*This post was made when we were on the plane the first time, thinking we would be home in just a few short hours. Unfortunately, we didn't make it home until the next day around 930 at night. Also, several of us got extremely sick from either a bug or food poisoning, which made us landing in Buffalo so much more amazing!
As our time in the Dominican Republic came to an end, I felt a mix of emotions. I was extremely sad to leave those that we had become so close to, such as our new good friends at 3MM, our taxi driver and our families. Our time spent with all of these people was precious because our stay was so short. After just 15 days I felt like I had known all of these people my entire life and saying goodbye was very difficult. I was also sad to leave the beautiful sunshine, considering a car covered in snow is waiting for me at home. We are on the plane right now and it has been an extremely long day, full of delays and loss of patience. However the strongest emotion I'm feeling right now is pure joy for being a step closer to home. I may not be home tonight because of the delays, but at last I will be back in the United States. The Dominican Republic is amazing, but it isn't home and that is all I want right now. I have strengthened my relationships with four amazing women who I am lucky to call my best friends and I have also made new relationships with some of the other girls and I know when we get home those friendships will continue to grow.
I grew a lot through this trip and it made me a stronger teacher and woman as a whole. Although those beautiful children have so much less than we do at home, they are still children and their minds are just the same. They are eager and excited about their learning and they are a constant reminder of why I am a teacher. It doesn't matter where children are from, they are all equally as important and all deserve an education. I feel that I will be such a better teacher now that I have stepped outside my comfortable box and viewed another country. As a whole I am much stronger because of this trip. My biggest worry coming into it was that I would become homesick and then anxious because I couldn't go home. I ended up only getting homesick twice and both times, because of my amazing roommates, my sadness lastly less than a half hour. I now know that I can do what I set my mind to and that I can get through anything. I feel extremely blessed to have been a part of this wonderful experience as it is one I will never forget. I am thankful for all of my family and friends who supported me and I cannot wait for just a few hours when I can finally feel their warm hugs! (: