Dominican Republic

11/16

We have a few days left here in the Dominican. We had originally planned to stay till January, but I just wasn’t feeling it here. I felt like we were wasting our time here. It hasn’t been ideal with the location and the issues that come about just by being in a third world country. So we changed our reservation and booked the plane tickets to go back to the States.

We have rented a space back in my home town that is walking distance to the downtown area as well as a few of my familie’s homes. My husband’s family is not far either, so our baby will be able to know her family instead of just pictures and the ever distant messenger phone call. I am certain that we will benefit from this as I have mentioned the loneliness of expat life in past blog posts being difficult when we are so far away.

So one year commitment back home will be interesting to say the least. My husband prefers living abroad rather than living in the US despite being from there. We will most likely be trying to convince the other the entire time of what we think is the better thing to do…Stay in the States (my position at the moment) or move abroad after the year is up (my husbands current position).

I’m trying not to get bogged down with the thoughts of one of us not liking what the other wants, but instead focus on the exciting year ahead of making a home in a temporary space, while the baby continues to grow up, and being there for other family milestones along the way. I am also excited to unpack a few of my household belongings and get to using such things again. At the moment I am thinking of a few vintage place mats that I purchased earlier this year while I was without a table, but thought they were beautiful.

I have partially enjoyed this place in the Dominican. While its been a struggle at times, I will still leave with good memories too. The walks down the hill, the beach at Cabarete, the trips to the store for groceries, getting rained out, the beautiful days, the pool, watching our baby grow, and so much more.

Here are a few more pictures of our time here…

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Some of the views on the mile plus walk to the main road…1

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destruction of the grounds due to a new well being built.

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Me doing laundry

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Drying clothes in the sun

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Some Dominican inspired artwork 1

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Baby V.

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Beach baby

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Spectacular sunset

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Photo of the flooding http://welcometososua.com/

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Baby V and daddy

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Street art on the beach

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Found in a bathroom

Looking forward to Thanksgiving with family – wifeabroad

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April arrived with a bang!

4/4/15

My husband and I went to Bahrain for the weekend. When we got there it was a bit chilly to me, so I didn’t take off my abaya right away. Was sort of wearing it like a jacket. It was actually raining and in the 80’s (F), but that made it feel a bit colder. We went to the liquor store to get some beers, and as we were walking up to the door we both were commenting on the fact that I still had the abaya on. As soon as we got inside I was confronted by security. Abayas are not allowed. We had a good laugh over that as I got kicked out for wearing it. The weekend was very chill and nothing over the top, as we stayed at a friend’s house and ate good food, and just relaxed. Here are some photos of pottery that I think are just lovely.

CAM00267 CAM00268 CAM00269These were taken at a roadside pottery market in Bahrain.

And a random photo of fabric with circles, because I’m a bit obsessed with circles. CAM00265

Sunday, was back to work for my husband. I woke up and realized that I had caught a cold over the weekend. The second hottest country in the world, and I had a cold. Yes, I am aware that it has nothing to do with weather, but I just wanted to throw that out there. On Monday, the temps got up to 104 (F).

On Tuesday a friend of mine invited me to go to the beach, so despite my runny nose and fatigue, I joined her. It was nice to get out for the day and enjoy a change of scenery . It is important for me to point out that this was my first time since moving here to do something without my husband for a day. In the States it would be taken for granted. My ability to just go and do something without him could happen at any time back at home. Here, not so easy or often does that happen. We got to enjoy the afternoon sitting in the sun, eating sandwiches and chips, or “crisps” as my friend calls them.

That evening we met up with my husband at the market. Him and I had a few things we needed for dinner the next night as we were going to have guests over for dinner. He mentioned that a roast sounded good. After a brief conversation about my ability to cook a roast, it was settled. At the meat counter I spotted the cut that looked good and told him what I wanted. My husband started laughing and explaining quite loudly in the store… “yeah, baby…way to be decisive!” Turns out, the cut of meat was quite pricey. 269 Saudi Riyals! Divide that by 3.75 and you get the US dollar amount. It was only the next day that I realized I had a bit of pressure on me to make that turn out well. I was a bit nervous that I might ruin it. I stuck the meat full of garlic cloves. I also mixed together a dry rub with a healthy amount of cyan pepper, salt, pepper, dry peppers, garlic powder, and cinnamon, and then I hoped for the best as it cooked for three hours in the oven.

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I must say, that I would do that again. It came out of the oven with this lovely crust that had a tasty kick to it.

Backing up just a little bit…I had done a bit of cleaning before the guests had arrived. This included washing the floors. I don’t wash the floors that often, since the dust is never ending here. Our guests had actually laughed because a sand storm was headed our way. They had told us that the following day it was due to hit. I heard a strange noise outside that evening (I don’t know how to describe it), and by the time the guests were about to leave, I looked outside the kitchen window to see nothing. All the lights and buildings in the distance were no longer visible. The Storm had already arrived, and it was by far the worst one I had ever seen in my life. The howling winds lasted all night and by morning, the inside of our apartment was covered in a layer of sand and dust. Everything was covered. All the cleaning I had done the day before had been laughed at by Mother Nature, and desert winds. I felt inspired to create this illustration for a little bit of cheer and positive thinking…

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Also, I can’t really describe the smell that permeated my nose. Even with the cold and stuffed up head, all I could smell was sand. It was a burning smell to me. And to be honest I don’t enjoy that at all. I also felt like the elements had won the next morning, as I sat down for coffee and decided that I really wasn’t going to clean at all that day. Luckily my husband came home early from work and tackled the majority of the filth on his own. I just didn’t have the energy.

Photos from the sandstorm.

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Yesterday the sky was blue again and the weather, lovely. We got out of the house for a bit and wandered around the mall. I have always been a bit surprised by some of the shoes here. I think I will take more photos as I find them, but here a few to show you. I guess it surprises me that the impractical and gaudy shoes are so readily available in the land o’ sand. These are just a tiny portion of some of the crazy ones that I see.

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I’m very thankful that my frugal husband goes to certain gas stations when the car needs a fill up. He usually brings home 3-4 boxes of free tissue with each fill up. That my friends…comes in handy when you have a cold!

This pretty much sums up my past week here in Saudi. April has arrived with a bang -wifeabroad

Random Saudi-ness (I couldn’t think of a good title)

3/8/2015

The weather here in Saudi has been so beautiful this past week. The mornings are cool and the afternoons are getting pretty warm, but not hot. I’m still in the mental stage of looking forward to summer time temperatures, and then I remember that summer temps here mean stay inside! So I really like the fact that we can have the windows open 24/7 this time of year.

My husband invited a family over for dinner about a month ago. I cooked up tacos hoping they would like it. I had not met them, my husband had worked with the other husband. So new family over for dinner one night, and it turned out really nice. They have two young girls, who are super cute. We then got invited over to their place for dinner I think it was about a week ago. They live about 40 minutes from us, and what feels like country living since we drove past many date trees on our way out to their place. Once again, a wonderful dinner was had. I really enjoy great company here. It always seems to give me a bit more energy for this place. Especially, when I know that I am not alone in some of the feelings I have here as a female. We also got together for a dinner out last Monday. We met up at this place that looks like a fort on the outside, but you drive in and the roads are filled with shops. There is this outdoor space (for families) that is lined with booths where women sell home cooked meals. It was an experiment of sorts, since we didn’t really know what some of the foods were, that we ordered. But it was fun to try new things. There was one dish, that looked like oatmeal, but tasted like salty chicken. It kinda messed with my head every time I took a spoonful. We walked around a bit after the meal and window shopped. The religious police confronted us and told the other husband to tell me to cover my hair at one point. *sigh* I just feel like there are some things I will never understand. I know it’s a cultural thing, but it isn’t a law. And for the life of me I can’t wrap my head around it. Pun intended! I could go on and on about it…but it won’t matter. Because this couple has children, my husband and I can take them to the Toy City here in town sometime. Yes, ever since I got here, my husband has wanted to go to Toy City. It’s an indoor amusement park for kids. I kept telling him we couldn’t go, but now we can borrow kids so that he can go play! J

Vitamin Palace, is a great place to get a smoothie or juice concoction of some sort. We went two nights in a row this weekend and man, that place is so busy! The menu is a small book. I had the Beet, tomato, and carrot drink. It tasted like a garden smells. If you like that sort of thing,  you will know what I  mean. It was good. The window is filled with a real fruit display. It’s huge, and the picture I took doesn’t really do it justice. I also added a picture of part of the menu. No offense needs to be taken. It just seems to me to contradict the life here, and add to the #thingsthatdontmakesense feeling I get quite often.  After all, so many things are taboo.

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My husband and I went to get our teeth cleaned on Saturday. Oh boy,  that was painful. I don’t remember a dentist ever being so rough. I even have a few areas of missing enamel and he understood that it was going to be sensitive, yet he still hit those spots multiple times. Glad to have it done though. My teeth feel smooth! And the financial part of it was quite a surprise. Total for the both of us was under 50 U.S. dollars.

I’m not usually in a “hey, lets eat Ramen” mood, but my husband picked up this Green Chili flavor of Ramen, so I cooked some up for lunch after we got home from the dentist. This stuff is burn your mouth hot! Surprisingly tasty!

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Let’s see…what else has been going on…

A friend of ours went to Korea and brought me back a beautiful scarf, and kimchi for my husband. I can smell it, along with and the pepper, garlic, fish sauce mixture he makes every time the fridge door is opened. J

Have tried a couple new recipes with success but was mildly disappointed in the texture of cauliflower cheese sticks. Super easy to make, but not going to be a repeat. Oh Pinterest, sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t.

We are looking forward to our small vacation next month. The hotel is booked. We aren’t going too far out of the country, but excited for the break to happen before the weather gets too hot. And then come June, we head back to the States for another visit.

My latest illustration (untitled)DenialHave a lovely day! -wifeabroad