We made it back to Juan Dolio safe and sound on Friday evening. As I arrived here I experienced an odd mix of emotions. I was happy to be back in Juan Dolio and see some of the friends we had made earlier. Happy to be in what has become a familiar surrounding. At the same time I was frustrated by the difficulty in travelling here (6 hours on a bus?!!) and sad that in two days I would be heading home.
Upon our return to Juan Dolio we decided to rent a beachfront apartment for the weekend and take in some sand and sun. We went to the colmado to pick up some supplies and while we are in the store we hear a loud voice call out with excitement "NO WAY!". It was Sara, the sister who was our neighbor from the townhouse. She invited us to a fiesta being held at the house that night. Sara had held two of our suitcases for us while we were on the road so we figured we would just pop in, get our stuff, say hello and be able to leave quick.
When we got there however, it was like being around lifelong friends. Some brothers were playing dominoes and invited me to play. I never knew how to but no problem, they'll teach me! Suzanne and Danielle were talking to some of the sisters and man time flew by. The evening was special because the party was for a brother and sister in the Kreyol congregation, it was their anniversary. They were married a year ago in order to qualify for baptism,and didn't have a party or honeymoon. Now the friends were helping them, and their newborn son to commemorate the occasion. We again experienced the joy and hospitality of the brotherhood and were made to feel at home.
When it came time for us to go, we called a cab to take us to the apartment. We truly felt the love from these friends and it was hard to leave. All of them: Sara, Janai, Eloise, Laurence, and Nancy came to the gate and kept hugging us! We all exchanged goodbyes and promised to keep in touch with one another. As the cab drove away, they stood outside, waving as we drove off. We felt like royalty again thanks to my brothers and sisters.
So, I am speechless now. Just think-three weeks ago I didn't even know these people and now I am truly saddened that I will not be seeing them again for a long time. I feel as though I am leaving my family behind. I also am sad at the prospect of leaving DR, but am eager to be back in Lake Mary, to see the friends at home there. Right now I am experiencing a confusing swirl of emotions. A happy/sad/joy/blues kind of mix I guess. I wonder, if this is how I feel now, what will happen if we decide to do this long term? Well, maybe this is a good problem to have- to experience too much brotherly love :-)
On Sunday we will be back in Florida and hope to catch up with you friends there. We have been away from Lake Mary English Congregation for well over a month now. It will be a bit different walking into the hall on Tuesday but we really do miss you guys! Hope to see everyone then!