Monday, August 26, 2013

A Much Needed Vacation

We all need a break.  We all need time to settle down, disconnect from the busyness of life and reconnect with our family.  For us, living in Haiti accentuates that need for a break to an even greater degree.  Here we live in a proverbial fishbowl.  Everyday tasks seem harder, work can feel like it’s 24-7, and even in our own home we are rarely alone.  Driving is more stressful, errands take more effort and there is always someone at our door asking for help. 
Last summer, we spent 3 months in the States on home assignment.  We had some vacation time built in and it was a break from the busyness of Haiti.  But our schedule was packed full and we were still working!  This year, because of a busy team schedule over the summer, we had a limited amount of time time for a break.  The expense of going to the States for a vacation didn’t make sense. 
This summer we decided to go to the Dominican Republic.  Since Haiti and the DR share the same island (Hispaniola), this adventure made sense for the time we had. We have German missionary friends who have driven there before and were able to secure us a very good rate at a Dominican all-inclusive resort.  We made plans and off we went! 
The plan was to drive north to Cape Haitian and then cross the DR border and arrive in Puerto Plata on the north coast of the DR.  We left at 3 am and arrived at the resort at 6 pm the same day.  For those of you who know driving in Haiti, this is not relaxing highway driving!  Hats off to Rob for getting us there in minimum time.  3 hours of the road was just dirt.  At one point we were stopped for 45 minutes because a huge bus was stuck in the muddy portion of the road and was totally blocking the road.  The driver managed to get the bus stuck even worse, but he had turned the bus to make a way for other vehicles to pass.  I really don’t know how Rob got thru without getting stuck ourselves.  He put it in low 4-wheel drive and didn’t stop!  We were praying the whole time and I just couldn’t look!  I was also anxious about crossing the border.  We paid a Haitian guy to help us with every step and he took care of everything for us.  After 1 hour 15 minutes at the border we were on our way.
My favorite 2 pics:
Vacation DR August 2013
We stayed at the RIU Bachata in Puerto Plata for 10 nights.  It was a beautiful and restful location!  The resort had a huge, gorgeous pool and beautiful beaches.  We spent most of the vacation sitting at the pool or on the beach, swimming to our hearts content.  We ate too much, laughed a lot and lived in our bathing suits most of the time.  We snorkeled right on the beach, kayaked and rented the jet-ski for an hour one day.  We did a snorkeling excursion on a glass-bottom boat which was all of our favorite part of the week.  Even Braden got in the water, and although he did not snorkel, he could still see all the fish and his squeals of delight were priceless.  Each child had a time with a one-on-one date with either Mommy or Daddy.  Drew and Rob went on a dune-buggy excursion, Tessa and I went to the spa for a manicure for her and a pedicure for me, and Braden and Daddy played on all three playgrounds, did  a little shopping and ate ice cream together.  Rob, Drew and I spent a lot of time reading, which we enjoyed immensely!
Here are a few favorite pics:
It was such a relaxing and renewing time for our family.  A time of just being together with no outside pressures.  I am so thankful for my family and the time we had this summer to truly get away together.  We really needed it!  I’ve posted a few pictures, but if you want to check out all 260+ pics, you can find them here.
We extended our vacation by a few days to stop to visit the Citadelle in Hati, but that is a whole other blog post (and 175 more pics!) and was an amazing experience.
So many of you prayed for us as we drove there and back and prayed that we would have a restful family time.  Thank you!  It was a wonderful blessing for our family.
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