Dominican Day 6

March 7, 2015

WEATHER: The forecast predicted rain twice yesterday. I was concerned because Saturdays are usually our biggest days since we have all the kids come out and we had a set of outdoor activities planned. God has been so good to me. It didn’t rain at all and it was sunny and warm for the most part. Warm enough to make me consider if I needed to reapply some deodorant. I tried to discreetly figure out how to do a sniff test. I was unsuccessful.

I had a day long victory before those buggers decided I was tasty again. I ended up getting a few around the ankles. There was a whole in my pyjama bottoms. Here’s hoping for the best.

*Disclaimer for Mom: you’re not allowed to read this. * I considered whether or not I should write about this adventure in fear of later having to feel the fury of my mom through Gmail and Skype. I concluded that, after all, I’d like to document it. She’ll read it anyway and absolutely freak out. YOLO.

I’ve had my eye on the supermarket up the main road since I first went there on Monday. It seemed like quite a distance away from the house but everyday on the way to work we’d pass it and I would dream that one of these days I’d walk there by myself. We’d pass it again going home after work and I would secretly plot my adventure.

Yesterday was a rather busy day; in fact, this has been a busy week. But Saturdays are particularly eventful because it’s a free day for the kids and typically only fun activities are planned so more kids come out than during the week. By the end of the workday I was so spent. The kids did a gardening project outside in the morning and in the afternoon we ran a little Olympics. Now remember, these kids are extra hyper and not as orderly as they’d be back home. The Barton and Dove teams had to put in extra effort to keep things organized.

By the time 2pm came around my cough had flared up again, my throat was aching me, and I started to shake from what I think might have been the onset of a fever. None-the-less, I pushed through, trying to ensure the kids were having fun. The driver dropped me off at home and I realized that I was the only one around. I felt so weak but then the thought of my adventure ignited energy within me. So I wrote Martina a letter something to the extent of: “Querido Freddie, es case de las 6 y crea que me voy a dar un paseo. Voy a sacar la basura y camiar hasta el supermercado, si soy lo suficientemente valiente. Deberia estar de vuelta a las 7. Love Matilda.” Don’t hate on my Spanish … I’m working on it.

So put my garbage bag in one had and had the house keys in the other. I thought that first I’d take “baby steps”. I’d try to see how the garbage drop-off around the corner would go then I’d decide if I was brave enough to go to Jose Luis Supermercado. I thought it should be easy enough. Turn right 3 times just like we’d done before when dropping off the garbage. Every few steps I’d take a mental picture of an object so that I could find my way back. I know I’m probably making this sound rather elaborate and complicated but it’s only a block away. Something so simple as taking out the garbage can be nerve-wracking when you’re in a foreign land. Anyhow, upon my arrival I noticed that the garbage bins weren’t there and I wondered if maybe I’d taken a wrong turn.

I noticed a lady just up ahead and asked her in my ghetto Spanish where the garbage was. Dang, Dominicans speak really fast. Given her hand gestures it seemed that the garbage collection had already occurred and that there might be another garbage bin way up several streets over. I think she might have also been telling me to just drop my garbage bag on the sidewalk where we were. Was this a Dominican trap? The last thing I’d want to do is to just drop my pooey garbage on someone’s front lawn lest they beat me over the head with it. So I scurried back home, garbage still in hand, feeling defeated. I couldn’t even manage to successfully drop the garbage off just around the corner. How would I go to Jose Luis?!

I came home, dropped the garbage bag in the bathroom and just thought about it. I decided that I would overcome this fear and just do it. After all, I’m going to be living here for a month and I should be familiar with my surroundings. Besides, I’d still be able to keep my promise to Brad of not being out alone after 7. Don’t worry, that was me convincing myself and after the one-on-one pep talk I put my shoes back on, stepped outside and locked the door behind me.

I got to the end of my street and turned right, just like how we do when we’re driving. That took all of 5 steps. I noticed a little corner store and a pharmacy. I considered just chickening out and going to the corner store to get honey. I wanted to add honey to a tea in hopes of making my throat feel better. So, I went inside and pretended to look around. I saw jars of honey but wondered if they’d be cheaper in the supermarket. I was about to then make my escape from the store when I heard the lady at the counter ask if she could help me. I bravely walked up to the counter like Clint Eastwood …… just joking! I was sick remember? But I was brave enough to tell the lady in Spanish that my throat was hurting me and asked if she had anything for it. And after all of that effort she just told me to go to the pharmacy next door.

Off to the pharmacy I went. They offered me the same tablets that Mr. Pollo had gotten for me and with raised eyebrows, as though to suggest that if I really wanted something that’d work, they also had Ibuprofen. Really?! In a failed attempt, I tried to explain that I already had the tablets and they didn’t work but would try some Tylenol when I got home. That was so annoying. No relief for my sick body? Then off I went, determined that Jose Luis would make me feel better.

Just off the main road I noticed 3 large garbage bins and made a mental note for “next time”. Really the hardest part about getting there was walking past sizeable groups of Latinos who made advances at me. I was lucky enough to have one young straggler walk up to me, point to his crotch and say, “wanna do me?” in English. Lucky because he at least he spoke English ahahahha. My death stare was the end of that story. I walked through several other swarms of guys hanging around on the sidewalk until I reached the finish line. When I saw the sign and parking lot I felt compelled to raise my arms in triumph and do a victory lap around the lot. I quickly decided it wouldn’t be a good idea since I’d probably be hit by any one of the very aggressive drivers here.

I had a swell time going up and down each isle. Being in the supermarket was like a little vacation. My victory had me smiling all the way up the household cleaners isle. I’m sure the locals were wondering, “what’s wrong with that gringa?” I found much needed hand soap. After pacing through all of the isles I couldn’t spot the honey. So I gathered up some courage and asked a dude at the deli where the honey was. It certainly was in isle 3! Another victory!! I paid for my items and the “bag boy” packed my stuff. With a smile on my face and a very fancy “gracias” I took the bag from him and walked out of Jose Luis … wait…. Was I supposed to give him a tip? What is a good tip? If I didn’t give him one would he remember me at my next visit??? I thought about all of these things after I left, of course, and I got home in less than 13 minutes.

Yay me!

• Trying to keep up with the kids while secretly fighting what I think is a undefeated cold from before I left Toronto
• Overcoming fear of visiting Jose Luis by myself
• Getting ready on time
• Going to bed a reasonable time. I eventually passed out after midnight. Not this again.
• Trying to handle 30 kids who were running around with paint on their hands. OMGSH why did I wear a white top?
• Billy the bee who was having a rough day

• Chocolate ice cream has raisins …. Yum!
• Many people think I’m trustworthy

• Mr Pollo getting me some throat lozenges
• Being able to go to the fresh food market. I took advantage of getting some fresh ginger and lemon
• The painting activity I planned. Seems like the kids had a lot of fun.
• Not getting any paint on my clothes!
• Taking a little walk in the sea
• The smiles and jubilation as the kids participated in the little Olympics
• Teresa, the teacher. She’s my new buddy. She asked me yesterday if I could stay longer with her … maybe for a year? Then she recanted, saying that Brad would probably kill her
• Brad who made the effort to visit Avo today. He even sat down with her and had some of her funsh soup (geeze I don’t know how to spell it). My heart is melting!

Father, please give me the healing and respite I need to be ready to give me all to the kids next week.

No q’s today ☺


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