This last week was semana santa, which is holy week, I was told that this is a crazy and dangerous week in the year but I did not find that in my experience. All of the children had a week off of school and for the working population Friday and half of Thursday was a holiday for them. I was afraid about what I was going to do for this week because the art school was shutting down for a week. I found that my schedule was busy, my lack of car and my stubbornness of how to spend my remaining dimes as left me with refusing to pay for a motorconcho taxi driver and instead I feel as if I can walk everywhere. I do exactly that; I probably spend 1-2 hours walking everyday because it is free. This makes doing chores, such as grocery shopping exhausts my body and energy levels.
The market is the most exhausting because vegetables are really heavy and to carry them back to your house is so heavy. For the first two days I did food related errands and stopped by my friends work (which is a hardware store) just so I can get an idea of what a Dominican Hardware store sells, if I would ever need that… if I got an apartment.. but that is an idea right now. And because my life is an awkward series of random events piled together in a Spanish society, of course at the grocery store- in front of the cash registers I would wipe out while walking. My right leg is destined to be injured in Dominican Republic. This week alone its been bruised and bleed because I am a clumsy person.
Wednesday was an excellent day because my friend showed me all of the second hand stores in the city. There was even a used booked store were you could buy books in any language in any topic from economics text books to Edgar Allen Poe. I was able to pick up a Spanish book based on the past dictatorship in Dominican Republic. After that a group of us went to the theatre and we watched Cinderella in Spanish. The evening ended with a church service that only began at 8:30 pm.
Thursday was a morning for cleaning but I escaped from my chores to walk down to the beach and hangout with my guy friends in the afternoon. They invited me to come to a church service in the evening. To my surprise this church service in a different city was held in a baseball stadium. It was an outdoor concert for the Dominican police workers. During this it started raining cats and dogs. Most of the people at this concert where out in the baseball field and started freaking out when the rain came I saw people walking around with plastic chairs over their heads. It was very entertaining for me. During the concert I was sitting beside my close friend and I just burst into tears at one point because I remembered that I was leaving Dominican. After letting me cry out all of my emotions he reminded me that time moves fast and before I know it I will be back in Dominican. I have been doing that a lot where I will be perfectly fine then something will trigger me to be incredibly emotional.
Friday was good because I was able to spend time at my friends house in Sosua it was very relaxing and it was so fantastic to be able to talk to two other women that have gone through my situation when first coming to Dominican Republic and they have really unique and perspectives that are filled with wisdom. Before I came to this country I had a wish list of things I prayed for that I knew I wanted if I came to Dominican. On that list was making close friends with other expats and I am very grateful that I am able to have an expat community I can be close too.
The week of semana santa is known for being extremely dangerous because there is more drunk driving and accidents. On Friday evening it got past 5 and I decided to stay over at my friends house over night because I did not feel comfortable going back to Puerto Plata in the evening by myself. On Saturday afternoon I took a public car into town but I asked God for a Christian driver that would have views against drinking because I was afraid of getting into an accident. It happens that the driver on Saturday was the same man that drove me into Sosua on Friday morning. I remembered on Friday that he was listening to the Christian radio and on the Saturday I asked him about this and we had a great conversation during the 40-minute car ride. I was really grateful for getting back safely.
Saturday day evening while baking cookies for my friends birthday, I once again had an incredibly emotional moment and that lasted until Sunday morning in church. I was just so mad about having to leave here as soon as I got comfortable and I have had an issue with a guy that is really weird and makes me feel creped out. It is a very long story but I already really dislike him but then he started taking a video of me during the church service. Which I did not appreciate especially when I could see him re-watching it. That could be a contributing factor to a bad mood. Luckily for me that mood was broken when we went to the beach in the afternoon.
I was so burnt from being poolside all Friday and Saturday that I decided to stay on the beach with my one friend that did not want to go swimming. Here I could relax and not have to deal with a large amount of people. I realized I do not like big groups of people they are exhausting. This was a good two hours of me being able to think and relax. At the end of it I was so much happier, I think the sun, sand a waves are good for your soul. It’s healthy to look at beautiful things and to let them calm you.
Throughout all of the past week I have been doing a lot reflecting on the past three months, on my experiences the moments I’m satisfied and disappointed with. It is really hard for me to give a lot of this up and I know when I do come back things will be different. This truly is a change of a season or the ending of a chapter on my life. In the end I will walk away with my memories and experiences but in this moment my heart hurts to say goodbye to people, routine and comfort.
Yesterday (Monday) I got together with one of my expat friends to show her where an art store was and we got ice cream after and it is so sad that, I won’t be able to see her anymore this year. I am slowly seeing people for the last time, promising to keep up over a messaging app, but I know it won’t be the same as running around Puerto Plata together.
Everything needs to change because that is how we grow as people. When we push ourselves on what we can do we learn so much about ourselves and what we are capable of. This is what Dominican was for me, for the past two years I have wanted to return but actually returning was a difficult experience but I’m glad I did it. If I didn’t have a God or friends in Dominican I don’t think that I could have returned here because they kept me a float.
I have been reading the book Mathew lately because I had a lot of questions for my future or how to describe my experience here and deal with change and this verse stuck out to me. It answered a question of mine.
“Foxes have dens and birds have nests but the son of Man, has no place to lay his head”