Showing posts from July, 2020

The I of the Storm

Greetings from the middle of Isaias, 2020's first tropical cyclonic activity in the Atlantic Basin that's posed any threat to the DR.  Firstly, thanks be to the God, all LAC missionaries are safe.  If you've been following the LAC Facebook page , you know that Puerto Rico, the DR's neighbor to the west, bore the brunt of the storm. Flooding is widespread, and one missionary family is on day two of generator power. Disaster response is part of the team's DNA, though; they're eager to head to the CARD mercy houses in Mayag├╝ez and Ponce, respectively, and put a well-rehearsed plan for addressing their communities' physical and spiritual needs into motion as soon as it's safe to do so.  We've had hurricane prep on the brain in the DR, too. A committee of deaconesses is working through the phased roll-out of a multi-level plan. This Midwestern girl is no poster child, but I did spontaneously buy candles a few weeks ago. Yesterday, I charged my portable ph

MAN, I could GO for a Mango

Day: 140. Summer reading program pages logged: 3,045. New mango recipes attempted in the past two weeks: 7.  It all started when missionary colleagues Jonathan & Cheryl gifted me a plastic grocery bag full of mangoes from the trees (yes, plural) in their yard.  Aside from eating them plain; making parfaits with yogurt & granola; and stockpiling freezer baggies of yellow-orange fruit at the peak of sweetness for smoothies, I made  Mango Crumb Bars .  When I offered to share a couple with my purveyors, they asked if I wanted more mangoes. Who am I to turn down free, homegrown tropical fruit? I left with a reusable grocery bag full of mangoes and started cranking out every mango recipe in my Pinterest arsenal.  [Note: Follow the hyperlinks and scroll down to the photos/Comments for recipes + my notes. I'd make any of these again in a hearbeat.] Mango Almond Muffins Cinnamon-scented Mango Applesauce Mango Cheesecake Bars Gluten Free Fruit Crisp | Mango Blueberry + Ginger Mang

Phase ???

And on day 133...curfew is back with a vengeance. The language of phases seems to have vanished from the vernacular, but between the economic sector reopening, campaign rallies leading up to election day, and Dominicans heading to the polls on July 5, the COVID-19 situation is spiraling out of control. As a result, the current and new administrations filed a joint petition for a new, 45-day state of emergency late last week. It was approved Sunday; the anticipated reinstatement of curfew was announced yesterday and took effect today. For the first time, the hours vary by province; Santiago is in the stricter group.  It's rough.  Bombarded by news of restrictions loosening in the US and sidelined as a number of colleagues travel for personal reasons, I'm steeling myself for (at least) 20 days of quiet evenings. I had hoped we'd be entertaining thoughts of when we could host teams again at this juncture, but instead, the last one in LAC for the remainder of 2020 cancelled. Wh

Bienvenidas y Despedidas

Update: 53 library books cataloged Monday + 34 yesterday. Yes, I went back...this is exactly the kind of thing I have a tendency to dive headfirst into... About Sunday, though. I left Costambar a few minutes after 9 am and arrived early  for Pueblo Nuevo's 10:30 service. Like I said in my last post , it's so close and yet so far.  I wanted to attend there for a few reasons. First, six individuals - three missionary/seminarian kids and three adult women - were given the  bienvenida  to the Lord's table for the first time as they confirmed their faith! One of them, Esther (3rd from left), shares my confirmation verse:  Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. Second, Sunday was Vicar Mario's despedida. After two years in the DR, he leaves tomorrow for a month-long respite with his family in Spain and then an experiential year at an urban congregation in Detroit

Vitamin Sea

At one time, I was considering making a packing list template in Excel that I could print 4 or 6 to a page and use instead of scrawling the same  items on a Post-It note whenever I travel. Before I could get around to it, though, enter my longest (I think...I'd have to verify) stretch without leaving Santiago...until Friday.   This weekend's getaway to the north coast was perhaps more necessary than even I realized. My boss's beach house in Costambar is so close to Santiago, and yet so far removed from daily life . I didn't look at my my phone from when I arrived a little before 3 pm until the next morning, the dawn of day 116. After staying up way too late shooting the breeze - and enjoying the salty breeze, in concert with the sound of the waves - on Friday night, a Saturday of alternating between an inflatable donut in the pool and a chair next to the pool, paired with tapas and exceptional conversation, was blissful.  The backyard has the best  reading hammock. Cu

Christmas in July

I've never understood the notion of "Christmas in July." I think it's mainly another reason for retailers to have sales, as if they need one, but why not Christmas in June , which would be exactly six months from December?  Never mind, though . Yesterday, July 4, day 109 (I haven't decided when to stop counting yet...), was a Red, White, and Blue Christmas Extravaganza for a group of missionary friends & I in Santiago.  Family photo It goes without saying that our hosts, the Warrens, had decked their halls and had Christmas music playing all day. First up: brunch, highlighted by mimosas and homemade cinnamon rolls. Then, Elf.  It's funny how missionary life changes your perspective; I'd never thought about Buddy's first experiences in New York City in terms of culture shock! Next: a gift exchange. Having drawn names at a spaghetti dinner at my house last week, each of us had to source a gift for someone using things we already had on hand - NO buyi