Today at school in the morning I hung out with my friends practicing English and Spanish together- this is very typical of my mornings at the school. As I study Spanish people always come over and help me with words or we get side tracked and start practicing English or talk about random things. This happened that particular Friday, my dear friend at the school, is someone I feel that I can confide in and I was feeling particularly distressed about being white that morning.
In the Dominican culture beauty standards are modeled after white girls with straight hair. Almost everyone here spends so much time flattening their natural gorgeous hair (the hair I covet most). So many people have such straight here that I almost feel like I need to straighten mine because my hair is curly. Being here I would ideally like to fly under the radar when I’m walking on the street or going to school on a motorcycle. Instead, I feel like I am a massive white bull’s eye that gets hissed at only because of my colour and often I’m lumped together with the idea of North American riches.
Following that conversation, one of the Dominican translators for the group of people from Canada came into the office and started asking me questions about my relationship status. He then continued to tell me that it is my divine plan to find a man in Dominican and God could use that to serve him.. blah blah blah. I’m not sure if he was just trying to be nice (latino culture is full of people destined to be match makers) or ya no… I’m not sure but it made me really uncomfortable. But my friend I had just talked to, shot him down in Spanish so fast I couldn’t even process what had happened. At that moment I was just so happy and amused by the situation, thinking to myself “So that’s what rejection sounds like in Spanish.. good to know.”
Friday was Duarte’s Day (Juan Pablo Duarte was a founding father in Dominican Republic, he helped fiancé the War of Independence against Haiti)
Hundreds of children pilled into the sanctuary of the church and each grade went to the stage and did a short presentation. Many acronyms were used to describe and why there is a holiday (on Monday) for Juan Pablo Duarte. It was very long. Coming out of there, I understood why my friends from Dominican did not want to watch the presentation. I could just imagine how tedious it would have been to do this every single year in school. For me it was interesting because it was the first time I had heard of Duarte.
Later in the evening after school was finished I was home for super- which is a meal that doesn’t exist here because everyone just has a plate pilled as high as a mountain for lunch, and on this plate is about a pound of rice with beans- anyways I had just eaten my staple meal of toasted bread with nutella and peanut butter (I would die without these) and then I went to my bedroom to tidy it up. I heard some voices in the living room, which is normal, people stop and say hi often or sometimes the TV is turned on really loudly and I think it’s a visitor in the house. I thought nothing of the voices and came out of my bedroom and two teenage boys were sitting on the couches.
Lucila and Ramon were not in the room, just two random guys sitting there with a guitar and piano. I’m really racking my memory for some conversation that I had in the past that would explain this moment, nothing came to mind. Because in my culture it would be normal to give someone a heads-up that people are coming over.
Being my graceful self I reacted swiftly by walking back into my room and closing the door awkwardly, pretending that nothing happened. I was way to confused and tired to deal with the situation. Later I emerged from my safe haven to get juice and Lucila and Ramon that they had known these boys for years and they were here visiting. I got my juice and began writing out what I was going to type on my blog.
Shortly after that the power went out, something that is pretty common here, which meant no more blogging for me. The 5 of us sat in the living room around candlelight while the one of the strange boys in the house played guitar softly. It was a moment that reminded me to slow down and take a moment to breath. The mood was very tranquil and peaceful and I soon fell asleep (which is a talent of mine, being able to fall asleep almost everywhere I am). When I woke up I realized that it was really late and the two adolescents were still in the house and it finally clicked in my head that they were sleeping here tonight. Which is exactly what happened. I'm lost faith that I will every fully understand what is going on.