Dominican Day 7

March 8, 2015

WEATHER: At noon, the weather network listed the temp at 26 alongside this description, “Partly sunny currently becoming mainly sunny this afternoon.” Umm … what does that even mean?

MOSQUITO BITE COUNT:
A few more around the knees have been added to the collection. I also got chased by a human sized mosquito … more on that later.

SHORT STORY:
Did you know that I’m a chef? Well not a professional one but Brad calls me his favorite chef and that’s really all that matters ☺ Considering that today was my day off, I was excited to finally chef it up. I had all the fresh ingredients for a chicken stir fry, patiently waiting to be cooked and enjoyed.

So, there I went chopping up the veggies and chicken. Cooked up the chicken strips with a bit of olive oil and added a pan-full of veggies. Mmmmm it was all smelling so dee-lish. It was pretty dark in the kitchen so I added what I thought was a sufficient amount of teriyaki sauce. In no time the stir-fry was done and then in donned on me that I hadn’t even prepared rice. I’m sure you know how cooking rice is a delicate process.

I’ve come to learn over the years that not all rice has a 2:1 water to rice cooking ratio and tried earnestly to decipher what felt like encrypted Spanish cooking instructions on the back of the bag. It seemed like a two to one ratio after all and I figured that 1 cup of rice wouldn’t be enough so I put in 1.5. That’s the other thing – it’s always difficult to cook for one person. I’ve never been able to master that skill. Working on that as well.

Of course, I find the smallest pot possible to put 1.5 cups of rice and 3 cups of water. It all fit snuggly to the rim of the pot so I smiled (proud of myself that it fit so perfectly), put the lid on the pot, and turned the gas stove on. Geeze, that’s right! This stove doesn’t have a starter and I’d have to put a lighter to the gas source just as I had observed Freddie do from afar. I’m a chicken butt though so I thought it’d be an excellent idea to set a paper towel alight and put that to the stove. Paper towel burns a lot quicker than I thought but before I knew it the stove was happening and the paper towel was extinguished with only a small corner burned away.

I then went outside to continue hanging my washed laundry on the line. In Canada, we make good use of our dryer so it’s been a while since I’ve hung clothes out to dry. Trying to make room for my newly washed clothes became a puzzle as I began to poke and squeeze Freddie’s and Billy’s clothes that were already out there to try to find articles that could be removed to make little gaps for my clothes. It was kind of awkward to handle other people’s unmentionables. At the first squeeze, I looked left, then right to make sure nobody was looking. Hey! The last thing I want is for someone to think I’m a pervert okay! After determining that the “coast was clear” I giggled and pulled some of the items off the line. Suddenly I heard a sizzling. I peered into the kitchen and noticed that the water from the pot of rice was bubbling and spilling over. Hmm okay … so the pot wasn’t big enough after all. I managed to quickly find a pot that was slightly larger and with a face that only Mr. Bean could make, I dumped the rice concoction from one pot to the other. Then I turned to see that the flame had gone out. Aww man! Yes of course, I set the same napkin on fire again.

Feeling like everything would now be okay, I returned to the outside corridor to continue with my laundry puzzle. Not even 5 minutes later I smelled wafts of something burning. I ran into the kitchen to find black smoke billowing from the pot. Panic mode! But the pan caught my eye though. Because the door was open and natural light seeped in, I was able to see that my stir fry was actually a teriyaki soup. No time for that, I thought. Must fix the rice! I salvaged what I could, a total of half the pot (I should have just stuck with the 2:1 ratio) and saw the other half black and caked to all sized of the pot. I thought about how difficult it’d be (maybe even impossible) to restore the pot back to life. The only thing that crossed my mind was how much of a fail that meal was and that I had now ruined one of Freddie’s pots. Since she wasn’t home, I figured it’d be worth the attempt to use brute force to pry the war debris from the pot before she got to witness the disaster.

Hot water should do the trick! I turned on the hot water tap full force in the kitchen and nothing came out at all. In a desperate move, I then brought the pot to my bathroom, put on some rubber gloves, and used my core strength to scrub away the evidence. Success! Of course I only attached the after photo. Why do you need to see the before picture?

TODAY’S CHALLENGES:
• Cooking for only one person. I didn’t quite nail it but on the bright side I also have lunch for tomorrow (and the next year)

• In spite of me being so sick yesterday, I ended up passing out after midnight and woke up at 5:40am without being able to fall back asleep. At first I wasn’t that tired but then it started to kick in around 8am when it was past the point of no return. It was time to get ready for church and get started with my day

• Speaking of church, I had been in contact with a lovely, English speaking church on the beach called OceanSide about getting a ride there. There is a person who lives close by and who was willing to give me a ride to church so I was so excited about it. To firm up the plans, I emailed the person yesterday morning and then the pastor’s wife yesterday evening but hadn’t heard back. You can only imagine how many times I kept checking my email this morning to see if they had responded. I even hopped out of the shower at some point just to check because the last thing I wanted was for them to show up and I wasn’t ready (I had no idea when they were planning to pick me up). I talked to God about it and decided that if it was meant to be then it’d happen. And it didn’t so I thought I should just take it easy today. I have a few other weeks to make it happen and I’m sure that next week I’ll make it to the service only to get lost in my daydreams while staring at the ocean again (shhhh that’s just between you and me)

• No hot water on a hair wash day. It’s all good though. I at least had the warm Caribbean temperatures to help me manage. The hair washing took forever though and I began to wonder if I’d be able to untangle all of my “dreads”. I did, and my hair has been happily put into a braid for safe keeping and dread preventative measures.

• Um hello?! That whole cooking fiasco. That teriyaki sauce was extra salty but with all the rice I had, it balanced things out.

• In preparations for my aunt and uncle’s arrival in Puerto Plata this week, I thought I’d walk to their resort so that I would become familiar with the route. I mapped out the directions with Google maps and was happy to see that it’d only be a 20 minute walk from where I’m staying. Pfft, that’s nothing to a Torontonian. When I got to the main road I realized that none of the streets I had jotted down were in sight. Wait, what? What’s happening? Several people on moto concho’s (a motorcycle taxi) stopped to ask if I wanted a ride … no thanks, I wasn’t feeling that adventurous. I saw a man walking in my direction and so I used my ghetto Spanish to ask where “Calle 4” was. He had no idea and thought it’d be best to flag down a moto to ask. The guy was practically begging me to allow him to take me to the resort. I had no clue how to explain that I preferred to walk and just needed directions. He wouldn’t let it go. He explained that it’d be at least a 20 minute walk and that would be too much walking for me. Sigh … just go away! And so I finally convinced him that I wanted to walk. Not even two steps later, he came back like a mosquito chasing a juicy bum and asked to see my written directions again. I was finally able to get some directions from him and to shake him off.

• Yes of course I was harassed by more guys as I was walking towards what I thought was the right street

• The moto guy passed me again begging me to allow him to take me. He mentioned that there are many streets named “Calle 4” and it depended which neighborhood I wanted to go to. Oh shoot, why are the street names so complicated?!

• I walked and walked and didn’t find the street I was looking for. I was overwhelmed by the new sites and not being able to reach my intended destination that I wanted to get down about it. But I figured a visit to Jose Luis, just up the street from where I was, would cause the same elation as it had yesterday.

• Made it to Jose Luis to find that it was closed. So, I just continued walking in hopes of finding something else new and wonderful. Instead, I found places that had beautiful mountains and blue skies painted in the background with flimsy shacks that dotted the horizon. A commonplace juxtaposition here.

• I finally decided to head back and what do you know – the moto guy found me and stopped me again. This time the conversation was different. “Do you have a cell? What’s your number?”, “How about Facebook?”, “What if I gave you my number?” And for the first time, I was legitimately allowed to use, “no puedo, tengo novio!” Thanks Aventura! I owe you one!

• When I returned home Freddie and Billy were already there and I was greeted with a half smile. Freddie explained that I left the water pump running and she suspected that it may have burned out. As well, I forgot to lock the side door before I left. Fortunately, after allowing the pump to cool for a bit and me being on the brink of crying, the water started running again.

• Today was just one of those days!

THINGS I LEARNED TODAY:
• I have a white eyelash. It happens to be on the same side where I noticed a patch of white hair growing towards the front of my head. Apparently, there’s a name for that but I’m not sure what it is.
• I’ve incorrectly mapped the place I’m staying at
• Stores are either not open or close really early on Sundays
• I’m human and I messed up royally today. Lesson learned. Won’t make those mistakes again.

WHAT I’M GRATEFUL FOR:
• A day off to just lounge around
• I’m also looking forward to my day off tomorrow too. Hopefully I’ll get to sleep in
• Warmer weather than Toronto
• Feeling so much better. I woke up this morning sans sore throat and cough and I had been feeling pretty good for most of the day. Started coughing a little bit again but it’s manageable
• Freddie, who gave me some flu medication. I couldn’t read anything at all on the package (it’s all in Slovakian) but I trust her.
• Freddie’s quick forgiveness and patience. I’m amazing that she handled it so well especially considering that she’s exhausted from this past week and that she’s had to constantly deal with Billy’s incessant and unpredictable tantrums

MY PRAYER:
Lord, thank you for Martina’s love and forgiveness today. I just pray that the water pump is okay after all and has no damage. Also, please help me to have a speedy recovery from this cold so that I can be fully charged for Tuesday.

QUESTIONS:
• What does “partly sunny currently becoming mainly sunny” mean?
• What day is it? My body clock is really confused. Need sleep.

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