.  Regardless, I decided that God must have placed me in social work for a reason and that he had things to teach me through the experience.  Then, the week before we moved to our new homes and began our work, I found out that it had been a misprint and I was, in fact, supposed to be at the education site!  I was overjoyed!  I gave up what I wanted, and God gave it back to me.  Now I can't imagine being anywhere else.
Not that the work doesn't have it's challenging moments- there are many!  But there are few things more rewarding than a child's hand in your own, his eyes locked on your face, begging you to sit by him during the story.  And there are few things better than knowing you're where you were meant to be.


Underwater Porcupines...

Base, Sweet Base...
We're finally back on the Students International base here in Jarabacoa.  We returned last night from our Travel Week adventures in Santo Domingo, Los Haitises, and Samana'.  I trekked through at least 5 different caves and saw all sorts of Taino cave drawings,  (Tainos are the indigenous people of the Hispanola)  went to 3 different beaches, and wandered through beautiful colonial archetecture including a castle and a couple cathedrals.
The caves were fascinating, but I have to admit I got a little caved-out by the fith cave.  Fortunately, the last cave ended up being my favorite cave, Cueva de las Maravillas.  It was beautiful and had unique pintografias.  The Carribean Sea is incredible.  I'm bragging right now.  I spent my fall break by the ocean.  So there.  :)  At the last beach we went to, there were three interesting rock structures off shore and I decided to get a closer look.  Upon reaching them, I was tired (I'm not a very proficient swimmer) and decided to rest on the rocks.  The rocks had a different idea.  They were COVERED with sharp coraly-things that cut my feet as I tried to climb and discouraged any continued attempts to rest upon them.  So I jumped back in the water but landed on a submerged coraly-covered rock and it also was very angry about my presence.  In my frantic efforts to scramble off the rocks, I'm certain I looked ridiculous.  Somehow, throughout this whole experience I either angered some kind of vengeful underwater porcupine or I just got some coral splinters.  Not sure which, though the former sounds more exotic.  Regardless I recieved six or seven sharp black things lodged in the skin on my foot and hand.  Unfortunate.
Other highlights from travel week:
  • various photo-shoots with the girls in Santo Domingo
  • learning to dance Dominican Bachata while waiting for my food at a fancy restaurant
  • realizing that we got American cable channels at our hostel
  • the ensuing Parenthood party:)
  • being asked if I was from Spain by a current Madrid resident
  • discovering that I can make a convincing Angler fish face:

So overall, a really good week.  Lots of good bonding and cultural exposure.