Friday, September 27, 2013

but it's not my story.

i've been struggling a little lately.

i love to write, and even though i'm not really great, it helps to relieve my stress. i can just pour my frustration onto a page (or a word document, i'm a modern-girl) and let it go.

i even like to share my writing. hence this lovely little blog, right?

i can't tell a story that is not my own. there is a lot of sadness around me all.of.the.time. luckily, happiness and hope usually outweigh tragedy - but recently, that's just not my reality. don't worry, folks, things are okay with me.

i love my students.
and oh my goodness. i need. need. to share these stories. i am carrying around so much shared-pain and haven't quite yet found the outlet for it. these are not my stories to share. we're talking AIDS and drug-deals-gone-wrong and child-abuse and adult-illiteracy and malnutrition.

it's a burden enough to help share the load - to be a listener, a crying-shoulder. i can't even fathom what it is to live these stories.  to deal with such sadness and despair on a daily basis. to go to sleep not knowing what will happen during the night, and to wake up in the morning and not find any hope in a new day.

i have never, ever cried so much in my life for pain that is not mine.
but i have faith that there is a reason for pain. and that there is hope. and that... someday, these stories will get told. and that the burden of carrying that pain will be lifted - not from my shoulders, but from the story-owners'.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

this guy.

samil started first grade this year.
it's been an adjustment - education leaves a lot to be desired in this country - for him and for me. i've butted heads with the teacher a few times already, and while i hate to be "that mom," i kind of have to be her in order to assure that the kids get what they need. i wish i could homeschool - and before you freak out and leave me messages about how damaging that might be, keep reading - i can't because i work. and because my biggest issue with homeschooled kids are their social skills... and there aren't a ton of opportunities to get my kids socialized if they're not in school. (i also am too laid back and procrastinator-friendly to do homeschool effectively).

samil came back from philadelphia with all of the desire in the world to ride his bike. he wanted to go fast, and therefore, needed to take those training wheels off. which is great. except, samil is kind of whiny and i can't deal with the whiny after work - so we kept putting it off. i don't know who finally took the trainers off, but i came home from work the other day to see samil zipping up and down the street - all by himself with only two wheels. he hasn't quite learned to use the handbrakes, but he's getting there. i asked him who taught him. "anybody. i do it because you don't help me."

and that there, friends, is how you get your kids to be independent.
ignore them until they want something bad enough they just do it themselves. 

for two months, samil has been wiggling a loose tooth. it finally got loose enough two nights ago that amalio helped him to pull it out. no tears, no whining. pretty awesome, huh?

we had a quick little cultural issue - samil wanted a tooth fairy and a tooth-mouse. amalio wasn't too sure about the fairy and i had no idea what a mouse does with a tooth. in the end the imaginary "ratoncito" came. of course, the tooth didn't go under the pillow as it should have because samil didn't want a mouse on his bed. he got 50 pesos, thanked us both (we're not too keen on the fairy tales). now he wants to knock all of his teeth out. 

Friday, September 20, 2013

price of gas is high and going up...

 gasoline is very expensive.
248 pesos a gallon expensive. that's $6.20 a gallon. by american standards, that's expensive.

imagine now, you're in a country with a minimum wage of about 225 dollars a month. , 6.20 a gallon is stretching the purse just a little bit too much. at 6.20 a gallon, nobody would even be able to take public transportation.

and there is a lot of public transportation.

so, what can you do to avoid the gasoline prices?
install a propane gas system in your car. a tank is installed in the trunk - if it's done right, you can have gasoline and propane in the car - but sometimes it's not done right, and you're stuck with just a propane system. 

the system in our car is done well. so well, that the tank is filled through a nozzle next to the gasoline nozzle. in our jeep, we had to open the trunk and they hose connected directly to the tank. 

 when you need to refill, you head to the "gas plant" - not to be confused with a gas "pump". i have the worst luck, and am often stuck waiting in line for ever. it's a pretty masculine environment - and by that i mean, pretty crude.
the pumps are old. and because a gallon of propane costs an odd number of pesos, that sheet of paper has the prices all marked down so that you don't get ripped off. i think it's about 103 pesos a gallon - or about $2.60

it's not just cars that need to use propane gas. there is no central gas line for home-gas. some apartment complexes have a gas-system, but it is far more common to have gas tanks in the house (or in cages outside of the house) that need to be refilled when empty. there are plenty of ways to get your tank to the gas plant - you can pay a service that refills your tank on a set schedule; if you have a car, you can take the tank yourself. BUT! if you don't have a car or live in a neighborhood where service is not offered, you can pay a motor-taxi to take your tank to the plant to refill. 

and if you don't want to pay the taxi, just throw the tank into an old stroller and walk yourself over to the plant, refill and walk on home!

(and of course, this blog has been missing a picture of this little lady! she's got a little case of pneumonia going on - you'd never know except for the cough - but otherwise is loving being in the 4 year old classroom)

Thursday, September 19, 2013

round, round, get around...

driving in the dominican republic is a little like... sticking a revolver, loaded with just one bullet, to your head and pulling the trigger.

of course, you hope for the best. that today it's you get the empty cartridge, and not the live-round.
but, it's tricky. you just never know.

back when the kids were quite small - amely was a few months - i had a terrible car accident. luckily nobody was hurt, and even more luckily, i got off scots-free because the car i hit (yes, it was my fault) had no insurance, was not registered and the driver was unliscenced. 
it was bad, though, and i decided not to drive anymore. amalio made me get in the car and drive home.

it was terrible.
not nearly as terrible, though, as the accident just a few weeks later that totaled our jeep and landed amalio in emergency with some serious burns on his face. luckily, it was just burns on his face, because the accident had fatal written all over it. 
(and that's why i love jesus, y'all).

last summer i started driving again. i had to get over the fear and...
well, that's not easy here.
there are some crazies on the road. and traffic is complicated more by the abundance of two-wheeled vehicles -- bicycles, scooters, motorbikes.

the drivers are insane. and can carry anything while driving. the most i've ever seen is 7 on a bike - 4 kids and three adults, but i've heard the urban-legends about even more. 

this guy is on a scooter, called a pasola, with a sack of rice between his legs and a whole "racimo" of yellow bananas in his lap. 

 unfortunately, this is not a rare sight. an entire family will load onto one bike to save transportation money. no helmets, no security. this number is often multiplied by kids being held to the side of the adults. 
 if you want your recently killed fowl to be fresh for dinner, you've got to zip home and get it in the pot!
 125 pounds of rice!
and, of course, you need to get your propane tank filled in order to cook! and it's necessary to bring your kid along for the ride. notice, the motorcycle driver in the back is wearing a helmet. 

Saturday, September 7, 2013

it all piles up.

amely and i are sitting on the bed. i'm tired, my nose is running and i just keep thinking about the one million things i absolutely need to do.

today, one of amalio's friends came and split our cable wire so that we could have two tvs again. not because we really need cable in our bedroom, but our new (kingsize) bed is such a better place to watch movies at night after long days of to-do lists and busy-ness. also, the tv was just kind of sitting there. without an antenna there is no such thing as local tv.

the tv is on. amely is watching. i'm trying to catch up on work. but honestly, i'm just not here.
i'm tired of being tired.

i want to take a saturday to play on the beach and not have to worry about the laundry or the dirty bathroom or the paperwork or the planning.

and please don't get me wrong.
i love my jobs.

but today? i just want to hang out. update my blog, read a book. listen to my kids scream in delight without yelling at them to keep it down, i've got work to do.

so, tomorrow i'm limiting myself. i need to do a load of wash (no panties. i know, tmi, sorry) but other than that, we're hanging out. no paperwork, no planning, no fretting.

who's with me?