Monday, January 18, 2010

Earthquake and sucking up.

1/14 Thursday: Making amends
In a nutshell: I find myself in the usual pickle of not facing my issues. I needed to figure out a way to talk to Mercedes in a Dominican appropriate way that will actually get me somewhere and I needed to fix the situation with Wandi. I haven’t said one word to Wandi since he snooped through my phone. (creeper). I am really proud of Wandi as he began college this week! I felt bad about not even knowing about this big event in his life and guilty as I have been complaining a LOT lately to other PCVs about how much it sucks that Ernesto is out of my site. But, if he didn’t have this job I doubt that he would have had enough money to pay for Wandi’s 1st semester of school. I decided to give Mercedes and Ernesto each a little gift (a flashlight and a necklace) as well as a thank you poem. I gave it to Mercedes and feel like it helped. I still haven’t been able to talk to Wandi. Then there was the normal weirdness that occurs in the colmado. The owner was trying to convince me to get a Dominican man to keep me warm, a guy came in and called me fat and a few minutes later another guy began sniffing my ponytail. Never a dull moment in the DR!

The Real Blog: My stress level in my site is insane. I chalk this up completely to my neighbors and my lack of conflict resolution. I still haven’t talked to Wandi about privacy issues, and still haven’t faced Mercedes. With all this rain, I don’t want to keep avoiding their house because the walk down my front yard is slippery! I had the great idea of getting them with kindness. So I found this poem online, wrote it out on paper, and decorated it (with glitter even!). When I was in Santiago I found a necklace/earring set that Mercedes may like (for only 20 pesos!) and I wrapped it, along with a flashlight for Ernesto, and gave it all to Mercedes yesterday. I think it worked! I kind of invited myself in and we sat and talked with her sister for a good hour.

I saw Wandi leave for school this afternoon and I felt so proud! He did it! He’s going to the university! And then I felt selfish because he wouldn’t have been able to go to school if it weren’t for Ernesto being in that other community making such good money. I also felt bad that I haven’t been here and didn’t wish him well on his first day, I didn’t even know about it! So, I sent him a message (which I’m not even sure if he got) I said that I was proud of him for going to school and that if he was willing to tell me his side of the story I would like to hear it. But he didn’t get home until really late so maybe tomorrow.

Then, later that day I went to the colmado and in the same visit I had someone tell me I’m really fat (not in a complimentary way, but I was wearing a coat, duh of course I look fatter!) and about 2 minutes later, someone else picked up my ponytail and smelled it! What a weirdo, I told him to knock it off! All this happened of course after the colmado owner went through the usual spew, telling me that I need to get a Dominican boyfriend to keep me warm at night. I’m not going to lie, the idea is tempting right now because last night I was so cold I had to get up to put a 3rd blanket on me!

Now, it’s only about 60 degrees here at night but keep in mind, with the tin roof there is a constant breeze and there are no heaters to get any relief from the chill. I think I am much more used to this now though as it doesn’t bother me like last year. It’s rained most of this month and I don’t really mind. I remember when I first got to my site in November last year and it had rained 9 days straight, I was freezing (although I didn’t have the warmer clothing that I have now) and I was MISERABLE. This year I don’t mind at all. Ah, how great it is to be well adjusted and have rain boots!

1/12 Tuesday: Earthquake
In a nutshell: My story of this is not too interesting. I was taking a nap. The earthquake woke me up. I don’t think there were any injuries here in the DR or damages to buildings.

The Real Blog: I’m writing about today because I’m sure you guys back home are curious but really it’s not much of a story from the DR. I was at a med mission and we had been out all day in the rain (it has rained 10 days since the 1st here) translating. We got back to the center, which was located in a teeny town called Las Lajas up in the mountains of Santiago. It’s not close to my site by car but looking at it in map its not far, it’s north of Santiago as well but further east. Anyways, I was really tired and was car sick from the drive back so I promptly went to my room, climbed up on the top bunk of the bunk bed and went to sleep. I was woken up a little while later by the bed rocking, at first lightly. My roommate, Regina was on the bottom bunk and as the bed rocked harder I became really annoyed and told her to stop moving for crying out loud! She said she wasn’t moving and so, incensed I figured someone was playing a joke on my napping time and began looking for the culprit. Not wanting to exert too much effort during nap time and not seeing anyone, I went back to bed. Then I heard everyone outside yelling about an earthquake. My bed had stopped moving, I was still tired and now I didn’t have to worry about a jokester in my room. I went back to sleep but was woken up a couple times by the afteshocks.
Later Regina (who woke up after she realized there was an earthquake whereas I went back to bed and even slept through dinner) told me how it devastated Haiti. That poor country can’t catch a break. It’s interesting that the night before an elderly man was telling Regina and me about how he felt an earthquake around 230 am. We laughed together and teased him saying it was just a dream.
The next day all of the translators left the medical mission (by the way, a med mission is when nurses/doctors or what have you come to the DR for 5-14 days and give medical care/medicines. Some groups then solicit PCVs to translate for them. It’s really fun to be a part of. ) I had to go through Santiago to get home and figured my family was freaking out since I had no cell service on the mountain. So, about 21 hours after it happened, I got online to let everyone know I was ok. Thank you for all your concerns on facebook. Sometimes I feel a little forgotten about down here so it was nice to see that my family was checking up on me.
Santiago was a weird site as the streets resembled a Sunday when there are hardly any people- only it was Wednesday! Also, about half of the businesses were closed. I asked about this and was told the obvious answer, people just want to be home with their families. It makes me think of 9/11 and how different our cultures are in their responses. When I try to talk to people about this here (yes I was trying to “interview” people for you Sarah!) no one seems interested in talking about it. Then, yesterday Minga told me that someone on the news was saying that Haiti deserved it because they had a pact with the devil and so it was a punishment from God, and it was Pat Robinson who said that! I hope that was translated wrong or Minga didn’t understand correctly.
So, that’s that. As far as I know, there were no fatalities here in the DR or even damages to buildings but you guys could find out better than I. It figures that during the biggest earthquake in the last 200 years, I was taking a nap! Hopefully that’s the only big earthquake I feel in my life.

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