Anyway, I arrived last Tuesday night. I flew in on the same flight from Houston with four other girls. Three of them, plus me, are living in on-campus apartments. We were welcomed at the airport by our director and the van from school, and our bags were loaded up. They took us to our apartments, and we got settled in and unpacked. They had even done some grocery shopping for us, so we had essentials like toilet paper, milk, bread, water, some fruit, and juice. Very thoughtful.
The next three days, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday, were spent in new teacher orientation and getting to know the city. We had a doctor speak to us, a security advisor, and we met with our principals. We also were taken to the grocery store, the mall, and to lunch. So we’re beginning to get our bearings around the city. I’m so happy to be living somewhere with a mall and a movie theater!
On Friday night, our director, Elsa, had all the new staff (about 25 people- half US and half local or other nationalities) over for a dinner at her house. She has a fantastic, typical central American house. Lots of gardens and greenery, very spacious, a pool. She fed us caballo bayo, a dinner that is tortillas, beans, rice, pico de gallo, pork, beef, chicken, vegetables, sour cream, etc. It was wonderful and went great with a cold Tona, the local beer.
Saturday we spent some time working, and getting to know the apartment mates (we call the apartments “the village”). There are four single, new girls living in one quad, and in the other quad are two returning girls, a returning male teacher, and a new teacher- Zack- and his wife. Saturday night the music teacher, Kevin, took us out for a night on the town, and we danced to salsa music and had more caballo bayo, and drank more Tonas.
On Sunday, we went to Laguna de Apoya. We stayed at a lovely little resort on the lake and spent the day there. It was much like going to Wahoo Bay except it was on a nice lake. Check out their website at www.noromevillas.com. They have a beautiful volcanic lake, at a perfect temperature, and we went on a hike to the top of the crater (okay, we didn’t make it all the way to the top; the lake and a round of mojitos were calling us back).
Monday and Wednesday were teacher work days, while Tuesday was a religious holiday, Santo Domingo. Alecia, Kristen and I took a cab to lunch and then to Huembes Market, a big kind of outdoor market where you can find just about anything you could ever look for, all at cheap prices. You just have to have incredible patience. I found a super-long phone cord and a woven laundry basket. Strange combo.
It’s been quite hot here, and our classrooms don’t have a/c. They do have windows along two sides and plenty of fans. My apartment has a/c in my bedroom, so that is a relief. It rains often, as it is the rainy season, making everything green and cooling it off. In the evenings I’ve been running on the track at school. They are re-tiling the pool, we can’t wait for that to be open to us. Tomorrow night the teachers are having a “welcome party” at the apartments for everyone. That should be a good time.
I’ve been hearing from a lot of friends- I love getting emails from Monica and Andy about their Italian vacation, from Melissa about her upcoming Caribbean vacation, from Lisa in Canada and Pia, now in Panama. I got to talk to my friend Ken this weekend, back in Arlington for his birthday, and talked to Kris and Mysti on the phone. My parents were gone all summer but I emailed them and talked on the phone to them. I spend way too much time instant messaging with Amber and Chris. Hunter’s been helping me get my new website ready to go. Thank goodness for technology, or it would be so much harder to go off and leave everyone! Thanks to everyone who has been keeping touch. I really appreciate it and look forward to every email and instant message.