First, having so many encounters with Spanish speaking individuals has made me truly understand how important your body language and mannerisms can be. I had to constantly be aware of my facial expressions and how I was carrying myself. I always tried to look as positive as possible. When Kaycie and I were eating lunch with our family, there were times that we had no idea what they were trying to tell us. Regardless of the confusion, I always tried to keep a smile on my face.
I never want any of my future students or parents to feel intimidated or uncomfortable trying to communicate with me. Even if the communication process isn't perfect, I will always do my best to use positive and welcoming body language and keep a smile on my face.
I have also learned how beneficial learning new customs and cultures can be. I read a quote that said, "Travel is the only thing that makes you richer."
I have truly become more well rounded and culturally enriched because of this trip.
Next, I learned the importance of friendship and getting along with fellow co-workers and teachers. Being in a house with 9 other girls for 2 weeks can be at times challenging. However, I learned how to have mature conversations and professionally work to solve any issue that arose. This trip has at times tested my ability to be flexible. It's not easy to take a step back and go with the flow, especially for someone like me who likes to have a sense of control, being flexible can be a real challenge. From all the experiences I've had from being in the Dominican Republic and working with several people and going with the flow, I now feel like Gumby, as flexible as can be. I've learned that things can not always go the way that I planned on them going, but in the end, everything worked out just fine.
I've always felt a deeper passion for working with preschool and toddler aged children. Being at and working with the children in El Nido at 3 Mariposas Montessori has reminded me why I love young children so much and want to become an early childhood educator.
I have been writing this final blog from the airport in Puerto Plata and we have had an interesting time waiting for our flight. We were supposed to leave at 2:30. After some mechanical issues with the plane, JetBlue delayed our flight and we ended up sitting on the airplane for close to about 3 hours. After some time we had to depart from the aircraft and sit in the terminal for another 45 minutes or so. I have anxiety about leaving places when I am traveling, especially when I have been in one place for a while. I've checked to see if I've had my passport about 1000 times. Anyways, after my anxiety calmed down I couldn't wait to get home. Being delayed for so long was a bummer but, I looked at it as just another learning experience. You have to try and make the best of all situations!
Anyways we are on our way to Buffalo and all is well. A great memory to add to my list of memories for this trip. I got to spend extra times with all the ladies I have grown to love so much!