evening, Natali and I went to one of the malls here. Now, being a girl from a small town who hates to shop, I haven't seen any impressive malls in my life. This place is HUGE!!!! It has four floors of stores (one and a half of which probably make up the size of the little mall back home), a movie theater, a grocery store, and a little amusement park with rides! The orange thing in the left hand corner of the picture is a tree that different organizations and causes use for fundraisers. People buy little pieces of paper (right now they are butterflies) and put them on the tree until it is full. The current fundraiser is raising money for an institution for the deaf, which I thought was awesome!
After buying what we needed to buy, we got some food at the food court and decided to go to a movie. We saw Finding Dory, in Spanish…I have been told it's a very funny movie, but all I understood was the basic plot line. However, it was still fun. Also, can someone please tell me what makes one eyeliner pencil cost $10 while another costs only $1??? Anyway…
I got the opportunities to Skype with my mom and also with Kayla and our four-year-old godson (long story), Keegan. It was great to see all of their faces and catch up on each other's lives. Keegan and I played a game where he would make his T-Rex eat me and I would disappear from the screen, just to return a few seconds later and repeat the process. He and I both thoroughly enjoyed this game, and I loved that I could still play with him, even though I am 2,000 miles away.
An American couple has been staying with us for the past week and a half or so. Having them around has been really great. Having more people to speak English with and being able to talk about culturally American things has been refreshing. But wait! There's more! They cooked two DELICIOUS American meals for us. Fried chicken with baked mac'n'cheese and green beans and meatloaf with corn, cornbread, and cooked cabbage and carrots. We also made some cheesecake brownies with chocolate cream cheese frosting. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE Dominican food. But it was nice to eat some traditional American deliciousness.
On Sunday, I went to church with Paulina and Natali. The service was VERY different from what I'm used to, but I liked it. A praise band with a choir, two percussionists (drum set and auxiliary percussion), multiple guitarists, two keyboards, a trumpet, a saxophone, and some Latin flavor make for awesome worship. People were dancing, clapping, yelling, singing loud without shame, and waving their hands to praise God. It was strange to me, but very cool as well. I didn't understand much, as it was in Spanish, of course. But just being in the presence of so many people who were so excited about worshipping our Savior was a worshipful experience for me.
So…about Pokemon GO…I was strong for a while. I told myself that 1) It probably didn't work here yet, 2) I don't have my own transportation or any way to get to Pokestops, gyms, or places with other types of Pokemon, and 3) It's not exactly safe to walk around here and not pay attention to your surroundings while holding out your iPhone for everyone and their mothers to see. But…it does work here… and MY CHILDHOOD DREAM HAS BECOME A REALITY!!!!! So I caved…I downloaded that app and have been catching 'em all ever since! The American man staying with us also downloaded it and we have all been having a lot of fun catching Pokemon and figuring out the app. There is a Pokestop and a large grocery store within walking distance of where I am living, so we have all been going on Pokeadventures! I also caught a lot of Pokemon the next time we went to the mall to meet up with some friends. Made shopping much more tolerable.
I got sick a few days ago and had to take my first trip to the doctor here. Everything went fine, I got some antibiotics, and I am feeling much better now. I had to pay without insurance, but it was still so cheap! Anyway, I'm only including this detail because we bought a lot of coconuts so I could drink the natural coconut water and I learned how to open my own coconut with a machete! I'm becoming more and more Dominican every day!
Yesterday we met up with some family from out of town and the family members who live here in town at one of the other malls. One of my new cousins, Dioraysa, and I played with the kids in the play area for a while and had a blast. The play area had a bunch of play structures, a trampoline, a pool where you could roll around in a huge inflated ball on top of the water, multiple Wii's, and some other stuff as well. It was great fun.
After that, most of the family left and Natali, Paola, Jhonsito and I went to the movies. We saw "Me Before You" in the VIP room. It had super comfy reclining chairs! This movie was in English with Spanish subtitles, so that worked much better for me. It was a super sad movie, and poor Natali is still lamenting about it today.
Well, there are only a couple weeks left in this vacation, and I have a lot of preparing to do before starting the school year. I am so excited to start teaching this special group of children. For my prayer warriors out there, I could really use some prayer for the preparations and for my Spanish acquisition. Thank you, all!