Monday, September 30, 2013

Working day

Recently, my most active blog reader asked me the question: "So what exactly is your project?"

Which I took to mean this: "So why did you leave me here in America? It looks like you went almost two thousand miles away to set up a crappy little house filled with old two liter bottles and sit in that crappy house sweating and reading all day. Besides, by the looks of it you don't even know how to say hello in Spanish, because you don't have any friends."

Well, I'm here to set the record straight.

It is 0848 here in the D.R. which means it's 0648 at home. What are you doing?

I am currently sitting in my house. (I decided not to tell you I was naked. I wouldn't want to give away just how much time Peace Corps Volunteers spend sitting in their houses naked, typically sweating with a book in their hands.)

I am siting in my house in the only chair I have because I just took a shower. I just took a shower because I finished exercising only moments before. I exercised this morning after I had a meeting with the director of the school. I had a meeting with the director because I am setting up an event with the school for 50 kids that includes a trip for 10 kids to Puerto Plata. The meeting included me explaining that I had worked out transporte with a different guy in town. The meeting was a success because only moments before I was walking to the school in the street on the phone with a guy in Puerto Plata that works at Banco Ademi. I was telling the guy at Banco Ademi, over the phone in Spanish (while walking) that I had set up the event with the school and I had the dates and transporte set. This was all in my best business casual (read: khaki pants from my internship in Germany, belt from my job at Cracker Barrel, purple sweater from GoodWill, socks stolen from my mom and shoes from the Peace Corps Dominican Republic office free box.)

This day was sustained by the strawberry and added plain instant oatmeal and red berry hot tea mix I prepared this morning before dressing myself.

All after waking up at 0600 (for no reason, and with no alarm, but people always brag when they wake up at 0600 as if it took everything in them so I decided to join in the fun, even if it's not exactly an accurate account of my feelings.)

1. Woke up at 0600
2. Prepared a balanced meal
3. Took a walk (5 min to school)
4. Had a successful phone conversation in Spanish
5. Had a meeting with a school director
6. Set details for a 60 person event
7. Took another walk (5 minutes home)
8. Exercised (60 squats, 32 crunches, jumping jacks, 3 sets of 35 second planks, and other stuff)
9. Showered
10. Blogged and ate hard boiled eggs.

That was 10 things before 9 a.m.

So, my dear, put 'er there. I have successfully worked in the Dominican Republic. (Even if this is the first and only day ever that I work, I can claim it for the rest of my life. I workED in the D.R.)

How to love

From "Lamb" by Christopher Moore.

> "You drill us every day in the same movements, we practice the same brush strokes over and over, we chant the same mantras, why? So that these actions will become natural, spontaneous, without being diluted by thought, right?"
> "Yes," said Gasper.
> "Compassion is the same way," said Joshua. "That's what the yeti knew. He loved constantly, instantly, spontaneously, without thought or words. That's what he taught me. Love is not something you think about, it is a state in which you dwell. That was his gift."

Sometimes a book I don't expect reminds me of who I want to be. To have given more to the people of the world than I took and to have loved exponentially more than I let myself hate; that is my mission statement.

Saturday, September 28, 2013


(You should know this photo is my version of a dime piece. That is, died pesos de "cornflay", por favor.)

Here the word "corn-flay" means "cornflakes", but it also means "cereal". What I don't understand is how it's never evolved past that.

When someone told me they had "corn-flay" I asked them what kind. They looked at me, laughed, and then contorted their face as if I'd asked them what the square root of an equilateral octopus was. It's not that difficult. What type of cereal are you offering me? In the states we would answer: "Cheerios", "Trix", "Fruit Loops" or any other type of cereal. Here, people won't even differentiate that it's chocolate, fruit, or circles. How hasn't anyone ever wanted clarity in cereal here?

I can understand if cornflakes were the first to make their way to this island, but Tony the Tiger is here with the frosted variety tambien. Doesn't anyone ever want to know if they are being given sugared or plain?

The city is just as bad as the campo. Those nesquick chocolate balls called "Nesquick" are referred to as cornflay. The two ton sack of fruit o's... Also cornflay.

Whatever. I guess I should just submit to it while I'm here and know that when I'm home I can choose cinnamon life over cornflay whenever I want.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Because the Internet is a thing

I was telling my sister about my good friend Antonio and joking that he was into her. This came about when he mentioned she was pretty. To this my sister asked, "Oh, is that the guy that added me on Facebook?"

Me, confused, "No. He doesn't have a Facebook. Who added you on Facebook?"

Sister: Some Spanish looking dude with white hair.

Amanda: OMG. That's my project partner.

Now, you all remember how overbearing that "relationship" felt. I thought it was over. So okay, that was a thing.

Move ahead about a week.
I'm home from a trip to the capital and my project partner comes to my house to chat. It's dark, it's late, I've just done battle with bugs and I'm ready for bed. We talk and then he goes to leave. He turns around. Says he forgot to mention one thing.

"Your Mom is coming to visit."

I'm totally confused. Who is he talking about? My host mom? His mom. What do to mean. He starts to tell a story.

"Yes. She and I are friends on Facebook." He says her FULL name here. "She speaks Spanish."

Really? Why? I don't even know how to feel. Go Mom, you speak Spanish. The person who creeps me out the most in the world is now your best friend.

He tells me she and he discuss how wonderful I am.

I think I'm supposed to be happy. Really I just feel like I can't have any privacy from this guy.

I'm about to joke about ETing again.

(P.S. I'm going to throw this in so as my mom doesn't in any way think I'm upset with her. Not your fault, Mom. Not your fault this guy is a creeper. Not your fault I let it creep me out when it's probably totally and completely normal... Even though it's weird.)

The most terrifying thing ever

I may or may not have mentioned that my new house was sometimes plagued with unwelcome guests in the noche; namely, cockroaches.

Now, being as I am in the Peace Corps I've been really strong about these critters. I have covered all of my utensils and kept my food in containers in other containers. I used my mosquito net properly at night to keep critters out of my beautiful hair.

Then, being as I am me, I began researching different, safe, nontoxic ways to get rid of these night terrors. I read a few things, but didn't stress too much about it. I began asking my fellow Peace Corps Volunteers what they chose to do. Everyone said the same thing... Spray. Get spray. You need spray. Find spray. It's cheap, it kills, it's worth it.

So I bought the green spray with a picture of a cockroach on it at Jumbo. I came home and night appeared. I read the Spanish words because I was trying to decide if the spray was for direct contact with the bugs or for contact with my house. Well, I saw a critter and decided to start spraying. He died.

I went mad after that. I sprayed the walls where I know they like to think they can hold a residence. I aimed for cracks and was really just hoping for the best.

Wouldn't you know it, cockroaches started coming out of the cementwork (my house isn't wooden). They were crawling for the roof and many didn't make it that far before they fell. I found more cracks and then went to the back of my house. I wanted some fresh or while the bugs dealt with my message.

When I came back in it was dark and I put my flashlight at the wall. Then I saw it. Crawling out of my map of the DR it looked like a giant snake.

It was a centipede. Bump that. I was squirming with a crazy force. Terrified, I ran as I caught my breath. As I snuck back into my kitchen it was gone. Dang! I'd lost sight of my challenger.

No, he was on the ground. His life was failing. The spray had hit him a little. I added some more. It was the scariest bug I'd ever seen. It didn't help that the PC doctors said this was the only but to worry about on this island and that one girl woke up with it in her hair because the mosquito net wasn't tucked in tight enough.

So eventually it dies and shrivels up smaller than it was and I can't even bring myself to take a picture because, eww.

So that night I spray more in my room and they come out of he cement work trying to escape. I won't tell you what it was like when I realized my mosquito net, too, wasn't tucked in right enough, because a creature was walking all casually across my bed as I read the book "Lamb" by Christopher Moore, thanks Conner for that. I'm not going to describe how fast I ripped my net out so I could escape. I may have screamed a little. I won't mention how I was leaning down and something jumped off of my mosquito net and landed on my naked back. I swear they were trying to get me out of the house just as quickly as I'm trying to get them out. Who will win?

Anyway, I got back in my returned net. Took a look through all of my covers and turned out the light. "If I can't see it it can't see me. If I can't see it it can't see me." Yeah right.

I woke up to a floor of dead but carcasses. I felt kind of bad because one was still moving a little. I used to think I cared about the environment then my house was filled with cockroaches.

I will put out there that as I swept the bugs out a random chicken I've never seen in my yard ran in and ate them and am I could think to do was pray the poison didn't kill the chicken later.

So, what do you think? What would you do? I'm thinking about getting a bomb thing. I assume they have then here somewhere. I'll check tonight and if my house still seems to have a lot, I'll go for the big guns and buy a bug bomb.

Monday, September 23, 2013

The Dirty South

I am going to the capital this week for a Teaching English Conference and decided to take a side trip to visit a friend's site. This visit was to El Palmar in the dirty south to visit Sara. She lives in a small campo surrounded by batays 3, 4, 5, and 6. The landscape of this part of the country is very different from my area. There are cacti everywhere and more mosquitos that I care to deal with. It was nice to get a little taste of this part of the  country and also to find reasons to be thankful I live where I live.

Sara is a great girl. She is from Kentucky and actually went to Transy, so we get our Kentucky chat going con frecuencia. She lived in Lexington and has stated that it's a great place. She has done AmeriCorps twice and was living in Austin before PC. Sara knows a lot about a lot and is a reader of great books which, surprise-surprise, I love. Overall, wonderful, wonderful human being.  

Our first night  brought on this little date. We opened a bottle of wine and Sara made a delicious meal of boxed macaroni and cheese.  I provided the film. Do you recognize it? It was that new one "The Big Wedding." I just want to take this time to side track and talk about how wonderful I think Diane Keaton is. I think she is a wonderful actress and a classy older lady. She has a style all her own and is just an all around wonderful gal. 

The next day was international clean the beach day. This was a work trip too. I went to Barahona with a brigada verde group and we spent a few hours in the sun cleaning the beach. (Ignor my weird outfit and awkward hair. It was really hot, I was comfortable, and the water here is really doing some weird things to my hair.

I took more selfies than I normally would because I was trying to get the label on this hat to show up in a picture, but it never really worked and I was done trying. 

                    We started with a meeting. 

And then set out to clean these things up. I found so many shoes, but not a single pair. I guess that would make sense, because why else would you leave your shoes at the beach. 

I was also able to hang out with another volunteer I had met a few months before. Papa Dengue has been here for about a year and has a really cool job. He is mapping out the country to create Disaster Relief maps. His Peace Corps life is kind of like a 9-5 job and he seems to really love it and has a chance to use his college degree for what it was meant for, so that's cool. He also lived in Denver for a time working as a Paramedic. Really, truly, a cool dude. 

The Brigada Verde group was there as were this other group of people that Sara told me were basically the AmeriCorps of the DR. 

These bags are filled with plastic bags, clothing, shoes, parts of tires, medical waste, glass chips, diaper pieces and a lot more that I couldn't even name. It was a great dent, but trash here is a problem that I've mentioned before. Honestly, I don't have a solution, and I am not convinced the way we do it in America is all that great for the environment either, so I won't state too much, but I do feel that I can say, trash here is a problem and it doesn't seem like anyone is even looking for a solution. 

After the beach we headed for a Haitian Market. I wanted to find some new running shoes (which turned into a long process, because as some of you remember, I have large feet. It's hard to find my size in the states, so imagine at a random market in the DR that basically resells free things that were sent to them from other countries). Sara and I also both wanted to find ropa for upcoming vacation time in the DR. I found 2 new bathing suits. They were perfect for me and I got a great price because I was buying them at a market in the DR. Overall, the market was a win. 

At the same time, the day was hot and full, so we decided to catch a beer before Sara and I hopped back on the hour long guagua back to her site. 

Another little date night. Conner made the food stuffs and I sat around talking about whatever. This was burrito night. 

This was also identity thief night. Not the best movie, but Sara liked it WAAAY better than Friends With Kids, which I love. 

The next day we were going to a Construye Tus Sueños graduation. I should talk about that here, because this is something I want to do at my site. Construye is a competition for jovens age 15-30. Peace Corps Volunteers teach a business class and help the students write a business plan. Then, in October, there is a competition. The top 15 business plans get to present their plan in front of a panel of judges who deicide three winners. The prize is the capital you need to start up your business. It's a really cool program and I am excited about starting it in my site in January. I've been reading the manual in my down time, because I want to be sure I understand the entire thing when the time comes to teach it. I also want to be sure I learn all of the spanish vocabulary I am going to need to teach this class. 

Isn't Sara beautiful. 

This is the group of students in her community who graduated. The boys took the class, and the women are the people each decided to bring to their graduation. 

And a final date night. Sara made something with Curry and it rice that was really delicious and if she weren't still sleeping I'd ask her what the name of it was, but she is still sleeping, so I'm not going to go ask her. 

Overall it was a wonderful trip and a nice insight to the dirty south. Veteran volunteers always say to not waste your R&R days and to see as many different places as you can in your two years, and that is my plan. I've been north, east, and now south, but I am still scratching the surface. 

Thursday, September 19, 2013

My house (finally)

I am finally going to post about my new house. I have teased my (avid, I'm sure) readers with snippints here and there, but this is going to be a full fledged (band-with stealing because of all the pictures) post about my new home in the Dominican Republic. Also, because I don't want to make you wait until the end, I will put the customary "I live on my own now so COME VISIT ME" sentence right here in the beginning. Get ready. You will see some of the beginnings of my creative (read: money saving) ways I have already ghetto-rigged my house for ease of use.

I should probably tell you the story of how I got my house. I was living with my host family and I had already come back fro 3 Month IST. Most everyone at IST had already found their home and were just doing the "Get Security to My Campo ASAP so I can move into my new home" dance, and I was doing the "Oh, I should probably look for a house" dance. I decided to walk my street and find a house. I think I've already told the story about how my doña tried to sneak me into a different house, so I won't get into that too deep. By the time I was over walking and the sun was high I had made it to my friends house. She offered me coffee and good wishes then I took off again. When I didn't find anything and doubled back she was sitting at the future colmado with the father of her children and he said I could move into this old motorcycle repair shop. He knew the guy who owned it and said he would get me a meeting for Friday. He came to buscar me at my house that Friday and I had a meeting and the guy said I was going to pay 1000 pesos a month (US$25) and they wanted to know how much I could pay up front. They wanted the first two years, but I said I couldn't do that. I could do 7 months now and 5 in a week and they said that would be fine. I'm going to say now, paying the rent early was so that they could use the money to build the inside of my house. They had to build a bathroom  and a dividing wall. Before my house was a big open box with super secure doors and windows. I paid, they built, security came, and now I live here.

I'll be starting with the outside of my house. I've used the picture with Antonio in it because I actually took a shot of the entire house and the picture he took with me cuts out part of my house, which I did not want to do. If you look to the left you will see the funeria. I have never seen anyone go in or out of that building and people have definitly died in this town since I've been here, so I kind of believe it belonged to someone who doesn't use it any more. Like my house.

This is the colmado that will open the weekend I move in. They will play loud music for the entire weekend that i can hear from my house and it will make me almost regret moving, but after the first weekend the music will soften and become a nice background sound to my life. It's also nice that I can buy rice without putting my shoes on and refresco when I have company without much effort. 

My backyard looks like a jungle, but I am already starting work on a vegetable garden. If nothing else I will learn to succeed or fail at growing my own food in this country. I've also included a picture of my wonderful landlord who rebuilt the back door to be "mas fuerte". It is still the weakest point in my house because it is made of wood and held together by a lot of rusty nails, but it is in the back and super fuerte so I'm okay with it. 

Okay. Moving inwards I didn't have very many options. I have two big spaces and a bathroom. It's funny, I always pictured putting my bedroom in the front rom and everything else in the back, but all of the Dominicans were right. People are going to stop by and they are going to use the front and I need my private space in the back. 

When you walk in my house you will see pictures and maps on all of the walls. A bike in the corner, a yoga mat in the middle of the room and a kitchen set up to the left. I still haven't bought any chairs and am living with the one my neighbor has let me borrow until I buy some of my own, but it works. I shuffle the one chair around and actually used the yoga mat to play a game of cards with the neighbor girl during a rain storm, so it was nice. I want to get a table and our chairs, but for now, whatever, I have this. 

In my kitchen you will find the stove I bought, the gas take I use, the fridge, the water filter, and the start of my ghetto-rigged home. I wanted to contain my cutlery and keep bugs and dust out, so i used scissors to do a quick chop on a bottle I had and viola, a container. My neighbor thinks it's top notch and wants a "lesson" on how I made it, but that would really just be a lesson in how to cut a line in a bottle. I also use the Peace Corps given water filter. Everyone says I should just by water, because it isn't super expensive, but I think filtering my water will get me one extra trip to someplace cool while I'm in this country, so I am sticking with carrying a bucket of water to the filter every other day instead of paying some dude to bring me a jug. It's actually a lot faster too, and I can filter water in the middle of the night if I run out. Also, my neighbors think I'm awesome when I bring "agua frio" to lunch, because they often haven't had the time or money to buy a botellon of water. 

As you round the corner you will see pictures from my little people back home and the muñecas they gave me so as to not forget them. If you look down you will see the original back door hoisted up by rocks and covered in books. In the picture it is also covered in clutter because I was still organizing my house and that was a lie because I literally just took the picture. The rocks serve a purpose though. Maybe this is another ghetto thing. I have concrete floors and the way I clean is I basically dump water on my floor and then send it out the house. The rocks are so I can get a bunch of water up in that area without covering the wooden door and paper books with water. Also, I wasn't sure about water entering my house yet and I wanted a bit of height. Notice Harry Potter in the background there. Yeah, I've already read 1-4 in country in the past 2 weeks. I should really leave my house more. 

So this is my bed, and you can kind of see my wardrobe. This actually was while I was still unpacking everything because the suitcase is there on the floor. I have a fan. I bought it. It was (kind of) expensive. It broke the third time I used it. I probably did something wrong with the luz or something, but whatever, I don't miss it. Now I have it as a decoration. If my friend (Lobo) ever visits I can claim I have a fan, but it doesn't do anything. My house is typically cold at night though, so it doesn't really matter if it works or not. In the day time fans don't really seem to do much anyway. 

This is recent. I took this picture this morning. It looks like my normal life. I have a book on my bed (The Princess Bride, thank you Courtney (The blonde in the picture on top of my blog)), I have my socks drying on top of my mosquiterra, I have pictures of my sister and show racks holding odds and ends and bathroom what nots. 

In my bathroom, today is a water day. I get water every other day, so the sound of water filling my tank will be heard all day. I have a toilet. I bought that toilet with 4 months rent thank you very much. I don't think I ever thought I'd be buying a toilet, but there wasn't one and then I paid a dude and then there was one, so I bought it. The tank is usually half empty by the time water day hits, but I don't like reaching in that far and actually hurt my arm one reaching in a weird way, so I appreciate water days. I don't drink this water straight though, I carry it ot the filter in my one bucket and drink it later. I think I can say the water is fine in the filter after going about two weeks on it now. 

My best "invention". Notice all that open space in the bathroom adn the water tank. Well sometimes the water can really shoot out of the spout and I didn't want wet TP, so I cut another bottle and made this little TP holder. I have to use a bit off of a new roll for it to fit, but after that I pull the cardboard roll out, pll fromthe middle, and have a handy little holder here. 
I have also ghetto rigged some plastic. Both of my mattress parts came in big sheets of plastic and I didn't want to throw it away. i had to make use of it some how. The first thing I did was make a cover for my water container, because I don't want to have a skeeter breeding ground, and next I avoided buying a curtain by cutting and making my own. The water shot out as far as my bed the first day and sometimes it sputters so i needed a cover, no to mention if I EVER have a guest, they will probably want privacy in the bathroom. Living alone I haven't had that issue, but one day.. maybe... if you visit my house... 

And finally, the best place in my house... I have this ghetto rigged desk I set up outside when I want internet. The umbrella is there for when the droplet of rain want to hit my computer in the morning. That's my one chair and a suitcase I brought from America along with the bottom part of the packaging from my mini-fridge. Working together to have the most ghetto house in the DR. 

There you have it. My home. Now, come visit me! My computer has 5% charge, so I had better turn it off and wait for the luz to come back! I miss you. 

Sex and the City and the Campo

Being in the Peace Corps is kind I like being in the first Sex and the City Movie. Really though, it's only like the segment when they are in Mexico on Carrie's honeymoon. But really, it's only like that one scene. You know, when Charlotte forgets she's in Mexico because she is dreaming about life in America so she accidentally drinks the shower water and craps her pants... Yeah, that's the Peace Corps.

New music

Now that I have a Colmado dropping music into my life 22/7 I have learned some new songs. This is my new favorite... 

Romeo Santos : Propuesta indecente

Que bien te ves,
Te adelanto, no me importa quién sea él.
Dígame usted,
Si ha hecho algo travieso alguna vez.
Una aventura es más divertida
Si huele a peligro.
Si te invito a una copa
Y me acerco a tu boca.
Si te robo un besito,
A ver te enojas conmigo.
¿Qué dirías si esta noche
Te seduzco en mi coche?
Que se empañen los vidrios
Si la regla es que goces.
Si te falto el respeto
y luego culpo al alcohol.
Si levanto tu falda,
¿Me darías el derecho
A medir tu sensatez?
Poner en juego tu cuerpo,
Si te parece prudente,
Esta propuesta indecente.
A ver, a ver,
Permíteme apreciar tu desnudez.
(Take it off)
Que este Martini calmará tu timidez.
Una aventura es más divertida
Si huele a peligro.
Si te invito a una copa
Y me acerco a tu boca.
Si te robo un besito,
Al ver te enojas conmigo.
¿Qué dirías si esta noche
Te seduzco en mi coche?
Que se empañen los vidrios
Si la regla es que goces.
Si te falto el respeto
Y luego culpo al alcohol.
Si levanto tu falda,
¿Me darías el derecho
A medir tu sensatez?
Poner en juego tu cuerpo,
Si te parece prudente,
Esta propuesta indecente.
I'm back
Its feels good to be king.
I know what you like.
How about you and I
Me and you
Bailamos bachata.
Y luego
You and I
Me and you
Terminamos en la cama
(Que rico).
How about you and I,
Me and you
Bailamos bachata
(Ay bailamos bachata)
Y luego
You and I
Me and you
Terminamos en la cama
(Terminamos en la cama).
How about it you and I (You and I)
Me and you (Me and you)
You and I (You and I)
Me and you (You)
You and I (You and I)
Me and you
(I'm a bad boy)
Me and you (You).
(Ay chi chi
Llora guitarra

I will admit I haven't translated every word, but one can determine what this song is about. Sometimes I feel like a tigure in Spanish. 

It was probably the English that first caught my attention, but I really like the sound of this particular song. If I were in America I'd find a link to the song for you, but I am typing on a phone that this morning a little boy wanted me to give him so he could sell it to a Colmado and it doesn't have Internet. 

(Unless my sisters phone plan still thinks we want service on it, so... Gabby, you may want to look into that. Either way, happy hunting. It's a fine song and I hear it 30 times a day.) 

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

I've been places

Sometimes I forget that I've been places.

My neighbor was looking at a dictionary (it seemed more like an encyclopedia to me) and asked me if I've ever been to Europe.

Well, yes, I have been to Europe.

She wanted to know where so I told her I lived in Germany and that I visited different countries while I was there. "Paris?" She wanted to know.

"Yes." I remembered. I have been to Paris.

It's easy to forget the places my life has taken me while I'm here in this country. It's easy to focus life to the DR or America, because that's what the world seems to boil down to here, but, the world is larger than this and I have been to some of it.

When I think about the "vast" number of United States states I've been too, even that seems grand when I compare it to the DR. This island has two major cities, countless tourist attractions and a vast climate, but it is contained to an area of land about 1/8th the size of my home state. I've lived in 7 states, and 3 countries and have probably been to more cities than this island has on its map.

Another thing I think I've also realized is that I don't go places with other people. I went to Europe alone and met people there. I went to Florida alone and met great people. I came here alone, and have met wonderful people. Maybe it's time I start meeting splendid people with people I know.

Now that in done complain-bragging I guess I should sum it all up.

I've been places, I don't plan to stop going places, and I want you to go places with me. Whose in?

Monday, September 16, 2013

Vecinos de Colmado

I moved in to my new house and a week later a Colmado opened. Maybe I should say a bar opened. Maybe I should say a radio station opened. Either way, I can now buy rice in my pajamas and hear music 22/7.

I woke up this morning, I think it's a Monday, and I didn't hear anything. So I did what I think will be my new silent activity and I played a movie. I may have to buy speakers to hear anything over the music.

Well, I was sitting outside my home and I saw a bunch of dudes hanging out at the new attraction. I also saw a dude I've seen drunk hit on me more that once, so I made sure most of my doors and windows were locked. Well, homeboy walked over to me and asked about computers. As it turns out, whomever was working in the Colmado this morning didn't know how to turn on the music and needed my help in doing so... Okay.

Really, the homeboys in their simply didn't have the speaker plugged in and I think didn't know how to find music on a computer. It wasn't a Mac, it was windows, but it was running old software, so even though it was all in Spanish I was able I find the music really quickly. I hit play, plugged in a speaker and thought about the irony of my morning.

Friday, September 13, 2013

A list

Just a little list of all the fun things I've been doing, and therefore not updating my blog:

I went to the capital for Corps Forum
I moved out of my host families house
I made my house my home
I lost my keys
I may have found my keys
I went to Lobo's site
I rode side saddle on a moto in my white dress
I discovered some hilarious peace corps tumblrs
I went to "sexy" John's site
I made an appointment with the doctor for the first time
I gave a sample
I caught up with my girls
I bought another Internet stick
I took Caribe Tours
I became somebody's assistant for the Construye Tus Sueños conference in October
I thought about the consideration of doing Peace Corps again
I made friends at my site
I bought groceries to put in my house
I started using my mosquito net better
I failed at Spanish
I won at Spanish
I obtained Harry Potter 1-7 (but not 6) in Spanish
I had a discussion about homeschooling
I was mistaken for a Mormon
I made banana pancakes for my friends
I ate Chinese food in the DR
I missed my family
I missed Chandler
I missed my friends in America
I found out someone was already Campo-married
I found out someone was pregnant and telling other people!
I reminded myself why I didn't want a cat
I decided I really care about adult literacy
I found out a friends home was robbed and decided to be a little more careful
I put off writing a blog showing off my house... Coming soon to a blog near you. (Not mine... Someone else's. someone better at blogging.)

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Grant us a break

4 September

I was working in my Alice is Wonderland copy work and decided to double that with asking the little girl in my house to read it out loud for me. This kills two birds with one stone. First, I get to hear and see Spanish at the same time, and she gets to practice reading.

A cool thing about Dominicans is that they don't have fear when it comes to reading things that are way beyond their reading level. I hand this girl a book that I know is bigger than any she has at school and she just sees it as taking it a word at a time. She was sounding out the words as we went along and I was pretty proud of her ability to sound out some of the pretty long words in this book. The cleaning lady tried to tell her to be quiet so she wouldn't "annoy" the American, but I let it be known that I wanted her there reading for me. She was almost finished with an entire page when my doña come out to criticize the way she was reading. "You have to read the words smooth. Read it before you say it!"

I tried to back the girl up and say the book and the words were bigger than she was used to, but my doña didn't want to hear that.

I mean, come on. This is coming from the house that won't give the girl four free minutes to answer three homework questions if the dishes aren't done or the cool old guy needs to pee. Now you want her to read with perfection? You've never even sat with her to work on reading I'm almost positive.

We are going to focus on the good though. You can walk out and criticize this kid and she still asks me for the book back to read the poems by Lewis Carroll.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

I'm not dating the ice cream man

29 August 2013

You know how sometimes the ice cream man hits on you? He tries to take pictures with you as you are fixing your hair. He tries to kiss your cheek while your hands are occupied. Sometimes he will ask to "dame un key" thinking "key" is how he should pronounce "kiss".

I don't know how many times I said no and pulled away, the ice cream man still kissed me on the cheek. I asked my doña if this was strange. She says no, it's normal. He is a "muchacho serio". May I ask whose defining the terms?

I will point out that my ice cream man is now asking "que significa "Go Away!" Really though, "go away."

His son was here too. It was my first I.D. pull though. He wanted to prove to me that he wasn't too young for me. All of this because he was born in February of 1995.

I'll admit. I probably laughed too much. In the DR when you say "no" with a smile it means yes.

Also, this man really needs to decide if he has a wife or not. Months ago when he was hitting on me and I was giving him the cold shoulder he spent close to an hour trying to get me to look at pictures of him and his wife to prove that he was a "committed" man and that he was also a "taken" man. Then today he told me he didn't have a wife or a girlfriend and all he wanted was one "key" before he left.

Walk away ice cream man, walk away.(but don't forget to leave me a helado, por favor y gracias. Vente pesos, por favor, danka.)

My new casa (almost)

2 Sept 2013

Negro (Antonio) motoconchoed me to my new casa today to wait for my housing checker to show up. While there I decided to get my first picture of my casa.

Alicia en el país de las maravillas

3 septiembre 2013

I recently bought a book at La Sirena. Actually, I bought three books, but I'm starting with Alice in Wonderland. This is going to be my next adventure in studying Spanish grammar and learning new vocabulary.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Stand down, doña.

1 September 2013

This weekend I went to visit my friend and during that trip I bought popcorn and wine. Needless to say we finished the bottle of wine, but I brought home popcorn to make in the future. Today was the future. In true spirit of "compartiring", I made popcorn to share with my host family. Some of you know that my preferred method of making popcorn is air popped in the microwave with no or "un chin" de sal. Well, living in the campo we have no microwave, so I did it the old fashioned way on the stove. The little girl in my house was watching the whole time. She wanted to see me "cook". When the kernels had stopped popping I dumped my corn into a big bowl.

The cleaning lady came in and grabbed some kernels. She had been advising me to use butter and salt as I started "cooking", so I wanted to save myself some clean kernels before the salt was loaded on top.

I told the little girl that if she wanted salt to grab a little bowl behind her. This is when the cleaning lady jumped in and grabbed the salt from the girls hand and said no. I said she could have some salt. I told her that I hadn't put any salt on it, so if she wanted to put salt on a separate bowl it wasn't a problem. I said that I just happen to not want salt. She again said no, so I asked why. If she threw a health reason at me then okay, maybe we could talk, but her reason was just that she couldn't. I I just dead locked on the situation and said, it's not a problem if she wants a little salt, popcorn has salt, I just happen to not want any. My doña had walked in at some point and was in on the fuss. She told the cleaning lay to let it go, but then yelled at the little girl for something and called her a coño. I hate that word here.

Anyway, I have he cleaning lady a bowl of palomitas too and if she even reached for the salt I was going to give her a piece of my mind.

We all ate the popcorn in a bit of an awkward silence, but I made sure to joke around with my little friend during it all.

Why such a big deal over a shake of salt? Is it because I was giving her a special bowl? Was it because I let her feel like an equal in the popcorn process? Why do the rest of you insist on making the life of a little girl feel so awful when it's already clouded by a lack of parents?

Whatever. I'm moving out. Hopefully tomorrow. And I am going to see if she wants to come have sleepovers at my house. We will make popcorn and watch Toy Story on my computer. We'll play "Bloque" y "cartas" and have a good time without you guys yelling at her. I admit, she's a kid, she's not perfect, she has likely done some "bad" things over the years, but dang, chill out.

Okay. Maybe I'll stop talking about this for a while. I started a Somos Mujeres group and am starting an English class on Tuesday, so stay tuned for games and fun as I disguise education as an English class.