Monday, April 28, 2008

what to write?

okay, so there's like 10 blogs that i like to read.

but for some reason, almost all of them have gone MIA.

it makes me sad when i sit down at the computer after a long day to not have anything to read. no gossip to check up on. no new pictures of my friends' kids.

and then i realize i'm an even worse blogger than them.

** a new site is under way, a joint operation with some other EFL teachers in LA countries, i'll let you know when it's up... or at least when the blog part of it is **

Sunday, April 27, 2008

sunday for samil

our little man grew 2 new teeth this week.

i think he's beautiful

even when he's got a crazy face
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Saturday, April 26, 2008

liquid assets...

i'm not a connoseurre of autos. never have been. but i do appreciate the luxury of certain vehicles, the sheer understated elegance of the really expensive breeds. i'm not a big fan of the crazy, showy hummer or even mercedes and bmw.
in my three years (and some) living here i've seen tons of hummers, beamers, benzes, lexus... the typical breed of well known, flashy cars.
i find that its pretty typical of the "new money" crowd in the dominican. fancy, flashy and envy-getting cars are a big deal. even if you don't really have the money to pay for them.
but there always has been the elite few who run the country. something like eight super-wealthy families who own practically everything - from the rum factories to the tobacco industry to the private schools.
and in the past two months i've seen two - count 'em two - bentleys. it seems like someone with some real money who is not so interested in appearances is driving around santiago. appearances? yah, because the first time i saw a white bentley pulling out of the mechanic shop, i gasped in awe... on public transportation. no one -no one - had any idea the cost of a bentley, nor thought that is was an impressive car.
bentleys are used only to impress other disgustingly rich people -- and, apparently, americans girls living in the dr.

Sunday, April 20, 2008


i promised a seasonal explanation in my last post...
my friend jenny teaches first grade in santo domingo. somehow she is supposed to teach little dominican babies about the four seasons. one of those little nuances that makes me dislike bilingual education. 4 seasons are wonderful. if you have them.
there are no seasons here.
the greenery is, well, perpetually green. you can grow tomatoes year round. there is no particular "harvest" season where everything gets done. (except with coffee, but that's the only exception). want bananas? you're sure to find a banana tree with ripe fruit at any time of the year, not just in august. there is no hibernation for the foliage. no changing of colors, no falling of leaves. the "spring" brings new flowers. but so does summer. and fall. and winter, for that matter.

we've come to divide seasons in our house into how many showers you take during the day. there is a slight change in temperature throughout the year. in december and january it gets pretty chilly - i mean compared to, say april. in december and january you really only need to take 1 shower a day. no heavy sweating, cool nights.
however, once march rolls around... 3 showers are necessary. one in the morning, evening and afternoon. it's hot here. sticky and gross.
in fact, for me, it's even hotter in april than it is in august.
however, august remains the 4-shower season. it rains everyday and the extra shower is mostly attributed to being dirty more than the heat. especially if you're like us and live on a dirt road.
what americans know as fall is the 2-shower season. it's the end of hurricane season so there is usually a nice breeze and the nights cool off considerably, but the noon-sun could kill you.

i miss seasons. the colors of fall, the fresh, newness of spring. but there's something amazing in having life abundant all year round, something delicious to eat - fresh - all year, something wonderful in death coming at the end of long life and not at the end of a season.

without further ado.
i've finally been able to post ON sunday!
samil is almost 8 months old. he's got 4 teeth.
he's still scooting around and not really crawling, but he gets around quickly. do to the fact that he likes to eat dirt, we've got to be like eagles, making sure he doesn't get into anything. for being so small, he sure does get into a lot.
as seen in his last post, he pulls himself up and is starting to walk with his pushtoys. but we don't think he'll be an early walker. he's very clumsy and still doesn't have much balance.
he loves to eat. he loves his friend sarah. he loves his papi. and if we're in the living and i ask where papi is, he scoots his way to the door and stares at it like a puppy waiting for its owner to come home.
we've been walking/jogging every other day, but the jogging stroller has a busted tire so we'll just be walking until we get a new tube. samil likes being outside. and likes to swing in the playground with his babysitter marlyn. (she's my student who watches him while i teach in the institute).

enough said. pictures:

like i said, samil L.O.V.E.S. to eat

he makes funny faces too

we took this picture this morning after church. we plan to take some more family pictures soon.
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Wednesday, April 16, 2008


it's raining... again

so, along with entering into the 4-daily-showers season (another post on this "seasoning" to come), we've also entered into tropical storm season. earlier than usual.

it rained for, no lie, 8 minutes yesterday. 8 minutes that flooded every street in the city, overflew the river... and entered in our barely open windows to soak samil's bed, isaias' bed and our entire kitchen.

we hoped for sun today to dry everything out, but despite a sunny morning, the clouds have rolled in and we're expecting another 8 minutes of rain today.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

lions and tigers and bears...

oh my.

the dominican is small. there are no amusement parks. there are few water parks. museums: not airconditioned... or interesting. the zoo has 10 animals. okay, that's an exaggeration... but what's a zoo with no elephants or penguins?

so, we jump at the chance to do interesting things when the opportunity presents itself. for our second date, amalio and i went to a circus that happened its way through the island. amalio had never been, so it was fun to watch his reactions to everything. awe at the trapeze, fear of the animals out of their cages, surprise at the clowns.

well, the circus was back. and amalio swears himself an expert. it took a little convincing, though, because it was a little out of our budget - but i picked up a lucrative tutoring deal for this month - and, mostly, because amalio wondered what would happen if a tiger escaped. why put samil in danger if its not necessary?

samil loved it. he yelled at the man selling blinky-light-sabers. he wanted one. unfortunately the salesman realized it and walked by every three minutes trying to sway us. it didn't work. samil stared at the trapeze walkers - i'm sure it was just the spotlights, but he was captivated. and seeing as how he is crazy about dogs, he loved the tigers. we were close enough where he could hear them and he just kept talking to them. grunting and yelling.

in the course of the evening however, i've decided the following:
**mullets are not attractive. especially not on 6'3" russian women.
or 5'3" wimpy men.
**big bangs. you know the ones that start in the middle of your head, are also not attractive. especially when worn with long, long hair. a mullet is more attractive than this.
**if a man is balding, he should not have long hair. it doesn't work for michael bolton, and it definitely doesn't work for circus stars.
**men should not wear leotards. i don't care if you're a trapeze artist. it's just not cool.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

going to the chapel...

today marks our two year wedding anniversary.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

you say you want a revolution...

you know you live in latinamerica when "protests" include:

... knocking down trees and burning them in the street
... blocking the highway with old tires... and setting them on fire
... throwing rocks at public transportation... and often, setting buses on fire
... cutting off politicians electricity, water and cable ... and sometimes setting their cars on fire

tomorrow is supposed to be a "general strike" against the high cost of living in the country, the incredible taxes that the president has implemented in his 4 years as president (16% sales tax and more) and... well, for the strike organizers to make some money.

ironically, nobody can afford to strike... because if they do, it gets taken out of their paycheck and then can even less afford the high cost of living.

i propose that instead of a stupid strike against a stupid president, people just vote for someone else on may 16. c'mon, guys, elections are right around the corner.

Monday, April 7, 2008

day late, dollar short

samil's got two new teeth... for a total of four
sometimes i'm like - wow, samil, you're so big. but then he falls asleep in his little swing and it's like he was just born yesterday.

apparently i'm on the list.
let's remember the following points, people:
a: i live in a developing country. electricity is in high demand. mostly because there's not a lot of it.
b: my internet is "stolen" and by stolen i mean generously given to us by our neighbors. sometimes they take their router to their relatives... why? no clue. but they do.
c: pictures of samil aren't really that cute.
well, okay. c. is a lie.
without further ado. sunday for samil. a day late.
and i better get some comments. because i already got an email.

samil's newest trick consists of standing.
and pulling himself into that standing position.

so far, he's done it in the crib, and by pulling on my laptop screen to see what's on the other side.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

hosting the homeless.

i received an email from my home church in philadelphia yesterday. honestly, if the title of the email doesn't look relevant, i usually delete. i get the important details from my parents. and, frankly, i've gotten some bad news through church emails that i'd prefer not to receive that way.

i am episcopal. eventhough we don't attend an episcopal church here i still tell people, when they ask, that i'm episcopalian.

the only problem is that here... well, the episcopal church is not what i know. or what i like. or seek. and while the larger episcopal church in the states is, for me, a justice seeking, peace-loving, historical, ritualistic, sacramental organization i always kind of worried about my home parish.

the people, i love. its cliche to talk about church families, but st. tim's really is family. in church and beyond. this church nourished me and helped me grow into a jesus-loving adult. i was allowed to preach, teach sunday school, help with the youth group... and for a brief 4 months, i worked on the church webpage and some other things before i got married.

the church has been growing. and with growth comes growing pains.
when an old church... old... starts to grow, it needs to make decisions. to change or to stay the same. to open their doors or keep them shut.

when i first heard that the vestry was considering hosting a "mobile shelter" program for homeless families, i feared that some members of the church would tremble... say no, even leave the church.

so, when i received the email that told me that they approved it... and that the first dates are already set, i welled up with pride. yah, silly, maybe. but i see mychurch growing and changing and opening their doors to the "least of these"... and not just opening their doors, but - since the program requires church members to cook for, care for and fellowship with the homeless - they are also opening their hearts.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008


at the beginning of the year i decided that this year i would read the bible. i've read it, and i read it on a fairly regular basis, but i thought maybe i should make a conscious decision to do the whole thing. not straight through - i think that would bore me - but the whole thing. inayear.

in spanish.

there's something incredible about reading the bible in a different language. amazing. especially when you know dialectic spanish and not really formal spanish. latin american spanish is like american english. everywhere you go the accent is different, some words have different meanings, and intonation can make or take it.

and on top of all that, i'm not really thatgood at reading comprehension in spanish. part of my -dare i call it a resolution? - was based on that. i've been here three years and i can write spanish well. and i can read it quite nicely, but the understanding that comes so easily in my mothertongue is just lost sometimes. in the last few months, amalio has been helping me with that. almost as patiently as i help him with english. needless to say, amalio still struggles with english and i was still struggling with comprehension.

i had some setbacks. the first spanish biblia i got my hands on was the equivalent to the king james version. it was easier to understand than king james, but i needed something more up to date. then, someone lent me the equivalent of the message which i couldn't ever get into in english, either. old white people writing in slang never appealed to me. and finally, after some investigation i decided i wanted the latinamerican bible -- the one that was banned for a really long time. apparently, eventhough it's legal now, it's still sold on the downlow.

but i got it. and i'm proud to say, i just finished the gospel of john.
amazing. glorious and eye-opening. i've read it a thousand times in english, it was getting old and boring. but in spanish... wow. things i never noticed before. word choice, sentence structure.
i mean it's the same, but different.

i imagine its akin to reading the bible in greek or latin.
maybe seminary will know our family one day.