Friday, May 24, 2013

Our Honeymoon: The Beach

On Wednesday we returned from our honeymoon at Paradisus Punta Cana and it was so hard to leave!  We spent a good portion of the days at the beach, with CocoLocos or wine in hand.  Our resort had so many different ways to lounge: standard beach chairs, chairs that lit up beneath you, open air beds, beds with shades, and hammocks.  Here are some of my iPhone pics {imagine if only it had been a good camera!}. 

We left right before the storm came in.  I've never seen such dark blue clouds before!

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Monday Motivation v8

{Taken in the province of San Juan, DR}
"Sometimes you will never know the true value of a moment 
until it becomes a memory." - Unknown

San Juan {Not the Puerto Rican One}

Last Friday we drove out to the town of San Juan de la Maguana.  Having never been I expected your average small village in the country, but the town thoroughly impressed me!  

Not because it was luxurious or advanced, but because of how organized and clean it was.  In most of the DR, there is garbage along the sides of the road (partly because of unreliable trash pick-up and partly because the people choose to litter) but in San Juan I did not see a single piece of trash.  And for the first time in my two years of living here, I saw a dumpster.  A dumpster! #YouKnowYouLiveInAThirdWorldCountryWhen... 

The town also had about a dozen small parks and monuments.  There was what looked like a mini Park Guell and fun momuments like this one with the men with cool sunglasses.  The town just seemed so patriotic. 

While A's sister and dad worked, we explored the neighborhood.  I loved the vibrant flowers that popped out of nowhere and the quirky homes, like the red house with a bow on it.  We took a break from the sun at the colmado, where we devoured these snacks and some bottled water all for a dollar. Umm, PM late night taco flavored?!..  

Next, we walked to the castle house that can be seen from blocks away.  Apparently, a famous Dominican painter decided he wanted to live in a castle, so thats what he had built.  He lives there now, even though the house is nowhere near finished; story is that he ran out of money, poor guy.

We had a typical "lunch of the day" at Restaurante El EspĂ­a {the spy}.  We also tried ChenChen, a local dish native to the indigenous Indians of the region.  Its a puree of corn and what tastes like cottage cheese.  It was a bit milky for my liking, so I added some chicken broth which instantly gave it a kick. 

Friday, May 17, 2013

The Green Road to Haiti

A's family is working on a project in the province of San Juan, just one hour away from Haiti, and yesterday we joined them for the day.  Knowing that we would need to wake up at 6 and that it would take 3 hours to get there and 3 hours back did not dissuade me, because I know that anytime you drive north or west of the capital you are gauranteed stunning views of the very green land and mountains.  The long trip was worth it for the scenery alone.

Passing through little villages I always see children walking around outside without shoes on, but the difference is that they aren't begging in the road like the ones you see in the capital.  Still, its sad.  I  also see so many shops for clothing and shoes and handbags with signs like these below, meaning Everything American - imported to boot!  I wonder why fashion is regarded so seriously.

Other scenes from yesterdays road trip?  A beautiful, young white horse just trotting along in the middle of the highway and our pit stop for mangos and coconut water.  My favorite!

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Last Day of Work! Hooray!

I cannot count how many times I've waken up in the last two years and said, "I don't want to go to work today, estoy harta!" {I'm sick of it.}  Oftentimes I've felt like this: 

But today is my last day, and even though these last few weeks have felt like an eternity, I can say that I feel so happy and grateful for my time here.  I started in the company a week after arriving to the country.  At that time, fresh off the plane from Barcelona, I barely understood Dominican spanish!  Not only has this job taught me the spanish I've needed to work and live in this language, but its taught me how to work effectively with Dominicans island time, how to multitask like no other, and how to stay patient and organized when it seems like no one else is!  

To those who don't love their day jobs, believe that they are always teaching you something and preparing you for bigger and better things!

Monday, May 13, 2013

One Month Married

Over the weekend I was organizing our weddings cards and I had to open my grandma's card again because it was one of those cards that sings when opened (who doesn't want to annoy their husband with The Wedding March playing over and over again?!).  

Yaya (my yiayia from my mom's side), immigrated to the US from Greece when she was a little girl.  At that time they didn't have ESL classes in rural Iowa, so of course she was not a fan of school.  She never studied past middle school.  

We always joke that she copies Hallmark because she always writes lovely poems and lengthy messages inside cards, but the truth is she sits patiently, using her dictionary and a pencil to write beautiful words in her squiggly handwriting.  

I wanted to share the message she wrote in our wedding card last month; the message is so simple but true.

A marriage isn’t magic that “just happens”, its something built with time and love and care.  Its made of laughter, tears, and understanding, of loyalty and simply “being there”.

A marriage is a bond between two people that’s stronger than the sum of all its parts.  A beautiful, rich tapestry of living that’s woven of the love between two hearts. 

Wishing you all the happiness that comes from trusting, sharing, loving, giving, and spending your life together. 

With all my love,

A, thank you for making me laugh everyday, for being patient, and loving me always.  TQM. 
I promise I wont write a love post every month. ;)

Friday, May 10, 2013

Pieces of Happy {A Happy List}

I'm linking up this post with the Chasing Happy blog today!

1.  My pink FitBit One.  It was my birthday present and I love how much it inspires me to actually move my bum!  I've even been choosing the 7 flights of stairs to get to my apartment over the elevator each day in an attempt to hit the 10 flights daily goal.  #sonotme 

2.  Wearing flip flops year round and having this Essie color on my nails.

3.  That next weekend I'll be on the beach in Punta Cana with my boyfriend husband {still accidently referring to myself as his girlfriend, oops!}.

4.  Countdowns getting close: 3 days left of work / 9 days till our honeymoon / 18 days till we leave the country!

5.  Sunny rain showers.  I just hope the rain dries up so that we can play tennis tonight!

What are you feeling happy about this week? 

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Huge News

I didn't want to talk about it on my blog so as to not "jinx" it {we hadn't received A's approved visa on Monday}, but its now official and the flights have been purchased.. 

We are moving to Greece in 2 and a half weeks!!

We will be living on the island of Santorini, Greece until mid October, learning how to run my family's small hotel.  If all goes well and we enjoy it, our plan is to live there every year from April-October {the hotel is closed in the winter when the island basically becomes a ghost town!}.  The remaining months of the year will [ideally] be spent traveling and living here in the DR.  

The rest of this month is going to speed by.  My last day of work is next Wednesday, four more work days!  Then, next Sunday we'll be taking a mini honeymoon in Punta Cana.  When we return, A's sister is getting married, and two days later, we leave!  

Now its time to organize ourselves to leave the country for a whopping 6 months!  And packing..  Where and when do I begin!?  What do we even need to bring?!  Ahhh!

I am excited and anxious for another new beginning.  And a change in scenery {see pictures of the beautiful island in my guest post on Casey's blog here}.  I hope you'll continue reading along as this journey of ours is just beginning!

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

My Birthday Cake

I love anything and everything lavender.  Especially food!  Its pretty rare to find lavender in the Dominican Republic, but I found it at a health food store and therefore begged A's chef sister to make me something lavender flavored for my birthday.  I'm pretty sure I've devoured 3 pounds of this deliciousness in the past 5 days! 

I don't have the recipe that she used, but this one looks pretty good.  She gave me the leftover lavender  and I'm thinking of what I can make with it, especially since we have organic honey from la finca.  Any ideas of something easy?  I'm the worst in the kitchen! 

My Birthday Dinner

Last Friday was my birthday!  That night A and I went to La Scarpetta, the same place where we spent Valentines Day this year.  We looked up scarpetta in Italian, and it means shoe!  Definitely not a word I would think of to describe this cozy little Italian place that we love so much.  The walls hold bookshelves stacked with Italian cook books and old clocks, and there are antiques and Christmas lights hanging all over the walls.  La Scarpetta serves "rustic" Italian meals, and although their food rarely looks pretty to the eye, it tastes pretty damn wonderful!  

Heres what we ate: 


1. La Baita.  Polenta squares topped with gorgonzola and Italian bacon, served with Fontina cheese and a dash of pesto.
2. Caserecce al pesto siciliano {his}.  Fresh pasta with pesto and sun dried tomato and walnuts. 
3. Gramigna {mine}. Fresh pasta with red wine marinated Italian sausage served with a provolone cheese sauce. 
4. Fruit tart.  With so much creamy filling! 

Everything was oh so good!  
I can't wait to eat here again.