The roosters and chickens shared my sentiments at 6 am when the blasting alarm shot out of the phone. The roosters down the street made this horrifying squacking sound, that was interpreted by sleep deprived me as screaming in the wee hours of the morning. And the awkward stray cat made this Spanish meowing sound outside my window that looks directly at a garden filled with palm trees and massive pink flowers. Their petals look as if they are were dipped in a fuchsia pink at the tips. The natural alarm clock kept me moving into the unknown of my first full day in Dominican Republic.
I have my own corner of the house and my own bathroom. It is fantastic. Side note* I am seriously regretting not bringing my own pillow. Going to the washroom in the morning I can even walk there in my pajamas that is something so unimportant but it makes me unbelievably happy.
My day started with Yogurt, and empanadas, of course. The most stereotypical Spanish dish. If you don’t know what that is, I sincerely hope you are typing EMPANADAS into google right now and are educating your self of the delicacy of Spanish cuisine. And my host family/Dominican Family/Lucial and Raymon are the sweetest and kindest people. They have already done so much for me and it is only the second day. I wish I knew more Spanish so I could properly tell them how thankful I am for everything they have done. I’m sure I’ll be able to soon.
The morning was a blur, partly because of my sleepiness (I only slept 3 hours on the plane the day before if that gives more context to the truth of my sleep desperation.) The morning was adventurous in the most mundane routines.
The moment I stopped and realized how amazingly unusual my situation was, was when I sat in the office talking to my Dominican friend in Spanglish- mostly English, about poverty inequality in Dominican and political science while drinking a juice box. In that moment I noticed the voices all of the children playing outside of the office wall and the extremely loud noise of the traffic roaring by side the school. The 30 degree weather and the extreme normality and difference that this moment had to my life in Canada hit me like a ton of bricks.
After that the simplest things, like watching how Dominicans drive motorcycles and the things they carry on the motorcycles became the most fascinating thing in the world. I could not take my eyes off the street.
When my odd interest in motorcycles dwindled I found my self in a little snack shop/food store connected to the school and so many children speaking Spanish were calling to Lucila their orders.. all at the same time. I never have realized how quite my society compared to here. My job was filling up refresco (pop) in a cup with ice, so when it was ordered they could just hand it to the little hands. It was insane how busy that shop was. But by the end of it I could successfully remember the names of most of the chips, candy pop in the shop. It also greatly helped with my ability to understand the value of the currency, and what 1, 10 and 20 pesos can buy. A lot of snacks and pop. That’s the answer if you were curious.
The father of a friend of mine, can’t comprehend that I am happy being single, him being a trouble maker, purposely speaking incredibly loudly caught the attention of the motor taxi drivers standing on the other side of the waist high blue concrete fence. I got hissed at all afternoon. What is a hiss, one might ask, for some strange reason it is how you cat call. In reality, it sounds like an army of snakes is about to overtake you. Later one of the hissing taxi drivers creepily watched me as I ate my lunch. It was an incredibly uncomfortable moment for me.
I think I am converting to Dominican time, people I know from Canada were supposed to pick me up from the church at 2 but arrived a few minutes before 3. Normal me, would be incredibly worried about the tardiness but instead of even noticing they were late I ended up in a kindergarten class room watching the substitute give the children instructions on what to colour. Eventually the Canadian couple found me and was very apologetic over their lateness. And I didn’t even mind waiting. Especially because I completely floored by their kindness of driving to get me and brining me up the mountain. Which was beautiful and breath taking I also saw a gecko there chilling on the fence.
It was a good moment, it was especially good when I realized that everything about me screams “I only speak English” it was an advantage when I could understand what the Dominicans on top of the mountain were saying about the couple that drove me and their other two friends. I had a good chuckle to myself. Then someone asked me to run away to Haiti with him … that was not such a good moment. I sense a pattern of the things that make me annoyed.
Later at night at Lucila and Raymonds’ home I talked to Raymond for a long time about life in Canada, in Dominican, life in general, religion and cultural ideas. I really like him, he is understanding and patience with my attempts at conversation. Yesterday night, he jumped all around the kitchen, dinning room and living room pointing out items and getting me to say their names over and over again. He is a good teacher and I think I will learn a lot from him and Lucila.
I ate miniature bananas for supper, it is as if a banana and plantain had a child that is the mini banana I ate- but I forget the name. Something with a lot of R’s in it. And if you have talked to me in Spanish before, you will understand how unfortunate my R’s are in Spanish.
I getting really sleepy and I’m freezing… that is really strange to say in Dominican… anyways that’s everything interesting from today I want to close my eyes before I start accidentally counting how many spiders I unknowingly share this room with.