Norwell graduate and fifth-round MLB draft pick Josh VanMeter is with the San Diego Padres organization in an instructional league in the Dominican Republic. VanMeter, 18, is blogging about his experience for The Journal Gazette. His first entry details the weather, the food and the cultural experience of his first trip overseas.
Wow, what a first week it has been in the Dominican Republic. Almost everything except for baseball has been totally different than the United States.
First, let's start with the weather. My only two words I really have for it is holy humidity. The thick air just drains the life out of you when you are out on the fields in the middle of the day. That's has been a huge adjustment for me, especially coming form Arizona, where I spent my whole summer.
Secondly, just the culture of the island is so different. I have quickly learned that there is no way I would want to drive a car down here. It is absolute madness. I don't think these people have ever heard of turn signals, and people must not see the red light cause they run through them like it's their job.
Also, I have learned that the food is totally different than in America. Everything just has a slightly different taste. Early in the first week I had to revert to just eating my food as fast as I can, because some things just don't taste very good. However, things are starting to taste a little better as I am beginning to get used to the food.
One of the big positives of being here, though, is that there is a beach down the road that is about a ten minute walk. It has really helped me work on my tan, because as a lot of baseball players know, the farmer's tan is unreal right now.
Today, we are participating in our first community service event in which we will be working with kids from a local school, so today should be a fun and humbling day.
Finally, just want to make a shout-out to my family and tell them I love them and miss them!