Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Vacationing in the Dominican Republic

Last week Nick and I took our first vacation together since moving to Haiti almost two years ago.  We have had this trip planned many times, even had reservations once, but something always comes up that causes us to cancel.  This time we decided nothing was going to get in the way as we were in desperate need of a break!

As Nick was booking our hotel, he asked if we wanted to pay an extra $28 in order to get our money back if we had to cancel.  My exact quote was "I don't plan on canceling."  As our trip got closer and closer I kept thinking that we should have paid the extra money to ensure we'd get our money back.  Always pay for insurance in Haiti!  Surely we wouldn't actually go on this trip, we never do.  Something was going to go wrong.

Many things came up that made us think our trip would be canceled, but the trip kept getting closer and it was all set for us to go.  Milouse, our personal nanny would be watching our 3 boys during the day, and Adam and Mateja had bravely (or naively, not sure which) offered to take on the night shifts with the 3 Stolberg Houligans!

I waited to pack our bags until late the night before, trying not to get my hopes up.  As I was packing I was so happy I couldn't quit smiling.  I may have even made up a little song and did a little dance about how excited I was, but only Josiah was in the room and he was asleep, so no one will ever really know if that happened or not!

We got up early the next morning, I about cried (ok maybe I did a LITTLE) as I kissed Eventz goodbye, and headed towards the boarder.  This was the first time we have ever both left either of our kids over night, so it was a pretty big deal.

About 5 minutes from the boarder the vehicle in front of us stopped to talk to a guy parked on the side of the road.  He leaned out and waved us back.  We both knew exactly what this meant.  Riots.  There had been a lot of political drama that week, but we were hoping to have miss it all by leaving early.  5 minutes from the boarder, and we were discussing whether or not to turn back.  I knew the trip was to good to be true.

To keep a long story short and not freak my Mom out a week before she comes down I'll just give the highlights of that part of the trip.  We sat on the side of the road for almost 3 hours, did a lot of advancing to get better views, retreated a lot,  took some back roads, picked up a stranger to have him show us the way, saw lots of burning tires, had some rocks and bottles thrown in our general direction, drove through a voodoo temple, learned our stranger was from Port and didn't know the roads any better then us, and finally, made it to the boarder and on with our trip!  We were thankful for the 4 UN tanks, 2 jeeps, 2 trucks, and approximately 40 UN personnel for breaking up the first set of manifestations which opened up the side road for us to pass!  The UN must have gotten the memo that this trip really needed to happen and came just to ensure it did!

The rest of our trip was uneventful as far as that type of stuff goes.  Our trip was brief, we were only at the hotel for less than 40 hours, but it was much needed!  We jammed a lot into that short trip.  We laid by the pool, I had an awful message, rented a bike and drove around, ate a lot of food, got some much needed sleep, watched tv for the first time in a long time, played water volleyball, walked on the beach, watched the sun set, ate a lot more, etc!

We did a lot, and we also didn't do a lot.  We didn't change any diapers, we didn't make any bottles, we didn't say "don't climb on the roof," or "Quit fighting."  We didn't hear about deaths (except on the news but that doesn't count), we didn't make any life or death decisions (besides where to eat we didn't really make any decisions at all), we didn't work on schedules, we didn't check our emails, we didn't pay any one, we didn't have any meetings, we didn't lead any tours, and oh so much more!  It was so great to have NO responsibilities for a few days, we so badly needed that!

Our hotel was incredibly beautiful.  When we got there we decided we needed to make sure it was the right place before we got our bag out of the car.  I kept saying, theres no way this is it, we didn't pay nearly enough for such a pretty place.  But I was surprised when we were given a key and showed to our room!  Off season prices are great!

That trip made me realize how badly I want my boys to have passports so that we can travel and take trips with them!  It also made me realize how difficult it is to live in Haiti.  After being here for a while, you forget about all the things that your going with out.  One thing that really hit me during this trip is that Nick and I never have the opportunity to just walk around holding hands.  We don't ever go anywhere together and living in community prevents simple things like that from happening.  Having all of these things shoved in our face was a lot to handle!  I wouldn't trade living here for anything, but sometimes I'm  reminded how hard it is!

We were so thankful for our amazing trip, but we were also both very ready to be back with our boys!  We kind of like our kids and weren't huge fans of leaving them!  Thankfully none of them died and Adam and Mateja were still "mostly" sain when we got back!

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