Wednesday, May 30, 2012


Culture shock is a funny thing. I always thought it was what you experienced when you visit another land or culture that is so different from your own that it can make you uneasy. My culture shock is always the worst when I get back to the States. Sometimes I'm even excited to come home, but as soon as I set foot in the airport, back into a city or a car, I feel completely out of place. I feel like I need to run away back to where I was, because that's where I belong. Maybe that's because MY culture isn't necessarily the one that exists where I grew up or in the country I reside in.

So I had offered to a good friend of mine to come and help her as she prepared her mom to relocate to San Diego. That involved packing, purging and selling her belongings and her house in the Hamptons. The Hamptons? How did I just go from what's-it-called-town-that-doesn't-even-make-the-map-on-an-island to a beachfront village that people flock to and are dying to go to? Maybe my culture shock is self-inflicted sometimes...A familiar face always helps though, and seeing Tracy, who befriended me in Italy actually (I know, doesn't get much more convoluted: two Californians who meet in Italy and then get together in New York) was so refreshing. Not to mention the beach, the fresh air, and the surprisingly small-town feel that exists when it's not a weekend or mid-summer. It's not exactly an exciting adventure to tell, just that in between sorting, boxing, and cleaning, we got to enjoy the beach, the views, some sunsets, and good times together. It's been a time of closure for her, seeing as this is where she spent so much time growing up; and for me it was a good opportunity for reflection and serenity. A couple good runs, a bike to see the town, and I was happy as a clam. :) 

Here's Amagansett: 
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Me and Tracy

Amagansett Beach

A new meaning to waterfront property...

Give a girl wheels, she'll be gone before you know it!

Sunset from the back porch

Monday, May 28, 2012

The Meaning Behind the Journey

So yes, Dominica is the land of rivers, waterfalls, mountains, and beaches; but none of that is what I really came for. My friend, Darcy, has been living in San Sauveur for 2-1/2 years, and decided some time ago to focus her ministry on the deaf and ASL. She's been forging her way alone for some time though; the only group of signers is on the other side of the island. Since Rob had decided he wanted to spend his leave on the island, it was the perfect time for me to go and support her in her goal....I forgot how much sign language moves me.
In just a matter of weeks, the relationships and trust that are formed are indescribable. It's a concept that is so, SO difficult for us to imagine. Thirty, forty, fifty years of life with NO formal means of communication. These families are amazing, because at least they try and communicate with their deaf family member. But you can see what an insurmountable task that is when there are no resources available. Their eagerness to learn, their hospitality, and their determination are amazing. Many times, when we first come, the family member who is deaf is very shy, and may even hide from us. It's understandable: these people they've never seen before show up waving their arms and paying more attention to them than they've have in a lifetime. Oh yeah, and we're white which makes it even more suspicious. :) When my last week arrived, and we started to tell them it would be my last time teaching them though(at least until my next visit), you would have thought their best, lifelong friend was leaving. It is one of the greatest blessings ever to share such an amazing gift with people, to give them a language that allows their whole family to communicate. Words really can't express fully the life-changing experiences it gave me, so I'll leave you with some pictures and urge you to take advantage of every opportunity you have to change the lives of those you can.

Katie, Robbin, Ruth, Aisha Aubrey, Mary, and me
Darcy, Mary and Aisha

Us with Suzanna and Francisca

Steffany, Athea, and Jamael

Steffany's house
Lambert & Ruthin

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Getting Coffee Educated

I'd like you all to meet my friend Tifwe. He's an amazing man in many ways, but on Sunday, I began my true coffee education. Just wanted to share it with you all. Now I can really call myself a barista ;) 

Monday, April 16, 2012

Rob's visit!!

Scott's Head and Soufriere
Okay, so I do love to travel the world, I love to see new places and meet new people, and very little stops me from just jumping on a plane and going anywhere. But my BEST travels? Always with Rob. :) Call me a sap, that's fine. It's just way more fun to have a travel buddy and who better than my wonderful husband. In all honestly, Dominica was his idea. He met Jaime last year (who's a missionary down here), and when he invited Rob to come down, the deal was sealed. So after just 8 days of getting "adjusted," the biggest part of the adventure began.
I can rattle off the places we went: Champagne, Porstmouth, Freshwater Lake, Trafalgar Falls, Boiling Lake, Scott's Head, Sari Sari Falls, Horseback Ridge...are ya bored yet? I think the top priority was snorkeling, which was SO amazing. I know we can watch so many cool videos and see so many perfect shots with all the technology we have today, but to actually see it with your own eyes?? It's just breathtaking! Your love of creation and your awe of God just HAS TO grow here, it's impossible not to. One day, we went to Trafalgar Falls, probably one of the top two most tourist spots on this island. So the tourists climb on a bus, ride up the hill, take a picture of this giant waterfall and leave. NOT US. We get to the falls and our friends say there's a really nice little pool right up at the top, where the fall is actually pouring into. So Earl (our local fisherman friend/part lizard) starts scrambling his way up the side of the river, over boulders, lush greenery, and slippery rocks and is up there in no time (he knows this place like the back of his hand). I'm not so skilled, but I thought, it's gotta be worth it. So Rob forges ahead, me trailing cautiously behind...and then you're there. Just staring straight up at this spectacular fall, no one else around, the sounds of nature roaring this amazing's just unreal. So many times, I start on my way somewhere thinking, oh yeah, I like hiking, or, cool, another waterfall. But everytime I arrive, I'm left speechless by another wonder of nature. It's stunning. Oh, you wanted to see a picture? Well, we didn't take any at the top of Trafalgar. Ha! What! You have to come see it for yourselves! Okay, but here's a few others:
Freshwater Lake

Rob's personal spa at Trafalgar
Us at Sari Sari Falls


Sorry, I've left you all hanging on the ridge. It's been quite a journey since then, back to California, then to New York and finally to Dominica. So I've gone from cultural and historical wonder to tropical paradise. Somebody pinch me.

I'm living in a little town called Castle Bruce. We are on the east coast of Dominica, an island a little less than halfway down in the Caribbean. What a place...I don't know if words will really describe where I am. What I am doing, that's easy, but this's stunning. Pictures anyone?

The view from our house, my crab who lives outside my window, and just another reminder that this may be the most lush foliage I have ever seen on this planet.

Here's Castle Bruce:
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Tuesday, January 3, 2012

I ran the ridge!!

Doesn't need much explanation, eh? So I live at the base of the ridge that separates Sant' Agostino, Vicenza, and Torri di Arcugnano. When I run the valley, I actually turn off right before the road starts to climb the hillside and then I trace the base of the ridge with my route. But today the valley was wet, it was a gorgeous day (51 degrees, yeah!), so I figured why not! (Umm, maybe cuz it's insane??) Anyway, just thought I would share the views and the victory from my (killer) five-mile loop. What an great experience this all is...have a great week everyone!

Monday, January 2, 2012

Pasta night!!

There's a few things I specifically came to do in Italy:
1. Improve my Italian (or at least attempt to)
2. See some of the most beautiful and amazing places in the world
3. Learn how to cook some really good food!! So thanks to my friend Karen, I am now well versed in the craft of making pasta. Wow, so much easier than I thought. Why do we get away from the quality ways of doing things? Just for the sake of speed and convenience? Well I'm now completely a believer of making my own pasta-anyone care to come by for a sample?
On Sunday night, we had an evening of good company, good food, and sure-to-be good memories. Luisa brought peccorino tartuffo and fresh ricotta-yummmm-and we had pasta all'uovo with pesto. Tomorrow night is bigoli ragu d'anitra and beignets with Luanna. I am SO loving life.