Good morning, everyone!
I would like for everyone to know that I made it back safely to Washington DC! I must admit that I was nervous about being interrogated by the Dominican custom authorities as I exited the country. Nonetheless, I made it through without any hassles and I did not even have to pay the fine for overstaying my visa.
I felt so relieved as I walked towards my assigned gate to await my connecting flight to Puerto Rico Wednesday afternoon. As I waited, I walked around and enjoyed the feeling of being a “free man” again; browsing the different stores and enjoying a nice cup of coffee. As the time came for me to board, I returned to find out that my flight had been delayed for 4 hours. Then I was told that I would have to wait and return tomorrow at the same time. I immediately started to worry about my parents who were driving 4 hours from Lynchburg, Va. to meet me. I negotiated another flight that would bring me in early Thursday morning. I phoned my parents to let them know that it would be one more night in the Dominican Republic (they’ve been waiting for this day for a while now). They were content knowing I was given a voucher for hotel, transportation and food.
The following morning I returned to the airport and had to go through the same process with the Dominican authorities. Again, I made it through without any hassle. Coming into the USA via Boston it was cold, snowy and I was thoroughly interrogated about overstaying my visa in the DR. Eventually, I was allowed to pass through. It feels good to be back home, despite the colder weather. I’m excited to see the many friends and family members who supported me through this difficult chapter of my life. I’m grateful to have such wonderful support and readers who’ve followed my story since the beginning.
Thank you, thank you, thank you!
I look forward to keeping you all informed about life after being trapped in other country. I will miss the Dominican Republic..the tropical beaches, sancocho soup, the many wonderful people, bachata music, motoconchos, and fried fish along the riverside. However, its time to reflect, restore and move forward.
Thursday marked 3 months since the robbery and fire. However, Friday I received the final document officially dropping all charges and which gives me permission to finally leave the Dominican Republic.
The days of waiting have been humdrum and routine. I felt like the character in Ground Hogs Day. It was easy to forget the day of the week and the date. It was easy to succumb to occasional depression and anxiety. I tried to stay active and to enjoy more of the present moment. That included long walks on the beach, swimming in the ocean, taking kayaking lessons, morning motorcycle rides through the countryside, small conversations with foreigners and locals, giving English classes, people watching, writing, billards and simply laying on the beach and continuing to dream. What will the next chapter of my life be? Where will I go? Where will my dreams take me next?
During my last week in Cabarete I moved in with a couple of Dominican friends in the nearby town called Sabaneta. This allowed me to save money and the opportunity to be in the company of others. I had to fletch water from the backyard well in order to bathe…a humbling experience to say the least. However, I learned the importance of still believing in others and, most importantly, myself! I could not have gone thru this without the continual support of my family, friends and extended community of people I haven’t seen in years…I’m one lucky individual! I appreciate you all and look forward to seeing each and every one of you upon my return.
Due to last minute logistics I have not yet bought my ticket home. I will keep everyone updated. In the mean time, I’ve returned back to Santo Domingo with the family of my good friend, Miguel.
Thanks again for taking the time to read my story!
“What doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger”