Well, I’m sitting in the airport in Miami now, waiting to go to the DR. I found out that we will be going to a retreat tonight and then to our host families on Friday after training. A retreat sounds nice right? Not this time! We’re going to get some vaccines and take competency exams to see where we rate in different criteria. Great. It’s not all bad though because I think (but could be wrong) that we are staying in a hotel which could be a nice thing.
The hotel we stayed at in Miami was nice:) I never got to go swimming because it was way too busy. I got in at 1:30 on Tuesday and was in training until 6:30 then it was time for a shower and dinner. After that I was on the phone till late. The next day were wee up at 7 and were lucky enough to get done with staging early at 4:30 but we had to repack and iron clothes (I guess in the DR they’re really big on appearances). I was on the phone till 1:30 this morning and woke nice and early at 5:30 (thanks for the call Rach:) and headed to the airport.
We all thought that it was a little excessive getting to the airport at 7:30 when our flight didn’t leave until 12 but whatever. At least we’re not hurried and we all made it to the flight:) When we get in the DR the head guy, Romeo Massey will meet us and our bags will be taken to our host families while we will go to the retreat. So my carry on bag is heavy since if has to have all the stuff for the retreat.
I learned a lot yesterday in staging such as how we will not be in the capitol during training, we’ll be in a town that starts with a p and is about an hour NW of Santo Domingo. I’ll still be able to get mail and stuff about 2x/week when I’m at the training center. After 3 weeks in the p town I’ll go to my CBT or community based training where I’ll be with all the other health sector volunteers. I found out that we get to go to a town called Bani (accent on the I- I don’t know how to do it on my computer) that’s right along the coast line:) SWEET!!! :) Some others are going to a “luscious, fertile valley” that is full of strawberries and also lots of beautiful flowers that are often exported. The beach sounds great but so do strawberries!!
I also found out that we will be soo busy during training. I knew we would be but dang!! We have stuff from 8am till 6 and then meeting and stuff after that even! During training we will be given a walk around allowance which is a lot less than what we will get when training ends. They give us less because we don’t have to pay for food or anything. We’re all hoping it was a typo but some paper we got stated that we were going to be given just 45 pesos/day!!!!!! That’s like a freaking buck 25!!! So much for slow adjustment!! Lol
So, those are the updates for now:) I hope I answered any questions and I look forward to letters from you all!! Even though it still feels like I’m just on a vacation I miss you all very much! I don’t know when I’ll be able to write again so I wanted to tell Gracie HAPPY 6th BIRTHDAY!! I hope you have a great day and I’ll be thinking of you:) Thanks for the phone call at my hotel Harnisch Herd, I can’t wait to get the 116 letters from Gabe and Isaiah, lol!
Well it has certainly been a busy and loooong day. I woke up at 4 am to catch my flight out of O’ Hare at 8:35. I wanted to get some breakfast with my mom, Rach and John before I had to leave. We went to the oasis and had some McD’s which was delicious. When they were about to drop me off at the airport terminal Rach decided at the last second that she was going to park and we were going to walk together to the airport which was nice:) She surprised me and brought Toffee, the new kitten which I fell in love with before I left. So, Toffee and Booker stayed in the car and the rest of us walked inside. I checked my bags and we had about an hour to kill so we hung out on some benches. Then a lady tried to trick us into moving so she could sit there but we held firm. Wheelchair waiting area my…
Anyways, it was hard to leave everyone but impossible to say goodbye. I really mean impossible!! None of us said those words, I know I personally couldn’t. As soon as I walked to security I was a mess. The morning consisted of a very red and puffy Betsy and got worse and worse till I got to Miami. Then the terror of flying through a tropical storm called my attention away for a while.
After I landed I relied on my training from the health department to inspect a piece of paper over a random persons shoulder to discover the words DOMINICAN REPUBLIC. I knew that there were other volunteers on the plane so I asked her if she was a PCV and she was! So we hopped on a super taxi and headed for our hotel together.
One we got to the hotel we noticed that there was an awful lot of baggage in the lobby. We went to check in and were told that the storm had knocked out power so they couldn’t check us in since their computers weren’t working. They told us that they would be more that happy to take our bags though and that we could head up to our meeting if we want. Sounded good enough until we found out the meeting was on the top floor and the elevators weren’t working.
20 flights of stairs and no air conditioning later, my volunteer friend and a very sweaty Betsy got in line to fill out forms. We were in line for about 30 minutes but were still dripping sweat when they lined us up and took our picture like 3 feet from our faces! That’s a picture I don’t want to see…
The first day of training was a lot like CA training but better. It went over important issues but was sooooo much straight forward than CA training that it went quickly. One thing we did was go over our fears and goals. I was really relieved to find that everyone pretty much has the same anxieties as I do. The main thing I’m afraid of it living with the host family. It seriously freaks me out even though I know I’m over reacting. Even if they are awful, its just for 10 weeks and then its off to my site with another family for 3 months.
Well, that’s all for now:) I’ll try to write more later. I hope you all are well and I miss you all sooooo much!!!