Monday, April 27, 2009

a highly successful weekend

Hi everyone. I hope you all had a weekend as delightful as mine was. “What did you do, Renata?” you might ask, and I will happily respond, because, like all bloggers, I love talking about myself.

So, Saturday morning I got up and dragged myself out of bed early for my 9am English class. I had made plans to meet friends for lunch “if no one comes to my English class, which they probably won’t.” As predicted, no one came to my class (which is too bad for them because my lesson plan was “watch Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure with Spanish subtitles on”), so I called my friends to set the backup plan into action .Unfortunately, Justin had been pressed into service helping his host family with an inventory of their colmado, so we rescheduled for Sunday. I then took a nap.

Then I rolled out of bed and helped out with the afternoon community informatica class, which mostly meant deleting a bunch of viruses off of one of the school’s computers so that the students could actually use them. I spent the evening watching movies and working on my cross-stitch.

Sunday morning I got ready to meet my friends for lunch. We were meeting in San Francisco de Macoris, a good-sized city that was supposedly about an hour and a half from me. I hadn’t been there before, but di que there’s an awesome restaurant there. So, I got in my carro publico to La Vega at 11, and told the driver to let me out at the stop for the San Francisco guagua. (This is one of my favorite things about carro publicos: I never have to know exactly where I’m going. Either the driver will know, or he’ll roll down his window at corners and yell out requests for directions.) I get in the guagua with 2 Dominican girls and we wait. And wait. It is raining, so naturally activity halts in La Vega. A few more people trickle into the guagua. I listen to an entire Wait Wait, Don’t Tell Me podcast. The Dominicans start to riot, “Ya nos vamos! Ay Dios!” The driver continues to wait for more passengers. Finally we leave, with the guagua about 2/3 full. I show up, shamefaced, about an hour late for my lunch date, but everyone understands. They know how it is when the guagua just won’t leave.

Anyway, the restaurant is as delicious as promised. We share a pitcher of chinola (passionfruit) margaritas and have cheese and spinach (SPINACH!!! The only other place you can get spinach in the DR is the US Embassy cafeteria!) quesadillas and an awesome pizza with blue cheese and nuts and some sort of magical sauce. It was almost like being back in Amurica. Justin and I also had an in-depth discussion about Twilight and Battlestar Galactica, much to the dismay of the less-geeky Arianna.

Then we parted ways and I caught a guagua back to La Vega, which luckily left more quickly than my last trip. Unfortunately, then I also had to get a carro from La Vega back to my town. While waiting for the carro I picked up an admirer. Not to sound vain, but I pick up a lot of admirers in this country, both because it’s much more acceptable (in fact, encouraged) for Dominican men to act in a way that would be considered harassment if an American man did it, and because most Dominican men love white girls. Anyway, so I’m pretty used to rebuffing Dominican dudes, but this one was a little more intense (and hilarious) than usual.

(Translated from Spanish)
Dominican dude: Where are you going?
Me: [My town]. (Pretty obvious, since I was waiting at the stop for my town, but anyway.)
DD: You live there?
Me: Yes.
DD: You live there… alone?
Me: Yes.
DD: You shouldn’t be alone! (Rubs index fingers together in the Dominican sign for sex)
Me: It’s okay.
DD: You should marry a Dominican.
Me: Maybe.
DD: You should marry ME.
Me: No.
DD: Can I have your phone number?
Me: No.
DD: Please can I have your phone number?
Me: No.
DD: Can I give you my phone number? You can call me?
Me: No.
DD: (Pulls out his phone)
Me: NO.
DD: (Sticks his phone in my face)
Me: (Realizes he’s taking a picture with his camera phone, turns away)
DD: (Sticks phone in my face again and shows me a picture of myself in profile, turning away from him)
Me: (Pulls out my own phone and starts making calls to my friends, so I can be far too busy talking in English to pay any more attention to this guy)

It was awesome.

Anyway, then I got home without further incident, dropped off my stuff, and went over to visit my host family. I’ve been trying to get my host dad to come help me with my plumbing for like three weeks, throughout which period I haven’t had water. A pipe connecting my house to the main water line broke, requiring someone to climb up on the roof and reconnect it. My dad keeps insisting that I should get my host dad to do it, because I will probably die if I do it myself. But since my host dad has a job and a car and extended family responsibilities, he is rarely there. Finally on that afternoon I decided to just give up and do it myself. I mean, I’m an independent woman, I can surely reattach one little pipe by myself, right?

So I borrow my host family’s ladder and set it up. Then I got out the bonding cement whatever that Dad left me and tried mightily to open it. And I couldn’t. So this independent woman finally took it over to the colmado guy to get him to open it for me. And he couldn’t do it either, so he passed it off to one of his muscular customers. So, with my open cement in hand, I climbed up the ladder and studied the scene. Just then, one of my neighbors yells something about the ladder, and I freak out a little. The next-door doña sends over the next door don, and I climb down the latter. It turns out the doña mistakenly thought the ladder was broken, but since the don was over there anyway, she started commanding him over the fence to fix my pipe for me, giving him shouted step-by-step advice. “Put your left foot up now!” “Test it before you glue it back together!” “Tell her that anytime she needs something like this done, she can ask you to do it! Tell her!”

Anyway, so now I have running water again! Hurrah! Right now I’m preparing for my first community Photoshop class (OK, right now I’m writing this blog entry, but that’s just on break from preparing my Photoshop class). I didn’t really think about preparing anything for it last night, because I was pretty sure no one will show up. I still kind of think that, based on previous community enthusiasm for my projects, but I’d still better be prepared!

1 comment:

Jennifer said...

That story reminds me of all the unwanted attention I got here in DC during St. Patty's '08. I will never, ever, ever wear a "Kiss Me I'm Irish" shirt again. Actually, now that I think about it...DC guys are skeevy in general. Ew.