Friday, December 12, 2008

Around the World (Without Leaving Santo Domingo)

Hola & bonjour! This past week I’ve been back in the capital for an inservice language training, to brush up & improve my Spanish skills now that I’ve been out using them for awhile. It’s been fun and helpful overall, although six hours a day of language training gets to be a little draining. This afternoon, for example, we spent almost two hours rehashing por vs. para. (Spanish has two words for the English word “for,” and also both words have other meanings, like “through” and “by.” In some cases the distinction is more clearcut, like “por” is used to express definite amounts of time. So “for an hour” is “por una hora.” (“Para” can also express time in some cases, like “Yo voy para 9,” is roughly “I’ll go around 9.” It’s less commonly used, though.) In other cases it’s a little fuzzier. For the English “I did this for you,” “por” is “for” if it is something that was done because of something or someone, but “para” is “for” if it just means, well, for. Um. Anyway, it’s confusing, and most non-fluent Spanish speakers, myself included, tend to just use “para” anywhere you would use “for” in English.”

… ay, mi madre.

Anyway, we’ve had our training every day until 3pm and then have been having fun reunions within our PC group. On Tuesday we took an excursion to the Acropolis Center, aka “Land of Rich White Dominicans,” aka “Seriously, Are We In America?” I bought a CINNABON! Others bought iced mochas and TGI Friday’s burgers. It had escalators, which I haven’t seen since I left the airport. (No wait, the mall in Santiago has an escalator too but it’s been broken every time I’ve gone there.) It was basically amazing.

We also saw the movie Max Payne, which was pretty terrible, although we had fun laughing at unintentionally humorous scenes. The best part of the whole movie was when one character said, “She’s a bitch,” and the subtitle, instead of saying “Ella es una zorra”* said “Ella es una basura,” which means, “She is a garbage.” And in Spanish it’s just as weird sounding to say “a garbage” (instead of “the garbage,” or “a piece of garbage,” or whatever.) Also, a garbage does not mean a bitch. So we’ve incorporated that into our slang in both English and Spanish. I encourage you to do the same: next time someone cuts you off in traffic, shake your fist and yell, “You are such a garbage!” I’m sure it will make you feel better.

*"Zorro" means fox, "zorra" is a female fox. Or a bitch. Also, this is what was used for bitch at other points in the movie, thus making this instance of "una basura" even funnier.

This afternoon we went to Carrefour, the Dominican branch of the French version of Wal-Mart. We bought Brie cheese and baguettes and it was impossibly blissful. Then we went to the colmado and played Travel Scrabble, which I brought with me this week and have been happily spreading as an alternative to dominoes. (Not that I don’t like dominoes, but why play that when you could be playing Scrabble?)

Tomorrow is our last day of training, and we’re planning to spend the afternoon at the Embassy pool. It should be amazing. Who knew being in the Peace Corps could be so posh?

On Saturday, my brother Reid is arriving for a visit, which should be great! (And not only because he’s bringing a suitcase full of American snacks.)

1 comment:

Priscilla said...

Yay! Hopefully, Reid managed to find room in his suitcase for something from me. :D