At home in Cabarete, Dominican Republic

Cabarete wasn’t a travel destination for us. We came here to spend time with my brother’s family, so once we arrived we quickly switched into chill mode. Our camera found a spot on a shelf and we didn’t reach for it much until we had to take some semi ‘professional’ photos of Sarita and my brother’s home.

Cabarete is their place to relax from the busy pace of Haiti and the house has been their labor of love for quite a while, but really their true labor of love is their beautiful little daughter Kalina. She was born the month we left on the trip and for 21 months she managed to grow into a trilingual cutie pie. Kalina quickly wrapped us the girls around her pinkie and I found myself trying to win her affection all the time. The harder I tried the more she played hard to get. B on the other hand treated her with boyish nonchalance and was constantly rewarded with hugs and adoration.

Kalina, like a true Bulgarian goes gaga over yogurt. My kind of girl ~

IMG_9907_editedI could write a whole book about her but this post is about the house, so I will keep on track while photobombing the serious house shots with daily ones from our time in Cabarete.

We were involved in the initial design of the house but we did the drawings without visiting the site. Even though we have heard about the stunning views we were completely unprepared for this~

IMG_0112_edited (1500x1000)From the second level one can see an endless open field of tall green yellow grasses playfully dancing with the wind. The dark lagoon waters chart navigable rivers and are like a mirror in which the sky draws ever changing clouds.

The light. The openness. The colors. The different moods. The breeze. I never got used to it all. Every time I looked at the view I would gaze at the lagoon in wonder.

IMG_0113_edited (1500x1000)If you manage to take your eyes off and look down you will see kids playing, splashing in the pool, running around, hanging out, jumping into the river while making a joyous ruckus. The neighborhood kids all adore Kalina, Dharma and Sarita and are super excited when they are home!

IMG_9456_edited (1500x1000)Inside the house has no window but shutters with screen that capture the wind. Love the filtered light effect and the feeling that you are in a crafted wood box.

IMG_0159_edited (1500x1000)And here is mischievous Kalina trying to pose for a photo:)

Kuba built the screen between the bedroom and the living room by framing some left over doors. The boys also made the stair/loft railings.

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TheMaster Bedroom

IMG_0129_edited (1500x1000)The loft space which was the kids’ bedroom

IMG_0162_edited (1500x1000)The downstairs was always teaming in activity, mainly around the kitchen. We quickly found out that Sarita is a master chef. With enviable grace she turned each meal time into a celebration!

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On top of it all she is an amazing baker. She lit a spark in the kids and every day they would learn how to make something new in the kitchen. Sarita, if you are reading this, B now is baking bread following your recipe and it is pretty close in taste to yours. Good job!

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It feels awesome to be in the kitchen working away while it rains outside. And when it rains in Cabarete it pours! You can’t even see the distant mountains.

IMG_0204_editedIMG_0195_editedThe neighborhood kids visited all the time. There is nothing like unscheduled free play. Kalina is growing up just like I did, with a bunch of kids and freedom that is enviable from my current perspective of a mom raising kids in USA.

IMG_9584_edited (1500x1000)The swimming/splashing pool

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These two cows would pass by every afternoon chasing off all the kids from the lagoon waters:)

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The farmer came to us every other day to bring fresh fruits and veggies. Talking about convenience!

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Carrots anyone?

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Scarlet and Kiara’s cooling off bucket.

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Our street. If we stayed longer I could probably have written a book with short stories about each neighbor. Colorful, interesting, engaging is how I would call 6th street. No need for a TV. Just taking a stroll and meeting neighbors was enough of an entertainment.

IMG_9421_edited (1500x1000)The beach was 15 min away. Kite surfing, kite surfing and then some more kite surfing.

IMG_9477_edited (1500x1000)Raina’s first kite surfing lesson with Queury.

IMG_9716_editedIt felt scary to let her be tied up to a big sail as she seemed so small and the wind was always blowing strong. We quickly found out though that strength doesn’t play a role but only confidence and awareness. As beginners we had to take a deep breath and relax, pay constant attention to the wind and learn to control the kite with gentle hands, otherwise we were bound to make a sudden move and land on a palm tree.

IMG_9750_editedIMG_9752_editedB took up to this new sport with his usual ease and in 3 days he was flying. This photo is at the beginning, when he is still practicing how to get out of the water.

Is learning kite surfing easy of difficult? The kids give it thumbs up, so if you have a chance to learn go for it. If you are adventurous you would love the challenge. Kite surfing in my humble opinion is the closest to flying, so it is totally worth the stiff neck, the sunburn, the stress, the hurting ribs and the pain all over your body the four of us went through as beginners.

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Looking at our photos from Cabarete my eyes get filled with color and my heart swells with love. I know we will be back soon as our kite surf needs to be used (yes, we bought one!), I need to get better at riding a horse without freaking out, B will have to check on his best friend Jeremy and learn more baking recipes, Kuba will have to learn how to change the direction of the kite board without stopping the runs and starting over and R has to make more stuffed animals from felt:)

These are all excuses though. We are already aching to see our family again and snuggle with Kalina!

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I am writing this post from Asheville and everything around me is green green green. People are inside of their houses instead of outside unless they have to walk the dog, throw out the trash, jump in a car or take a walk. I have forgotten how palatial houses here feel, how easy it is to get trapped in their comfort and security and how people spend more time inside than outside. Thankfully our kids run around in a neighborhood pack making the noise kids are supposed to be making.

As for the love, it is always with us. We have been giving friends long hugs over and over, even to semi shy huggers like Lindsey (I know you will read that L and blush your cute blush). But hey, 21 months away is a big deal, so we would keep on hugging until it gets old and everyone gets used to us being home.

So far so good.

Now we have to find jobs:)



P.S. The house is now up for short term rent while the family is away, so if you are looking for an affordable vacation spot that lets you explore a foreign culture and play at a kite surfing paradise drop me a line and I will hook you up. From December, 2015 there will be direct flights from Charlotte, NC. Just saying. 

4 thoughts on “At home in Cabarete, Dominican Republic

  1. Hola world travelers and “extended” family,

    Thanks for your terrific take on Cabarete.
    You captured the love and lifestyle so artistically and perfectly.

    We look forward to sitting around the kitchen table with you!

    Big hugs,
    Tony & Jennifer

    1. Tony and Jennifer,

      Can’t wait to sit by the kitchen table, swap stories and just be in your lovely company soon. We should all make a reunion in Cabarete! Our family will set up a tent in the banana patch next door and bathe in the lagoon:) The kids are currently camping in our back yard, so the adventure continues.

      Kisses from the four of us!

  2. Querida familia!

    Aww, you are bringing me to tears! I could not have said it better…my heart too is aching to see you all again, and very soon!

    Kalina, the little spunk, is at this very moment eating yogurt while also saying No!

    Raina, Boryan – how are the recipes going?

    Love u tons!

    1. Sarita Bonita, Dharma and the little Spunk – we are talking about you every day, so in a way, we have never left Cabarete. Sarita, your recipes need to be laminated, that’s how much we use them! Now we are without an oven for a month, so no baking, but we will start the yogurt making routine, so send the Spunk here. We will set her up with a yogurt supplied command center and let her rule… Love you mila, we should skype soon and see if her eyes will light up when B’s face shows up on the screen! Te estraño mucho muchisimo!

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