A day in the life of a girl like me!

Friday, March 11, 2011

Alternative Spring Break in the Dominican Republic

The day is finally here- we've worked so hard fundraising for our trip to Santiago,Dominican Republic. We were all extatic and couldn't wait to actually land on the island.

March 11th, 2011

Arrived at FIU at 6:30 am. Saw all the happy faces and all the Drers in their black GCE t-shirts. Some wore sweaters, others hoodies and some took the weather like troopers and just had their tshirts on. I had my FIU hoodie (had to rep for my Alma Mater) and I was freezing my butt off that morning. It was like 60 something degrees, which essentially isn't that cold. But if you're from Miami, that temperature definitely means, Ugg boots, hoodies,maybe even bubble jackets for those extreme people. We went upstairs to Bianny,Walter and my office to grab all the donation luggages. We arrived at Miami International Airport around 7:30 am, checked in and was in the departure hall around 8 am. Most of us didn't have breakfast that morning, so we walked the halls to get a bite to eat. It was Friday ( and Lent) so I had to eat seafood, which was not available, so I went vegetarian for the day. After Walter (my coworker) and I sat down with our bowl of noodles at 8:30 am, we looked at eachother and wondered why we hadn't just bought breakfast instead, besides it was breakfast time....sigh.

The flight departed at 10 am . I sat next to Bianny , and I can honestly say that as soon as I sat down and put my pink pillow behind my neck, I was knocked out. Ofcourse, I was super excited the night before, and was busy packing and making last minute runs to Target. I had an entire wardrobe in mind, then tried the racer back tops on and realized, my preggers belly was showing more than I thought it was...I looked like a stuffed sausage NO BUENO. Ooh well, I guess that's what you get for last minute packing.

It was a nice smooth flight-we arrived around 12pm, got our luggage, and Victor was out there waiting for us. He's such a sweet man, he had a minivan, now mind you..the minivan was mini, we were 16 people with about 33 pieces of luggage. You better believe that he was able to fit every single one of us and luggage in the Guagua as they call them in DR.

It was very hot out,however, the maginificent view made up for the heat.Lots of mountains and very green. Every where you turn you'd see millions of banana plants and orange trees.In DR, platano is eaten with everything. They make mangu (Cooked, pureed plantains topped with sauteed onions), tostones (crispy fried plantains),maduros (sauteed sweet plantains. I also noticed the unity amongst the people, you'd see men playing dominoes, or just hanging out on a sidewalk, kids out playing while the mothers were chismeando. Such a beautiful sight reminded me of my childhood,the sound of children's laughter is one you don't hear outside nowadays. The entire ride to Accion Callejera, I was literally taking in everything. The crazy traffic, cars drove on the wrong side until there was oncoming traffic. There weren't any dividing lines, so any given time the highway would go from a 3 lane to a 5 lane--it all depends on the amount of cars that could drive through at the same time. From the guagua we could literally highfive a passenger in the car in the lane next to us- we were THAT close.

He took us to Accion Callejera, where we dropped off our donation luggages.We were greeted with hugs and kisses from Bentodina (the Center's Director)along with some other people that work there. This is where we would spend the bulk of our volunteer efforts. We would be working with boys,the age ranged from 7-17. Some of these boys shined shoes for a living and lived with families, while others were homeless.

After dropping our stuff off, we went to the Hostel, Hotel Colonial, to drop off our luggage. Jenny was my roommate, we stayed in room # 7. Walter was our neighbor on the left, Bianny and Anye on our right and Jenn,Chanel and Klaudia across from us. Our room had 2 single beds, mismatched linens a fan,seperate bathroom that wasn't the cleanest and a closet in the bathroom that we used to store our toiletries. I wasn't expecting much- all we needed was a place to lay our head down at nights and running water to take showers.Everything else would just be a luxury.

We made a pit stop at La Sirena, the Walmart of the Dominican Republic. We bought water- there was a malaria epidemic in the neighboring Haiti, so we were rather safe than sorry, fruit,and whatever snacks we wanted to have in our rooms.We were supposed to meet outside at 7:30pm, ofcourse that was a mission in itself-trying to coordinate with that many people was not an easy task.Walter made me promise not to leave him, apparently he has been left behind at La Sirena a previous year, so he needed someone to make sure he was there. We did the roommate check everytime we were in the guagua, but since Walter didn't have a roommate, his neighbors (Jenny and I) had to make sure he was always there.

Victor picked us up and took us to Kukaramakara, a restaurant across the street from the "Monumento a los Héroes de la Restauración". This monument was originally built during the Trujillo dictatorship in 1944 and after his assassination in 1961, the government changed the name to "Monumento a los Héroes de la Restauración";it is now dedicated to the heroes of the Dominican Restoration War.

We had dinner at Kukaramakara, I had shrimp with french fries, it was muy delicioso. We had to come up with a system of ordering and paying since we had a large group. We sampled eachother's meals, like family would. We had come a long way in the bonding process planning for this trip, so we were family. Some had the famous cerveza Presidente,it's said to taste better in DR- although I wouldn't know from first hand experience since I'm not a beer drinker. It was a nice evening of dinner ,laughter and excitement for the first of many memorable experiences we were about to have.

After dinner, we went to El Monumento, climbed the gazillion stairs to the top. It took Walter and I a while, I was already 20 weeks pregnant, so climbing that amount of stairs was no longer an easy task for me- and Walter, well, he's just a viejo. When we finally made it to the top (we were the last ones)- we had our first of many reflection sessions. Everyone had a chance to talk about the experience thus far and their expectations.

Then as a surprise we took a carriage ride in the town, we had to split the group since the carriage could only hold bout 7 of us. THAT was an experience in itself, we had to haggle for prices, since we were doing 2 carriage rides. One horse and carriage was manned by a boy, who looked no older than 14. Our horse and carriage had an older man, possibly the kid's father. Well, this is where the first of many adventures begun- the horses like the cars I mentioned earlier followed the same rules-NONE! They would go against traffic,gallop past cars and cut through traffic. Pretty scary, if you ask me- but we survived! Thank God.

We finally head back to Hotel Colonial and called it a night. We had to wake up super early for our first day with the kids. Had to make sure we have all the energy needed to give them 100%. Something that I later realized definitely did not require us to have a good night's rest. Just being able to see them everyday was motivation enough to give them our all.

Monday, December 20, 2010

The big day is here :-)

The day's here. I finally get to see my baby.

Went in for my ultra sound, I knew it was going to be one of those vaginal ultrasounds.. ugh..there's nothing worse than having to spread eagle.  I guess I should be used to it, besides I'm a woman.

So that thing was insterted (I know, I know TMI) and I saw the little tadpole on the ultrasound screen- I was still in shock. A baby growin in my belly? Really? Wow! Even though I already knew this, there was nothing better than hearing my little pumpkin's heartbeat; it sounded like a galloping horse-strong and steady like his mommy (okay- and daddy too). It was one of the most amazing experiences-knowing that you're uterus is carrying something so precious. I can't wait to get home to show daddy his little munchkin- even though he probably won't have a clue what he's looking at,lol.

Today is also my parents' 28th anniversary...Happy Anniversary to the most amazing parents a girl could ever ask for. And BELIEVE me when I say, if I could go back and choose my parents- I'd choose Barbara Maria and Carlos Manuel all over again. THEY ARE THAT AMAZING!!

I get to go home in 3 days...wooohooo Aruba here I come (with precious cargo on board).

Thursday, December 9, 2010


This has been something I wanted to share, but I was still a little weary about it. ..but decided..what the heck? It's my life and I'd like to share.

On December 1st my parents and sister left for Aruba. They visited Shaunie and I for a week...loved having them here...every minute was so special. The entire time they were here I felt sickly, tired and just not like myself. I knew I was expecting my period so I figured I was just pms-ing. After I dropped them off at the airport I went to work , had an okay day at work...but I"m not going to lie..I couldn't wait for 4:30 PM for me to go home. When I got home, I did some things around the house and later that night I decided to take a pregnancy test...LO AND BEHOLD...the results said "PREGNANT"!!! Shaunie was already asleep....so I figured I'd call Pig and tell her. She was extatic...I was still in disbelief. We talked for a little bit and reminisced on the week...and she commented that the entire week they were visiting it was as if it was a "baby themed week". Everything had to do with baby- our conversations, pops telling me that I'd have a boy as a first born, mommy hinting that she wants a grandchild, and Pig straight up telling me that I need to hurry up and get pregnant because I'm already getting old (mind you- I'm only 27).

After being on the phone for over an hour, I decided to go to CVS to get another pregnancy test...because I was still convinced that this was not reality. Pig "accompanied" me to CVS ( I was talking to her while driving to CVS), got home- took the test and again PREGNANT. OMG it's real! I'm going to be a mommy!!! Couldn't tell Shaun because he was still asleep- besides by this time it was almost 1 AM.

I couldn't really sleep at all- I kept twisting and turning, not convinced of what I've just found out- but still happy at the same time. My alarm went off at 6:15 AM and I jumped up right away- got up and walked to the bathroom to -yes you guessed it-take another pregnancy test. Again- the results "PREGNANT". Okay..so it's really true. I took the test and sat on the bed next to Shaunie...asking him if I could show him something (while he was still sleeping)...that was my way of waking him up. He finally replied and told me I could turn on the lights..so I did and I put the test right up to his face..and he saw it and was like "wait....what? You're pregnant? We're having a baby? You're pregnant?" to what I replied..yes..we're having a baby. After he kissed me and we hugged and he kissed baby in the belly...we picked up the phone to call the parentals (in Aruba). Pig picked up and together we started chanting " you're such a bore you PREGNANT whore" ..mom and dad didn't quite get it...we repeated the same thing about 3 times before Pig was like "Bil is preggers"...mommy and daddy started screaming PABIEN (which means congratulations)! It was a nice day...I went to work with a smile on my face and was very excited that my belly was carrying a baby....well not quite yet..but it will be in just a few short months. Thank you , oh dear Lord for blessing Shaunie and I with a baby :-)

I called the obgyn right away and got an appointment for December 20th....I can't wait for that day :-) I'll probably have a vaginal ultrasound and we will officially meet our baby Preston ( Shaun already named him- well if it's a him that is).

Friday, November 5, 2010


Today's random rant of the daily happenings in the Academic Advising Center is courtesy of "the last minute students who want everything done NOW". Why is it that students like to walk into the office at 4:30 PM and expect to get service even though the office technically closes at 4:30 PM. Sometimes we try to be nice and try to help the students anyways, and they catch attitudes. This time, it happened to me. I was the advisor who wanted to help the student after hours. I kindly asked her to leave my office, because I do not tolerate that type of behavior. I made sure to tell her she should have a great weekend! Ugh...these students sometimes. I swear.I love my job. I love my job. I love my job. Sometimes I have to remind myself that..:-)

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

This must be my lucky day!

What a day!! Slept surprisingly well, eventhough my Dushi worked the overnight shift. Woke up , on time, with energy to spare, took a shower, got dressed and headed to school/work. I tend to still say school,it's hard to get used to saying work when you attended the same school you work at. Get it? Anyways, had to teach my First Year Experience class today, which went well..I love love love those kids!Even had some volunteers for our DR project that's coming up this Sunday.

I'm going off on a tangent- this is not even what I wanted to write about! Ooh well, guess it makes sense, my day has been great and just wanted to share how it all started out. So despite getting my shoes soaking wet from Miami's weather- come one, please make up your mind- let's just enjoy the fall weather instead of dog days of summer rain!!! So my black suede pumps are now black soaking wet suede
pumps ...ugh....

So while having my chicken ceasar wrap for lunch, I was reading my blogs (my daily routine) and saw my name as one of the winners for a giveaway. I was extatic ..you have to understand- I NEVER EVER WIN ANYTHING!!!..but today despite soaking wet suede pumps...I finally won something!! :-)

And then a new email pops up to my outlook and it's an email congratulating me on being a winner. I was like WHAT? Is this a joke or is this for real? I back tracked and checked my sent items...and indeed, I had entered this giveaway. Wooohooo celebration time :-)

Can't wait to receive my gifts :-)

Thanks Katie and Jeremy Bower from bowerpowerblog.com and Karla from Modern Mommy :-)