Good morning wishes to GG friends and family from GG leader Gloria,

1ST full day in the Dominican Republic !!! (yesterday)

Adventure was coming our way and newness was in the air when we had our 7:00 am wake up call. Fortunately for me as the student leader of the day (and the other half of the DR based staff) everyone was already up and getting ready for the day before I hit their door. After breakfast we received our tour guide, Mr. Donald, who told us about our neighborhood- the Colonial Zone- and some of the spots we would be visiting. Steps from our hotel is a street filled with souvenirs like paintings, bracelets and drums (be nice to your glimpsers family and friends, wink, wink).
The tour was great. So much history in a small area! As we walked around we noticed every street name had a significance like the name of an important historical figure and the structure and style of the old buildings were very impressive.

The Metropolitan Cathedral or the Basilica Catedral Metropolitana Santa Maria de la Encarnacion (try saying that 3 times fast he he), the National Mausoleum where we discovered that the significance of the Dominican Flag (red = blood, white = peace, blue= sky).

Our last stop was at the Latimar and Amber Museum (well more like shop) filled with beautiful and expensive jewelry and other souvenirs. We headed to the back where they had the machinery they used to make the jewelry and we had someone explain to us the process of jewelry making from getting the raw stone to polishing the final masterpiece.
Shortly after, we had lunch and got ready to depart beautiful Santo Domingo. 3 hours, some beautiful countryside scenery, 2 movies and some attempted sleep later, we were finally entering our home base for the next 3 weeks- San Juan de la Maguana! Woo hoo!
After settling into the hotel we launched into our Program Seminar to talk culture, roles and rules. We were all more than ready to head to dinner and we had a lovely welcome at the restaurant with some delicious natural fruit juice waiting for us! We ate 1st, 2nd and 3rd servings of pizza and left full and happy. Before heading to bed we had our first nightly meeting were I showed off my bad dance moves and crowned the next student leader who I hope will be as stress-free as I was. Today, I was most proud of the group as a whole because everyone had a positive attitude and inquisitive mind. Let the journey and fun begin!