This past month we received our first visitors since coming to the Dominican Republic.
We were all excited to see them, especially Tommy who had not met them. 🙂 During their time here, Andrew was able to take a few days off, and we were able to revisit a few places and explore new ones.
Here we are at the monastery falls about ten minutes from home. This is the lower waterfall that our students often go to. We were able to meet up with Andrew’s cousin, Annie, who is here doing a semester abroad. We grabbed a cheap chicken lunch and picnicked while dangling our feet in the cold mountain water.
One of the highlights of their time here was heading to Samaná Peninsula. We loaded up in our car and headed to Las Galeras at the end of the peninsula.
We stayed at a place called Chalet Tropical, and it was wonderful!
The first day we arrived, we went to the nearby beach, as seen in this picture. The kids had never seen the ocean, and they LOVED it.
Stella enjoyed being in the water, but loves playing in the sand even more.
Grady loved the ocean and the sand both. By the end of our time, he was comfortable being in the water without us holding him as long as he was in this ring. I don’t have a picture of Tommy in the water, but I must say out of the three he’s the truest water bug. He played, he splashed, and he fell asleep in the water.
Our first meal on the beach was memorable. These “parrot” fish were tasty and one of them had a most interesting “beak.” I can understand how it received its name.
We discovered some delicious beverages. We knew before this trip that Stella liked coconuts, but never before had she had a coconut to drink like this one. After we drained it, she ate as much of the meat of the coconut as we’d let her have.
We also discovered these wonders, piña coladas. Many of you probably already knew these existed, but I didn’t. Never before have I had anything like this, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. They cut the top off the pineapple, chop up what’s inside, add coconut, and mix in some sweetened condensed milk (we think). I’m all for trying to make one of these at home.
Our breakfast was included at the Chalet, and we took full advantage of it. It came to us looking like this, and it was as delicious as it looked.
On the second day of our trip, we went to Playa Ríncon, which is said to be one of the top ten beaches in the world. After seeing it, I believe it. My first impression was “I feel like I’m walking into a default desktop background.”
One of the amazing things about this beach is the mix of warm ocean water and cold river water. People can walk (or kayak) up the river to see a waterfall. We used kayaks for a bit, but we did not go all the way to the waterfall. Mostly, we just enjoyed the beach and the outlet of cold water.
At the end of our trip, we said “goodbye” and “see ya next time” to the ocean and headed for him with plenty of time to return before dark.
On the way back, we stopped in Samaná for lunch. We also decided to buy that painting of the beach sunset you can see hanging there. The man Andrew and Grady are talking with is the artist who painted it. It’s now hanging above our desk in our living room and has great memories attached to it. If we ever go to do whale watching (big from January through March), this is the place we’d likely go.
Our trip home was another memory that will be with us for awhile. We decided that we’d try a different route home than the way we came, even thinking it might save us time. Well, somehow we missed our turn off to start heading back north. We ended up driving for a long time, finally ending up in Santo Domingo (the capital of the Dominican Republic). We have now seen the ocean from the north and south. Andrew did a great job driving carefully in one of the craziest places I’ve seen. It was dark, and the dented taxi cabs were dodging between cars. I prayed the whole way through the city while keeping three kids as content as possible. We were all happy to return home. Andrew and his dad figured out that our detour was like traveling from Ft. Wayne to Chicago by way of Indianapolis, a memory not soon forgotten.
It was wonderful having time with Andrew’s parents, and we are just starting to return to “normal.”
Please be praying for us as we make decisions and life day to day life here. Be specifically praying for peace and against fear.
If you are interested in supporting us or want to learn more about what we are doing here, feel free to contact us. You can also go to http://www.crosswindsyouth.org to learn more about the Caribbean Mountain Academy.