La Republica Dominicana - My Family Travels

For spring break this year, I went on an ASB trip with the Pre Med Club. It was really a turning point for me. I had so much fun, and it really renewed my motivation. After the trip, I really felt a lot better about everything in my life, which was great after such a long first year of college.

When I first stepped off of the plane in the airport in Santo Domingo, I was so nervous and so excited! I felt really adult and independent, but I had no idea what I was doing. It was so sunny and warm, with so many pretty colors! I was so excited to be there, I spent the whole bus ride into the mountains looking out the window. Our first full day there was even better! We drove from our hostel, Fusimania, down to the beach at Puerta Plata. It was the best bus ride I’ve ever taken, and I took a bunch of pictures. The beach day itself was awesome too! We spent all day banana boating, shopping in the stalls lining the back of the beach ( I bought a painting of Bob Marley), and drinking Presidente in the sand. After that, I thought the trip couldn’t get any better, but I was so wrong.

The rest of the week, I worked building a wall around the outside of a church in the town we stayed in. It was great to actually do some kind of physical labor, after weeks and weeks of tedious school work. The view from the church was gorgeous too, and all the little kids that came to the church for our kids camp every morning were absolutely adorable! Every day for lunch, we would walk back to Fusimania and eat peanut butter on rolls, with fresh limeade and assorted fresh fruit. We would sit in the gazebo and sleep in wire rocking chairs until Chepe, the man in charge of the church construction, would come in, smiling and rapidly yelling in Spanish, obviously telling us its time to wake up and get back to work. After we finished every day, we would shower in our rooms, usually without any electricity or hot water, which was actually one of the most refreshing things about the trip. After freshening up, we would read, study, or play cards in the gazebo until dinner, then eat whatever delicious food the cooks had prepared for us, usually some kind of rice with chicken and vegetables, with more fresh fruit for dessert. After dinner, we would have a meeting about our day, talk about our highs and lows, and trail off to bed. One afternoon, we all played basketball on a court just off the edge of the mountain. Once we all bought cane sugar Pepsis from the Colmado just next to the church. Another day, we all rode in the back of a pickup to a Community Center around 30 minutes down the mountain. We worked building the frame of the building, chatting with the locals, eating packed peanut butter sandwiches, macaroni and cheese, and fresh lemonade for lunch before we took the truck back at the end of the day. 

One night, we took a bus down to Santiago, ate the cheapest, yummiest ice cream I’ve ever tasted, went shopping at a local mall, and went out dancing afterwards. It was so fun to see everybody let loose, and it was so much fun! 

On the last night, we took the same bus back down, out of the mountains, to a hostel right next to the Airport in Santiago. We stopped at a truck stop on the way, buying cheap, cane sugar Pepsi and guava juice, as well as amazing pastries from a little stand with everything from cakes to turnovers. The hostel had a freezing cold pool, amazing Dominican style Chinese food, and roach infested bathrooms, but it was great to hang out with everyone one last time, go through all the ridiculous pictures we took from the trip, and got a couple hours of sleep before kissing our trip guides goodbye on the 5 minute bus ride from the hostel to the airport over amazing coffee and papaya. We slept a little more in the airport, then boarded a plane to Miami, where after landing we bought fake Cuban pastries and icky airport coffee before it was all over. 

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