February 28, 2014

Momma Miller

Having my mom visit was one of my favorite weeks here in Dom. Being able to show her how we live, see the culture and really immerse herself into our new life here was something I will cherish.

Matt and I could talk till we are blue in the face about things here in Dom. I could write a plethora of blog posts and take hundreds of pictures, but you don't get it until you are here and experience it for yourself.

Plus, it's just good to have your mom around no matter how old you are.

We picked her up from the airport and it was a shock for me just having her on the island, seeing the things Matt and I only see. The drive back was fascinating as she was taking it all in for the first time - things I tend to overlook such as the flowers and driving on the left side of the road. But Bruno did a great job of pointing out to her the wildlife, beautiful views and history of the towns so that she got the full experience.

We started dinner off at La Flambeau, a restaurant right on the water. I made sure she got a taste of the local flavor with the freshly squeezed passion fruit juice and breadfruit chips for the meal.

Matt had exam that Monday morning, so we took our time wandering through Picard. I showed her the grocery (and the prices) pointing out the selection of items. We stopped to get a fresh papaya from a street vendor. And of course got juice from the juice shack. Delicious.

Of course, it rained off and on all morning. Typical Dom experience.

Matt finished his exam, and after lunch the rain cleared and we made our way to Secret Beach. Secret Beach is exactly what it sounds like. It is a secluded little oasis around the bend from Coconut Beach. So secret, you have to take a boat there. And you can't be seen from the main beach. It is stunning! 

It was so wonderful to spend the afternoon lounging in the water with both Matt and my mom. It was Matt and I's first time to Secret Beach, too. We were the only ones there and started off the week in the most perfect way.

Plus, we also planned our announcement in the perfectly named sands of Secret Beach.

Tuesday Matt had the majority of the day off, so we made the long drive down the Caribbean coast to Scott's Head to see where the Caribbean and Atlantic meet. It's one of my most favorite places on the island as it is such a unique experience, the water is a gorgeous shade of turquoise and you get a stunning view of the island.

After Scott's Head, we went to see the twin waterfalls of Trafalger. 

Then to top off the day, we headed to Screw Spa, the natural sulfur spa. I've been here a few times, but Matt had yet to experience it. Needless to say, I didn't think I was going to get him or my mom out of the warm, soothing water. Unfortunately, I didn't get to enjoy due to Baby Wells, but my feet got to soak up the relaxation a bit. And of course we enjoyed the fresh fruit dessert treat after. I've grown accustomed to the fresh fruit here, but for mom, tasting the sweet bananas and delicious oranges reminded me of how lucky we are to be surrounded by the delicious foods here.

Then to top off a near perfect day, we drove up to Morne Bruce to overlook the capitol city of Roseau. Absolutely stunning!

Wednesday Matt headed back to class, and mom and I took it easy. I had an appointment that day, so mom got to experience the Ross Clinic. She also got to hear Baby Wells's heartbeat. After that, Matt took us on a brief campus tour, then her and I spent the afternoon relaxing at the pool. My kind of afternoon.

Dinner that night was at De Champ so we could show her the beautiful view and watch the sunset. Unfortunately the clouds prohibited the fantastic view, but dinner and company was excellent.

Thursday was a busy day! And it was Matt's birthday! Poor guy had class, so he insisted mom and I went on an adventure that day. But that didn't stop us from making him a birthday breakfast. Complete with pancakes with birthday sprinkles and all!

Then we were off to the Carib Reserve. The Kalinago are the last remaining tribe of native Caribbeans. The Dominican government has set an area of land for them to live much like a native american reservation. They make cassava bread in the reserve, which I had yet to try. It was different, but good!

We did a little shopping at the vendor booths, but then made our way to Roseau. We stopped by the vendor market to visit my favorite basket ladies and do a little souvenir shopping. Then of course we had to make our way to the leather shoes to see what they had. There are some new styles that we just had to purchase! After that, it was a quick lunch and then we stopped by the Juice Man to get a refreshing treat. Mom pointed out she was surprised I would get juice from him, as his 'stand' is a wooden booth of sorts. She said it's definitely not sanitary compared to U.S. standards, but it was the best juice she's had. Just another one of those things that I overlook, but good to be reminded of!

Then, we were off to the part of the trip that I looked forward to the most - whale watching! That was the one thing mom had wanted to do here. So we made our way to Anchorage Hotel and Dive Center and got ready to go out on the catamaran for a minimum of three hours.

Dominica is known for whale watching as sperm whales are widely seen in the waters here. Matt and I went whale watching and were lucky enough to see them on our first trip. They boast a very high success rate!

Regardless of seeing whales, you still have an excellent experience as they educate you on the procedures and the whales themselves. It's a very enlightening trip. Plus, the scenery of the island is beautiful.

Unfortunately, the whales weren't out that day, but we did spot hundreds of bottle nose dolphins. Such beautiful creatures! They swam and jumped alongside the boat keeping up with our pace. So fascinating!

We made it back to Picard to celebrate Matt's birthday! He decided on pizza for dinner, then I had gotten a cake and locally made ice cream for dessert. Happy island birthday!

Friday morning we relaxed and packed for mom's departure. Her flight left that afternoon. It was hard to believe it was time for her to leave already!

We had such an amazing week. Perfect weather, perfect experiences, perfect timing on everything. I couldn't have asked for anything more.

It was definitely sad to see her go, but knowing we'll be HOME in just a couple months make it that much easier. Plus, after all that driving, neither Baby Wells or I were crazy about getting into a car any time soon.

57 more days folks. Then we will be back in the States permanently. Can you believe it?

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