Monday, April 12, 2010

If you haven't already asked, here's the first "Why?" queston: "Why did you move?"

Last summer (June 2009), I vacationed in Bayahibe, Dominican Republic, one of the most beautiful, clean, palm-lined stretches of beaches on the southern coast.

On an all-day boat trip that included snorkeling, artisan village visit, lunch and beach visits, I had a spiritual experience. Speeding across the Caribbean Sea, looking at the most amazing color of blue...

alternating sandy and rocky shores, with tiny natural paths
leading deep into protected, lush green, national forests...
- a sudden, joyful fullness came over me, starting at the top of my head and with a whoosh, pushing out my sandy toes. The immediate thought paired with this filling was "I need to be here".
I spent the next six months praying for God to guide me and give me a sign, until it dawned on me I had already had received my sign - very clearly while there on that boat. So, I decided to just start planning and do it.

When asked where I would be living, as if from the same illogical source as "I need to move to the Dominican Republic," I inexplicably answered without a thought, "Santo Domingo." To understand how ironic this is, you must know that this is a two hour drive from Bayahibe (plus a long boat ride if you consider where the experience occurred), there are no beaches, and though it is a coastal city, very little of that particular color of blue water or lush green exists along the coast in this city of three million people (and it feels like nine million cars). In all my complaining, I am also learning wonderful things about Santo Domingo - but it is a strange answer for someone who made a decision looking at protected beaches.

If I had known the following very strange information I might have tried to convince the voice of Providence to change the location He chose to blurt out of my mouth.

"The cities with the highest level of population congestion are: Manila, the Philippines; Cairo, Egypt; Lagos, Nigeria; Macau, off the Chinese coast; Seoul, South Korea; Dhaka, Bangladesh; Buenos Aires, Argentina; Jakarta, Indonesia; Kaohsiung, Taiwan; and Santo Domingo, the Dominican Republic. To drive a car in any of them might be the ultimate challenge." Source:

(Doesn't that list seem like the child's game "One of theses things is not like the other..."?)
Back to the first "Why?" So I have now told you "why" I am here, and I still don't know "why" I am here. I guess it's a personality thing. In spite of appearing reckless in making this move, I still like to have a purpose, an answer, a specific goal to work towards. I have none of that, except to try to figure out 'why?'. Yet I am learning, in the heat and the relaxed culture, sometimes we are supposed to just 'be'. And maybe the why is supposed to come to me. (Will I recognize it? Do I need to recognize it? Now that's a concept to ponder - to fulfill a purpose, and not even know you are doing it. In fact, that must happen all the time!)

Before arriving in the DR, I had suspected it was to get me to rest a little. It turns out that has not been the case, at least not for the first two and a half months. Severe culture shock and difficulties with water, electricity, cell phone and internet reception all make for exhausting attempts to "fix" things!

I also thought perhaps I would be able to save money, and that is happening, though not as much as hoped. Costs in one of the most congested cities in the world, where you have to add crossing an ocean to all the other delivery costs of products, are not exactly competetive. Yet most things cost less than the States.

For example, I broke a crown in half. I was concerned about my first exposure to the dental system here, especially since low salaries tend to lead to dentists having lots of experience in pulling teeth instead of making them pretty. A female  dentista and oral surgeon gave me two choices. A new crown for about $450 fully guaranteed, or glue back on the half that fell out for about $50 - no guarantee whatsoever. I chose the second; the first would still be available later if needed. Two weeks later, all is good.

What about income, you ask? I am working with graphic design clients in the United States willing to work via e-mail (which I already did with most clients anyway, without ever meeting with them in person, and often without even phone calls).

Of course, I'll keep photographing, as I have new and wonderful opportunities here. I figure after 20 years of taking pictures of palm trees in the desert, it’s time to start photographing them on the beach! But also the Botanical Gardens with water lilies! (I know, I know, I've been promising those for weeks. If you use the middle link below, you will see several new photos - including my new favorites, the Water Lily Wash Series. And some day I'll post them here...

I have on-line galleries to help represent me: and They both print and ship. And of course anything found on can be added, by request, to one of these galleries.



  1. I just saw your profile on my LinkedIn home page and saw your blog post listed there. I knew you were considering moving but didn't realize you had done it. I am so proud of you for following through with your vision. Please post more photos and continue to share your stories of life there. God bless you,

  2. WOW--WHAT BEAUTY!!! Thanks so much for sharing these pictures. It reminds me of Tahiti especially the water. The beaches look absolutely pristine--so peaceful. God created a beautiful planet, didn't He. It looks like you are right on course now with your photography and doing just what you love. God has given you a wonderful talent. May He bless you and your work, and also guide you to share Him with people that you meet.


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