Friday, November 21, 2008

pretty good day

Hmm, now it’s 8pm, which I’ve (somewhat arbitrarily) decided is too late to visit people. I’ve been putting off visiting this woman in my neighborhood for like… a month now? I’ve visited her a few times, and she’s always very happy to see me, but it’s also always fairly unpleasant. HERE’S WHY: she ostensibly invited me over so she could practice her English with me, but instead she likes to nitpick my Spanish (which, though imperfect, is much better than her English). This is annoying (I know I should just accept and grow from the criticism, but I am frankly not yet a big enough person to do this and not be annoyed), but much more uncomfortable is the way my visits always turn into family therapy sessions, in which she tells me everything that is wrong with her 11-year-old son—while the kid sits across the table from us! I try to stick up for him—I don’t know him that well, but I figure with a mom like that his self-esteem could probably use a hit regardless—but my attempts are always shot down by mom. Still, though, I should visit her and keep working on the kid’s self esteem, and also to stave off guilt trips when I see the woman around town.

Well. Another day, I guess.

But! I will not let this failure detract from my other successes of today!


  • This morning I did laundry a mano! Lots of it! Here is how I do laundry when possible: I take it to the Peace Corps office and do it in the American-style washers and dryers there. However, this is complicated because: it’s tricky to travel with large amounts of clothing, it’s expensive to travel to and stay overnight in the capital, and the high demand on the Peace Corps laundry machines means it’s improbable to get all one’s laundry done in one day. So I can only do laundry there when I’m already planning to travel to the capital for some reason, and also when I’m not planning to be there at a time when lots of other volunteers will be there. When too long goes between acceptable trips to Santo Domingo, then I get out my washtub and my bucket and do my laundry in the shower. I use fresca lavanda (fresh lavender) scented laundry detergent, and white vinegar in the rinse water, and a little scrubby brush which I use (with limited success) on stains. Then I hang everything up on the network of wires that looms over my paved-over backyard. Today I was forced even to wash my jeans, which I strongly resist washing by hand because they are so hard to wring out by hand and they take so long to dry and they can go so long without being washed. Today my jeans smelled really bad. But no longer!
  • Plus I washed my bathmat, which is even more of a pain to wash than my jeans!
  • Also, I finally put some oil on the padlock I use to close my gate at night. For the last, oh, two weeks, it’s been too rusty (or something?? What am I, a lock scientist?) to shut, so I’ve just been putting it over my gate latch and swiveling it so it looks closed. This has, in fact, prevented any break-ins, although this could also just be due to the fact that I live in a very safe neighborhood and also my house is about 6 inches away from my neighbors’ houses. Still, though, now I can actually lock it again.
  • I went to the far-away grocery store (it’s like a 20 minute walk… but that is far-away when it’s 85 degrees out, okay) and bought wheat bread, canned mushrooms, and a tomato! Hooray!
  • I took out the trash today. When I first moved here, Thursday was trash pickup day, but lately they’ve just been picking it up on random days. This morning I noticed that some of my neighbors had put out their trash so I thought maybe… but the trash is still there. Whatever, it’ll get picked up eventually?
  • I swept off my porch! My porch accumulates trash at a rapid rate because Dominicans tend to be severe litterbugs and cough drop wrappers and chip bags constantly fly around this country in a whirlwind of non-biodegradable tidbits. For this reason, most doñas sweep their porches at least once a day. I’m not a very good doña so I shoot for like once a week. Whateverrrr.
  • I did all my dishes from dinner before the power went out! I hate doing dishes in the dark.
  • I wrote up this blog entry. (This I’m doing in the dark, but it’s cool cuz the laptop has 2 hours of battery left.)

So yeah, pretty good day!

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