Monday, October 28, 2013

October Update

It’s been a long while since I’ve posted, and my posts have been infrequent at best lately.  Busy.  It’s such a cliché to say it’s because my life is busy.  It is busy, but I hate that I’ve let my blog slide.  Writing is a way I relax, so when I’m busy, I probably need it more!  I won’t vow to write more frequently, but that certainly is a goal of mine. 
In the meantime, here is some of what’s been occupying my time and attention lately:

Our Level III Spanish class
Our teachers Arelis & Miriam are in the center.
Spanish Class:  My 5-week Spanish class ended with a 15-minute oral presentation (without notes!).  The topic I picked was explaining some of the cultural differences between Americans and Dominicans. 
We always do that for Americans coming here, but haven’t been intentional about helping Dominicans understand the “Why” (or Por qué) behind how we act.  It went well, and I’m hopeful that at some point I can share it with our Dominican staff.

I don’t want to lose the ground I gained in class, and so I’m trying to make Sundays “Spanish Sunday”, speaking, reading and writing only Spanish.  You’d think that by living with a Dominican it would be easy, but since Carlos and I always speak English, it’s been a challenge! 
Human Resources:  My coworker Eric, who is handling payroll and other accounting, and I have been meeting every two weeks with Giovanni, who is the local manager of one of the biggest banks in the country.  He knows a lot about the way employment law works in the DR, and we’ve been learning a lot!  It’s fun to begin to get my arms around it all. 

Accidents:  In the past two months one of Carlos’ brothers and two of his sisters have had motorcycle accidents.  Although all were quite serious, we are praising God that they each only had to spend one night in the hospital and are healing, slowly, but surely. 

We are also thankful that each of them survived!  The Dominican Republic is the worst country in the world for vehicular deaths, with nearly 42 deaths per 100,000.  And, that doesn’t include those like my in-laws who were injured! 

It’s been especially hard on Carlos’ mom, who is relying on her strong faith in God to sustain her as the family is buffeted by these waves.  When someone here is sick, everyone comes over, including the kids.  So, since we have a car, we’ve tried to help out by transporting family back and forth.    

Our church:  Carlos and I finished a great leadership course recently, and hope to become more involved in the new year.  He has also been involved with the Men’s Group, helping share God’s word and encouraging the group to find ways to connect with the community.

Trip to the US:  I’m getting things organized for my relatively short trip back to Michigan and Virginia.  Carlos won’t be coming this time, but si Dios quiere (the Lord willing) that can happen in 2014.  I’m excited to see family and friends and catch up.  It’s a blessing to have email and Facebook, but nothing beats sitting across the table from someone and chatting face-to-face.

from 2008.  Oh, how I miss the leaves!!
October is winding down and turning into November.  Back home the leaves are exchanging their greens for brighter wear.  I dreamt the other night that Carlos and I were driving in the Blue Ridge Mountains and I almost drove us off the road when I saw an especially radiant crimson maple. 

Even after more than two years, I can still smell fall back in the Shenandoah Valley.  I can’t wait until the day my dream comes true (minus the nearly killing us!) and I can share those mountains, those leaves, those sights and smells with Carlos.  Until then, I’ll enjoy my time and take lots of pictures.
P.S.  If you are in the Grand Rapids area, please stop by my Dessert Open House on Tuesday, November 19 at LaGrave Christian Reformed Church.  If you are in the Harrisonburg area, please come hear me preach on Christ Our King on Sunday, November 24 at First Presbyterian Church on Court Square.

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