Today was very hot! I have never sweat so much in my life! This morning when I went outside it was very humid and hot. I'm not sure what the temperature was, but it was quite warm!

Today we learned how to dance some of the popular dances the people here in Dominican Republic do. The first dance was the Salsa, the second dance was the Merengue and the last dance was the Bachata. Our dance instructor was a nationally award winning dancer from Dominican Republic. Needless to say, she danced very fast and it was hard for me to catch up!

I always tell people that I am too white to dance, which most of the time is true! But once I get warmed up and "broken in" I can swing my hips almost as good as the instructor! Ok, maybe not even close to as good as her, but she was quite impressed with my hip shaking abilities! Haha. After the dancing I swear I probably looking like someone dumped a bucket of water over my head! I was so sweaty and gross!

Right after class Sonni, Alex, Jordan, John and I got on a Guagua and headed down Independencia, the main avenue by where we live, and planned out our long weekend this week.

On Thursday there is a holiday here, so we have a four day weekend. A group of us are going to go to the north side of the island to Cabarete, a really nice beach town where people do surfing, kite surfing and wind surfing. We are going to rent a room or two at a beach resort. I haven't been there yet, so I don't know all the details or amazing things about it. Those posts will come later this week! :)

When I got home tonight I had chicken and plantains for dinner. After dinner my mom wanted to see photos of my family, house, friends, etc. back home so we spent time going through my pictures. It is times like this where I am really glad I use Dropbox and keep all my photos there so I can access them any time I want!

Later Joca helped me get some pictures onto my Dropbox from my camera. So, I will be posting some photos - finally!!
 
 
Today was really fun! We had class as usual from 9-2:30, with a one hour lunch break at noon.

Class today was kind of interesting. Like I said yesterday, I think my teacher is just getting a feel of how much we already know and what we need to learn next because there wasn't "teaching" that really went on in class today, but rather we just sat in a circle, reviewed our homework assignment from yesterday and then just talked until lunch. The teacher said we could talk about anything, but of course it had to be in Spanish. If anyone said anything on English she would stop them and tell them to say it in Spanish. After lunch it was pretty much the same thing.

After class our whole class went to Boca Chica!! We were all anticipating going to the beach ever since we got there! The car ride, which we rented three large taxi-vans (actual taxis and not Guaguas, the buses I talked about before). The car ride was about 40 minutes but thankfully those taxis have air conditioning!!

The beach was fun! I was a little disappointed because Boca Chica is more like a lagoon than a beach. There is a large rock wall that has been built a couple hundred yard out in the ocean which keeps the waves from coming in to shore. The waves are actually one reason I really wanted to go to the beach! I like it when the waves crash up against you and push you back.

There was also a ton of people walking around trying to sell us stuff. They would just walk up to us, hold put their products and try to get us to buy them. We would tell them no, but they would still just stand there. I think they stood there because they were looking at all of the "white girls" in their swim suites! Haha.

I took some pictures, but I forgot to bring my SD card adapter from home that connects to my iPad... I will have to wait until Joca, my host brother, gets home and I can use his laptop.

When I got home my family had some of their relatives over again. I sat down and visited with them for a bit. They speak so fast though! I have a hard time understanding them. I can pick out a couple words or phrases in their sentences, but it is hard to follow the conversation with only a couple words here and there.
 
 
It has been a few days since I have made a blog post - sorry about that. I'll give an overview of the last couple of days in another post. Right now I want to focus on my house and family I am living with in the Dominican Republic.
Below are some photos of my house/condo I live in. I must admit, the houses and buildings here are not what I am used to back in Utah. Not very many people live in houses with yards, but rather live in multi story apartment buildings or multi story condos. Also, people here do not have grass; they have concrete, dirt, rocks or sometimes other types of plants.
I am very fortunate to have the family I do here in Dominican Republic. My family is very kind and welcoming. I think every night this week there have been other family members over to the house. My mom, Fifi, has eight siblings. Some of them have been over every night and tonight since it was Mother's Day here, I think all of the siblings and a lot of their families were here. It was crazy to have so many people here! I try to listen to their conversations, but they speak SO fast it is hard to comprehend much. Like I said, today is Mother's Day and so we had a TON of food! Below is a picture of my plate with my host mom filled!
I thought I was maybe going to lose a little weight while I was here - thinking that I wouldn't be eating as much, sweating like crazy and walking a ton. Well, two of those are correct, but as far as eating I think my host mom feeds me more food than the families on my mission! I have a hard time finishing it all. (note: just a minute ago while writing this my mom just asked if I wanted more food right now... we literally ate about 2 hours ago. Haha) As far as sweating, I have never sweat so much in my life! I shower in the morning, which by the way is with cold water, and as soon as I get out and dry off I feel like I had just taken another shower! My clothes stick to me like none other and I can literally feel the sweat drip down my back! I know, you wanted to know that much detail, right? I also don't want to sound like I'm complaining because I actually don't mind it and I would so much rather have this kind of weather than freezing snow and ice in Utah winters! Haha. Below is a some pictures of the big family today eating and visiting.
 
 
Well, it has been a long 24 hours. I departed last night from Salt Lake City at about midnight. The plane ride to JFK seemed really long. I dosed off a time or two, but didn't really seem to get much sleep.

When we landed at JFK it was really foggy. So much that I couldn't see any of the skyline surrounding the airport. However, as we were flying towards the airport I was able to catch a glimpse of the Hudson Bay and some of New York City. For a brief second I saw the Freedom Tower and its mighty height and strength it brings to that city.

The next flight, only and hour after the first one landed, departed around 8 am. It too seemed like a long flight, however, I was able to get some sleep on that flight.

When I woke up I gazed out my window onto the ocean below. We were so high in the air that I'm sure the little white spots that would appear and then fade away were actually decent sized waves crashing and swaying on the ocean's surface.

As we got closer to the island, I could see its coastline of the north shores in the distance. I don't know why, but in a way it reminded me of Jurassic Park; and I was on my way to some mysterious island. Well, that isn't too far from the truth.

We landed, unloaded the plane, exchanged our U.S. dollars for Dominican Pesos, went through immigration and customs and finally met up with our trip coordinator who had already been here for a couple of days.

To make a long story short (about 6 hours short), we finally got everyone who flew in today (about 20 of us) into our taxis and off to our host families.

The taxi I was in had 6 other students, not counting me; Courtney, Katty, Jordan, John, Aaron and Lincoln. One by one we were dropped off at our host families, meeting them for the first time.

My family I am staying with is the Buenas family. The family consists of my host mother, her son and her sister. Oh, and don't forget the Chihuahua.

Fifi, my host mother's nickname, and her sister made me a delicious dinner consisting of rice, beans, vegetables, chicken, fried plantains and the best freshly made mango juice I have ever had!

Tomorrow morning I will go to the University for the first time, go through orientation, takes tour of campus, meet my Spanish instructor and get better aquatinted with the city.

I haven't had a chance to take any photographs yet (unless the 6 hour wait in the airport or inside of a taxi cab with homemade curtains on the windows) would have interested you, then I would have. Once I am able to walk to the ocean (which is only several blocks away from my house) I will get some good photos and post. Until then, I am going to bed! I am exhausted!!!