Monthly Archives: June 2012

Chugging Along

So life in the campo is going well. No major complaints as of yet. Have become accustomed to all the things I wasn’t so used to at first. Some examples:

-Eating fried salami, boiled yuca, bread, and cheese for breakfast and dinner every day ( no really)

-Killing tarantulas with my machete

-Super awkward silences as during house visits as I meet people.

-Receiving a gift of fruit during a house visit. To date I have gotten: 30 limes, 6 pineapples, 6 avocados, a sack of cherries and countless cups of juice (passionfruit, mango, pineapple, cherry)

-People asking me why I am wearing shorts all the time and how can I possibly ride a bicycle on the crappy mountainous road we call our main road.

-Asked how many mangos I have eaten today by any and everyone in the community (Today I’ve had 4)

-Being told i look just like a volunteer named Augustine that was here 10 years ago. And then asked if I am his brother or if I know him.

These are just some of the things that I run into on a daily basis here and thought you readers out there might appreciate.

I am currently in the diagnostic phase of my service which means I have to perform a community diagnostic to meet everyone here and understand what sorts of needs there are in the community. This involves going house to house and meeting people and shaking hands the first time. Then i go back to each house and conduct a short interview with the head of the household. Typically Peace Corps wants 100 interviews but luckily there are only 70 houses in my community so i only have to do 70 interviews (hooray!) So far I have 51/70 and they are going well. There is a history of really successful volunteers around here so that is really helping me making people more at ease to talk to me.

My diagnostic phase will continue up until July 31st when I go to my 3-month IST and hammer out a project plan for the next year. I will keep working hard here until then and hopefully have a great diagnostic to present at IST!

In other news, I only have 45 days until I get to see Marie! I am extremely excited and cannot wait till she gets here. We have planned ourselves a little getaway to a beach in Puerto Plata. We have made it thus far and will continue to do so without problems. We are both eagerly anticipating seeing each other. I know its going to be amazing when she gets down here! =)

So far, I really love it here and I am excited to see what sorts of projects we can make happen here. As for now, I’m going to go eat a mango. Nos vemos!

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Falling More in Love, Each and Every Day

The longer I spend in this beautiful country, the more compelled I feel to write a blog post about this incredible feeling that I have that is growing more and more, each and every day. The feeling that I am referring to is the way that I feel about my incredible girlfriend, Marie. She is an incredible partner to have and I feel lucky to call her my girlfriend. Ever since I left for the Peace Corps, our relationship has only become stronger, more open, and more honest.

It is incredible for me, a person who used to despise talking on the telephone when I first met Marie, can now talk to her on the phone for hours and hours every night. Having this new dynamic of communication in our relationship is incredible. I feel connected to my partner on a daily basis and it feels amazing. It’s like we never missed a beat when I left. Technology has been a huge factor in allowing us to do this, and I am incredibly thankful that despite all of the DR’s developmental drawbacks, it does have an incredible infrastructure for communication. It has allowed Marie and I to be connected and have a very successful, very fulfilling long distance relationship.

This brings me on to my next point: I am falling more and more in love with this girl, each and every day! Marie has been an incredible partner and has done so much to help this relationship while I am abroad. They say that distance either brings you closer or pulls you apart. In our case, the distance has brought us closer together than we ever imagined! I feel so lucky and so thankful to have Marie in my life and I can’t imagine what this experience would be like if I didn’t have her to confide in and help me when I feel absolutely lost and deflated. I know I will be leaning on her more in the months to come as I begin to start development projects at my site. And in only two months and two days, Marie will be here in the DR to visit me for the first time, and I can’t wait! Its getting close and its going to be so much fun! I have been missing Marie so much and cannot wait to see her. In a lot of ways, I feel that the only thing I am missing in this experience is her! I am eagerly awaiting my love’s arrival and I know it will be an incredible two weeks when she is here with me!

In summary, The point of this post really is two fold: 1) to celebrate how awesome the level of connectivity there is here and 2) to celebrate how amazing my relationship with Marie is, how much better it gets each and every day, and that none if it would work out as well without this incredible level of connectivity. I love you Marie!Image

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