Sorry I haven’t blogged in SO long! I got caught up in the hustle and bustle of saying goodbye to people, having some last adventures, and then packing up and leaving. This blog might be a long one considering I have so much to say!
Where did I leave off? I’ll start on Wednesday. The rumor that Josh Hill and I (one of the interns) are dating is still going strong, and everyone gets a big kick out of that joke. You will see why later. Today was the day in which we traveled to La Vega to play volleyball, and then that night was the volleyball outreach night in the community I am normally in, Pinar Quemado. I went into this night with excitement to see my girls, not knowing that after I would have to say my last goodbyes to two of the ones I had gotten really close with because we wouldn’t be able to make it back to this community the rest of the time I was here. The outreach was good, we played around and Raul spoke at the end. When it came time for leaving I said bye to the girls ( Kasey and Lili) and Kasey started sobbing. I was strong up until that point. I don’t think it was the fact that I was going to miss her a lot, which I will! But more of the fact that I was starting my goodbye’s and I hate those. Jess held me on the bus on the way home while I shed some tears as quiet as I could. It’s a weird feeling not knowing if I will ever see these people again.
Thursday was the hike that we do for every outreach! It started out awesome and so fun until we got to the bottom. Being the klutz that I am, I fell and heard my ankle pop and immediately felt immense pain. It swelled up almost immediately and I seriously questioned whether or not it was broken. Then reality hit that I had to to hike the 40 min hike, UPHILL, with this ankle. Luckily, my friends Jess, Joan, and Moreno helped me. Joan and Moreno really are one of a kind friends, they were only concerned about my health, and made the trip actually kinda fun. We took breaks whenever I needed them, but being the stubborn person I am, I just wanted to get to the top without a lot of breaks. We finally made it to the top and I was rushed to the physical therapist, who told me to go get an X-ray b/c he wasn’t sure if it was broken. I went to the doctor, and had to get a shot, in my butt, for the inflammation. For those of you that really know, know that I HATE shots, and I had no idea what a shot in the butt felt like, but I found out real quick! The X-ray results showed that nothing was broken, but I was already bruised and so swollen, he told me it was just a grade 3 or 4 sprain and that I would need crutches for a few days and lots of icing. I think I used the crutches for... 3 days. I was just tired of using them, so I didn’t :) It’s still swollen and bruised but it’s gone down a lot, and i’m walking on it like a champ. That night I even went to watch Jess and Heather play another game in La Vega that I was invited to play in, but obviously couldn’t.
Friday was my last day of outreach duties, and it was weird to see it come to an end. My girls this outreach were absolutely amazing, I couldn’t have asked for more. They were so encouraging even with my hurt ankle and crutches, and made everything seem so much fun. That night was the banquet, my last one. At the end there is a time in which all the site leaders (like Jess) come up and say a little something about the students they had for the week. We conveniently went last, and after Jess said something about our students, she moved onto me. It was a very sweet, touching speech in which she was crying and couldn’t finish her words, and of course that made me cry. Jess was a very special person to me on this trip, and we got as close as sisters. It was awesome. After she was done, all the interns came up and Vicki (my boss) said some nice things about me, and all surrounded me and prayed over me. I got a few parting gifts. Some earrings, and a really cool photo album that Jess made, with letters in it from a lot of the people I had contact with here. It’s so cool to see the impact that you didn’t really think you had!
The next morning we left for the BEACH! All the interns and our bosses (Josh and Vicki that all of us call dad and mom) left for a resort a few hours away that was all inclusive, and absolutely beautiful. I felt so spoiled. The weekend consisted of our days being spent laying out at the beach and the many pools, going to the swim up bar for non-alcoholic drinks, and being in community with each other. Some of my favorite times were at nights when we would all just sit on the beach chairs down by the beach and talk, share testimonies, and worship together. There is one particular night that sticks out to me the most, because it was the night I was completely embarrassed, more embarrassed than I’ve ever been in my whole life. Well, remember the running joke about me and Josh Hill dating? Well he took it to a whole new level. Our last dinner night, he clinked his glass in the middle of the restaurant to get everyone’s attention in the WHOLE restaurant. I knew at that moment that I was going to be embarrassed. He proceeded to go this whole explanation of how we had fallen in love, in a really loud voice. And then got down on one knee and proposed with one of the interns old rings she had dug up. Needless to say, I screamed the entire time out of embarrassment. All I could hear was all the interns laughter, and everyone in the restaurant that we didn’t know saying.. say yes! So all I could do was mutter under my breath, sure. He jumped around like an idiot and screamed “I’m marrying this woman!!” which proceeded to embarrass me even more. We got congratulated several times, and Josh was loving it. When we got back to the base the next day, he told everyone there, all of our staff and our bosses. The director thought it was hilarious, and ended up playing a cruel joke on Josh to get him back yesterday, yess!
Tuesday I was officially signed out of Students International, and that meant that I could ride motorcycles. Jess had put together a motorcycle 4 hour trip for me her, and her visiting sister Heather to go on. It was so scary, and fun, and tiring! My body hurts more than I ever thought it could today, because of all the bumpiness and weird ways my body moved and stayed in one spot for so long. But riding in the Dominican Republic, with not a care in the world around mountains and rivers, was absolutely priceless. That night I went to the base to say bye to all the staff, and then after dinner the interns and some of my Dominican friends all came over to say goodbye. It’s a cool feeling knowing that all those people came for me, and I didn’t even cry saying goodbye because I think I’d already cried enough.
This morning we got up super early to drive Heather and I to the airport. My two closest guy friends, Joan and Moreno came with us just to say goodbye. Joan even made me a shirt with a bunch of spanish song lyrics on the back to signify our friendship, and we found it quite funny that he wrote his name in big letters on the front, instead of mine. I can’t wait to wear it :) Now i’m sitting in the airport with Heather in Miami as we wait for our departing flights to Michigan and me to St. Louis. Now I really know that my trip has come to an end. I never thought God could bless me as much as he has this past six weeks. I was blessed with an even stronger relationship with him, a strong strong love for another country, amazing interns who became my brothers and sisters in Christ and friendships I know I can rely on, and a special sister, Jess, who will always know how to help me and will continually try to get me to come back and be on staff somehow, someway. Who knows what my next step is? All I can concentrate on right now, is taking my state standard test, going home, student teaching, and then seeing where God wants me. I know he will show me in his timing, and I can’t take it for granted. Thanks for an amazing six weeks God, it was more than I could have EVER asked for.