There is not much to say about today (Monday), the group of white missionaries came and did skits for the kids, which was an odd experience for me to see because that was me a year or two ago. A stranger, trying to connect with the children while having no idea what is going on. But I know that the group was learning a lot about the culture, the kids had fun and I know that the teachers like when these groups come. It gives them a little break in the day from teaching. The highlight for me was being able to see the man that was my translator for my team the first year I came to Dominican and now he was at the school translating for the new group.
I walked to the market today and bought some passion fruits which are delicious, I can get three passion fruits for 30 pesos which is 0.80$ CAN. (which is the same as a taxi ride on a motorcycle) I saw an elderly couple wearing visors and backpacks over their chests… all I could think is that’s pretty much how I look.
After that I realized I had ripped my pants… which is something I very sadly, typically do quite frequently. And when I was in the washroom sewing up the back pocket of my pants, I was really revaluating all of my decisions that led me to that exact moment. It was a good reflection time and a pretty amazing sewing job if I do say so myself. You can hardly see the white thread on my black pants.
Throughout the day and into the night I was at the school doing random jobs for the men’s conference that was happening Tuesday night and all day Wednesday. There was a large group of girls that did behind the scenes things like make entrance bracelets and cutting out bookmarks. My hands wanted to bleed after 2 hours of intensely focusing on cutting paper. All of the girls I was working beside were speaking Spanish so fast I couldn’t understand everything but it was still really interesting for me to watch their interactions. My friends here are incredibly similar to my friends in Canada except they speak a different language and are a bit crazier.
I can understand a lot of Spanish but my habit of daydreaming is not an asset when it comes to comprehension. For example on Sunday the pastor was talking about how happy he was to have the group of white people here from Canada, we all clapped and then I started daydreaming. I was happily in my own world when I notice the pastor is pointing at me and everyone in the room is starring at me, clapping enthusiastically and I have no idea what is going on. Oto, tells me “Jen stand up”, and I do but I’m just so rattled about everything that I really awkwardly and slowly rise off my seat, with the most terrified look on my face and then sit down as soon as possible. That was a very uncomfortable moment.
I arrived at the men’s conference in style, I stepped out of the car taxi with friends in matching white shirts and black bottoms. And some of the men coming for the conference did a double take when they saw me in my very North American/European self standing there, trying to say “God bless you” in Spanish, which I pronounced terribly. The girls here are amazing people and have just automatically accepted me into their lives. In Canada this would very rarely happen to be so inclusive to a person that doesn’t speak the same language as you. Tuesday was the first time I felt like I wasn’t a tourist in the country.
On the Wednesday I arrived just after 7 am for the conference and to summarize the day there was a lot of laughter and random things that happened and I was a waitress for breakfast and lunch time- collecting dirty plates. It was hilarious for me when I was floating around the room with a ridiculous amount of plates stacked up on my arms watching all the men’s faces trying to figure out if they should speak to me in Spanish or English. It was a flashback to many different jobs I used to have minus the whole ‘language barrier’. Also, being busy was a good excuse not to give guys my number.. actually I don’t have a number right now.. so I mean my facebook information. I really need crocs.
There was a couple there from Puerto Rico/Chicago and I was talking to them in the afternoon and they actually had thought that I came from a really white part of Dominican Republic because I looked so comfortable in the culture…. I was so happy to hear that. The rest of the day was a bunch of random jobs and I made an effort to go out in the sun for 10 minutes every hour to help with my plan to become very tan. It’s a work in process. Everyone here thinks I’m crazy for trying to darken my snow like appearance.