Friday, May 25, 2012

Top 5 Friday – Top 5 Ways you know you have a Doña

Oh Donas... what is there to say about Donas. Living with host families means that we have Donas, the mother of the family. Donas are absolutely amazing and hilarious. So, to honor Donas, I present this weeks top 5 list, the top 5 ways you know you have a Dona!
  1. You get yelled at for trying to take your shoes off before entering the house, even if they are completely covered in mud. Make that you are yelled at in general for not wearing shoes in the house. Walking around in just socks is NOT acceptable.
  2. After being yelled out for trying to take off said dirty shoes, the next day, those shoes are suddenly sparkling clean
  3. You get served ridiculously large portions of food for every meal, and are offered seconds even when you’ve only eaten half of what you received
  4. You are also served ridiculously sweet coffee, and are constantly asked if you need more sugar in it
  5. You have a slew of endearing nicknames – mi amor being the most common.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Top 5 Friday – Top 5 favorite Dominican Non-verbals

While I have been working to learn Spanish, I also have to learn non verbals. Thinks aren't the same here as the US - thumbs up means you support a certain political party, and shaking your head no is useless. So, I figured a list of my top 5 favorite non-verbals was in order!

  1. The finger wag. Shaking your head is useless, but if you use the finger wag, people know you mean no
  2. Pointing with your lips. This one is so funny. You don’t point with your finger, you point with your lips. In the direction of the house, the store, or which item on the shelf you want
  3. The nose crinkle. It means you don’t understand.
  4. The finger circle. When it’s too loud in a party and you want to dance, you use the finger circle to ask someone to dance with you
  5. Tacaño, or the elbow hit. It means someone who is really cheap

Friday, May 11, 2012

End of Training or "The Deep Nothing"

Hello friends and family! I know I've been slacking on writing actual posts. It's been a crazy few weeks, and I've been mega busy. The most important things that happened during this time was site announcement and visit and swear in.

For the next 2 years, I will be living in a small community outside of Cotui. I will be working to construct an aqueduct for two small communities - La Javilla and La Hondonada. The title of my blog is actually the translation of my community - La Hondonada literally translates to "The Deep Nothing!" It's a very remote community - you have to cross 4 rivers without bridges to get to my house. It's a bit of an adventure to get to my site with that, but I really like it so far. I went for a visit for about 4 days, and my family is wonderful and it's beautiful. Also, it is an area known for fruit - during my visit I was served pineapple, apples, bananas, oranges and more! I am really going to love all the fresh fruit in my diet.

I had an interesting miscommunication during my visit to my community. One day, we went into Cotui to see where the bus stop was, the presa, and good supermarkets. During that time, I decided to buy a machete. My project partner kept telling me that my host family had machetes, but I wanted to buy my own. Once I got home, proudly displaying my machete, I realized that what my project partner was trying to say was that my host family SELLS machetes! They thought it was really funny, but I was super embarrassed.

Other than that, we had our finals tests, including my Spanish exam, which I qualified for service with a 5.5. Then we had swear in. It's amazing, all 40 volunteers that we started with swore in, including one of our volunteers that had a torn ACL and had to return to the states for 5 weeks! We have such an amazing a dedication group, and I feel so lucky to be part of it. The ceremony was really nice - we were sworn in by the US Ambassador, and there were some really nice speeches. Afterwards we had snacks and punch and some cake. It was a great last hoorah at the Pantoja. We've been relaxing for a bit in the capital, and soon we will head to our sites for the next 2 years. It's crazy that I am officially a Peace Corps Volunteer, but I am so excited to start my work here. Thanks for all your support, and I'll try to update as much as I can once I'm in site!

Top 5 Friday - Top 5 Photos from Training

There is so much I would love to say about training and how much fun I have had, but instead, I think since a picture is worth 1,000 words, I will post my top 5 photos from training! 5 pictures aren’t really enough to sum up my 9 weeks of training, but I will do my best!

Botanical Gardens

Water group construction

Baby goats!

Building a water tank

Swearing in ceremony with the Ambassador

Friday, May 4, 2012

Top 5 Friday – Top 5 strangest foods I’ve been served

The food it the DR has in general been fairly good, though repetitive. There is a lot of rice and beans and viveres. However, on a few occasions, I have been served some odd foods. Sometimes they are good, sometimes bad, but in general, weird things. So, for this Top 5 Friday, I present the 5 strangest foods I’ve been served in the DR.

  1. Ramen Noodles for breakfast. I feel like I’m in college again!
  2. “Avena.” Avena is oatmeal, but here, they don’t like the oats, so they grind the oats into a powder and add chocolate and sugar, so it’s basically like thick hot chocolate. It is served with some bread. Bread and hot chocolate for dinner. Dinner of champions
  3. Fried hot dog for breakfast. Or dinner. Or both. Enough said.
  4. Boiled yucca with bacalao (dried salted fish). The one time I’ve had to choke down the food given to me. And it was for breakfast. Who eats dried fish and starchy vegetables for breakfast?
  5. Fried Mayonnaise Sandwich.