Saturday, October 17, 2009

Two days.... two long days

10/16 Friday: The 1 yr Slump?
Is it just me? Am I the only one who doesn’t have the drive to go out into the community and walk around? Am I the only one who, when there is power, stays in her house for a looooooong time watching 11 straight episodes of Entourage? Thankfully, no. I have been talking with other PCVs in my group and while we all feel ok, not depressed or anything, all of us are feeling very blah and have no desire to leave the house. I find that weird since I thought that normally at the 1 year people have a surge of energy and drive. I hope that wasn’t that week I had about two weeks back… I talked with my friend Kelly today and she didn’t leave her house until 12:30. It’s nearly 2:30 now and here I am, still inside. I can somewhat justify it though since I was trying to finish a grant for my stove project. Also, I had plans to go walking this morning but Vanji ditched me. See, I’m doing stuff!

Besides, the 1st step is recognizing the issue right? Another possible issue: should I feel bad when the 8 year old neighbor girl really wants to clean my bathroom? So I let her and give her a few tips too (you missed a spot….) Is that wrong? Something tells me it should be but at the same time, if she wants to do it.

10/14 Thursday: Rudeness
In a nutshell: I have morphed into a rude machine. It’s the culture here!!! You can say things in Spanish that you can’t say in English. When I went home in September I was told by no less than 5 people that I was being rude. I didn’t mean to. It’s just the Dominican coming out in me. When I go home, please have patience and let me know that I’m being rude.

The Real Blog: Dominicans are rude. But then, as I was informed when I went home for my visit, so am I. I was always a blunt person before coming to the DR but the culture here has thrown me over the edge. I was offended when my brother and his fiancĂ© told me I was rude. I felt bad. But, that’s because I know they’re right. I’ve talked with several PCVs about this since and we have come to the collective conclusion: this culture makes you “rude” by all American standards. The problem is that you will not be heard here if you talk like Americans talk, walking on eggs with all the political correctness BS. You know, this lifestyle can for sure be offensive but I have to say I prefer it on some levels. To Americans: can we please drop all the fancy dancing along the words we can’t say and just simply say it like it is? Then, lets not be pissy afterwards because Jane said something blunt, but in reality, completely true. In a past relationship I was accused of being “emotionally challenged”. I still counter that, even more so now. I am emotional. I am sensitive. But I also say it like it is and listen to it being told to me in the same manner. I’m just maybe too extreme for American values now. Take last night for instance.

I was on my front porch when Franklin came by and asked me if I wanted to go down to the continuing wake down at Tolo’s parent’s house (this was a big night since it was night 8 since the death and according to tradition it’s the night that the dead try to wake back up). I hadn’t been out much lately… pretty much since I got back from the States to tell you the truth… so I said sure, let’s party it up at the wake. I walked “down” to it with him and another dude and sat at a table with three guys and Vanji. During the 2 hours or so that we hung out, we had a good time and when I went to leave Franklin was being a baby throwing a little tantrum (that no one thought anything of) since he wanted me and Vanji to stay. It was his 2nd little fit he threw. He’s 20.

On the way back, I began reflecting about our conversations, of which I felt indifferent. During the 120 minutes conversing, I was called lazy, asked if I ever get sick of sleeping, told I didn’t have a real job, told I never leave my “cave”, told it was apparent I wasn’t exercising right now, was at least 6 times pressured to take shots of rum, called a child, called an old lady (an insult here which I think is HILAROUS so it never has the same effect on me as on a Dominican), and called snotty… those being the ones I can think of off of the top of my head. If this was said to me in English I probably would have gone home and cried. But there is something magical about Spanish. You have to be blunt and when people are blunt with you, you just are blunt right back. In English it’s rude. In Spanish it’s normal, don’t take it personal. When I went home to the States, I crossed the line and felt bad about it. I wouldn’t have even noticed it if it weren’t pointed out to me. Imagine the monster I’ll be in even another year after this!!! I can see it now that only my PCV buddies will want to talk to me.

The point of all this: when I go home, PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE cut me a lot of slack and tell me politely if speaking in English, or with as little tact as possible if speaking in Spanish, that I was being rude by all American standards. And I’ll work on it. I promise.

10/14 Wednesday: The last two days: Down, Up, Up, Up, Tragic, Drama
In a nutshell: Three girls in my Escojo group bailed mid-class yesterday despite the fact they were supposed to be teaching the class. Rumor has it, they were mad that they were not being giving enough freedom to teach the class. Instead of talking about this with me, they left. Great idea!
I should be getting my water filters soooon from that water training I had in June. Its great news but I have a lot of work to do before then.
Inflation here is MAD!
I love the view here and want to take it home.
A ton of ants go into my peanut butter, surprising me and biting my hands really well before I filled the container up with water and watched them all drown. I then dumped out the water and the ants and made my sandwich. Yum.
Noel is mad at me once again, and ignoring me. This time he’s ignoring me because he thinks I was ignoring him 1st so he’s going to do it back. Only thing is, I’m not ignoring him. I’m getting really annoyed with the level of maturity I encounter daily, or rather the lack of maturity. I mean, I am REALLY sick of it. I think I need to get away for some R&R time.

The Real Blog: Let’s start with the down: yesterday I wanted to kill three girls in my Escojo group. It was their turn to teach the class and when Wandi asked me if he could read something, not remembering that it was the girls who were teaching the class, I said sure. No big deal right? Easy mistake? Well, the three girls, Vanji, Ernie and Jamalissa decided it was a big deal and, without saying ANYTHING to me, they left. Yep, they just up and left the class. I was really mad when I found out. And of course Wandi makes things even more aggravating with his comments like, “They are such bad people, leaving like that. I told them not to go.” Shut up dude. I changed the dates of our meetings together from Fridays to Wednesdays but 4 of the 7 kids in the group won’t know that now. Why is it 4 and not just the 3 girls you ask? Because one of the boys didn’t feel like going yesterday so he didn’t go. Great group huh?

Now for some good news. I emailed the contact person for the Rotary Club again to check on the water filers and she had some guy call me back about 30 minutes after I sent the email. He said he could get them to me after the 1st of November! That’s waaaaay sooner than I anticipated them. I’m excited but at the same time, dang I have a lot of work to do! I have to change the list of people receiving the filters (long story) and collect the 500 pesos per house/recipient and I also was going to make it a requirement that they go to two or three classes of mine but first I have to make up the classes!!! It’s actually a lot of work.

On top of that, today I went around to get prices for my stove project. I need to write a budget for the grant I’m writing. I was talking to a water PCV friend, Mark, and he told me that prices change so much that when the water PCVs make their budgets they have to use the most expensive price and then add 35% because by the time the money comes in, prices have gone up that much. Inflation here is nuts.

Another “up”, when I was coming back from Navarrete today I was really enjoying the view. It’s so break taking. I wish there was some way to put it in my pocket and save it for when I’m in the States. I also wish that in the States I could always have muchachas to wash my dishes and sweep my house (although I’ll more than likely have carpet so I’ll need them to vacuum). In a perfect world…

Here’s some almost tragic news: When I opened my jar of Peter Pan peanut butter (it was on special, FYI Jiffy is still the best. Jiffy wasn’t on special) I was reminded of why I normally keep it in the fridge: ants. Despite the fact that the lid was screwed on tight, I was assaulted by biting ants when I opened the jar. I was upset but filled it up with some water and drowned the suckers. Some insects last for a long time in water, ants aren’t one of them. I tossed the water and then tossed the ants and proceeded to make my pb & j. It was delicious.

Want some drama? The word on the street is that Noel thinks I’m not talking to him. I have no idea why except that I haven’t been going out of my way to be nice to him or talk to him so now he thinks I’m ignoring him. As a result, he’s ignoring me. How retarded. I’m not going to acknowledge this issue. When we’re around each other and a topic comes up, we’ll talk. Until then, let him think I’m mad. I’m over it.

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