Drinking from the Firehouse

At first glance I’m thinking you were expecting a pic of one of our kids drinking from a local firehose.  And while that is distinctly possible (maybe even probable), I’m sorry to disappoint 🙂  There are, however, equally strange, odd, and new stories to share with you though that have the feeling of drinking from a firehose.

I’ll start with our trip from Toronto to the DR.  We left our hotel in the city of T.O….where a punk rock festival had just wrapped up the day before, and much of the neighbourhood was celebrating Uraguay’s soccer victory in the America’s Cup….at the precious time of 3am.  Kids were awake and excited…until we arrived in Miami, Florida.   Our flight came in late so we grabbed deli sandwiches and hopped on our connecting flight to Santiago, Dominican Republic.  The kids snoozed & Tracey and I could sense the excitment/apprehension/lunch welling up inside.

Santiago airport is small & beautiful.  After collecting out bags we discovered Drew’s car seat was still somewhere in Miami and coming on the next flight.  That didn’t matter though.  The Dominican has no rules on car seats.  In fact the DR also has no speed limits, no maximum # of people in a vehicle (I’ve counted 9 in a 2-door), lanes are optional to use as are stop signs, traffic lights and turn signals (the latter helps me feel like I’m still in Winnipeg).  After a week here though, it all feels normal. 

Speaking of normal.  Our home is a huge blessing.  Most of the staff live in apartments but because we have a larger family we are renting a house…for the same price.  It’s spacious and even has a balcony upstairs big enough to hang laundry & rip-sticking (i.e. like skate-boarding but much less adult friendly).  We also have a washing machine (no dryers here), a propane kitchen stove, microwave & fridge/freezer.  Lighting our stove is a hoot…Tracey is a little less psyched than I am on that one.

Have you ever wondered what it’s like to be one of the newer immigrant families who moves into the neighbourhood and doesn’t speak the language, aren’t familiar with the local customs, and fumble their way through asking for the simple items when shopping?  Well, guess no more!!!!  That is us…mucho bigtime.  We stick out like the inner filling of an oreo cookie.  The only gringo’s on the street, everyone knows who we are and we have no clue who they are yet.  We’ve met some who have been very gracious.  I tried out my sketchy spanish on one neighbour only to discover I thought I told here I was going shopping at the ‘Colmado’ (conerstore)…but really told her I was going shopping in ‘Columbia’.  Probably explains her perplexed expression.

The adjusting is going so well, we’re surprised and thanking the Lord for it.  No TV means alot family time which we cherish.  We are all learning Spanish, preparing meals, doing chores, and shopping as a group.

Now for stories.  I’ll summarize for the sake of size. 

Drew – falling headfirst onto the concrete floor (everything is concrete – no carpets) out of bed late at night makes quite a loud ‘thud’.  He’s okay 🙂

Common animals running around:  gecko’s, chickens, cockroaches, stray dogs, humming birds…all in our little yard.

Trees in our yard:  Avocado, Naranja (orange) & beautiful flowers

How you cut your lawn:  On your knees with hand clippers.  (Sounds like fun…for the kids)

When driving, assume everybody & anybody with do everything and anything at all times

Horns – honking your horn is just letting others know your there

Crossing the street:  There are two kinds of pedestrians in the DR.  The quick & the dead.  So far we’re pretty quick and getting faster each day.

Roosters:  Start doing their thing at 5:30am daily….did I mention we’re having chicken for supper?

Bathroom:  Doesn’t matter how fancy the place, you can’t flush the paper (YUK!!)

ESSENTIAL ITEMS FOR THE DR:  Covered garbage cans for the bathroom, 30 pesos (90 cents) for a water cooler jug of fresh water, strong fly swatters for cockroaches, moths & children when necessary.

I hope you’re enjoying the updates.  Now that online accesibility is more frequent I’m hoping to catch up more regular.  We love and miss you all.

Dios La Bendiga


7 thoughts on “Drinking from the Firehouse

  1. welcome to life in another country. You guys are doing fine. Keep up the good work and when culture shock sets in, shoot me an e-mail with all your complaints. I can be a good listening ear:)

    Trevor and Matthew

  2. love the stories! don’t worry, you’ll get used to the toilet paper not flushing…and then when you come back you’ll find yourself doing it here and grossing people out! (i experienced this upon return from missions!) we miss you!

  3. Your blog is iPhone friendly! I love these updates.

    We moved James in to Charleswood this weekend and we are experiencing a new world too! New bugs, new smells, new routines, new responsibility … Praise God for new adventures.

    Love you Houcks!

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