Today is the day we all had been waiting for… OUR FREE DAY!

Today, we got the luxury of sleeping in until 9 am, which was a nice change from our early 6 am wake-up calls. Breakfast today was self-serve for whenever we felt like eating between 9:30 am and 10:30 am. We had cereal, eggs, toast, sandwiches, and juice. After breakfast, we had time for “anti-social activities” which are mainly meant to invest in your self-care and enjoy your alone time. Then, we gathered to eat lunch which was pork rice, potato salad, plantains, pineapple, and tamarind juice. We then split off into three groups to go explore the beautiful city of Jarabacoa! Each group did something a little different while out exploring in the three hours we had. We all spent a lot of money! We went to get natural fruit smoothies at Melaza which were super delicious. We also got a lot of snacks from the supermarket to prepare us for tomorrow’s activities. We also went to clothing stores, souvenir shops, and many other local spots. We then went back to the hostel… to have MORE FREE TIME!!! Some people slept while others spent their time playing Marco Polo in the pool. After an hour of free time, we got ready for dinner and had fried chicken, salad, mashed potatoes, pineapple, baked yucca, and lemonade (which was amazing!). Lastly, we had our nightly meeting, as usual, where we got to debrief the day, introduce the new leaders for tomorrow, and see Deidy’s beautiful Dominican curls for the first time!

Today, we learned the importance of rest in the midst of a very busy and active two weeks. We also learned about the beauty of being a local in Jarabacoa! What surprised us was all of the love given to our group by the locals in Jarabacoa, who were looking out for us and helping us as we were exploring their city. We are very proud of everybody in the group for sticking together while exploring and appreciating all the positives of the special opportunities this trip has given us!

Being the Leader of the Day today was difficult for us both because although we wanted to have fun and relax with the rest of the group, we had responsibilities that we needed to commit to. I, Arely, learned that it’s sometimes better to let someone else help you and lighten the load of leadership. I, Giselle, learned that I need to manage my time better which, unfortunately, reflected onto the group since we were late for a couple of meals.

Overall, the day was a great change of pace and we all had a lot of fun!

P.S. To my mom and dad, I love you very much and miss you a lot! I can’t wait to tell you all about my trip and all of the amazing things I’ve learned! Say hi to Bella, Cember, Sapphire, Coco, and Teddy! See you soon <3 – Giselle