Wednesday, June 5, 2013

DR: A Bittersweet Goodbye

I haven't blogged in god only knows how long (I really need to work on that), but despite that fact, here I am again. I'm writing this post now before it gets too late and I find myself entrenched in the types of things that come with the end of a year (school year) and moving abroad.

This is my goodbye blog and it's going to be bittersweet.

I will be leaving the DR in just under a month after having lived for here for two years, a fact that I still can't seem wrap my brain around; the fact that these two years have been a roller coaster of feelings and mainly how quickly they've come and gone.

There've been some bad times here, definitely, which is not a by-product of the country or of living abroad, but rather a consequence of life.  It simply isn't always going to be a fun ride and there's always plenty of pills that are going to difficult to swallow. Some of these you can fix and well, we all know the old saying you shit in one hand and wish in the other...

When I first arrived here, I was hard on the country.  I got here in July and, having come from Russia, it  felt like I'd never left Russia, but instead just decided to live in a Banya.  It was hot and it was humid and it took me a good long while to adjust. You can ask my wife, I complained about the heat.....a lot.

Those first couple weeks were the hardest for me.  I was not only living in a new country and had now moved in with someone I hadn't seen in almost a year (we made it work out as she's the best wife I could ever imagine!), but we also had our first experience of DR hospitality as we were helplessly standing in the rain, one of us injured when we were robbed.  That wasn't my first experience with guns and will hopefully be my last, but needless to say, it wasn't a fun one.

Time marched on, however, and we moved to a new apartment and I started at my new job as a first year teacher!  Having never really been at a school aside from my student teaching, this all seemed new and great to me and in a it was, but in more ways than just wasn't.  Over the two years I've learned a great deal about the kinds of schools I want to work at in the future, a huge ol' buttload about what teaching (and more to the point - education ) means to me as a person and as a teacher, and perhaps most importantly, areas that I felt strong in and seeing areas where I really needed guidance and improvement.

As I said, there were bad times (place of work, safety, unbearable summer heat, etc.), but there were good things.  More than I can count actually and, in reality, more than I'll ever be able to remember.

I was married to the most wonderful woman on the planet here, in the Dominican Republic, in her home country.  That will be the memory I cherish most when gone; the one I'll recall most often and most vividly.

I gained a family through my wife whom I love dearly and enjoy spending time with; made some great friends (here's looking at you Ellie & Amy), and thoroughly loved and enjoyed the DR with the people, its mind-numbingly delicious foods and the even more brain boggling scenery and weather.

The landscape, the forestes, the ocean and the mornings are some of the things I'll miss most.  Mornings in the Dominican Republic are like none I've ever experienced (see an upcoming post for more info) and the beaches are easily some of the best in the world.

There were other great things as well, too many to recount and actually list here.  The good far outweighs the bad in my two years here, and I'll be sure to remember that, however I cannot forget the bad as it will drive me to be a better teacher and a better educator and to continue to work on being accepting of things that are different and to accept those things I cannot change.

While certain circumstances often made feel negative and feel as though I was viewing this place through a skepticism and doubt filled filter, I am in more ways than not, terribly sad to be leaving the DR. However, the prospect of a new job, in a new, exciting (and unfathomably large - as in a larger population than the whole of the Dominican Republic...times 3!) city, I look forward to the future and what it has in store for me as a teacher, a traveler, a husband and a person.

So Dear Readers...until next time!