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Saturday, February 28, 2009

Thanks, Chele!

Memories. We all have memories of things, moments, foods, good times, bad times, traditions, trips, all those things. But what is interesting to me is how things that are considered MY memories are also someone else's memories just as much as mine. And how those memories are always there and kinda forgotten until somebody else pulls them to the front of your mind again. That is what happened to me today. My cousin Chele was reminiscing in an email about a trip we took with our Grandparents way back when she was 6, which would have made me about 11. I just looked at some pictures and they are dated 1967. OK, so it has been a few years...try 42, since we took that trip! No wonder those pictures are a bit fuzzy. Grandma and Grandpa McCool loaded my two sisters and me and my cousin Michelle, (now called Chele), into their truck and camper and off we went to Yellowstone Park. It was a really fun time. That was back in the days of no seat belts and rules, like I would ride up front with Grandma and Grandpa and the kids would ride in the back in the camper. Now, I'm talking, camper... not one of those over the cab type, it was just an over the bed of the truck, camper. When we stopped for the night, I got to sleep alone up in the cab and the rest of them slept in the camper. It was a fun trip. For us kids. I wonder how it was for Grandma and Grandpa. We went farther away from home than any of us kids had ever been before. We saw the Snake River, buffalo, bears, deer, Old Faithful erupt along with a few other geysers and the lava beds in Eastern Oregon. I kept a diary the whole way through and it is funny to read it now. I have not done that in a long time, I need to pull it back out of my trunk. Well, one of the things that Chele reminded me of was while we were on this trip, Grandma would mix honey into the peanut butter jar and make us the best sandwiches. The whole entire morning, all I could think of is 'peanutbuttermixedwithhoney' sandwiches. Fortunately for me, I have both in the cupboard, so guess what I just had for lunch?

You got it! It tasted as good as my memory had left it, which is not true for all memories.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

FINALLY!!! The big day arrived! John and Dad delivered the flowers while the girls got dressed. We arrived at 9 am for before wedding photos. The wedding was scheduled for 11:30. Photos were done, the Americans (and Candace the Canadian) were all ready...but the Dominican bridesmaids were just showing up...the groom arrived...the bride went into hiding...the musician was still not there, and none of his equipment, by 12:30 he was there setting up...and the guests were slowly filtering in. Us Americans had a real culture moment as we waited around. Nobody seemed concerned at all, including us, it was not OUR party. At 1:20 John walked Jessi down the aisle! The sun was out, the sky deep blue, the ocean in front of us the most gorgeous turquoise. A perfect backdrop for a wedding. They became husband and wife and headed down the aisle and took a few more pictures. While they were taking pictures, the guests had a snack of Ritz crackers with cheese and a fruit punch. Then we were all shuttled up to the front part of Sea Horse Ranch where the reception tents had been set up. Everyone greeted them with bubbles as they walked into the tent. We ate all kinds of typical Dominican foods, including a roasted pig, roasted chickens, tamales, and a few other things I don't have names for. They cut the cake, toasted, she threw her bouquet. They said their goodbyes and were off on their honeymoon. The next morning we were on a plane headed back to the states. Our goodbyes at the wedding were pretty tough. Not only did she have to say goodbye to all of us, she also had to part with Candace, her room mate for the past 2 1/2 years. Candace is now back in Canada, possibly to take up nursing studies. It all went way to fast!
Monday we went back out to the school so they all could see where Jessi works. We had lots of time for shopping, walking on the beach, eating at the restaurants just a short beach walk from our house, had pedicures, good coffees, good wine, and lots of good times. It poured rain those first few days. We had to cancel plans for some of the sightseeing we had planned, but it didn't seem to matter, we kept busy anyway. It poured! At times the water was ankle high in the streets. Fortunately we didn't have any serious flooding in the area we were in.

Ariel came over and he and Jessi cooked us a typical Dominican dinner.

Then it was time to get busy doing what we came to put on a wedding! We wrapped candy kisses, strung up the programs, tied bows on bubbles, and finally drove to Santiago to the flower shop and bought the flowers. Friday was the day to put it all together. It was a long day, but sure was worth it to see how beautiful it all came together.

Saturday we moved from the team house to the house that we rented in Cabarete. It was an awesome place. Each of the three bedrooms had a bathroom. Outside by the pool was another bedroom with another bathroom. Jessi and Julie shared that room. Candace came out at the end of the week and stayed there with them also. Eileen and Julie arrived on Saturday and Mom and Dad arrived on Sunday.
Friday...tooth pulling day. I was for sure not prepared for that! Those little kids showed up, walked in, got numbed up and their little rotten teeth pulled right out. Some had up to 6 teeth pulled out. The team did their best to save any teeth that were permanent and can be filled. A local dentist has offered her services for simple cases in the future. Most of the kids walked to the school alone and went home alone afterwards. No forms to sign for permission, nothing like that. Such a difference from how we would handle our own kids getting a tooth pulled. There were only a few who were scared the way they had all been the day before for a simple little shot. Maybe that is because they don't have that done very often. Next time the word will be spread and they will all come in freaked out, IF they come at all. I could not believe how the team came so prepared, they had portable folding dental tables for the kids to lay on, all the right tools...well, not ALL the tools, one dentist was working on a little boy and jokingly asked for 'suction'...which they didn't have. But they laid it all out and even sterilized it in between. Pretty well organized. What was the most shocking to me was that those teeth looked like they were already filled...the whole tops of some teeth were gray black like a silver filling. But how wrong I was. Some of them had only parts of their tooth in there. some were rotted all the way to the root. I've added some gory pictures just so you can see for yourself how gross it was. How in the world were those kids existing, studying, laughing and playing in that condition. My job that day was to hold their little hands and try to talk them through it. Some cried, a few screamed, a few had to be held down, but most handled it really well.
Oh where do I begin? There is so much to write...and only 1,ooo+ pictures to sort through to help tell the story. I spent the whole day today on the pictures and finally am able to update the blog. As you know we left here on Tuesday at 5:30, flew all night, first to LA, then to Miami, getting there at 4 am. The flight to Puerto Plata left at 2:30 in the afternoon. We got there at 4:30. Two days travel to get there. In September we only had one day of travel, but the airlines have cut so many flights it is impossible to book a flight from Portland to get us there in one day. I was so excited to see her again. The first three nights, before the rest of the gang we were sharing a house with arrived, we stayed in the Kids Alive team house. Jessi stayed there with us. She still had work to do, so we went to the school with her. A team of doctors, nurses and dentists from the states was showing up to give Hepatitis B shots and cavity screening on Thursday and Friday they were going to pull teeth on those who obviously needed help. They decided I needed to learn to give a shot. I was sure I did NOT need to learn it, but gave in. After the first shot, I was shaky...I wanted to sit down. But I made myself do it again and it was easier the second time. Those kids got themselves so worked up. Before they even got the shot they were just so dramatic...crying and some had to be forced into the shot room...some little guys worked themselves up into a sweat.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Hola...well, we are here, having a good time, and I have taken tons of pictures...maybe like over 1,000!!! Trouble is that I don't have a computer that I can download them to in order to post them on the blog, so you will have to wait to see them until I get home. I am really sad about that because I have some really good stories and pictures to go with them. Like the first day here, a team arrived to give Hepititis B shots to the kids...and screen them for the tooth pull, which was the following day. So on the first day, in came the team, one doctor, two dentists, and 5 nurses. They asked me if I wanted to learn to give a shot and at first I was like "No way!" but I thought it over and ended up doing it. I felt like I needed to sit down afterwards, though. A little while later, I decided to try it again and was much better with some experience behind me. So then on Friday, they arrived and they started pulling teeth. I could NOT believe it! Some of those kids needed 4 teeth pulled, a few even 6!!! They would open their little mouths and you could just out and see those cavities, it looked to me like a silver filling. They would shoot up the mouth with novacaine and just out and pull the tooth. Wow, did I ever learn a lot. I held hand, held some kids down, and wiped a ton of tears. Plus took tons of pictures. I can't wait to show them all to you. Yesterday, Jessi's room mate from college, Julie and her mother Eileen arrived, and today, my Mom and Dad finally made. Sothat is our trip so far in a nutshell, I decided to take advantage of a rare moment with a computer and update this even if I don't have any pictures to go with it. Sorry! More as soon as possible!

Monday, February 2, 2009

I'm out of here!

Spring is on its way, the tax refund is on its way and I AM ON MY WAY!!! Time to warm these frosty toes in the warm Caribbean sand.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

I did my taxes last night. I have used Turbo Tax for a few years now. It is such a good program! They even have it automatically deposited into our account! Nice to know that it's on its way too!
These guys have been working their way out of the ground for a couple of weeks now. Nice to know spring is on its way!