The Dominican Republic

Whew. Well here we are in the Dominican Republic. The beautiful, tropical D.R. We have enjoyed the warmer climate after several cold weeks in South America. There are more bugs here, but I'll trade that for not having to sleep in sweat pants and socks. Score.

We did an interview on a family's porch yesterday and their dogs were the cutest. Have you ever seen a Cup O' Dog before? Just add water.

It is nice to have Billy here as an extra pair of hands. Here he is rocking the boom mic.

There is just so much vegetation here! We heard once that in the DR all you have to do is plant rocks in the ground and something will grow. It really is that lush.

Here's Ramon showing off some of his beans :)

And yes, we eaten a lot of them too. Seriously I could live off of Dominican rice and beans. They are an art.

Today we went out to this little village way up in the mountains. Way cool. They usually take their motorbike, but I am pretty glad we had to take the car. Lots of up-hill driving through mud and gravel. Oh and we forded a river (that sounds a little more dramatic that it was, but it was pretty cool). We had a lot of fun and got some great shots out there.

One family had the coolest property. Lots of fruit trees and flowers. Chickens running everywhere. It was all so neat and tidy too. Even the outhouse was beautiful- a raised, clean-swept wood plank flooring, lots of light, and a pretty curtain covering the door. If Anthro was into outhouses this would have been the one.

It was kind of hard to take a picture inside the outhouse, but the outdoor kitchen I can show you. Airy and light. Just precious.

And they had 2 week-old goat triplets.

I am in love.

We finished the day getting some final footage of Billy. This picture shows you the grief we put our on-camera people through.

I laugh out loud when I see him sprawled out that way. What a great sport.

Billy leaves tomorrow and we sure will miss him! We'll be sad to see him leave but happy he can return home to Kate and their soon-to-be-born baby boy. Woohoo!

Adios y gracias, Billy!


Early this year there was a massive earthquake. Like a 9 or something like that. For people living on the coast an earthquake means a tidal wave is coming.

Especially if you live in a valley like this:

Can you see the ocean on the other side of those mountains?

Most of this valley was spared, but the ladies of the town have still slept up mountain in a little tent village ever since. They are so scared of being swept away by a tidal wave. I don't blame them.

Billy found a friend while we were there. Soon after one of the older women saw this cat walking by, picked up a rock, and hit it right on its back. It got out of the tent pretty quickly after that.

Sometimes video takes a back seat to more pressing adventures.

After meeting together the ladies pulled their resources and put together a snack of cake and cookies. They made us sit at the table and served us tea. It felt kind of awkward to be honored that way, but I know that to be able to serve us meant so much to them. They don't get to be hostesses often, you know? I spent the rest of the time holding back tears. Such precious precious people. I am so thankful to have spent time with them.

We drove several of the women back down the mountain afterwards. They live like ON THE BEACH. Fighting the cold wind and the tide. It's pretty brutal out there.

We've been some pretty cool places, my love and I.

And met some of the sweetest and most beautiful people.

How could one spend their 27th birthday better? It doesn't get much better than this.


To Chile!

We spent our last day in Montevideo walking around the city and shooting b-roll.

The seaside is just cool. Somehow even the smell of dead fish is nostalgic there. It was fun to sit there for a minute, watch people fish, and listen to the waves.

Some of the buildings were just so ragged there, but grand at the same time.

Then we flew over the Andes to Chile.

We are staying on old Wycliffe property where the New Testament was translated into Mapuche, the native language here. Kind of cool history. It makes the whole place feel kind of intense to me.

The missionaries that lived in this cabin used to get live trees to decorate for Christmas, then take them outside afterwards to plant. So these HUGE trees you can see here are 30 year-old Christmas trees! The breeze smells very festive around here :)

These yellow flowers were brought to Chile to be planted as fences because of their big thorns. Useful, but hard to control- they grow and grow and cannot be stopped. Atleast they have pretty flowers.

We visited some Mapuches on their land.

These are Mapuche gods.

They turn pigs and chickens into their fields to turn over the land and fertilize it. Awesome idea!

And sweet baby piggies too.

We had lunch with Daniel and Blanca and then passed the maté around.

We then visited another Mapuche home. Such sweet people. They all wanted to know why I didn't have babies yet :) They also asked Clay how much he paid for me.

The cute ham of an abuela :) Precious precious.


Where are we?

Yesterday we were on our way from Miami to Montevideo, Uruguay. Early early flight and then a little layover in Panama. It was fun to be in Panama since my parents lived there when they weren't much younger than us. Super cool to see the same mountains that I know they saw every time they flew into Panama City. It made me happy.

We then boarded what was to be our 6 hour flight to Montevideo.

Silly weather.

We couldn't land.

So they took us Buenos Aires, Argentina.When they said they were re-routing us we got a little excited. Buenos Aires sounds cool. And someone on the plane said that it's pretty easy to take a boat from the Buenos Aires to Montevideo, so we were kind of ready for a fun adventure. It turns out we had to just sit on the tarmac in Buenos Aires for a few hours.

There were numerous announcements made, all of them in Spanish, which unfortunately has been pretty sufficiently replaced by French in our brains at this point, so we didn't really know what was going on.

But the plane took off, so we were happy. We landed less than an hour later and I was so excited to finally be in Montevideo.

We weren't in Montevideo.

We were in Punto del Este, a different Uruguayan city, where they let us disembark (sweet freedom) and chill in the airport while they figured out what to do with us. I felt so sorry for the families with babies and little kids. They were all so tired. And I bet the diaper bags were running low.

Around 4am they loaded us on buses and drove us to Montevideo where we arrived around 6am. It was crazy. One of those "this will be funny to look back on moments" :)

Here's a picture of us on the bus finally on our way to Montevideo.

After getting some sleep we hit the town to get a feel for the city and plan out our next few days.

Here are some of my favorite shots from the day.

Just our luck, it's strawberry season :) 2 lbs for 1.50USD!

$.50 reward for a day well-spent shooting b-roll. The little family making this yummy fried dough was so precious. If they hadn't been selling something so dangerously good, we would have bought more :)


We're enjoying things this week.

Like seeing the bread my family eats at home.

And standing in awe in front of such a large selection of ziplocs.

The Cheesecake Factory.

Gi-normous glasses of ice water.

Oh, and pancakes.

And of course between meals and gawking down the aisles of Walmart/Target there has been plenty of work too.

Here's Clay's makeshift office.

Video-planning for our Latin America trip next week.


It's been a great week!


The more I see, the less I know.

Any day that begins like this...

...is a good day for Clay Sandoz.

We had a little free time yesterday.

Yes, we took to the roads.

The beautiful, big, open roads. Radio blasting more country music than Clay could stand.

We started the day in Black Mountain for lunch at My Father's Pizza.

You each want two really huge glasses of ice water and Dr. Pepper? Sure! Free refills? Of course! Can't decide between two pizzas? We'll just make it half and half, and do you want some Ranch with that?

We are so not used to this.

We made a quick trip out to Asheville after lunch to visit the Mass General Store.

And then...

To the mountains!

I am not quite sure how to express what summitting Hawk's Bill was like. Unbeknownst to us, the whole day was just so perfectly designed to end here.

It was 2 years ago that these were our stomping grounds as we went through training. 2 years ago we were eating our way through Black Mountain and Asheville. Hiking and camping in these mountains (that sounds a little dramatic... we only tent-camped there once and I didn't really like it... but enough about me, the mountain-girl) As we got to the top of the trail and the North Carolina mountains came up to meet us in their hazy, sage-like way, all we could think about was how much had happened since we last saw them. How our lives and hearts had changed since we stood on that exact spot.

It was different yesterday from 2 years ago. Cold and windy. Sprinkles of rain. Absolute silence as we looked out over one of the most majestic sites we've ever seen.

The last 2 years have been challenging at times. Really hard. We've been rattled, in some ways crushed, had so much of who we were deconstructed until there really wasn't much left. Our thoughts of who God is changed. We've seen how we've made him into something we want him to be and then freak out when he doesn't fit that any more, as if he'd let us down.

Coming back to North Carolina, a place where so much of this experience began, gazing out over the same mountains.

We both felt words wrapping themselves around our hearts. Solemn and salving words:

He's the same.

He is exactly the same.

We may have painted him differently 2 years ago. We may have had years of pain since then as some of the boxes we kept God in were destroyed.

But that doesn't mean that he wasn't who he was then.

And it doesn't change that he still is who he was and is now.

It's we who have changed, really, not him.

Our hearts are quieter now. Less sure of more things. Thankful for the humility he's made us drink though it wasn't so sweet on our tongues.

He's busted out of some of our confining and self-serving boxes. Yeah, he pretty much flattened them.

We descended the mountain yesterday aware of what he's done and wanting to know the real him more.