5/9: Sunday: Writing less, working more…
For any of you following my blog, you may have noticed that I am writing significantly less and less. This is because I am really super busy. I haven’t even gone to Santiago since my birthday!! Not that I am complaining, I love being busy. Being bored makes me sad. The problem with this is that I say yes to everything and then later realize that I’m actually doing something already that day. Saturday for instance I was supposed to be in 4 places at the same time. Whoops…. I ended up teaching an Escojo workshop. Something I wasn’t expecting. I thought that Ernesto and I were having a meeting for an hour or so with some of the youth from other communities, explaining what Escojo is and all that jazz. Well, nope. There is a super cool guy named Joshua who is PCs Director of Escojo and he was supposed to be here at 9am Saturday to give this workshop. I have never gone to a workshop and wasn’t really sure what it all entailed so I was happy to be there to experience the magic. Well, after waiting for Joshua to show up for an hour, Ernestina and Ernesto looked at me somewhat desperately and asked me to do something. Did I mention there was a full house? Over 70 people from 11 communities. Good thing I’m not shy!! Ha! So, I stalled and rambled and stalled. Until nearly 11 when Joshua arrived. But he was sick. He showed me his agenda and once I had an understanding of what a workshop was exactly I was ok and I took over while he went up to the house to nap. I taught the workshop the rest of the day and the next day he took over again. It great was a success and I felt very satisfied afterwards. We have between 5-7 groups set up to start and we should know who’s serious by next Saturday when I go around with Ernie to collect the lists they’re supposed to make.
Speaking of that, I found out that Ernie recently went to training in SD for Escojo Regional Coordinators. I guess she went last March or April and this is the first I’m hearing of it. I was upset. Annoyed. I talked with the PCV health leader last fall about Ernie being a RC for Escojo and Katie told me that each participant needs to have been in Escojo for at least one year and that it didn’t help her case that she was married since that’s not the image that Escojo wants to project. And now, after Ernie left Escojo for 7 months, she talks with Miguel (who never talks to me about anything) and she’s suddenly in training to be an RC? I can’t tell if I’m annoyed that she’s doing this because she didn’t put her time in and has a bit of a big head about it all or if its more personal and I’m mad that she left EMV, ignores me slightly and now can be an RC without my input on it at all. Not sure really but I guess that’s the way the cookie crumbles. I think that she can be a good RC but she should still have had to have put her time in for the job. Ah well, cosas de la vida.
Anyways, after the workshop ended today I called the Mayor of Navarrete. I got her cell phone number and I called her up today to talk about getting some financial assistance with this library. Ideally we would like to get about $100-$150,000 pesos from her but vamos a ver. She invited me to her house tomorrow at 4 pm. Not only do I expect her to be super late if we even are able to talk to her but I don’t expect to achieve what we hope to achieve tomorrow. Everything in this country is a fight although with the elections being only a week away, we may have an advantage.
Anyways, I’ve been surprised lately how I don’t have much fear about talking in Spanish. Although, Mary Alice you can tell Carmen that if she tries to talk to me in Spanish again when I go home in July I’m going to quedarme callada because I have a ton of vergüenza of my Dominican Spanish to other Spanish speakers. She’d think I had a speech impediment if I can a conversation with her, I know it.
5/1 Saturday: Despedida para Ana y Temo
Today was Anne and Tim’s farewell party. In a nutshell, it made me realize that my group is the next to go!!! Bummer because I really love it here now. I understand what a PCV was telling me right after I swore in now. She was in the group about to leave and she was complaining how right after you get used to being here it’s time to go. I only have 5 months left and I can’t picture leaving. Urg, I also don’t want to think about applying to grad schools (essays, letters of recommendation (ready for that Mary Alice--- er, I mean Bill?), the GRE and the COLD!!!! We finish the end of October although with this library project I may find a reason to stay until December. All I can say is, la vida no es facíl.
4/27 Tuesday: “Maybe I should just go for it and see how it goes?”: when your motorcycle driver asks you on a date.
As you all may have read, I have been extremely happy these last two months in my site. Life is good. No, life is great. Sure things aren’t going great but there are always problems in life. For example, today y pa’ ‘lante I have to change my Escojo class to the afternoon because all the teachers decided they don’t like the time I’m having it at. Later today I was at Margara’s house making tostones and spaghetti for dinner with her and her fam, having a great time when Ernestina and Mercedes showed up. Mercedes saw me and wouldn’t even go into the house. She told Margara that she had to go because Ernesto was sick from some juice and then left. Ernie said she was charging her phone and left. In case you didn’t get that, those were both bunk reasons and they were avoiding me. I am going to make this hard for them. I’m going to go to the Club de Madres each Monday from now on and I’m going to go out of my way to hang out at the houses they go to. And we shall see how long they decide to keep trying to ignoring me! Ha!
After dinner I went back to my house and there were 3 kids there who I got into a water fight with until nearly 10pm. It was fun because I wasn’t getting wet, just them! I was sitting out under the moonlight writing in my journal when Noel came over to visit. I have suspected that he has a crush on me because lately he’s been acting a little different. Well, last night he was like, “I’m not just saying this because I’m drunk right now but I’ve had a crush on you since we met”- the paraphrased, shorter version of course. This complicates my life. Not just because he is my motor man but also because it’s his mom and his grandma who are my best friends!! I’ve thought about dating him actually. I mean, I’ve wanted to date a Dominican (this may sound weird to people who don’t live here but it makes sense I swear) and he’s not a player, he’s in my site so I’d get to see him all the time, he’s got a motorcycle and works so he’s not a bum, he’s respectful and has never said anything inappropriate like 95% of the other Dominican men… and I love his family. On the other hand, this could end badly and then I’m screwed. I mean, if we date it’d almost have to be until the end of my service and I don’t think I want a commitment like that! (Sure I only have 6 months left but that’s a lot of hours…) Do I like him like that? Not really but Dominican relationships aren’t started based on that. It’s more of convenience and other simple factors. Then maybe something comes from it. So the question is what are the expectations at first really? I don’t know, I mean maybe I should just go for it and see how it goes? But is he the one I should experiment with? This whole entry sounds bad…
4/25-26 Sunday and Monday: Happy Birthday!!
This weekend was GREAT!!!! There was a regional meeting Sunday and my friend Kelly send out an email to all the PCVs in my region saying that we were going to have a birthday party afterwards for me so people should stay the night. It was the best party I have ever had! The last time I threw a party for myself no one showed up (8th grade graduation, big ego hit) but this time there were like 20- 25 people!! Fun!!! We went to a Mexican food restaurant and I didn’t have to buy any dinner because my little group got there late and ate everyone’s leftovers. So I got to try a bunch of the food there for free!! Then my friend Chris bought me a shot of tequila (which ended up being a double shot) and Mica told the restaurant it was my birthday and she bought me a piece of cheesecake and everyone sang to me when the waiter brought it out!! And they put a huge sombrero on my head. After dinner we went dancing and had a great time. It was so fun!! It was the 25th but close enough to my birthday. Someone was watching the clock in my group because at midnight they played a happy birthday song at the club and everyone clapped for me. It was so nice!!!!
I ended up having to sleep on the floor that night without a pillow or sheet or anything but no big deal. At least it was free! The next day I went out with Ali, Kelly and a girl named Mary who is visiting to lunch and then we all bought matching shoes together. I used the internet and talked with my best friend from home, Becky (1st time since September!), and also with my mom (talk with her online all the time:) though Skype. Later that night my sister, Rach, called me and we talked- 1st time since January! When I got to my campo no one had planned anything but that’s because no one knew about it. I didn’t really make a big deal about it to anyone, just mentioned it to the kids who hang out in my house that Friday before. Someone made me habichuela con dulce though which was delicious!! Ah yes, birthdays get better and better each year. It makes me nervous about next year, will I be sad I’m not here in the DR? I’m sure there won’t be a party with even 10 people to go out dancing with… better enjoy this time in my life while I can. And so I will:)
4/15- 4/18 Bola Race!!!
For those of you reading this who are seriously seriously behind the times and don’t have facebook, Bola Race is essentially hitchhiking across country with a bottle of alcohol in a costume with a partner. Yep, a perfect recipe!!! I wanted to go last year but couldn’t find a male partner (the ratio is ridiculious) so I missed out. This year I considered not going because I’m worn out!! I have been out of my site every weekend and just want to stay in my site and chill. But I went. And it was a hoot. We met up in Hato Mayor Friday and did a white elephant type of alcohol exchange. Then at 9 am the next morning we met up, the destination place was announced and a bunch of oddly dressed, mostly white people began trying to get a bola out of town. The rule is that you have to have an empty bottle before you get to the finish line and you can’t dump it out. Never in my life have I drank that early. I gave a bunch of our bottle to some homeless guy around 9:30 and so I can still say that I have never been drunk before noon. Mine and Andrew’s story was very original. We were newlywed brother and sister who were washed out to sea after a bad storm in LA a few months ago. After 3 days at sea a boat found us and took us to the DR. There is a lawyer at the end destination (a beautiful, calm tourist area called Bayihibe… may have spelled that wrong) who specializes in helping shipwrecked people without passports back to the States. The only part anyone ever double took on was that we were married brother and sister. We placed 7th out of 23 teams:)
4/9- 4/11 Escojo Conference:)
In a nutshell: Rachele, Ali and I planned this conference by ourselves and it went great. It makes me confident that the youth conference in August that Kelly, Rachele and I are planning will go well. We had a Sundae Bar one night and a Snack Bar another night (who’s idea do you think that was?:) along with a talent show. I know it seems like all I do is have fun here but what can I say? The fun stuff is more fun to write about! (Aside from the entry about someone poking out Kouldbie’s eye of course…)
4/7 Wednesday: Someone pokes out Kouldie’s eye.
Today I went to my Doña’s house to eat lunch after taking it easy in the morning with an Indiana Jones movie (until the power went out). Before I went to Minga’s I decided to check on my cat, Kouldbie and her two little kittens. I took some pics to post up on facebook for the next time I was online and then set off for some free rice and beans. About 20 minutes into my visit with Minga, a little boy ran up to me telling me that Kouldbie’s eye was outside of her head, giant and had blood all around it. I assumed that maybe something insignificant had happened to her but that he must be exaggerating. I ate some mangoes and headed up to my house, forgetting about the crazy kid.
When I got to my front door I was surprised to find Kould waiting for me and even more surprised to see that she indeed had a big problem with her left eye. It was bulging out of the socket and surrounded by red tissue. Well great, fantastic. I had to cancel planning English with Jen, loaded up the cat and the kittens into the carrier and got onto the motorcycle headed to the vet in Navarrete.
When I got to town everyone was closed still for the 2 hour lunch break. So we found the vets house and asked him to end his lunch a half hour early. I should have taken it as a sign when the 1st thing the vet did was take out a roll of packing tape and tell me to hold her legs together while he taped them… my jaw dropped and I asked him if he had thought about using some… ohhh I don’t know, anesthesia? Jeesh! He thought about it for a minute and said, oh yeah, I guess we could do that. So he put the tape away and instead of giving her something to put her to sleep he gave her something to dull the pain and tried for the next 45 minutes to force the eye back into the socket while she growled. It made me nauseous as I pet her. Poor thing. I finally convinced the vet that this obviously wasn’t working and so he said that he would give her an anti-inflammatory and maybe the eye would go back in on its own. He said it was important to keep it moist in the meantime and so I had to constantly keep wetting it. The problem was that I wasn’t going to be here this weekend because I have an Escojo conference Friday-Sunday. He offered to keep her until Monday and after weighing the options of taking the cat back on the motorcycle for a day and then bringing her back while I went to the conference, I decided to leave her with the vet. I was worried though, remembering the tap incident and asked him to use pain meds every time he was going to do something that hurt her.
Thursday I was really busy with two art classes, English class and stove making in between but Friday on my way to the conference I stopped at the vet and checked on Kouldbie. The vet wasn’t in yet and when he finally got in, he took about 10 minutes to go and look for her… making me wonder what was going on. When I did see her I was upset to see she looked gaunt. The vet said that her eye was still outside of the socket and that if it didn’t go back in by Monday he would have to operate. Ummm, hello…. It’s been over FOURTY hours. If they anti-inflammatory meds didn’t work yet I doubt they’re going to go into overdrive and shrink her eye back into her head. When we took off the little mask he had made her, I saw that the eye had lost all of the original color and was completely black. I’m no doctor but I know anything black on the body generally gets cut off, STAT. Problem was I didn’t have enough money on me to pay the vet and get to the conference and all of the banks were closed due to some computer problem. So I told him I was just taking her back with me so I could take care of her until Monday when we would operate if they eye was the same and I took Kouldbie to Santiago to the vet there.
When we got to the vet in Santiago (“we” because during all of this I had my youth with me, a timid 13 year old girl who had only been to Santiago 2 times in her life, ah the things I was showing her!) the vet took one look at the eye and said it was too late to save it. But Kouldbie had a fever from infection so they had to wait a day to operate. Poor cat!! I asked how much it would be and laughed when they said it would be $5000 pesos- more than half of my months salary. I thought about putting her to sleep but after she suffered for 2 days, and if we did that her kittens would die too. Urg…. I’m going to have to figure out how to save up $5000…
I left Kouldbie and went to the conference. The conference was really fun and went really well (surprising since I’m one of the head people planning it!). When I picked up Kouldbie the next Wednesday I was happy to find her one happy cat, loving life!! The vet had to sew her eye shut so she looks like a pirate, maybe I should get a patch. Anyways, I’m glad I have her home. She’s one smart cat because there is no way I’m leaving a $6200 (with the vet bill from Navarrete) in the DR!!!