Thursday, August 19, 2010

B-day/ 3-month IST/ house-warming sopas/ you name it.

Sorry it’s been so long! I thought this whole blog thing would get easier with time, but it turns out that I’m slacking more and more the longer that I am away. I will fix this ASAP. So many updates! Here we go…

Birthday: Had my first birthday in the DR! It was a blast. A group of volunteers all went up to Cabarete and we hung out for the weekend, relaxing on the beach, eating non-Dominican food, and dancing (Dominican style, of course, with a lot of American stuff thrown in there too). We stayed at a little bungalow-type place that’s actually a surf camp. It was Carly’s birthday, too, so that made it even more fun! I would definitely recommend this town as a place to visit…One strip of restaurants, shops, and touristy places along the beach. At night, it is one huge celebration along the beach and all of the restaurants play music and have the beach lit up. Really fun! Also I wanna say it’s the kite-surfing capital of the world? Um…or maybe just the DR. Need to check my Lonely Planet book for that one.

3 Month IST: PHEWWWW!!! Finally finished with the diagnostic process. Our ICT group had our 3-month in-service training last week in Jarabacoa. It was a beautiful site; it actually reminded me a lot of Arkansas, so while my co-worker Pedro was raving about all of the mountains and pine trees, I was a little preoccupied missing home for a sec. I tried to explain that palm trees are a lot more exciting to me than the pine trees, and I think that blew his mind. Oh well.

Anyways, our close-knit group of 22 all met up in this site in the mountains, along with our Dominican project partners (or any random Dominican we could find who would go with us), and we spent 2.5 days at a retreat center listening to lectures, doing team-building activities, playing the best game ever, MAFIA, and (ugh) giving our presentations in Spanish. It wasn’t as bad as I thought it was going to be, and it was actually really interesting to see what all of my friends had been working on for the past 3 months. It seems like everyone knows exactly what they need to get done in their communities, so good luck to all of us!!

Now it’s actually time to start classes, get going with youth groups, make a difference…you know, all of that Peace Corps jazz. I am actually really excited to start working and be able to make my own itinerary for the next ~21 months.

House: MOVED IN!!!!!!!!!! Last night was my 3rd official night in my new cute little house. So far it’s rat-free – knock on wood– so my biggest worry is not a problem. Well, if I was being honest, my biggest fear is really just living alone and someone breaking in my house with a machete, but that is being a little dramatic. My project partner, Delvin, did give me a giant machete of my own, so that was comforting.

So I moved into my house for good this past Monday. Delvin helped me a ton- found me a random bed to buy from some factory(?), rounded up help from his cousins to move everything over from my doña’s house to my new house, gave me some chairs and drinkable water from the CTC, and even threw me a “Sopa.” Haha. Sopa is soup in Spanish, and he explained that it’s a good-luck tradition to have a party and cook soup when you move into a new house. I figured it would happen later this week (or never happen…this IS the DR, right? If you have questions about this generalization, please look at my list in the previous post.); however, NOPE. Delvin made this happen my first night there.

One minute, we are all sweaty moving things and I am thinking I am just going to crash in my new place; next thing I knew, he was inviting all of my neighbors/random people around town/some of those cousins, people were going home to shower, and he was driving me all over town telling me what to buy for this soup. I don’t have a stove (yet/might not ever buy one…to be determined), so he rigged a fogon outside my house and built a fire. There was cooking, music, amazing soup, new friends and some people I will probably never see again, and it was a good time.

Here are some pics from Monday night...

I think I am going to love my place! Only problem might be that I will never have a moment of privacy (which I guess is better than loneliness?) because everyone is practically taking shifts to hang out with me. I am the crazy American living by herself (without an inversor- gasp- which means electricity only half the time), so that automatically means I will die of boredom or sadness if someone is not always at my house, right? Or so my neighbors think. They are all precious and it's so nice that they care about getting to know me! However, I actually had a dream that I was suffocating and meanwhile everyone was climbing over my fence, running around my house, and rummaging through all of my stuff...a dream? or foreshadowing? Vamos a ver.

Oh-- something else I forgot! Before I moved in, I bought some cleaning supplies to get the house semi-ready. I dropped them off one day, and some of the neighborhood kids decided that we were going to deep clean my house right then and there. So we did. Or they did. I was kinda the dumb American who didn't know when they changed the bucket to bleach, so I scrubbed of some of the paint on the walls. And I also hosed down the room with the wood in it. Oops. I felt like the little kid that they were all having to watch to make sure i didn't hurt myself or the house. I swear, I know how to the States. Here is just different. They took a power hose and sprayed down the entire inside of my house! Sooo sweet. Ok so final thing (I promise)..Here are some of those pics...

So those are just some of the updates from the past few weeks! I am off to an Argentinian wedding in Samana this weekend, and I am really excited. It's all about cultural integration, right?

English classes start next Wednesday! Wish me luck! Will write soon. Love you guys.