Friday, May 30, 2008


that's right, samil's post is e.a.r.l.y.
i had these pictures in the camera and i can't figure out how to direct post from picasa to the blog and set the publishing date ahead. so.
here you go.

beautiful pictures.
samil's first lollipop.

he slithered through his drool and covered himself completely with sucker.

i love this picture.
and samil loved the lolli.

the final product. a happy, naked baby.
who wouldn't sleep.
his dad had to stay awake with him.
hey, it wasn't me who gave him the sucker.

this picture is from this morning. we all know samil has strange sleeping positions. this morning, he was playing on my (dirty) bedroom floor. happily. quietly. too quietly. i looked over. and this is how i found him.
i guess he was tired.
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Wednesday, May 28, 2008

the virgin of the rock.

so, i wrote about this phenomenon before. it's a minor obsession of mine, really.

really, i have an obsession with the catholic church and its history in latin america, but that's a completely different chapter of this book.

the virgin appearances get me. especially when they're so hilarious. i can make a leap of faith about god sending us signs and signals and stuff. but, you know, a virgin crying blood i can't do.
and this particular virgin - the only one i've seen up close and personal - (i saw a 'blood crying' one in mexico from afar) - cracks me up. not her, really, the idea of her... and the environment that surrounds her.

the virgin of the rock supposedly appeared in a cave on the northern coast of the island a long time ago. she was "born" into the rock as a sign for the people, and the cave conveniently has a little well that conveniently fills with 'holy' water occassionally. they've built the cave up, with a little shrine - stairs leading up to the virgins image, pews to pray, and of course and offertory box. they're currently building a temple next to the cave for faithful worshippers.

the funny part about the gi-normous temple? this cave is in the middle of NOWHERE. sure, it gets a lot of traffic - tourists and pilgrims alike, but they're like one-time visitors. not locals who would attend the church.

and based on the outfits i've seen at the cave, i'm sure the virgin would be rolling over in her proverbial grave if they entered the church. last time we were there there were three hookers (yes, hookers. bonified prostitutes... with proof. but i can't tell you how i really know they were hookers, let's just say there are some less than holy men in the family). so in their full breastal glory with plastic high heels and all, they made pious offerings to the virgin. and then snapped photos.

so, we followed suit. i didn't know it was okay to take pictures of mary. or her image. but since the hookers did it, i can't call myself better than them (their shoes yes, their souls, no).

this particular photo makes me laugh because: a) i'm the only one smiling, e. and c. are good and somber, like the good catholic girls they are. b) if you look really closely, you can see tinkerbell in the top left corner hanging out like and angel. and c) well, i guess there's only a and b unless i need to point out again that i'm the only non-catholic cheesin' it up in front of the virg.

bratz, part II.

amalio used to be part-owner of a school. it's a long story (that you'll get a hint of in this story), but eventhough he's no longer a partner, we support them by attending a lot of their events, back-to-school nights, that kind of stuff.

well, saturday night they had a celebration for mother's day. we went. we walked with samil from our house -- it's a long walk. it's hot. sweaty. there are no fans in the school. well, there's one, in the office. and the place is packed with moms and their kids.

the event was supposed to start at 6:30. a surprise for us, since the "other" owner told us 7:00, and didn't start until 7:45. needless to say, i was pissy.

a bunch of kids recited beautiful poems that nobody could hear, but the mom's loved it anyway. some of the really little kids presented their moms' with their artwork and cards. and then came the dance.

the girls were in first and second grade, and when i saw them earlier in the evening i was reminded of the bratz dolls i hate so much. short, little skirts - eye makeup. i didn't think anything of it, because the fashion here is a little different than i'm used to, and who am i to decide what moms' let their babies wear.

but then the music started. shakira's ojos asi, a fast tango-esque, belly dance song. what?

mother's day. right. then they started shaking. no, gyrating. and i'm sure my reaction is akin to that of elvis-bashers back in the day... but no lie, these little girls were humping the ground. moving their pelvises in ways that no little girl should ever even think about moving.

i think i could have handled it if the little, itty-bitty girls had come up with this dance all by themselves. afterall, who can blame them? it's what they see on tv. its the music they hear on the radio. it's in magazines and on the streets.

but no.
it was none other than ghetto-fabulous - my sister's nickname for amalio's old partner. she coached their dance. and suggested they wear the skirts. and the makeup.

how are we supposed to teach our girls to be good, upstanding, pure women - if even at their pseudo-evangelical private school the principal is teaching them to sell their sex at seven years old?

Tuesday, May 27, 2008


i spent, no lie, three hours making tissue paper flowers for some of our "mother" friends on sunday.

amalio's mother passed away a long time ago and my mom is far away, but there are some older women who "take care of us" - more amalio than me, but we appreciate them nonetheless.

so "samil" was supposed to give them these flowers for mother's day. supposed to being the key phrase there.

he didn't because he was scared of them. that's right, took one look and screamed. and cried. i've got a sissy baby.

Monday, May 26, 2008


remember my cleaning spree a few days ago?

my boss came. we talked. and i am more decided than ever that my time is over at the EBG. have you ever had someone talk in circles to you about things that are important? or avoid questions altogether?

amazing. when i began teaching at EBG, i l.o.v.e.d. it. i had never met an owner so dedicated to an educational "business" in santiago. the ones i had worked with were way more concerned about the money than the lessons they were giving.

these owners were phenomenal. anything i needed, i could get. no questions asked. they realized that they weren't educators, not even teachers. and found people to direct their school and paid them well to do it well.

just recently the school hired a new "administrator" who is a complete penny-pincher. our copies are counted and if we go over the limit, forget about it. a problem for me since my students don't have text-books. and are 5. lots of coloring pages. lots of cutouts. we used to be paid holidays, eventhough we're paid by the hour. imagine the shock of missing 6 hours of work in march because of holy week and it not being in our checks.

so, we talked to the owner and she talked in circles. the institute isn't making money. it's disorganized. it's in evaluation. they're analyzing the situation. are you going to pay us for the two bs holidays we were forced to take this month?

the institute isn't making money. it's disorganized. it's in evaluation. bla bla bla.
and to top it off, i just found out it's against the law for them to not pay us holidays. even if we're paid by the hour.

so, i'm jumping in feet first and hoping that this little business endeavor of mine works out. and successfully. it'll be a hard summer of promoting and advertising -- and that's only if the school i'm talking to accepts my offer.

keeping my fingers crossed.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

big foot.

i was just telling amalio two weeks ago that we need to pick up some shoes for samil. have you, we don't really put shoes on samil, but when we go out, i like for him to have something other than socks on. you never know how clean a floor is, a cleaning baby socks is not my favorite pastime.
the thing is, samil has shoes. lots of them. all either size 2 or size 4. just two and a half weeks ago he was still fitting in a size two. now, i hadn't put shoes on him until thursday. we went to the zoo with our friends, and i figured the 2s would still fit. fat chance.... more like fat feet.

i figured we were screwed. amalio suggested trying the 4s that my sister bought samil for christmas. i was pretty sure they wouldn't fit.

but they did. barely.
he's almost out of them, too. he's been wearing them and a pair of converse allstars jae bought for him every day because i don't know how long it'll last.

that's right, he's almost in a size 5.

samils been wearing a lot of cloth diapers. and cowboy boots? yah. our lovely friend put that diaper on him. haphazardly and crazy. but what more can you ask of a 21 year boy?
sara and samil had a good time at the zoo. sara's favorite were the monkeys. samil only liked the dogs. good thing the zoo was free, i would've felt jipped.
samil only sometimes likes to wear hats, but he left this one on for three hours at the zoo. i was both impressed and... confused. maybe he's ashamed of his baldness?

Saturday, May 24, 2008

sleep deprivation, part II

it looks like samil's getting another tooth. or at least that's what we're hoping. he was back on a normal sleeping schedule until two nights ago, when he decided it'd be fun to get up every hour, on the hour.

luckily, i haven't had any classes for the past two days due to a long weekend (thank you catholic church and corpuschristi day).

samil and i just woke up from a two hour nap and are currently eating cucumber sticks.


apparently i'm an idiot when it comes to this blog.

i can't figure out how to change my banner picture. and it's driving me nuts.

so i'm going back to no picture at all.

solves all the problems.

Friday, May 23, 2008

the cows.

while i'm talking about the fam, i might as well share their source of income... and probably clarify something.

my in-laws are not poor. they are just campesinos, farmers, people who live off the land. there exists in this country an extreme poverty - the kind of poverty that eats away at souls because there is no money and no hope. a poverty that means kids don't go to school because they have to work, because if they don't work, they don't eat. there are families who live on, yes - ON -trash dumps, who live in riverbeds because the land is free, girls destined to be sold into the rampant humantrafficking trade.

but my in-laws are not that kind of poor. they own some land, work decent jobs and have extra-income from their farm.

and that brings me to the cows, and my youngest brother-in-law. he's really a step-brother, but its all the same to the family. you know, except when he denies his siblings because he's kind of crazy. but its more him than the rest of the family.

there are cows. in total now, i think there are 18. 3 bulls and some ladies and some babies. i don't really know much about cows. in fact, i don't know much about anything farm related. i didn't even know that pigs weren't always pink or that chickens could fly... and by the way, friends, just because you see a chicken in a tree doesn't mean there is a tornado a'coming. it's just not true.

the day starts with the roosters crowing. it's not really that early if you consider that without electricity there's no way to stay up way past, say, 8:30. the "men," which usually includes a 7 year old nephew, head out to milk the cows. milk is a big source of income and they sell about 65 bottles of milk a day to local producers who then sell it to milk companies.

what strikes me though, is that its not all about the money. they sell 65 bottles a day. the rest is portioned off to neighbors who don't have cows. starting around 7am, kids start showing up with pitchers and amalio's step mom starts giving it away.

there's no recompense for the milk, no charge. there's no one keeping tabs on who took what and what they owe us... and none of this petty, "well, i give you milk, so give me your eggs." its fair. its natural, instinctual, i think for people who don't have anything and who live with and around other people who don't have anything to share everything.

i struggle with that a lot. i have a lot of things. a lot. and when i need to share it, it's really hard for me. i'm a packrat. ask my parents, they'll tell you. i save things. i might need it one day.

but it shouldn't be like that. not with material things, and not with what we can give of ourselves. i might have milk today to share... but tomorrow i might need your kind words, prayers. even if you don't want to share them with me.

i was going to write about the baby. that's what they call him, my youngest brother-in-law, but i've run out of words. i'll write about him later.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

my in-laws.

i never write about my in-laws. it's not that i don't like them, it's just hard to put them in words. i decided once that i was going to move in with them for two months and write a book about the campo where they live - about the characters who make up their lives... but honestly, i can handle only about three days at a time.
like i said, it's not that i don't like them. their life is just so different from mine. after visiting i often spend hours wondering how amalio came out the way he did. he's unlike them in so many ways. yet, so like them too.
amalio grew up in a little, wooden house with no electricity and no running water. he walked about three miles to school each day - on the other side of the mountain - and bathed in a river. the family had a few cows, some chickens and my father-in-law worked as a gardener. there is no road or motorcycle path that takes you to where this little house was. and now there are no houses there. the family moved first to the center of the "village" to a house they built with their own hands and where his sister and her family currently live.
about 15 years ago their mom fell ill. devastatingly ill. to the point where she could no longer cook and clean and take care of their father. with the two girls married and only the three boys at home, my father-in-law remarried. not because he didn't love his wife, but because her job as a wife was compromised and he didn't (and still doesn't) even know how to light the stove, let alone take care of himself and three sons.
he has been married to his wife now for 14 years. amalio's mother passed away on july 4, 11 years ago this year. i never could understand how you could leave someone you love just becasue they can no longer "complete" their role as "wife."
as i've gotten to know and grown to love my father-in-law, i've started to understand. i might now like it or agree with it, but it's a different way of life. way different. there's more to the story.

i had a chat with francisco this weekend about sharing it here and in some of my writing... he gave me his permission because he thinks it will help people understand what life is really like in this country. that it's not all crystal clear beaches and fun hikes in the mountains.

life here is different. not better. not worse. different. and its time to share more deeply that what makes us different really just illuminates what makes us the same.

the president.


and in case you were wondering.

the incumbent president, leonel fernandez, was re-elected and will be serving another 4 year term.

there's a law that president's can't serve more than 3 consecutive terms. this is his second consecutive, but really, his third go-around. it seems to me that he didn't even want to re-run but because of the lack of other qualified campaigners, stayed around. he won with something like 56% of the vote.

i don't know what it looks like for the future of the country, but i think he probably was the best out of the candidates.

you can check out more at

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

finished plan.

my business plan is finished.

and i have a meeting with the owner of the school i want to use for the institute on monday.

we are all really excited about the prospects. the owners seem really into it, they just want to see my proposal to see if financially it makes sense for them.

what i should be doing...

is cleaning.

my house is typically pretty clean. afterall we have ceramic floors and a baby who crawls. i swear i sweep about 5 times a day, and mop almost as much. calculate the number of students in and out of the house on any given day, multiplied by the "dirt" road we live on, add in the fact that there are no screens on the windows and curtains only on some... and finally, the big acre-upon-acre farm next door, you can imagine the dust and grossness that comes in.

but like i said, it's typically clean. we try to maintain the clutter to the desk, samil's toys in his room (except the ones he's playing with) and all of our papers at least in folders.

so why is it that when someone is coming to visit, i feel like a maniac and get the urge to scrub my house? i have visitors everyday. at least 15 of them. and it doesn't bother me if there's some dust, a little dirt, maybe dirty dishes in the sink...

but forget about it if someone important. like today, the owner of the school i currently work at is coming to see what my plans are for next year.

i think that the mania comes from her being my boss. and needing to make the impression that i've got everything together. seriously. that not only am i good teacher, a professional... but i've got it together at home, too. my kid is clean with sparkling clothes and my house is beautiful.

it's weird. i can't really explain it... especially in this situation because i don't even know if i'm going to continue to work with this woman.

but, either way, off i go to scrub and polish.

saving energy.

i had a horrible dream the other night that our electricity bill came in at $1,859 pesos this month. to one who is accustomed to dollars, that seems HUGE, but it's really less than $60.

the problem?

we usually only pay $400 pesos a month. less than $15dollars. we've been really conscious about the energy we're using lately, so i don't know about the dream. we've got the energy-efficient bulbs, no airconditioning (just two fans) the computer is a laptop, the tv is never on unless we're watching it, we do laundry only when there's a full load... (we hang to dry because we don't have a drier).

the bill should be here tomorrow. and i'm not really excited about it.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

busy bees.

we went on vacation this weekend... and it through off my schedule.

so, it probably shouldn't be a surprise that someone took 6 of samil's onesies off the roof last night because i forgot to get the clothes before i went to bed.

i just hung as much as i could on my balcony of today's laundry... not because i'm scared someone will steal them, i'm scared i'm gonna forget again.

out of sight, out of mind.

see it to believe it.

i just finished planting 40 little leafy plants in cups for my students' mother's day project.

i think they might all die tomorrow.

Sunday, May 18, 2008


in case you didn't remember... we spent the weekend in cabrera visiting amalio's family and voting this weekend. and when i say visiting, i mean, going to the beach. and being tourists. our friends went with us which gave us the perfect excuse to see everything we normally forget about.
this is us on the cliffs.
samil and emily in front of the virgin of the rock.
samil l.o.v.e.d the beach. i see a sandbox in the near future.
samil and his uncle raul trying out their sunglasses together.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

blast from the past...

about three weeks before samil was born, jenny came to santiago to visit. we had a good time. but i never saw these pictures until she was here yesterday. i stole a bunch from her camera, but these were my favorites. i don't think i realized by belly was SO huge.

Friday, May 16, 2008

my funny neighbor...

i happen to think this little girl is a little bit old for things like... playing with 5 year
olds, drinking from a bottle and sucking a pacifier. but she does it all. she's 10 now, and we had a little chat with her mom about the bottle thing -- we were told that she needs to drink milk and won't do it from a cup. unfortunately this is a huge problem... parents need their kids to drink milk, but they lack parenting skills to make their kids drink from a cup. she also told us that this girl won't sleep without the bobo. so go figure. 10 years old.

this picture is when she dressed her dog up and strapped him into a stroller... for fun.


so far there have been three victims of this today's presidential elections.

we're headed to amalio's hometown with some friends to escape the city, so that amalio can vote and that we can go to the beach. things could, potentially, get nuts here.

eventhough the dr was called a democracy in 1963 when the last dictator was overthrown and killed in a coup-d'etat, elections since have been staged - by the US, by Europe and even by the local politicians.

a president named balaguer was in office for like 18 years (non-consecutive) and at the end of his term, he was blind and couldn't even stand on his own. talk about scare-crow politicians. a face for the nation, puppeteered by others.

there's some information on but it's sparse and definitely biased toward the current president. but it's in english if you're interested in what's going on.

over the river...

we are on our way to see these precious faces.

oh, and to go to the beach.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

movin' on up?

so in samil's repertoire of new tricks, we have:

walking while holding on to things (cruising)
waving bye-bye
not sleeping through the night
not sleeping during the day
small finger food (peas, carrots, you name it, he can eat it)
chewing on his crib

and the newest. and by far the funniest. taking things out of their places. you know, like boxes. drawers. the basket on the stroller.

i know, that's normal. but he does it all ... from the walker.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

slumber, sleep, sueno... whatever you call it...

i need it.

samil has recently decided to be a fussy sleeper. a kid who from the day he was born slept through the night... occasionally he'd wake up to eat, but would go right back to sleep. not a big deal.

he's also sleep twice during the day - long, uninterrupted naps that he'd lay down for a go right to sleep. it was pure motherly bliss.

but for the past two or three weeks, samil does.not want to sleep. his 8o'clock bedtime, despite routine and habit, has made its way to sometimes 10:30. he wakes up at night to eat. and at 7:00 he's up and ready to go. the problem? at 8:30 he's ready to crash but doesn't want to sleep. so he screams. and cries. and it's not until 10:00 that he falls asleep.

but not after a fit in the crib of standing up and not being able to get down.

it's hot. and sticky. and it's hard to sleep anyway. so now. i haven't slept either.

i guess it's just one of these days.

Monday, May 12, 2008

growing, growing...

this was me then.this is me now.
today i turn 26. i'm not the doctor i swore i'd become. not even a nurse or a cna. i've not finished a master's degree or kissed a boy from every country in the world. i'm not rich nor famous. i've not kept in touch with my bffs from high school - and am pretty bad at the contact i do have. (sorry). i don't vacation to exotic places or travel for business. i no longer protest, march or particpate in any kind of civil disobedience, and quite frankly politics disgust me. i am not leading the single, crazy life i thought i'd always have.
but today i turn 26.
i'm not a doctor, a nurse or even a cna. but i have a profession that i love. and that i'm good at.
there isn't a completed master's degree. but i speak three languages and have been offered jobs that most master's degrees would covet.
i haven't kissed a boy from every country in the world, but i kiss the same man every day. and i love it.
i'm not rich, but we live well. i'm not famous, but who wants to be nowadays?
although i'm shitty about communication - i have some of the best friends in the world - old and new, who i know i can count on when things get tough.
i don't vacation to exotic places, but after living in a tropical "paradise" i don't know if i could justify the luxury of that kind of travel.
i no longer march, but i stand true to my beliefs and have come to know, truly, that the pen is mightier than the sword. politics will be politics til the end of time. i don't like it, but instead of complaining, have learned to make change myself - one child at a time.
i never thought i'd get married. and here i am. married, happily. with our son.
life might now have gone how i planned, but this is so much better.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

american mother's day.

although i love comments on my myspace and facebook, i'm always a little disappointed when the page takes 87minutes to load because of silly, canned "happy... day" graphics. and usually from people i don't really talk to. look, i'm glad you remember ... day but i don't even remember you!! that said.

today is mother's day in the states. of course, my myspace took 87 minutes to open.

when you're far away from home, days like mother's day, father's day, 4thofjuly, easter... they're all kindof bittersweet.

i've got a great mom. a bit loony, but overall pretty great. she loves me, she loves my husband... and she's crazy about samil. and not in that "oh i love him" crazy - i mean like certifiable "i'll kick the doctor's ass if they don't give you any real answers in three seconds... and i'm wasting my life savings and risking panic attacks on the plane to come see him every weekend" crazy.

but, i guess that's the best kind of mom to have. one that listens when you're upset, or in my case, really pissed off (usually). who sends m&ms just to send them, who works extra hours and extra jobs to get money to come visit.

here's to you mama. happy mother's day. i hope that someone makes you a delicious meal, because even if i were there, that wouldn't be me. (meal, yes, delicious, no).

Saturday, May 10, 2008


today i splurged.

well, i don't know if i can call it that, seeing as how every last one in the house was broken by... a nameless culprit. i guess it was a necessity.

the splurge was that instead of normal drinking glasses, i bought hi-ball glasses. and only because they're called hi-ball glasses.

and then, i bought what i needed to make hi-balls.

i become more like those phillips/fitzsimmons women everyday.
and i don't know if that's good.

or bad.

sweet reminiscing...

today is jenney's birthday. well, today is in fact quite a few people's birthdays. brian bickel. liz wendt. someone else and someone else. my birthday is monday. bobby's birthday is wednesday. so is tim szostek's.

see how all these may birthdays just creep up? i love that some of my favorite people from my childhood share this month. and so close together. but most of all, i love how jenney is only two days older than me.

and that we were due on the same day. and that when she was pregnant and i found out, i knew that ours was on the way soon, too. bastian's only 5 months older than samil. and even though they haven't met yet, i plan to make them friends. like us.

remember indiana beach? getting gum spit in my hair at the county fair? (i.miss.him) summer in the condo in oswego? being so close in chicago and never seeing each other? the family reunion trip to the shore when we were so little and wanted to make musicvideos to the oldies? swimming at aunt mares? going to the movies with dewey and her coupons? prickhead? (again.) enchanted castle? walking to enchanted castle? the moose with your parents?

i hope we get to see each other soon. damn gas prices are killing me.
happy birthday, jenney.

Friday, May 9, 2008

dominicans and baseball...

for all the hubbub about the new exhibit at the local museum chronicling baseball in the dominican...

i was not impressed.

the centro leon museum is great. really. i like to go and look at the same two exhibits. because they're interesting. i like to take my laptop and use the wi-fi in the cafeteria. or take a book and hang out in the outdoor cafe.

but the baseball thing?
not so much. i'm glad that next month they're putting in a new exhibit.


i'm currently trying to read about an italian NGO that works in salcedo, about 45 minutes from here.

i want to go on a coffee tour/hiking trip. but the page is all in italian. it's got links for english and spanish, but yah, no such luck. they're not working.

there's a lot going on in the country right now as far as eco-tourism, its just frustrating that the tourism seems to be all for, well, foreign tourists.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

in the same vein...

and while i'm on it about kids clothes...

i know that 5 year olds like to choose their own clothes. it's an independence thing. but when you see that your little girl's boobies are showing, make her change her shirt.

this little girl came today with a tanktop that had the straps so stretched out that it kept falling down in the front. she got embarassed everytime i fixed her, but really? in a class full of boys what was i supposed to do?


i HATE the bratz dolls.


i had a 5 year old come to class yesterday in some platform shoes, flared pants and half of a halter top. that's right half of it. it was obviously cut to be short. -er, shorter than it should be.

and if that's not enough, she had on blue eyeshadow and lip gloss.
i was surprised.

until i met her mom, who was wearing almost the same outfit when she came to pick her daughter up.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008


samil's been having some crazy nights lately. his top top popped through about 2 weeks ago, but since he's been waking up two or three times a night. i try to let him cry it out, but we have to be considerate to the neighbors, too. the last thing i need is neighbors yelling at me because they didn't sleep.
especially because i'm kind of mean about other people letting their babies cry and cry and cry.
anyway. along with his crazy waking up patterns, he's got a new favorite sleeping position that makes me laugh. he's crazy to get out of the crib and loves climbing on the bumpers - unfortunatley we can take the bumpers off because of the crazy new sleeping position. he got his little legs stuck in between the bars on more than one occasion when we took the bumper off.
we're going to have to figure something out though, becuase in his fighting of the nap today, he got himself stuck between the bumper and bars. silly boy.

new blog.

so, the teaching blog is up.

we're still working on the webpage.

check it out:


although there are quite a few "super" supermarkets here in santiago that develop photos - complete with the kodak picture machines and one-hour digital processing they are quite expensive. the norm are family owned, little "photo studios"

i've gone to the same shop since i moved here, a cute little one called Garcia Color - a man, who i think was a school photographer in the states, and his kids - who run a low-cost photo studio with those really horrible backgrounds and a much higher class of framing and developing.

the first time i went, i met the mother. she was impressed with "la gringa" who taught english in "the church" and we've maintained a friendly relationship since. her son however has never really been nice to me. he never said anything, eventhough he was 100% in charge of digital processing.

so, yesterday i went to get some pictures of samil developed, and he looked at my feet. weird, right? but then - after three years of never saying anything more than "hey", he says "i knew you were american because you always have either sneakers or flipflops on"


yah. apparently my attempts to blend in have been ruined by my choice of footwear.

go figure.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008


in case you were wondering...

i'm on book 11 of 66 in the bible.

the spanish is kicking my butt, but i'm getting it.

dictionary in one hand, notebook in the other. bible in front of me.

it's slow.

but so good.

Monday, May 5, 2008

"let there be light..."

we've spent the last three weeks with severe rolling "brown-outs" -- some days more than 8 hours at a time. apparently it's a problem right now in all of the carribean, but no one can say exactly why.

when i first moved here the light was an issue. and i lived in a pretty affluent neighborhood. by that i mean, it was a weird situation. the barrios rarely have light because most of the electricity is "borrowed" straight from the pole and not many people pay. the less the neighborhood pays, less light they have.

now we live in a comfortable neighborhood. and for the past two years we've never had serious black-outs. a few hours here and there. 15 minutes at the hottest hour of the day, but never, never the whole day. or night.

it's been three days now since the last hard-core black-out.
here's to hoping it lasts.


i just spent the last... oh, six hours planning for the month of may.

i'm teaching a pre-school age class and the program is completely up to me. we dawdled through april when i realized that they were pretty far behind in the basics - you know, colors, numbers, body parts.

so, we reviewed clothes, body parts, numbers, days, colors and shapes. oh, and school supplies. because i was sick of the kids saying, "teacher can i saca la punta of my pencil" or "teacher, do you have a saca". as far as i'm concerned if they can make complex sentences they should know the word for sharpener.

anyways. this month, we're doing seasons, months, weather (and clothes for the weather), plants and reading. they've never read before in english - with the exception of little words - so there's the trick.

it's a relief to have everything done. i just have to go to school tomorrow and print out the cutouts and make some flashcards. it was six hours today -- but no last minute planning for the month.

that's a first for me.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

unwanted advice.

there's a little churro cart outside of the supermarket that my dad loves. so when he's here, we go.


he calls them chimichangas. it doesn't matter how many times i correct him. they're still chimichangas. but whatever. most dominicans don't know what churros are anyway, since they're a mexican postre. they're typically referred to as palitos. or sticks.

we went to the cart yesterday after picking up the new fan for samil's room. i'm not a big fan of random strangers telling me what to do with samil. especially when it pertains to something that babies do. you know, stick things in their mouths, chew on things, cry.

the woman standing next to me at the counter looks over and very matter of factly says, "straighten him out." i say nothing. she says again "oh, the poor baby, you're going to curve his spine."

i've learned to hold my tongue. i don't look. i don't say anything. so she says really sarcastically, "well, he's your son."

to which i respond, "exactly."

seriously, your advice is obviously unwanted. it was definitely unsolicited. and you apparently realize that samil is my son, not yours - but you keep talking? what?

so she looks over at amalio, then at my dad, at samil and then me. and says, "i have three kids."

congratulations i tell her.

"i'm just letting you know. from experience. you're going to curve his spine."

i look over, see her perfectly straight-spined children. "oh, so one of your kids has a curved spine. wow. i'll let you know if it happens to mine."

apparently i pissed her off, because she left the cart with only half of her original order. but really, people. if you see i'm not interested in your back-woods, mountain advice, stop talking. if i was interested i would have answered. or stopped samil from reaching for the napkins - the action which apparently is going to curve his spine.

i passed samil to amalio. he's better at the advice than i am.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Sunday for Samil

grandpop came to visit this weekend. and by weekend i mean saturday.
my dad is planning a mission trip for our family church and needed to come check on some things before he makes a presentation to the church. it didn't work out for him to do it when he was here for holy week, so he had to come back.

yesterday we did some running around in the rent-a-car, went out to eat and hung out. today we drove to puerta plata and checked in on some of the available work projects for the trip, ate some fish in maimon and came back to santiago. we took a nap, checked out another church in the city, bought a fan and ate churros.

tomorrow morning he leaves at 9am.
samil loves granpop so he might be sad.
me too.

my mom says that she's coming at the end of may. but i think she's just mad she didn't come this time.

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