Instead of buying each other gifts this year, boyfriend and I decided to celebrate our 2nd anniversary at an all-inclusive resort in Juan Dolio, a 45 minute drive from the capital. As we're in the midst of signing documents and buying appliances for our new place, last weekend couldn't have came at a better time.
We slept a good 9 hours each night (far more hours than we've been able to fit in on our busy weeknights), swam in the ocean and the pool, ate fish on the beach, watched non-Latina girls attempt to shake their butts on stage (HA!), and played mini golf.
Everything was low key and fabulous, except boyfriend's OCD Excel mini golf scoring spreadsheet used since we couldn't agree on how to keep score.. Who really knows the rules of that sport anyway? :)
I hope this trip thing becomes a yearly anniversary habit!
Now I know that sometimes I fall out of the blogging mood, and that my blog has remained fairly small, but I'm very grateful for this little space of mine on the Internet. I love that my family and friends have been able to follow me and my experiences as I've shared my favorite things from Barcelona, Chicago, and the Dominican Republic.
Thank you for reading along as I continue to explore this whacky country that has now become home. I'm looking forward to another year full of change and excitement; and quite possibly a move to Greece!
Its been a very long Monday thanks to pay day and I think I'm stranded at work for another good hour! I'm counting down the hours until our yoga class tonight - I desperately need it today.
On a brighter note, we've made our first purchases for our new apartment! A washer/dryer and a 40% off LG Cool Art A/C. Have you seen these wall unit air conditioners? They consume little electricity and they don't even look like A/Cs; instead, they look like framed pictures hanging on the wall. You can put whatever poster you want inside and no one will ever know that its an air conditioner! Look on the wall below; I'm in love.
This week we're on the hunt for a refrigerator, stove, and bedroom set. Sometimes you forget that you live on a small island until you realize that you only have about 8 similar looking options for everything on your list!
Last Sunday we spent the day at Playa Bonita in Samana. Boyfriend and I had never ventured our way up to Samana, mostly because the toll costs $50 freaking dollars round trip! Sheesh.
When we were nearly there we stopped at an overpass to admire the view. It might be hard to see from these iPhone pics, but all the little trees below the cliff are palm trees! Everything was so green.
We spent the afternoon at a small French hotel and had lunch at their little restaurant on the beach. I had a delicious local fish fillet smothered in a creamy champagne sauce with mushrooms.
After lunch we walked along the beach and swam. My dad spent a whole hour inside the water - he said it was the longest time he had spent inside the sea in at least 25 years! The water was so warm and clear.
Somehow communicating in Spanglish..
Coast of Playa Bonita
I love visiting new beaches in the Dominican Republic, but I'm afraid I'm almost running out! This weekend boyfriend and I will be celebrating our 2nd anniversary at Juan Dolio beach :)
This weekend my dad came to visit to help us with our apartment hunt. We did a bunch of things in the short time he was here, so these are the very Dominican things we snacked on while we were busy rushing around.
Saturday was our busiest day, and it was HOT. At noon we had a few minutes to spare and so we went to a colmado (small convenience store that becomes a makeshift bar with plastic chairs and tables). He had Presidente beer, which of course came bien fría (very cold). Presidente may be my favorite beer; its light and tastes similar to Corona.
Later on in the day we needed another refreshment, so driving around the residential streets of our new neighborhood we found a coquero (coconut water man) and bought giant coconuts. His comment after gulping down the water and eating the meaty flesh? I thought it would taste more like coconut. Haha!
On Sunday we took a road trip to Samana, which is in the northeastern side of the island. At our pitstop, boyfriend's mom bought dulce de coco. This is a dessert that comes in round flattened coconut balls held together by condensed milk and lots of sugar. This time my dad agreed that it tasted like coconut!
I have exciting news.. We are buying an apartment!
After months of looking at old, smelly, shoebox apartments for rent, and realizing that we would have to share a space of 45 m2 to stick within our renting price range, we started to consider buying an apartment. With the same amount of money you lose each month in rent, you could be buying the apartment that you live in, and investing your money in a smart way.
We've seen some pretty cool apartments, apartments with balconies overlooking the entire city, pools and gyms and fancy rooftop terraces, we even saw an apartment with no front door - instead the elevator door opens inside your apartment! Imagine having no house key; it feels so futuristic to me.
These are some (mostly girly) ideas that I love right now for our future home:
I would love to have a full out jewelry station. I don't have my jewelry box here with, so my jewelry is currently scattered throughout a large drawer ; it takes me forever to find what I'm looking for! IKEA must have something for this..
I think its been 5 years since I celebrated my last 4th of July in the States, so in honor of the holiday today, here are 4 things American that I miss after nearly 3 years of living abroad!
1. Target. I usually visit Target within 24 hours of landing in the US every time I go. Sure there are knock-off Targets in other countries, but I have yet to find one that compares! I could spend hours looking in each and every department; I especially love their homeware.
2. S'mores. I never knew how "American" s'mores were until I realized that most people don't know what they are outside the US! For those that don't know, they are best prepared over a campfire; graham cracker-melted marshmallow-Hershey's chocolate bar-sandwiches. Hits the spot.
3. Movie theaters. Ok, its not that where I live there aren't movie theaters, but they just aren't the same! I miss the overly buttery jumbo sized American popcorn, the clarity of the screens, and seeing movies on their actual release date! In the DR it usually takes 4-6 months for movies to arrive..
4. Drive-thru's. How lazy do I sound? Its not that I want to buy fast food on the run every day, but Americans, do you realize how much a Starbucks drive-thru is taken for granted!?! Oh, what I would do to have an iced coffee drive-thru! :)
Glocal Girl has been my all time favorite blog since I first started reading blogs, so I'm thrilled to have her today. Thanks for your post, Mia!
Hi Travelling Gypsy readers! I’m Jeanelle from Glocal Girl and am so excited to be guest posting for Tia today. Tia and I met our first day of grad school in Barcelona and give our American roots, became fast friends from that point on. Ever since I moved to the Netherlands in 2010, and her to the DR, I’ve missed being in the same city dearly.
Today I decided to share 3 Things Quintessentially European. I’ve always had a draw to Europe since I was young, but never imagined that I would actually live here for as long as I have. So far I’ve had the privilege to live, study and work in Spain, Italy and the Netherlands and whilst they are each unique in their own respects, I think there are a few commonalities which have influenced why I love living abroad.
1. Long Meals
Americans are notorious for their hasty (albeit superb) customer service but as a result I think that we really rush our way through one of the most wonderful opportunities to connect with loved ones. In Europe you can never be at a table “too long”, and in fact are encouraged to eat, drink, smoke and drink again to your heart’s content. (Tourists don’t think that it’s bad customer service if you have to request for the bill, no one ever pushes you out here!)
2. Affordable Travel
Given the close proximity of Belgium, Switzerland and France to the Netherlands, I’ve had the opportunity to visit many new cities on short notice. Weekend getaways are possible with the convenience of the rail system and if you research budget stays on sites such as airbnb.com or travelzoo.com, it becomes quite affordable too. This ability to explore different types of cultures, foods and lifestyles is something I don’t think I’d ever tire of.
3. Beautiful Languages
Like food, different and mysterious languages can always be heard on the street. The internationalism of Amsterdam makes it possible to hear German, Italian, Russian and Turkish natives everywhere you turn. I love the melodic tones of the Latin languages and although am struggling to learn Dutch everyday, appreciate the strong guttural tendencies of this Germanic language.