Everyone and their host family’s has settled into their own little routines. A typical day for me starts off with waking up at 7 and eating breakfast (desayuno) prepared by my host mom. Breakfast in my host family’s home is typically eggs, cereal, and pancakes. Breakfast in Dominican Republic is very simple because it isn’t the most important meal.
Me and my roommate leave the house at 8:07 to walk to the CIEE center. We know we have a created a routine when every morning we are greeted by the same people at the corner of our street. They acknowledge us every morning with a very warm “hola, buenos días” because by now they just expect to see us. By the time we get to the center it’s time to get on the guagua (bus) to head to Cristo Rey for 3 hours of service. Service is genuinely so inspiring. No matter what goes on at home, the kids have the biggest smiles on their faces only though it’s for a few hours. We are so interactive with the kids and it’s my favorite part of the day.
After service, we take the guagua back to the center. Then each roommate pair walks back their house where their host family has prepared a very large lunch (la bandera). Lunch is the biggest meal of the day so it’s no surprise if you are full for the rest of the day. After lunch, we head back to the CIEE center at 2 for our afternoon class which either consists of Spanish or leadership class.
If we get out early enough, sometimes we will go out for ice cream, go to the colonial zone for dinner, or just walk around and explore the town. If not, I go home and eat a casual dinner (la cena) with my host family. The biggest difference between Dominican Republic and the U.S. is the comparison of meals. In DR, lunch is the biggest meal of the day but in the U.S. there isn’t a meal that is more crucial then the other. So it’s very different being fed so heavily during the day and not being as hungry during the evening. I love how it’s so important to our host mom that she feeds us as good as she possibly can. As I finish up the second week and head into the third week, all I can think about is how this experience is so close to ending.