Because after I made this list, I realized that I was flawed in my thinking!  I listed the unimportant, inconsequential things FIRST, and then added the really important things (the PEOPLE) to the end of my list, as if they were an afterthought.  When I saw what I had done, I was appalled at myself.  The REAL reason we love Jarabacoa so much, is because God has given us these PEOPLE to befriend us,
1.  So, the MOST IMPORTANT reason we love Jarabacoa so much is because of the PEOPLE here who have given of themselves to welcome us, feed us, give advice, invite us, and befriend us in our first few weeks.  So grateful for them and the community they have built here.  Here are a few of them (and I do mean a FEW, because there are so many and I only have pictures of some).
Chad and Krista, whose story of living in the DR for the last 17 years inspired and spurred us on to take this step and live a new adventure.  They have shown the Lord's kindness to us in so many ways.
Sandy's job was to pick us up from the airport...her huge smile and Spanish skills made us fast friends.  Hubs Darrell is a sweetheart too.   They bought us dinner on our first night and we helped them move into their new house last week!   Hmmm....buying a house in the DR...we kinda want to be their neighbors.
The view out Darrell and Sandy's porch.  What's not to love?
The Mac's were the first to have us over to their house for dinner.  I believe it was chili and cornbread.  Max and Caden (their oldest, a 7th grader) have become buds, going to Wyldlife and playing football.  Harley and Abby (mom and dad) are teachers at Doulos and they're in the process of adopting a Dominican child or maybe 2!  You can see why I am impressed and find them to be SO lovely to be around.  (and they're Steeler fans...really???)
And the are too beautiful, inside and out!   Denae as ranslator/Spainish teacher and Dan as business cohort/furniture builder have helped us in so many ways ...the world needs to LOOK OUT because God surely is doing something amazing in this house.
Of course there are many others who will no doubt make their way onto this blog and onto the facebook look for more faces shining with Jesus' love.
So on to the other things I love so far...
2.  It's a small town.  Really.  4 stop lights. 2 hardware stores.  You can't go anywhere without running into someone you know.  And if you're Joe Atkinson, this would be impossible anyways.  He knows someone just about everywhere we go.  Of course I realize there might be a down side to always running into someone you know, but I'm not there yet.
3.  You can just walk there.  You CAN basically walk just about anywhere you need to go.  A few friends live a mile or so out of town, a little farther than I might LIKE to walk, and it would be quite a calve work out, but you could do it.  And we have a car now, so no one really HAS to walk.  But you can.  And it's funny how having a car (just 1) seems like such a luxury.
4.  The weather.  And add to the weather the beautiful views and lush vegetation, which technically makes this 2 things.  We are still sleeping with the windows closed and a fan going, mostly for the white noise effect, and because we're basically "mosquito-phobes" still.  Don't want to get the Dengue fever, you know!  Mornings are cool and the days are warm and breezy.  They say we're in the "perfect" time of year and the heat's coming, but I'll just enjoy it now and live in denial.
5.  Doulos Discovery School.  I will have to go into more detail in another post, but the short list goes like this:  I love...expeditionary learning, the teachers, the adorable pre-schoolers, my awesome Spanish tutor, the whole school takes recess in the morning, there's an on-campus cafe that feeds my family all day long, morning staff prayer, daily all school gathering at flag, and seriously, the list goes on and on.  If you haven't looked at their website yet (because I think I link to it often) please check them out

Here I am with Griselda, who faithfully works at Cafe Taino, our on campus cafe.  She is a delight and she is my daily Spanish conversation partner, whether she wants to be or not!
6.  Avocados are cheap.   Of course, they are now out of season here in the DR, so they're imported and not quite as cheap, BUT there are a plethora of other inexpensive vegetales to choose from and a quaint little market at which to buy them.  I do a lot of pointing and smiling, and somehow manage to take home a large bag or two full of items for which I usually pay around $5.  I have yet to make it to the meat market, so we've mostly been cooking vegetarian style (except for some bacon and lunchmeat) and everyone seems pretty happy with it.  Wha??

Some of you may have already seen these pictures of the avocados on facebook, but for those of you that are avoiding the FB experience, here ya go!
Yes, it's nearly as big as his head.
So we moved into an apartment last week.  For the first time.  The big selling point was that they are brand new.  But brand new in the DR can have some pros and cons to it.
Good:  nice entry area, landscaping to come.
Bad:  wires still cascading across the steps...not so good for the clumsy, sir-trips-alot in our family.  That would be me.
Good:  three nice bedrooms.
Bad:  no beds yet.
Good:  kids love their hammocks.  and they insisted on bringing them.  thanks Brazil!
Bad:  not much else to put in there yet.
Good:  It's a new building.  This is the view from our balcony.
Bad:  Still working on the others.  Done soon? Months?  Years?  Dominican time.
Good:  Nice and bright with lots of windows.
Bad:  No screens yet (not a very common feature here) and the mosquitos love me. and not in a good way.
Once we get some furnishings, I'll post some more pics!
There's been a lot of mixing and pouring and forming and smoothing going on here in Jarabacoa.  And a lot of rain.  But the work continued!  During our first week, Joe worked with a team of high school students from Cuyahoga Valley Christian Academy in Ohio.   What hard workers! 
Watch the progress...
The before...laying out the new ramp that will lead to the lower level classrooms.
They dug out the path.  It was great to see them working with our Dominican friends..
The new classroom building is a two story building with 4 classrooms accessed from the upper level and already occupied.  The lower classrooms are accessed from below...thus the need for a ramp!
Then just in time for the concrete, a big group from Spring Arbor University in Michigan shows up!  Yay for burly college guys!!!
And and the first phase is complete!  Funds were available to keep some of the Dominicans working even after the work team left.  So, more has been happening in the last few weeks!

Joe is in his element, using the gifts that God has given him to organize, teach, motivate and encourage young people to work hard and work smart.  He absolutely loves working with his Dominican counter parts, Carlos and Patricio, who patiently listen to our span-glish and always have a smile and a hug for us.

And if you're not a "h