"First of all, I'm fine, Doug is fine, and our friend Caitlin is fine. :) Don't be too alarmed by the story you are about to read - we knew about the dangers when we moved here. I wanted to send you a personal account of what happened before you read it in a facebook update or something equally impersonal.
Last night, around 1:30 a.m., Doug, Caitlin, and I were robbed at gunpoint. We had stepped outside to wait for our cab, when we saw a white, late-model, white Honda Civic with black windows speed toward us and stop. They paused in that spot, then drove a little further and stopped again. We thought, at first, that it might be our taxi. Doug said something to the effect of, "Oh, look, we have a speeder" (referring to our taxi driver). Before we knew it, two men jumped out of the car with huge guns, one cocked his, and both started yelling at us. They shoved one gun into Doug's stomach and pointed another at his leg while they searched his pockets. He said the barrel felt warm, which means that it was probably just used. Caitlin, thankfully, didn't have anything on her except her apartment key, which they didn't seem to notice; she said, "No tengo nada," and they left her alone. They didn't even really come near me (thank God); I had the presence of mind to hand them my purse and pull out my pockets to show that I didn't have anything (although, now that I think of it, I could have gotten myself shot by reaching into my pockets). I was so afraid that they were going to abduct or rape me - I was just reacting to that fear, I guess. They took our shopping bags, realized one had two ceramic bowls, then dropped it and shattered one of the bowls. As they ran to the car, Doug turned to try to memorize the car make and model, and they started screaming at him. He says that he felt like the guy was considering whether to shoot him; thankfully, he decided against it. Immediately after, a guy started yelling and running towards us. Reflecting upon it, we're pretty sure he was trying to help, but in the moment it just freaked us out. All of us stood there for a second, dumbfounded, until I finally said, "Open the door, Caitlin!" and proceeded to make the process more difficult for her by continually saying "hurry up, hurry up, hurry up" (poor Caitlin). She scrambled to unlock the door to her building and we all hurried inside and shut the door. Whew - what an experience! They got away with 30 newly purchased hangers, some soap, two floormats, a bag of American change, my purse (including my sunglasses, cell phone, and Dominican debit card, my house and classroom key with my new "Idaho" key ring [bummer] and about $30)...in my opinion, not much! I had my engagement ring on - luckily they didn't think to look at my hand. The funny thing is that I had my hands up and the diamond turned around so that it was facing them (I usually walk with it turned in to deter robbers). Doug had his credit card, Dominican debit card, ID, and about $60 in pesos in a pocket they didn't search. Caitlin had her keys in her hand - they could have forced her to open the door and then robbed their apartment. All in all, we were so so so lucky, it's amazing."
Welcome back to Santo Domingo! Again, Mom, I would just like to repeat that I am fine. Luckily you don't read my blogs that often so we might not find out about this. It was a scary experience but a good lesson for us. I think we have all been feeling so safe here that we have stopped taking some basic precautions that we will be taking from now on.