Las Terrenas: The proof is in the pictures

Hi all! Some of you have asked for some more information about the “Off the Beaten Path” locations we’ve posted pictures of, so here we go with a little less personal, and a little more information!

Las Terrenas is an incredibly beautiful spot in the Dominican Republic that is lesser known to many Caribbean travelers. If you want to get away from the overwhelmingly tourist-y resorts but eating and drinking the same, I strongly suggest heading to the peninsula, you won’t be disappointed.

Airbnb and VRBO housing is incredibly inexpensive and you can get around to restaurants, stores, the grocery, etc all walking distance or ATV which are cheaply rented from any number of places. There are plenty of people who speak English and here you can find that real Caribbean-style living that can’t be replicated at a resort. Restaurant prices vary for a family of four you can get food and drink anywhere from USD$ 50 and up, including drink. Food and produce is incredibly cheap and accessible here at the local grocery store. EVERYONE is willing to help you and the kindness of the people here will leave you speechless.

The sunset on the beach is easily the best part. The beaches are not crowded because it is a lesser known location so on any given day you may have an entire stretch of beach to yourself. Food and drink on the beach is also cheap; as a reference point you can get a large Pina Colada with fresh coconut and pineapple (cut by a machete in a little bodega playing Salsa music– it’s like a movie, really) for USD$ 3.50.

Did I mention the restaurants and houses are mostly dog-friendly?

All in all, Las Terrenas is not only beauty, but also functionality. It is cheap, fun, and quiet with opportunity for lots of nightlife, exploration, and relaxation should that be what your traveling heart seeks. Feel free to contact me if you have any questions or interest about getting to this side of the island, you truly won’t be disappointed.

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This is the only one that is not my picture, but this is an idea of what the beach looks like from one of many restaurants (lasterrenas-live.com)

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The Dominican art of letting go

I haven’t written in a long time because I have felt blocked and unable to quite put my finger on it. While I’ve used this blog as a method of letting “our people” know what we are doing and how we spend our days here, this one is a little more personal.

One of the most difficult parts of being overseas is who we’ve left behind. Interestingly enough, it feels more as if we are being left behind, despite being the ones who boarded the plane. Watching life go on without you in a place you so belonged is a harsh side effect of the life we chose to embark on this year. Mix that with the lack of an  insta-community (word coined by my new friend, you should read her blog, I cry through it pretty regularly– http://www.drinkingthewholebottle.com) you can sometimes find in international school, plus being in a foreign country and you have the perfect recipe for disaster.

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These feelings of loneliness were some of the first feelings to strike once we began to feel settled. Think Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. Once you get over your basic physiological and safety needs, what is left is a need for belonging. My husband and I are fortunate that not only have we come here with one another as a couple, we are also the closest of friends. We have lifted one another out of some of the darkest places and most taxing moments; however, as all who are in healthy relationships know, you can’t just have each other.

There is a widespread culture on this island of letting go. Letting go of control, time, grudges, the list goes on. It is also my biggest challenge and personal life mission. It is hard to reconcile that life has bigger plans for you. I’ve begun to realize that I’ve glorified many friendships over the years as being my “best” ones, but realizing in my most difficult moments that these friendships were made of convenience; because we had a shared history or shared space at some point. I won’t be at the forefront of my best friend’s minds anymore and that could mean a lot of hurt, but it doesn’t have to, right?

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That is where the letting go comes in and it is not restricted solely to those moving their lives abroad. I have always appreciated the principle of impermanence that is a part of Hindu and Buddhist doctrine but have never had to face it so entirely until we moved abroad. Buddhist monks create these incredible sand mandalas that take days to create, building one grain of sand at a time.

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Then, just like that, they destroy their creation. All of that toiling, bending over each speck of sand, the precision and concentration is all wiped away. But why?

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Time, memory, people, communication, is all fleeting. While I have always been fascinated with this Buddhist principle, I’ve now been immersed into a culture where letting go not only exists, it is required.

We hold on to these things because we need to feel human connection. Life moves forward and it has been a hard lesson to learn that the people who are worth putting in the extra effort for, will be there regardless of where we are on the planet and how long we stay. While devastating, that many of these glorified friendships have crumbled in the last several months, I have also begun to learn the Dominican art of letting go. We’re okay. It’s okay. There is not enough energy to hold a grudge and those fleeting friendships, while they may not have meaning anymore, meant something in the moment. That’s wonderful, but it’s also okay to let go when the friendship is no longer serving either of you.


Loss of control is not a bad thing; in fact, there is so little that we have control over in the first place that perhaps we didn’t ever really lose it, we just allowed ourselves to accept it.  Of all the lessons I’ve learned so far, this has been both the most difficult and the most rewarding. While I have only just scratched the surface of learning to let go, I pray this aspect of Dominican culture seeps into my very being the same way the salty, humid sea air does. I feel less burdened, less worry, less guilty.

These initial feelings of isolation in conjunction with some pretty jarring revelations about friendship took a heavy toll on me, in particular. I quickly realized that not only was it time to find community, it was also time to let go; otherwise we would not last in the Dominican Republic.

Since these bumps in the road, we have since made some incredible friends from all walks of life. We’ve met people with similar values and beliefs that have made us feel like we don’t need to pretend we are anything other than who we are. I have found that many people who move overseas have been forced to learn the same lesson so there are no expectations or rules that govern friendships aside from love and let love. It’s the greatest lesson I’ve learned, yet.