Our Weekend in Zona Colonial, Santo Domingo

IMG_7205Last weekend, Derek and I visited the beautiful capital city of  Santo Domingo. We both wanted a change of scenery, and since we only have 3 weekends left in this beautiful country, we thought that the capital is a must place to visit.IMG_7224IMG_7202IMG_7143Santo Domingo was founded in 1496, and is one of the oldest cities in the Caribbean. We stayed right in the Colonial zone, and some of the buildings around us dated back to the 1500s (including this beautiful cathedral) Let’s just say that my architecture loving heart was in heaven. IMG_7147IMG_7140

IMG_7142IMG_7146Not only was the architecture beautiful, the streets were filled with street art, twinkling lights, and the cutest little cafes and shops. Since we stayed about a block away, we spent most of our time walking around these shops, eating at the nearby restaurants, and admiring the beautiful buildings. We also enjoyed sleeping in, being lazy, and enjoying AC and hot water at our air bnb. IMG_7203IMG_7221IMG_7206IMG_7204IMG_7200

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IMG_7198If you ever find yourself in this charming city, I highly recommend this AirBNB (they even deliver breakfast to your room each morning).

https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/24463232?location=Santo%20Domingo%2C%20Zona%20Colonial%2C%20Distrito%20Nacional%2C%20Dominican%20Republic&source_impression_id=p3_1563629876_vQVPiQLZshFcKCnY

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IMG_7144We also walked through a chocolate museum, tried delicious samples, and learned all about the history of chocolate. At this point in our day, the rain started coming down pretty heavy, but we didn’t mind. We haven’t had a good rain storm for about 5 weeks, so it felt so good to have cooler temperatures.IMG_7136

IMG_7193IMG_7192IMG_7191We also visited the Jardin Botanical gardens. By the time we arrived at the gardens, we were the only ones there since the rain was just clearing up. It was so peaceful to walk around the gardens that smelled just like fresh rain, and to be there almost completely alone.IMG_7222

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IMG_7225Our time in Santo Domingo was short, but it was exactly what we needed. From the cities to the beaches, we’ve had so much fun exploring the different places on this beautiful island. We only have one more vacation planned before we head back home (where has the time gone?!) And as bittersweet it will be to leave, I am counting down the days to seeing Harvey and having AC and hot water 24/7. 😉IMG_7139IMG_7138Onto the next adventure, Wren

 

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4th Festivities & some favorite days

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If I am being  honest, the last couple weeks took a toll on me physically and mentally. With one of our volunteers having to stay over night in the hospital, 5 of our volunteers leaving to go back home, an outbreak of lice in our house, having to evacuate for the night due to the smoke of a wildfire, and figuring out new teaching schedules for summer schedule- it’s been quite the eventful last couple of weeks.66383631_2227327983986945_8898026842548600832_nAnd boy, did my body feel it. I’ve been exhausted, mentally drained, and even got very sick this week with the most random symptoms including a fever, joint pain, head ache, nausea, and weakness. It’s frustrating being sick in a foreign country with no AC or hot water. All I want at the moment is my bath tub and Harvey snuggles, but I am pushing through, because we are already down to less than 5 weeks left here and I am trying to soak up and enjoy every moment.IMG_6984 (2)I always post about our vacations, but I’ve had so many favorite moments and days while we’ve been “home” and I want to remember them just as much as I do our vacations. I am finally feeling a little better today, which is why I decided to write this post to document and remind myself of the “good old days” when I felt a little more like myself. 😉

To start off, we decided to throw a party to celebrate the 4th of July last week because you can take the girl out of America, but you can’t take America out of the girl. As you all know, I am a lover of holidays, get togethers, and every reason to celebrate something so I HAD to do something for the 4th. My friend Emilee and I decided to throw a “party” out on our pavilion in the backyard of our house.IMG_7010IMG_7015

 

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IMG_7011We had American food such as hot dogs and BBQ chicken, french fries, watermelon, and rice krispie treats. We decorated with red white and blue of course, played musical chairs, had a pretend firework show (on the projector) and danced the night away. It was so fun to all have a night together to celebrate the country that we all miss so dearly, and remind us how lucky we are to have such a wonderful home.IMG_7008IMG_7007IMG_7006

IMG_7009A few other favorite days worth documenting:

Hiking to Pico Isabel de Torres. May 26, 2019IMG_6979IMG_6980This hike is a 10 minute drive from our home and has the longest cable car in the Caribbean. We spent all day on top of the mountain- enjoying the cooler temperatures, beautiful views of our home, and eating yummy food at the restaurant.IMG_6973IMG_6976IMG_6978IMG_6977IMG_6974Celebrating our 4th year of Marriage June 5, 2019DCIM100GOPRO

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img_6987-1.jpgDerek and I spent the day at our favorite beach, and ate delicious tacos and pina colodas for lunch. We also went to dinner at a resort restaurant and had the best food we’ve had since being here. We’ve spent our anniversary in a different place every year, but I don’t know if anywhere can top this year.

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Many service project days throughout the monthIMG_6995IMG_6992IMG_6994IMG_6983From painting houses, to delivering food and hygiene kits to less fortunate families. These days are so humbling, and make me so thankful for what I have back home, and in general. It makes me emotional to know that people live this way, and makes all of the small problems that I’ve struggled with here, seem even smaller.IMG_6993A night spent at City center- June 26, 2019

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City center is my favorite place in this city of ours. (after the ocean of course) It has the best food and coffee, so many fun souvenir shops, and architecture that is straight out of my Caribbean dream world. This particular night, a small group of us went to a little food truck place, and had the some of the best pizza I’ve ever had. We walked around city center after and enjoyed a beautiful sunset. Nothing too special happened that night, but it was one of my favorites since being here.

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Hiking Damajagua Cascades- June 29, 2019IMG_7025IMG_7038IMG_7035This hike is only a short 30 minute drive from our house, and one of my favorite experiences since being here. From cliff jumping, to natural water slides, and swimming through canyons, this place was absolutely breath taking and we had such a fun time with other members in our group. (Sorry for the go pro quality photos 😉 )

Covering for sick teachers, and enjoying the students.

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I haven’t been the only sick volunteer around here, many other teachers have had similar symptoms and haven’t been able to teach, which means Derek and I get to substitute. Even though it’s only been a couple times, teaching again has made me so happy. Helping these kids, who have close to nothing, get an English education is so rewarding. Plus, since a lot of them come from broken families, they don’t get a lot of affection at home, so they are always wanting to give hugs and snuggles. I love loving on my Dominican babies, I am going to be so sad to leave them in just one month.

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Even though this experience has been one of the hardest things I’ve ever done, there have been so many days that have made me so happy to be here. I’ve had more realizations, self growth, and humbling experiences here than I have had in a very long time. Here’s to a healthier 5 weeks, and soaking in every single minute of them!IMG_6981

Onto the next adventure, Wren