As I am sitting on my couch writing this, I can hardly believe Christmas has come and gone, and soon we will be starting a new year. This past year has been a bit of blur, the past few weeks especially.
The week of Thanksgiving I traveled back to the States. Knowing that I wouldn’t be able to be back for Christmas, I was especially thankful that it worked out for me to be with my family for Thanksgiving. My two weeks stateside were full and went by very quickly. I was able to spend a lot of time with my family and catch up with a few friends. One of my dearest friends, Liz, is in the Navy and just happened to be in town the last day I was in the US – it was so great to see her! I also was able to go on a few (chilly) hikes while in the States and I attended a Christmas concert at a local church with my mom, sisters, and grandma. During my time home I also celebrated my birthday…it was special to be able to spend the day with family and friends!
After I got back to the DR I was very busy working on preparation for upcoming medical teams. The next few months are full of barrio and surgical groups so there is lots to be done! Last week we had our last team of the year, a barrio team from Southern Utah University. They had a successful week and got to experience a little holiday cheer with cookie decorating at the guesthouse and a trip into San Juan to see the lights. I also got into the Christmas spirit when I got do some holiday baking with my friends Kailey and the Carlile family!
I have learned that Christmas Eve is celebrated more here in the DR than Christmas day. Christmas Eve is when families get together and share a big meal (some might even say a feast!). Monchy and Adia were kind enough to invite the SRI American missionaries to join their family for the evening’s festivities. Tyler and I spent a good portion of the day in the kitchen baking some sweet treats to bring to dinner: white chocolate peppermint fudge and snickerdoodle, chocolate chip, peanut butter, and sugar cookies. I spent Christmas morning at the Bucher’s and then in the afternoon my friends Hannah, Alejandro, and Tyler came over to my place for dinner and games. I loved getting to spend Christmas with my Dominican family, but I am also thankful for technology that allowed me to connect with my family in Illinois as well.
The past two weeks have been hard for reasons I won’t go into, but through this I have come to realize just how deep and wide my circle is here. I know that I will never walk through any challenge or difficulty I face alone. I don’t just have friends here; I have a family and that is honestly one of the greatest gifts I could ask for.
I pray that you had a wonderful Christmas and have a very happy New Year!
- Health, safety, and peace going into the new year