Wednesday, July 29, 2009

what have i been up to

Ohhhh all kinds of things. Here is a recent article (in English) about my new partner NGO, DREAM Project. It is slightly factually incorrect in parts (for example, it claims that Google is one of our sponsors, which it is not. But if anyone reading this works for Google, please feel free to become one of our sponsors!!)

Basically I am working a lot, like nine hour days. This is compared to my old site where I pretty much worked a 9-hour week. Maybe. It feels good, though.

Also I am spending a lot of time reading this blog about a Japanese cat named Maru. IT IS AMAZING, please cease reading my blog immediately and read about Maru instead. I assure you it will be more fulfilling.

Friday, July 17, 2009

greetings from cabarete!

HEY BLOG. How have you been? I've had an eventful week, I suppose! I went up a mountain to Constanza, where I helped my friends Chris, Kathy, and Malia run a youth day camp. It was nice: the air is cooler up the mountain, and I got to go on some fun hikes and get a free snack every day. It wasn't all sunshine and unicorns, however:

  • I got enormous (egg sized in surface diameter, though not in depth) bug bites from evil insects known as magi.
  • I got hit in the face with a baseball and had a sore nose.
  • I had the sniffles all week.
  • I scratched my arms on thorn bushes.
  • I fell on a rock and skinned my knee REAL BAD.
  • I broke my glasses across the nose and had to tape them together.

Basically I had a lot of maladies an average elementary school student might sustain. Hilarious.

Now I am up in Cabarete, a nice beach town on the North Coast. It seems I will be moving here next week! I will be working with the DREAM project and it seems like it will be awesome. I looked at some housing options today and hopefully I will hear back about prices by the end of the day and move in somewhere on Tuesday! Goodbye, stupid old town. Hello, beach!

Oh also I will get new glasses on Monday, which I am really looking forward to because this tape job keeps coming undone, causing my glasses to fall off my face at inopportune times. Actually there are never really any opportune times for glasses to fall off one's face.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

current weather: raining

Current status: sitting in the Peace Corps computer lab uploading pictures of my cats to the Internet and drinking coffee out of a Thomas Kinkaide-printed paper cup that someone's mom sent in a care package.

Current mood: pretty alriiiight.

I still don't have tooo much more information about my site change, although it sounds likely that I will be placed with that NGO I linked to before. On Friday I'm going up to visit and meet with them. I hope they like me! (And vice versa.)

In the interim I'm basically hanging out. Last night Justin and I went to see Transformers 2, which was, perhaps, the absolutely most on-target bullseye to the lowest common denominator film I've ever seen. We had a great time. Tonight we are planning to have an Arnold Schwartzenegger festival, featuring Kindergarten Cop and Last Action Hero.

Tomorrow I am going up north to help my friend Kathy with her youth camp until Friday, when, as I mentioned, I'll be going to visit with my potential new site.

Right now, here are a few pictures from my last batch of at-home photos.

Kitty Barack and Kitty Magneto! THEY ARE SO CUTE.

Me with Tyrone, the most BA of all cats.


Dad & I, also at Burger Barge. I mean, BURGER BARGE.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

kickin' it in the peace corps office

Hi, Internet! I am back in the Dominican Republic. Here are some anecdotes:

  • My dad decided to pack a bag full of tools to send as a gift to my host dad. When I checked in to the airport at 5am, the check-in woman (who looked about as tired as I felt, and I had stayed up the entire night) informed me that the tool bag was three pounds over. Three! So mom and I began ripping open dad's careful tape job (why would you tape a duffel bag shut? If you are my dad, and you are supremely confident that your bag will not need to be opened, I suppose) and extracted a very large hammer and a heavy tape measure, knocking the bag down to an appropriate weight. Hooray!
  • When I arrived at the airport, I was slightly bewildered to be greeted by my friends Karina and Justin! Yay! They knew I had a ride back to my house, but they came anyway bearing signs that said "We [Heart] Renata" and "Welcome back, Scrabble!" Also, my super-sweet host parents picked me up in their truck and gave my friends rides home too. And then somehow got a flat tire but just took me home anyway.
  • Then I came into the capital the next morning thinking I was supposed to meet with my boss but it turns out NOPE, so I just hung out with friends and ate sushi and watched (and made fun of) Selena.
  • Today I took a long nap on the couch in the Peace Corps lounge. It was nice.

I still don't have a lot of details about my future site change. I MIGHT work with this NGO in Cabarete (a beautiful beach town) but I don't think I'll have any details until next Thursday at least, when I might go visit there. Basically my site change is kind of low on the priority list for my boss, which is fine with me. I'll just ease my way back into Dominican life and hang out for awhile. Also maybe help my friend Kathy with her youth camp, vamos a ver.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

leavin' on a jet plane

Since my flight leaves Central Illinois Regional Airport at 6am, my intrepid mother and I have opted to pull an all-nighter rather than have to set alarms for 3:30am to make sure we get up and to the airport on time. We are enjoying late night cable television, including Daisy of Love, which is even more stupid (and awesome) than its predecessor, Rock of Love. Mom keeps trying to get me to put it on Home & Garden TV and I keep insisting that I am leaving the country today, mother, and I want to watch Disney Channel. I mean, really.

Anyway, my trip home has pretty much been awesome. I ate so many things and my suitcase includes like five kinds of trail mix. And five kinds of chocolate. And a space bag full of new clothes from Sam's Club!

Here's some stuff I did in America:

Went Pirate Adventure mini-golfing in Wisconsin!

Went to the Harry Potter exhibit at the Museum of Science and Industry!

Plus the museum has sassy baby chicks! (Look at the big version! The chick in the middle is SO SASSY.)

Went to Pontiac Heritage Days and met fake Abraham Lincoln!

Had a Fourth of July party and played with sparklers!

And also a mini-high school reunion!

And also a mini-college reunion!


Anyway, I've had a good time being home but I suppose I am ready to go back to the DR. I am hopeful that in my new site I will maybe be able to do some of the stuff I joined Peace Corps to do. Plus, I miss my ridiculous Peace Corps friends.

But seriously, America is pretty sweet, you guys.