1/10 Sunday: Feeling much better and visiting my peeps
In a nutshell: Today I feel pretty good. I was given a hose for free so I was able to fill my water tank and not have to ask Mercedes for the hose. I visited some friends and wrote a report for PC, I even nearly caught up writing my blog!
I had a gift exchange with the woman who I know has been stealing my clothing from Mingas house. I had to have it; I was signed up for the gift exchange though the Club de Madres and we happened to get each others names. Strangely I didn’t think about how she steals from me, I just wanted her to like her gift. When the gift flopped, I gave her some ugly jewelry I knew she would love (and she did) and I was super pleased with myself for fixing the failed gift. Afterwards I realized how weird the whole thing was.
I decided I am being silly about my problems and if old methods aren’t working then I of course need to reevaluate my course of action and react accordingly. Thus, I am going to write Mercedes a Thank you card for the Christmas dinner and to get her and Ernesto a little gift with the secret vendetta of not being weird between us after.
I just arrived home last night and I already have to leave again tomorrow for Santiago as I promised to help a desperate friend out with a med mission. So, I’m all packed and ready to head out again but this time in a much better frame of mind. I don’t feel like my old self still but considerably better now.
The Real Blog: I got home late last night (well, campo late so around 8 pm) and was relieved to find that I still had water in my tinaco. I was super worried about that since Mercedes was rude to me last time I needed the hose and didn’t want to have to ask her for it again. Not to mention who knows when there will be water in the tap. Well, I was super worried last Monday and Tuesday… but as the days wore on in the mansion I found myself strangely less worried about anything in life:)
I woke up today and went for a really slow but super satisfying run and on the way back stopped to talk to one of my favorite people, Juana, about her water filter which is still at the disco. I’m guessing Tono, the disco owner, is probably kind of mad at me for the filters being at his business for so long and I feel bad about it. I was going to go and visit him today but never got around to it. I visited Juana, who always makes me feel fantastic about life. She’s probably in her 50’s, very round, and the sweetest lady EVER. It was her house I went to during Easter to load up on sweet beans because I knew I would hit the jackpot there, and I did- yum! (who knew I had a bean allergy?!)
Anyways, we hung out for a good hour and then I was off to Minga’s house. I sat and talked with Minga, then the women who sells lottery numbers (but who’s name I never remember. Its not that I don’t know her; I can tell you this, she lives in the house that never visit because she’s never there and it’s a super steep hill and lets face it, I’m a bit lazy for that type of gamble.), and then I visited with Margara- Mingas daughter. I also stopped and talked to Daniel and Ciero along the way. I was at Minga’s house for about 2 hours just hanging out and mentioned how I needed a hose but was worried about the cost as I also wanted to buy a large bucket (more like a trash can to put water in for when the tank is empty) and that would take like half of the money I have left for the month. It turns out; Minga had a little piece of hose this whole time!! So she gave it to me and now I don’t have to ask Mercedes to borrow hers!!!!! Life is getting better and better!!! I ended up telling Margara how I had been really sad lately because of the whole thing of people stealing from me (I left out the whole Mercedes thing as I avoid gossip at all costs) and Margara made me feel sooooo much better. I don’t know why I don’t visit people more!!
Something weird happened today: There was a gift exchange at the Women’s Club on Monday but I wasn’t here. Pimbi (the women who most definitely stole my clothing from Minga’s house) ended up being my exchange partner. She practically stalked me today trying to give me my gift and get hers, which I understand I guess since the exchange was nearly a week ago. When I bought the gift I thought I would spend a little extra on an American gift and I got her some incenses. I showed her how to use them and it was obvious she was not impressed; despite her fake telling me she liked it. I panicked, how could she not like my gift?! After she got me a necklace, two pairs of earrings, bracelets and even wrapped in then suck them in a gift bag?! And I didn’t even have time to wrap hers yet (in my defense, I was going to wrap it but I didn’t know she was going to show up at my door and then insist I didn’t have to wrap it). Not to mention I bought the gift, then thought there wasn’t going to be an exchange so I opened it and used one. Ok, so the gift flopped. She left it at my house for a minute while she ran up to say something to Mercedes and I came up with Plan B: I went into the bag of super ugly jewelry I have that I was going to put in the free box at the office and I picked out a yellow necklace with matching earrings. She loved it. Success. Redemption. In reflection, I realize this was weird since she is the woman who steals from me. But, maybe she won’t steal from me now. Who knows?
And I have come to a great solution as to what I should do about my neighbors. I am pretty sure I wasn’t imagining things about Ernesto being mad at me too since today he didn’t come by my house even once (After Minga’s it was time to prioritize so I went home, showered, took a nap, painted my nails, swept and THEN opened my door and was home the rest of the day working on a report for Peace Corps. Point is, he totally could have come over from 3pm on). Now our relationship is just this awkward thing and I find myself avoiding the house at all costs and I’m wondering if they’re doing the same thing. I’m still not sure why Mercedes is mad at me. On a possible separate note, I’m pretty sure she never even talked to Geraldo about stealing my 50 pesos because she also said she’d pay me back and never did. (yum, I just got a craving for Portillos… ah the States.)
Anyways, my great solution. It’s very simple and I feel stupid for not doing it sooner. I am going to write her a Thank You card for Christmas dinner and maybe get her and Ernesto a little Christmas gift too! Well, I’m giving Ernesto a flashlight I brought back from the States (people just kept giving me flashlights!) and for Mercedes I have a cheapy ring in mind I’m going to get her from Santiago. Maybe we’ll get matching ones. It doesn’t count as buying someone off if it’s a Christmas gift. And I think maybe she’s feeling underappreciated? Who knows but I’m fairly sure this will work and take away the weirdness between us, at least until the next thing. I used the “kill em with kindness” method on Bertico, a motorcycle driver who was pissed at me because I hadn’t gone with him on his bike for a while. Every time I see him I wave and act all excited, to which he ignores me. Until today. Today he finally smiled and said hi. Victory, ha! I can do this.
1/2- 1/9 Monday- Saturday: Staying in a mansion.
In a nutshell: Madeline, a PCT who was in our group was kicked out back in CBT. I didn’t know her really well as she was a youth PCV but she seemed really cool. Well, she came back with her family to visit and they rented out this sweet estate in Cabrera (which conveniently is close to Cabarete, where I spent New Years) that has… are you ready for this? It has: a pool table, hot showers, laundry service (with a dryer!), a pool, a hot tub (with HOT water!!!!), we each got our own room with attached FULL bathroom, it has its own private beach, tennis courts, bicycles, horse back riding, maid service, a chef, an open bar, cable, wireless internet, diet coke, a microwave, two dogs that are clean and let you cuddle and kiss them, couches… and I got to stay there from Monday afternoon to Saturday afternoon!!! It was AMAZING!!! And I was even productive as I updated my resume and wrote a cover letter:) It was fantastic and made me feel much more ready to face my site.
12/31 Thursday: Happy New Years Eve, to Cabarete!
In a nutshell: After basically locking myself in my house since last Saturday, I am finally leaving. You may think it is incredibly pathetic that I locked myself in my house for the last 5 days, not even being able to cry despite how awful I felt… wait that is incredibly pathetic. But, keep in mind that this happens at least once for varying amounts of time to pretty much all PCVs. I’m lucky that today I was able to leave and go hang out on a beautiful beach with other PCVs and hopefully put an end to this sadness.
This New Years was so much calmer than last year; it doesn’t compare. Sure the trip there was interesting with issues getting out of my site (my motorcycle driver went MIA, I suddenly had to check/plant the seeds for a garden before I could leave, the free ride I got broke down on the way down the mountain… but I did eventually get to the beach) I had a really fun, really chill NYE. Calm meaning I didn’t even have one swig of a celebratory alcoholic beverage. My mom would be proud. As I said, I was sick on Christmas Eve and on New Years Eve I was mildly sick as well. I wonder if I had an amoeba since those are cyclical. Well, either way I didn’t feel my best and wasn’t in the mood for a repeat of last year. Strangely the few from my group that were there were really chill as well.
Seeing as NYE here was old news, I don’t feel like I have much to write about so I suppose that is all. I had a great time and I don’t think any NYE can really compete with one surrounded by great friends and being warm on a beautiful beach while watching fireworks. The only thing I would change about it would be to have someone counting down but that’s for another year I suppose:) I was satisfied.
12/26 Saturday: Staying in my house
In a nutshell: I feel like the Giving Tree.
The Real Blog: I was super singey with my guests and highly monitored their water usage while they were here. Then, to make it worse, the colmado ran out of bottled water so if we ran out of water in my tank we couldn’t even use filtered, purchased water! I was stressed. As I waved goodbye to my last guest, I went and checked the water tap again just to see and there was water!! I was so happy so I went to Mercedes’ house and asked to borrow a hose. I kind of was thinking that she had been acting cold to me since before Christmas but this confirmed it. She didn’t look at me and she just stated, “The hose is in use.” I was freaking out inside. The water is only available for about an hour and I didn’t know when that hour began! As she told me that, thank goodness Ernesto heard her and told her to give me the other hose. After all, they have two hoses but only one water tap to fill stuff. I was relieved but when Ernesto came over I was totally getting a bad vibe from him too!
That did it. I had it. I felt so awkward, I wished I could crawl into a hole or dissolve so I didn’t take up any space. I filled my tank and went into my house, shutting the door behind me. I am so tired. Why does Mercedes always have something to be angry about with me? The thing that sucks is I worked my butt off this month. It was definitely my busiest month in service. And I got things for the community; we have gardens, we have filters. It just shows me again that no matter how much I work, no matter how much I do, it’s not enough. I understand you can’t please everyone but is anyone satisfied? Part of it is that Mercedes and her family got along with Kevin great. Mainly, Ernesto and Kevin worked together a lot. They became good friends and by association then, Mercedes was very accepting of Kevin. Ernesto is never here and so we never even talk let alone work together. I must offend Mercedes and so she doesn’t take to me.
Besides stupid Geraldo stealing from me again (and thus the exhaustion of feeling like I need to be on my toes with my house all the time), and the woman stealing my clothing I feel like the freaking Giving Tree. A book I have never liked due to its injustice. I did not join PC to be a martyr and I feel like my spirit is being slowly stomped out. I feel worse than I have ever felt in my life. It’s not a one time sad feeling, it’s not a deep sadness like when someone dies, it’s a not good enough no matter what and yet I’m still supposed to be here offering more to my community type of feeling. I’m so tired of it. I don’t even know what to do. It shouldn’t be like this. I just feel so heavy and I’m counting the months until October right now. 10.
12/25 Friday: Christmas in the DR
In a nutshell: The PCVs came to my house and we had a great time. There were 8 of us in all. We hung out at my house the whole time and I had to start nagging them to stop treating me like the doña and try to persuade them to help out a bit. It turns out Wandi is a stalker. He went though my phone at some point, saw that one of my friends texts me a lot, looked up his number and actually called him last night to inquire as to why he texts me so much. I am in shock that he did that. The PCVs and I had a gift exchange which was a hit and then we went to three discos before finding one that was satisfactory but not stellar. All in all, it was a strange Christmas.
The Real Blog: Today we didn’t do much. We woke up, said Merry Christmas, and hung out in the house pretty much. We made pasta for lunch and continued to just sit and talk. PCVs are so boring! Just kidding:) I was getting all pissy with them though because I kept telling them I was not their doña as they didn’t ever even put their dirty dishes in the bucket outside for washing nor did most of them wash a single plate while they were here or help make any food! Which that may make me sound like a rude hostess but that’s what PCVs generally do when they’re with other PCVs, they all pitch in. Things aren’t as easy or as quick as in the States and so it’s too much for one person. But instead of helping, I was seriously like the freaking doña and I was going to kill them. Although part of me thought it was funny. We are all so Dominican now!
So, as I was washing dishes for the 50th time, my friend Roberto, calls me. He’s an Information Technology PCV in a town relatively close to me, in Dajabon. We just met in October but and have been texting and talking fairly regularly since. Well, he calls me and tells me in so many words that last night he got a phone call from a private number who didn’t want to give his name. The guy was asking Roberto why he was sending so many messages to Elisabet. Roberto was thinking of all the students in his classes and came to the conclusion that he didn’t even know an Elisabet, to which the guy argued that yes he did and why was he texting her so much? They hung up and then Roberto remembered that I have everyone call me Elisabet. So, I of course know that it had to have been Wandi.
We were at the disco last Sunday and he finally was being normal with me (he’s been ignoring me since the start of Dec pretty much) but then immediately escalated to him being obnoxious, trying to get me to date him. And it’s not just him saying stuff to me, it’s him trying to do weird stuff like smell my hair, pet my face, or sit really close. Newsflash: if I can smell your breath when you’re talking, you need to back off. That is NOT attractive, gross. And I’m not a dog, don’t pet me or sniff me, freak. So, I decide to do the usual, telling him that I’m not interested, my cat is more mature than he is, we will never date, blah blah blah… but he’s so used to it doesn’t faze him. I feel like the teacher in Charlie Brown for crying out loud!
Recognizing that I need to do something drastic, I tell him that I am interested in someone else: something I have never told him before. That had some results. This time he got all annoyed and said he knew who it was: Roberto. I was surprised Roberto’s name even came to his mind since I have never talked about Roberto, Roberto has never visited, I haven’t even had a conversation with Roberto in front of Wandi, where on Earth did he get that name? So I said, “Yep, that’s him.” Later I told Ali about this and she was adamant that Wandi had gone into my phone and come to that conclusion after seening that I have texts from Roberto but I blew it off telling her, “Oh come on, who actually does that?” Well, seeing as Wandi somehow magically got Roberto’s number, whether he wrote it down at some point or memorized it who knows, but I think its safe to safe: Wandi went through my phone.
I was so shocked! No one has ever done that to be before! And I let people play games on my phone all the time, its all in English and I didn’t think someone would go stealing numbers and calling people. When I got the phone call Wandi was at my house. I turned around and must have given him a death stare because before got off of the phone with Roberto, Wandi was gone.
After all that drama, we had our gift exchange which was really fun, during which Wandi called me non stop from someone’s phone. I ignored the calls and eventually had to shut my phone off. For the gift exchange we were supposed to get either something really cool or really stupid but we weren’t supposed to spend more than $150 pesos ($4) I received a pair of used scrub pants. I gave a really stupid doll. It was a fair exchange, hehe.
Then we went with Ernesto to the disco. But it was full. It was too full, there were no tables! And as Dominicans, we could not stand. So we walked up to the other one but it was closed. So we went to the intersection of the communities about 1.5 miles away and it was open. I really like that one but oddly it was dead, which made it kind of boring. So, we stayed for about an hour and then we left. We went home and went to bed.
It’s safe to say that was the weirdest Christmas I have ever had. I remember last year thinking how weird it was that people DRINK on Christmas and this year I was like, are we ready? Who’s buying the 1st round?! Hahaha, my how things change in a year! Last year I used to have to “chase” each forced sip of beer with a chip or something and now I don’t mind it. I wouldn’t buy a beer still but I can drink one. See, I’m culturally assimilated!
12/24 Thursday: Merry Christmas Eve!!
In a nutshell: I baked all day long and enjoyed it but I am never doing that again. I could only bake 9 cookies at a time and I made like 7 different types of cookies. The peppermint brownies were delicious. My friends showed up around 6 and we headed to Ernesto’s to eat with them. It turns out, they already ate. They must not have understood I thought we were going to eat TOGETHER, thus the exchange of food. Instead it was awkward because we show up and they had set the table just for us and sat there and watched us eat our food. Well, I had not been feeling well at all. And my friend Jay didn’t eat much because he had Guardia. I was personally feeling as though something was going to happen… something between vomiting and some action from the other end. I loaded my plate up despite this feeling and just sat and stared at it. I wanted to eat it so bad. After all, I heard these pigs die, the least I could do was not let it go to waste. But I had to make a bolt for it. I went to my bathroom for about 15 uneventful minutes and when I went back to Mercedes house; my friends had finished and were on their way back. I said a thank you to Mercedes and she seemed agitated with me telling me I didn’t eat anything. I felt bad. I went home and went to bed.
12/23 Wednesday: YAY!
The Real Blog: Today was a pretty good day. The highlight? Was it getting my nails painted in effort to stay in Navarrete so I didn’t have to hear everyone and their mother killing a pig in my community? Nope. I still had to hear 3 pigs die. And the chick at the nail place didn’t understand a word I was saying and painted my nails like a freaking 12 year old. Was it watching in amusement as people chased the truck with the politician though the street because s/he was throwing money into the streets shouting, “VOTE FOR ME, MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!” ? Nope. Was it the fact that I baked some spice cookies and people LOVED them? One guy even told me I’m finally good for something, what a compliment! Amazingly, no. Those were not the highlight of my day. Although, those cookies were very delicious. The best thing happened today: I went to town and I purchased an economy sized refrigerator for $207 USD. I HAVE REFRIGERATION IN MY HOUSE!!!!!!!!!!!! The last time I had a fridge in the house where I was living (that worked) was 14 months ago. Why did I suffer so long?! I put the cookie dough in the fridge to chill and it actually came out cold!!! AMAZING!!!
12/21 Monday: Llegaron los filtros. (The filters arrived!)
In a nutshell: For those of you who received a Christmas card from me, congratulations. Remember the part in the letter where I said I had a water filter project that I was happy for but would be even happier when it was over? (Some of you I felt it inappropriate to solicit, in which case you didn’t get the letter or some of you I included a hand written a letter in which case I don’t remember if I talked about my filter project) Today cemented that statement. The filters arrived today but not after problem after problem. None of these got me down though, I was so happy to have another tangible project that it didn’t matter that the truck broke down a few times, got stuck in the mud 3 times, backed into a mango tree and was so wedged that we had to axe some of the roots off, and that the driver (who was sick of the mud and the rain… did I mention it had been raining all day long?) decided he wasn’t going to bring the rest of the filters to each house because he wanted to get going so he left them at the disco. But, at the end of the day, I was tired, wet and a little sore but extremely happy. It was a LOT of work but we have our filters. Now all I have to do is install them all. That can wait until after Christmas.
12/ 20 Sunday: Escojo Graduation
In a nutshell: The graduation went well. I found out that Ernesto was planning on having that Escojo conference the next day; the same day the water filters were supposed to arrive. He failed to tell me that this was happening the same day but on the other hand, I’m not sure if I told him that the filters were going to be delivered that day. Then, after the graduation Josue- a guy from SD who works extensively with Escojo showed up and Ernesto was in Navarrete so I hung out with Josue until Ernesto arrived. He’s a really cool person but I was itching to leave since I wanted to run and had already been there for a few hours. When Ernesto got there, I left to go for a run and everyone tried to convince me to stay, telling me I didn’t need to go for a run… apparently I look great. I know better though; the real reason is that they wanted me to stay and take pictures. People must think I am super amazing and can read minds since no one ever asked me to do this. I asked the coach when the ceremony was going to start and he said not for another 45- 60 minutes. So, I ran and hurried to get back before the ceremony but they finished before I returned about 45 minutes later. But I left my camera with Josue just in case and so he took lots of pics. A good compromise but still Mercedes seemed agitated with me. You can’t please everyone.
The Real Blog: I was in Santo Domingo Friday and Saturday but left too late Sat to get back to my site so I spent the night at my friend Rachele’s site in Santiago Sat night. This of course meant that the graduation could be disastrous as I was getting to site the morning of but I decided not to worry about it. What will be will be, right? When I got back to site around 10 am the next day, I was happy to find several kids working diligently on the party and so I stopped in to say hello and then went to my house to unpack.
The graduation itself went well. There was no beer selling or dramas like the last graduation so it was short and sweet. I saw Ernie as I was leaving my house and she wasn’t ready at all for the graduation. When I asked her if she was going she replied stiffly, “Although I was not invited, yes I am going.” Got to love the attitude, makes me glad I’m not a teenager anymore. Here’s the thing: I didn’t invite any of the Escojo promoters. If they were in class then they each were invited indirectly. Ernie pretty much hasn’t been going to classes since she got married for one reason or another. Sure the most recent reason was legit: she had to get an ovary taken out, but still, I didn’t think to invite her as I figured someone would let her know. In fact, it never crossed my mind, so shoot me.
After the graduation, the baseball players were going to use the building for their trophy ceremony. I hung out for about 90 minutes after the grad for the sake of socializing and just when I was about to leave, Josue, a guy who works with Escojo shows up. Apparently that conference that Ernesto wanted me to help with so long ago was going to be happening tomorrow- the day the filters are supposed to get here. Perfecto. Which means Ernesto will not be helping with the filters at all, and several of the women who are receiving filters will not be in their house to receive them (as Miguel wants them at the conference to make lunch). Seeing as Ernesto wasn’t home when Josue arrived, I stayed at the Club longer to make him feel comfortable.
About 10 minutes after Ernesto showed up, I got up to leave and everyone was like, “Where are you going?!” I told them I wanted to run before it got dark and they all started going off about how good I looked and how I didn’t need to run… (Noel specifically was telling me this and all the while I was having flash backs to a time in July where he was pointing to my arms and saying “You think she’s not fat?! Just take a look at her arms for example! She’s fat!”) Turns out they wanted me to stay and take pictures of the trophy ceremony. I stuck to my guns though, passed my camera to Josue to take pics and left to run. I will not give up some mental and physical health for an evening of being used. If it was something really legit sure I would have stayed. I asked the coach when they would be starting and he told me they wouldn’t be starting for another 45 minutes so I said I would hurry back for it. I got back about 45 minutes later and found that the ceremony was over. Mercedes was annoyed with me for missing it. Let me rephrase that: Mercedes was annoyed with me for not being there to take pictures even though Josue took plenty of pictures. I was a little annoyed by the whole situation.