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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6

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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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2

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3

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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

The Dominican Republic

10/13/2016

Last Wednesday we arrived in the Dominican after 8pm. Behind schedule due to an impossibly short stop in NC that didn’t allow us enough time to get to the other gate for our next flight. The gates were closed and we had to be re-routed. They sent us to Santiago airport instead of Puerto Plata. This also was putting us even farther from our destination. However, we were able to arrive at our destination the day before Miami canceled all of its flights due to hurricane Matthew. It all worked out well, because if we had stayed in Miami it would have been days of being stuck.

This is a glimpse of traveling with a baby in an airport.

 Fortunately we were able to get our ride to come out farther. I had looked up an estimate for taxi fees online, and it was going to be about 150 US Dollars. Our ride (Angelo from Manitoba Canada) agreed to pick us up for 100. Plus he was friendly and educated in the area, so there was no confusion as to where we were going. It was a two hour ride from the airport. The downside was that it was at night and so we missed the fantastic mountain views.

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The sign when we arrived.

We arrived at our new home for the next few months late at night. Tired and exhausted from the travel, we basically just wanted to rest. The apartment (studio style with a bed and mini fridge and bathroom) was as I had expected it to be with the exception of a lacking door to the toilet. This was not my idea of comfortable accommodations. It was hot, no fan, no ac,…hot! About thirty minutes into the stay my husband did say that it wasn’t going to work for the next three months. I was relieved.

1475778788455The one room studio.

The next day we made arrangements with the manager to move to another unit. This did mean more money out of our budget, but it had a kitchen space and stove to cook, a small fridge to store our food, and a futon. Plus a bedroom and bathroom, with a door. And it had fans! This is what I would consider a more adequate space to live in for a family of three. I’m so thankful for the floor fans that keep the air moving.

The porch and view of our current apartment.

I had purchased a kid-pod baby bed tent that is good for traveling. But thanks to the temperatures, it doesn’t work here. So, we are co sleeping on a queen sized bed. I have never missed the Pak-n-Play as much as I do now.

I have underestimated the heat on an island for the second time in my life. Sri Lanka, and the Dominican Republic…Its bloody hot!!!

More to be posted soon from the Dominican, aka paradise -wifeabroad

Sri Lanka Adventures (first post)

10/11/15

We got back home to Saudi last week after our vacation to Sri Lanka. Almost three weeks away from home can really make you miss the place. Even if it is the desert! We had only been home for a few months since our last trip. But since I have an expanding waist line, and in a few months, will have an extra human to carry with us, we took advantage of the opportunity to travel now while I was still able to enjoy it.

When we left, Saudi we had a connecting flight in Doha, Qatar. There a woman noticed I was pregnant and needed to know how far along I was. I guess they have a rule that you need a Dr’s note from your own Dr and the Dr at the Doha airport if you are 28 weeks along. My husband was hoping for some special treatment I think from the airline. They did let us board with the first group of passengers. I personally would rather have hid it, to avoid any special treatment. On our flight home, our seats were in the emergency row. And once again, the belly gave it away and I was told that I couldn’t sit there because they needed “able bodies” in the event of an emergency. It worked out to our favor this time, as they moved us to the center row of four seats. We had it all to ourselves! Plenty of room for activities!

Once on land in Sri Lanka, the mode of transportation became tuktuk, bus, and train for the most part. Tuktuks are cheap to use. It basically is a little scooter with two wheels in the back and a partially enclosed space for two or three to fit snuggly inside. In my experience, most of the tuktuk drivers will wait till the last second to brake and stop within inches of another vehicle. So there may have been many little heart attacks had by me. And there will be those drivers who will try to charge too much. Sometimes, you pay too much because you just don’t have any fight left, and need to get to point B. And then there are those younger drivers who have decked out their tuktuk with blue neon lights and a stereo system in the back!

DSCN0004 Our first tuktuk driver.

The trains were such an experience. Crammed with people. Sometimes there was only standing room available. Not always a very clean way to travel, especially if you have a small baby pressing on your bladder forcing you to use the toilet on the train. But once again it was a super cheap way to travel. I read that the rail system carries 3 million passengers daily in Sri Lanka. People watching is such a fun thing to do on the trains, along with the ever changing views out the windows. The windows thankfully, can be opened, to allow fresh air. And if you stick your head out the window you will find that you are not alone in sticking body parts or cameras out the windows along any of the rides. That is something that would never happen in the U.S. There were signs in a few of the trains that had a “reserved for pregnant mothers” sign at one of the seats. But I never needed to use that particular seat, as those trains weren’t completely full of passengers. I could sit were I wanted. One time, I even sat across from a monk and then realized afterward that it was reserved for monks. No one told me to move. So I stayed.

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The buses were also a cheap way to travel and even more packed than the trains. Like bodies smashed against each other packed. I was smashed in one time, standing room only and directly in front of this man who sat in the “reserved for pregnant mothers seat” for twenty minutes he saw me standing there and didn’t offer me his seat. I wasn’t really upset about it. And a kind lady eventually motioned me to her seat as she got off the bus. Believe it or not, most times when a person offered me their seat, it was another woman. Just an observation I had.

CAM00525 additional air flow in the train.

CAM00714 A cute boy who didn’t mind the 7 hour plus train ride. Never once did he cry. (this was also the most up to date train I rode while traveling)

When traveling in other countries like this, I always felt a bit of worry about when I was supposed to get off the train or bus. After all, I know the name of the town, but have to other landmarks or indication of when to get off (“get down” as they would say in Sri Lanka). Somehow it always worked out though. Either a store sign would give me an indication that I was in the right town, or the buss would actually stop at a large bus stop and that was the indication that it was the end of the line. Sometimes, a nearby passenger would kindly tell you when to get down, if they understood your request for help.

Both the buses and the trains would have vendors who would get on board at stops to sell little bags of peanuts, mango slices, popcorn, some other food items that I didn’t want to try, even whole ears of cooked corn. I usually had my trusty snack of Ritz crackers to satisfy my hunger while traveling long distance. One lady gave me a cup of yogurt also.

I think I will try to break up the Sri Lanka adventures into a few posts, so its not one incredibly long read. So be on the lookout for the next one.

-wifeabroad