Sunday, December 13, 2015

Week 15: 1st Semester Reflection

I cannot believe that I’ve been living in the Dominican Republic for about four months already! It seems like time has flew by, but also it seems like I’ve been here forever. I am super excited about going home to be with my friends and family for two weeks, but that’s pretty much it. Friends and well, food. You see where my priorities lie :) 

I have definitely learned a lot while being here in the DR. This place is really home to me now, and I don’t want to leave it. If all my friends and family (and Chick-Fil-A) moved down to the DR with me, I would never miss the States. But for now, as classes have finished and studying for finals have started, I have somewhat procrastinated on the latter and have really been enjoying every moment here. I woke up this morning so thankful and grateful: for the family at SCORE, the family at GAP, this culture, and for everything about this place. I can’t wait for second semester to start already, and the first one hasn’t even ended!

If I look at myself from the beginning of the GAP year to now, I can definitely tell that I’ve matured and improved. I definitely have matured in my faith (as evidenced by all of my other blog posts), but I also have noticed an improvement in my Spanish. I really love the language, and I’m learning so many new things that I never would’ve learned in just a classroom setting. I had an experience yesterday where a Dominican was talking to a bilingual person to tell me something in Spanish, but I knew exactly what he was saying! The Dominicans are surprised when white people speak Spanish; I think that they are also very thankful that someone would take the time to learn their language. And I am absolutely loving every second of it! A lot of Dominicans speak super fast, and I’m working on that, but for the most part I can understand a lot!

Specifically, this week was really a week to wrap everything up and to relax after being so busy. We attended and served at the annual Christmas party for SCORE. I loved seeing everyone behind the scenes, from drivers to housekeepers to cooks, coming together, looking beautiful, while having fun and just enjoying themselves. Just last night, we also performed a Christmas play through the church. It was an absolutely fantastic night; so many people were involved, and it was fun to see that despite all of the sound issues and power outage concerns beforehand, that the play was still a success. I was privileged to be able to play violin and be a part of it, as well. At the end of the play, the Gospel was given, and very beautifully given, I might add. One thing that I really have been struck with this week is that no matter what language you speak, the Gospel is still the same. The beautiful thing of the Gospel is that it transcends all culture and language barriers. My teacher gave me a big, 500 some page book on the topic of Heaven, and while I am midst of reading it, I sense myself thinking about the topic more and more. I can’t wait until people from all nations and tongues will come and celebrate God together. It’s going to be such a beautiful day, and I feel like I have been and got to experience a little bit of that yesterday. My heart is so full and happy.

Do not be alarmed when I am in the States, and I…

1.      …get confused why no one is playing Latino music on full blast in their car, for everyone else who isn’t in the car to hear.
2.      …complain about the lack of color on our currency.
3.      ...get confused why there are no Spanish subtitles in the movie theater.
4.      …try to start a conversation with someone in Spanish just because they look like they could be from the DR. Or if I get a little close to the Hispanic people speaking Spanish, because I miss hearing people speak the language.
5.      …forget what a simple word, like “chivo,” means in English. (I now know it means goat, but one time I did forget that word in English!)

Prayer Requests:

-Please pray for safe flights home for all the GAP students on Thursday and for a good, restful break for each one of them.
-I am fully funded for my trip (yay!), but some people in the GAP program still need to raise more funds. Please pray that that funds come in so that they can continue on this wonderful journey next semester.