Archive | March, 2016

visit revelations

8 Mar

Happy International Women’s Day! Though I didn’t do anything in particular to celebrate this special day, these last few weeks suffice.


Silpa, Julie, me, and Natalie – the Peace Corps Volunteer Leaders for health, education, business, and youth sectors.  Admirable co-workers and superb friends.

To put it briefly, I have a full heart and busy mind. Since returning from a much needed and appreciated month-long visit in the States, I have continued on with the “visit” trend. Work visits with potential groups aka partnering organizations in future site placements for the new group of CED volunteers that just arrived on March 2nd. Visits with host families to prepare them in receiving a new, foreign family member. A quick visit back to the States to celebrate the marriage of one of my best friends, my college roommate of three years. Playing host while three different people left their comfort zones to explore my world here in Santo Domingo and beyond. Reconnecting with two of my best friends from my swear-in group who have since moved on from Peace Corps and are leading successful lives as Returned Peace Corps Volunteers.  Visiting the volunteer currently living in Pescadería and finally enjoying our community together in person.


Alejandra and I out in the border province of Elias Piña for site development.


Pineapples and cabins at the eco-lodge in Rio Limpio, Elias Piña


Traffic jam in Rio Limpio


Stacey, former PCV, showing me the ropes of Elias Piña


Beans in Elias Piña


Greenhouses in Elias Piña


Bee hives in Dajabón



Peanut operation in Dajabón


Work perks!  Marmalade, honey, peanuts, and peanut butter gifted to me by groups interested in collaborating with a business volunteer.


Lovely house I spotted while in Barahona on site development


La Ciénaga, Barahona

Though all of these visits have had a different vibe and purpose, I have nevertheless enjoyed each and every one of them. These intercambios have not only helped me to reconnect with old friends, but have brought to light certain aspects of my service here on the island that I might otherwise not have recognized.  Gracias a todos for all of our shared conversations and experience.


Julie, Courtney, and I at Julie and Chris’s wedding #itsementabe


Reni, my sister from Pescadería, finally came to visit me in the capital!


Amanda, the current PCV in my old site, and I.


Reunited with two of my favorites, Samantha and Kaley, who both served with me here in the Dominican Republic.


Kayaking on Laguna Limón out in the east of the country with a fellow Clemson Tiger in the background!


Montaña Redonda in Miches



Playa Limón, part of the Kayak Tour


Playa Esmerelda, Miches


Chris, Carlos, and I at the end of our adventure in Miches


The culmination of these visits has led to me celebrating THREE WHOLE YEARS of life here in the Dominican Republic. Plenty of ups and downs, plenty to look forward to, so much to be thankful for.

I end this post with some food for thought, revelations from recent visits, goals for the future, and a just a couple more photos documenting this lovely life I’m so lucky to live.

  • Everyday Leadership
  • Preguntar es aprender. On a recent guagua ride, a young man sitting in between two boisterous tigueres and a friendly doña was noticeably anxious. He had missed his bus stop due to the fact that he didn’t quite know how to arrive to where he was going. The two tigueres were unimpressed, scoffing at his lack of street smarts.       As he dismounted the guagua however, frantic to retrace his steps and reach his destination, the doña empathetically encouraged him to simply ask next time, that nobody knows everything.
  • But even if you aren’t learning anything, confidence can help you play it off like it knows what you’re talking about:
  • Spoil your taste buds with healthy juice combos! Recent favorites include anything with kale (can’t even taste it, just makes the juice green and more nutritious). Pictured below: mango, kale, cucumber, basil, and honey.


  • The Art of Getting Things Done. Everyone has their own way of feeling productive, but now that it’s such a busy time of year, a few practices are helping me to survive – smart to-do lists, stepping away from my desk (during lunch and at least every hour), and leaving myself a solid 45 minutes to prepare myself in the morning.


  • Have a vision, do a bubble map. Though I at first procrastinated this “assignment” from my dad during my time in the States, I now appreciate why he encouraged me to do it. Be it past times, career paths, or fields of study, what are you interested in?       What draws you? What are you good at? What do you have experience in? How are these topics related? Does it have anything to do with what you’re involved in at the moment? How might this image change over time? Having a vision not only helps you focus, but more easily allows you to focus your thoughts when communicating your goals to others.

My personal bubble map.  Most of my interests – empowerment, food, small business, policy, and education – are rooted in service, an overarching passion of mine.

  • Journal.
  • Travel ≠ Vacation. Vacation ≠ Travel. “Peace. It does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble or hard work. It means to be in the midst of those things and still be calm in your heart.”

Reunited with two of my favorite troublemakers.


Omailin, Jenna (Go Tigers!), and I in Pescadería


Amanda organized a trash clean-up at the court.  Very successful event, thanks to Jenna for being such a good sport.  Notice that our court now has lights installed!?


Omailin and I


Peace, love, and mango season!