Saturday, May 15, 2010

8 years ago...8....

I am feeling a bit nostalgic this weekend. 8 years ago yesterday, I flew back to the USA from my semester abroad in the Dominican Republic. I was in the DR from January-May in 2002. Creighton sent a group of 13 students, 1 teacher, a Program Director and a Dallas:), we lived together, learned together, and did service projects together. We built houses, taught english, taught safe-sex, but learned about true social inequality and injustice, about hospitality, about life, about love and most importantly, about ourselves.
I'll never forget many of the memories I have of that place. Dallas catching us "swimming in the ocean" much later than we needed to be..., smoking cigars sitting at Cabarete, whale watching, Jarabacoa....and the scariest, most mindblowing realistic, nightmare inducing moment of my (and Vals/Pablos) life. Not to mention the deep down emotions that come up whenever I hear "Yo, tango nueva amor", the sound of marangae, the thoughts of the Batey boys strumming on their guitar and singing to Sara and I for hours on end. The hours I cried during the Haitian earthquake earlier this year, hoping Papito/Nanaota and any of my other family members were not there. Knowing I probably would not know if they were.
I think of my friends, many of whom I have not talked to in YEARS, who I will always have a connection that no one can break. No matter the miles, no matter the occupations we have chosen, no matter the fall outs we have had, we will always have one thing in common that NO one else will. No one else will have the same memories of Jarabacoa that the 12 of us have. No one else will think of a hotel in the Dominican Republic when they hear the song "Hotel California". No one else will know that starfish STINK...and actually live outside of salt water...and can continue climbing on walls, beds, etc.
I think of those that are no longer with us: Johnny, Chucho, Patricia at Hogar Luby. How these lives were lost too early, some out of disability that could have been prevented, some out of hatred and racism and some out of decisions made to create a living.
I am extreamely greatful for the four months I spent abroad. I wouldn't it trade it for anything in the world...and if anyone wants a 10 year reunion...I would be in for 2012!

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