Sometimes, you find yourself in the Dominican Republic. You are upstairs at your abulas house trying very hard to practice your español with your PC amiga who also happens to now be your aunt. All of a sudden your host-Mom is there. She grabs you by the arm, half drags you to the guagua your father suddenly has waiting outside. You are on your way to your other aunts house for a birthday party you knew nothing about. Upon arriving at the house you hear music and join in dancing with your younger brother Albert. He is adorable, and the friends mention that you can dance and should go to a discoteca. You are pleased to know you now have one transferable skill. You are also reminded of the safety and security training you had this afternoon which involved drawing your perfect victim if you were a burglar and remember that it was a girl about your age at a discoteca. Put that aside. Your spanish is limited, you need at least one skill. This party ends as soon as it began. As you get home you wonder if your father rented this guagua just for this 2 minute drive or if your family has a hidden garage someplace. As you get into bed you hear your 8 year old brother singing "I want to dance with somebody!" because you were all singing this and dancing outside the door just minutes ago as mama looked on and laughed. You recognize that your Spanish has far to go, but for now, you are getting somewhere. Children know what you mean... Sometimes. They repeat without being asked. They accept that you don't understand anything.
As you reach for the light you take a look at the photo album you made before you left America, you miss your family. Your "novio", as mama said, and your "gabriella" and "Angela". (Dos anos es largo). So much has happened, but it has only been a few days. You live in the Dominican Republic. You speak none of the language and yet you accept your day to day life of nonverbal communication and surprise visits. The bucket bath is cold. The food is delicious, and your mama is limiting the sugar because you somehow communicated that you don't want a lot. This is your life. You are a Peace Corps Trainee.
At these times you just have to think... This is all worth it. The diarrhea they say is coming will be worth it. Likely being pick pocketed, is worth it. (One thing wouldn't be worth it, but prevention is out there and DR isn't to blame.)
For now, you turn off the light, and aim to dream in Spanish. Until another day, and pray the gum in your suitcase is the most interesting thing your brother finds!