it's been a while since i've updated my blog and i've found myself with a bit of free time...so here goes nothing. i'm still up in the mountains and i'm still enjoying it here, although training is becoming slightly monotonous. we spend hours and hours a day in technical meetings, but i don't feel any more prepared for the moment when i'm an official volunteer and am charged with improving the lives of young people in my community. nonetheless, i've been making good friends here, both american and dominican. the youth group i have been working with is really inspiring; despite their less than ideal living conditions they are filled with ideas and dedication for improving their community. they're also incredibly fun to hang out with-- this past saturday, we held a surprise party for another trainee's birthday and a lot of my youth group kids came. we danced merengue and bachata and just hung out together, which was really fun. another positive of this training is that i'm getting some good experience in dominican culture; by this, i mean i am adjusting to a lack of organization and structure in basically anything. (ex: my NGO internship consists of 4 trainees following around one dominican for 4 hours a day. while certainly an interesting experience, it's only nominally an internship.) i've also become accustomed to constant noise in my life, i think due to the fact that i live with probably the 2 worst behaved children in the country. it's actually pretty sad, as their mom has very few parenting skills and at least twice a day i watch her beat her kids with a belt because they don't want to get in the shower or some other absurd reason. i find myself really looking forward to getting to my site and just being a part of a community for the long haul. at the same time, i am pretty anxious about being by myself in my site, since i've been around other americans since we arrived in the DR. i'm sure i will adjust quickly, but it's a daunting idea at the moment. speaking of my site, in just 2 days us youth volunteers will get our site assignments from our APCD (the director of the youth program). i'm definitely looking forward to knowing where i will be living... hopefully it will be a campo (rural) site. ideally i would like to be somewhat near a friend or two, either that or have cell phone service so i can talk to people. i'm going to finish up this entry for now, but i'll write again on thursday when i know where you all can find me for the next two years. please keep emailing and writing letters, and i'll do the same for you. communication is awesome.