Feliz Año Nuevo! Happy New Year!

I was sick over Christmas, which derailed the blog post I was planning. Oh well, I’m better now. Happy New Year! It’s good to be alive. The streets have been pretty quiet this Sunday morning after all the parties and fireworks late last night. On our drive home from church though, we noticed that the parties and drinking are starting up again today. It clarified for me our branch president’s caution to stay off the streets today because they would not be safe due to all the people who are partying hard this weekend. I suppose this is partly because today is New Year’s Day and the president of the Dominican Republic declared that tomorrow (Monday, the 2nd) is going to be an official no-work holiday. In fact, one of the narrow streets we usually take to get home from church was inaccessible because of all the motorcycles parked in front of one of the favorite bars.

Friday Mr Hot Stuff and I were set apart as temple workers here. I don’t know exactly what that will mean for me, but hopefully I pick up the Spanish words for the ceremonies really quickly! More adventures ahead!

Our Christmas was quiet. Brad got sick a couple of weeks before Christmas, and then I came down with it a few days before. It messed up our plans to do some sightseeing in the area, but on Christmas day we called our families and spoke with them, and that was nice. Another missionary couple here brought some soup over to us a couple of days before Christmas. It was so good and felt so good to eat it. Another couple brought over some facial tissue and ointment for my sore nose. It’s amazing how these seemingly small things feel like a big rescue when you are in need.

In between Mr Hot Stuff’s recovery and my getting sick, we went with other missionary couples to the “Christmas Village” here in Santo Domingo. It was crowded, and not cold. It was so strange to be looking at Christmas light displays and not be freezing cold at the same time!
This was the sunset view from the restaurant we ate at before going to see the Christmas lights.

Our kids made a beautiful combined-family nativity video that I will always treasure. I know a lot of work went into editing all the video clips and putting it all together. It was the first thing I saw on Christmas morning, and it made me cry happy tears.

This week we took a walk down to a papelería (literal translation is a paper store – they sell office and art supplies, as well as other things) to buy some art supplies and on the way home we passed a hair salon. Mr Hot Stuff convinced me to go in and get a haircut. I’d been complaining about needing one, but it’s intimidating when you aren’t sure you will communicate well. Anyway, the haircut went all right. It’s a basic, layered haircut, leave the bangs alone, I want to let them grow out. Then it came time to style it. Oh. My. Merciful. Heavens. I have never experienced a hair dryer that hot. She got my hair so straight with that thing. You could see the steam billowing up from my hair. I think it burned me a little. It took two days and a wash before I wasn’t smelling burned hair. If this is what Caribbean women do to their hair on the regular, they are – wow. I’m not doing that again. The haircut maybe, but not the blow-out. I want to keep my scalp, thanks.

I haven’t given a lot of thought to goals for the new year. I find that living this missionary life is such an organic growth and goal-oriented process that opportunities for self-improvement show up almost daily. I do have a goal of learning Spanish. I am learning it. Very slowly. But I’m learning it. Poco a poco.

Mr Hot Stuff and I have been asked to speak in church next Sunday about temples and how they bless our lives. In Spanish. That should be fun. Pray for me please.

This big tree in the park is losing its leaves and they are huge. It’s interesting how they fold up on themselves as they dry. The tree branches are never without leaves though, the old ones get pushed off as the new ones grow. This is a seasonal thing, and right now is the season for the leaves to fall.
And the plumbing mystery continues.


  1. Hi you two! Heather, you do such a good job on your blog posts. We see the Lord’s hand in watching over you and teaching you new skills. I thought the cookies were a good idea. In Jack’s mission they made plates of food with a huge variety of cookies, fudge, even little smokies! Ha Ha and they took them to the less active families. He loved it. I loved that he said it was his best Christmas ever. I also loved that your kids and grandkids made a sweet video for you. Those are the things that we cherish forever!
    Ted is getting very serious with this really great gal that we love. They probably will be married in the spring. We may have to retire from being so involved in rearing those kids. I will gladly step aside 🙂 Hang in there! We will pray for you. Love you! Keith and Debbie

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m thinking that your experience with music is helpful in working on an accent in a new language. If I have a little bit of a correct notion, it seems that one of the secrets to the accent is the music and rhythm of it, knowing which vowel to hold longer, etc. But what do I know. I shouldn’t hurt.

    Liked by 1 person

    • That could be. I seem to be able to hear the tones of some languages more easily than others, but the biggest thing I’m noticing is the advantage of having a huge English vocabulary to draw from. It makes anything Latin-based a lot easier. Knowing what to use and when requires a lot of listening time though to learn some of that sense of natural fit for verbs and the speech timing. There are a lot of missionaries here who have more musical skill than I have, who really struggle with the accent, but still manage to communicate ok. I am still at the stage where my brain goes back and forth trying to figure out what language I’m supposed to be speaking and it freezes me up. Weirdly, I understand better when people aren’t speaking directly to me. I think because it’s a lower-stress situation that doesn’t require a response. Ah, well, it’s all coming along with small improvements day by day.


  3. I’m slow to respond because I just haven’t been on the computer much. Still don’t have my energy back. In truth, I think I had COVID. Tomorrow marks 4 weeks since it started. Don’t know how 3 tests came back negative. Oh well. The doc said I was no longer contagious and that was ten days ago. I’m improving. My girlfriends came for lunch today. Now I just want to collapse rather than attend Camron’s zoom institute class with him. Time seems to be the healer no matter the test results. We’re praying for you and your talk on Sunday. Love you.

    Liked by 1 person

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