Monday, November 21, 2011

Tales of the Yarn Cat Mirrors

Ok, I just have to go on record and say this has been one of those hell-inspired weeks that everyone spends their free moments dreading. I doubt I have the time to explain it to do it justice. But i shall give it a go.

Ok, so for some reason, this week was when the heavens decided to weep uncontrollably. For what reason, I´m still trying to decipher. But when it rains, it pours, and when it pours, members don´t want to salir with us to go on citas with investigators. The reason we are supposed to have said members with us is so that the investigators see that yes, there are normal Mormons, and no, not every member wears a skirt and a nametag everyday, nor do they have to refrain from hugs (you wouldn´t believe the awkward amount of male hugs I have to dodge here. It´s becoming an art form for me.) It´s also to familarize potential future members with people who already are members. Sometimes, it´s nice to have a friend, so i´m told. Well, not only were people not really able or willing to go with us this week, but none of the investigators were even home when they normally are. Uh... thanks Satan. But this still wouldn´t be the end of the world had it also not been for the other following fun tidbits of my semana.

1. I had an enormous rat dart in front of me and do a cannon ball into the gutter and hit the tire of the car parked therein. It was disgusting and fascinating, and really wasn´t a bad experience. I just wanted to share it. Especially considering the fact that the rat was about the size of a cereal box.

2. My stomache, to put it mildly, is not pleased with some choice I made this last week. And walking around in hot sun plush crotchety stomache doth not a happy Sweeney make.

3. I woke up Saturday morning to the sound of a gunshot. "Crap," thought I, "my overactive imagination is waking me up even early than I would normally have to be." Then I heard the second shot and the scream, and decided maybe my imagination had some validity. And hearing abunch of people scream and shout in a language you´re still trying to learn does not make the situation any less scary. The lady who lives above us kept shouting the name of the lady in the house next to us, where all the commotion was taking place. Then the police came, and i looked out the window and some men with guns were advancing on the house, where from what my comp and i were able to gather from our neighbors (we have a door that connects us to the stairs that lead up to their house) their was a robber trapped in the house. Well, after awhile, i was bien sick of it all, and nothing was happening, so i went to bed. Come to find out later that night from the same neighbors that the thief was... a rat. Really?! If I didn´t hate rats before, i sure do now (in spite of your arguments to the contrary, Ashley).

Ok, so really, i can´t complain too much, especially because Rosa joven finally got baptized this week! I haven´t really described her, but she´s the one who like to ask me where the other Hermana Sweeney is whenever we show up to teach her and I don´t look like a sweaty soccer player. So there´s a decent looking hermana Sweeney and a beast. How sweet. But her date has been moved about three times because she was going to church consistently and then last week, when she was supposed to get baptized, her mom decided she didn´t want to sign the papers because her daughter was behaving like she was mal criada, or in other words, spoiled and rude. Now this lady has a kid that would actually well-befit this description. Her name is Diana and she loves to yell in my face and demand I giver her my headband, umbrella, etc. But she throws a tantrum to rival the best of ém, and Rosa, is well, as tranquila as they come. Once again, Satan, you butt. Well, we talked to the mom and told her if anything would change her daughter´s behavior, it was the gospel. So she signed the baptism papers, Rosa was baptized, and there was much rejoicing. I really do love my little ward of La Yuca. You´d be hard-pressed to find a more dedicated bunch anywhere.

Oh, and now, finally getting to the title and all the goodness it entails... so one of the members of the ward, the widow hermana Seneda, has in her house these fantastically hideous twin mirrors. Well, technically they´re mirrors, but the glass is so taken up with the image of these two enormous cats that look like they´re made of pink yarn that it´s hard to see your own image in them. I both hate and love them simultaneously. But that´s just art here. The real popular item here is this picture of the toddler Jesus, and he is usually either superimposed over the image of a lake or in front of an old scroll or something, and he proclaims "yo reinaré," which means "I will rein." I gotta say, superimposing is super popular here, especially for wedding photos. I think I may have to adopt this technique in my own special occasions cards when i return to the states.

Well, that´s it for this week. I think it´s probably more than enough. i know i´ve had enough of it; i´m bien ready to move on to the next one. And wishing you all a good one as well.


Hermana Sweeney

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Unfortunatlely, It IS Beginning to Look a lot Like Christmas

I can't even take it. Halloween was but a week ago (which isn't really celebrated here) and now, there are Christmas lights and trees and all sort of decorations exploding out of people's homes. As if every house here wasn't already an homage to Jesus, now it's just even more ridiculous. I am not ready for this. I need my turkey and gravy to be on its way to digestion before I see any crazy blinking lights or listen to "Silent Night" a thousand times.  And as one of my companions from the MTC in the D.R. said, I should just make a Christmas card to send out that says "Merry Christmas, it's blazing hot down here!"

But in my regards to my earlier comment about Jesus and his apparent visitation to every house here in the D.R., I'm really not exaggerating. Everything is so God right now. Even the taxi cabs go around proclaiming "Cristo ya viene," or "Si Dios esta conmigo, ?Quien contra mi? And yes, I know, that the first question mark should be upside down, but this keyboard is not cooperating with me, so what you see is what you get. And all you fair readers with access to Google translator can use it to figure out what those phrases mean. Think of it as and early Christmas gift. Or treasure hunt. You're welcome. But anyway, it's just interesting that here, I can walk into someones place of business and start talking about the church with them, and this is not considered inappropriate (I have done this on more than one occasion, by the way). It was odd at first, but everyone here is so crazy about the idea of God, that they like to hear about him, regardless if they go to your church or not. As a matter of fact, a little girl stopped my companion and I the other night and asked to hear a message about God. Uh.... what?  In the states, I feel like most people try to flee when they see missionaries coming. But we're like mini celebrities here. In some ways, that makes my job tan fantastico. In other ways, it's frustrating, because people promise to do a lot of things like read the pamphlets we leave them or go to church, and then they don't do it. But they're all so friendly and interesting, it's hard to be too mad at anyone.

Case in point: Meet Davey. Davey used to live in New York, but then he was deported. He enjoys calling me Cali (as in California) and my companion Utah (I'm sure you can figure out why for yourselves by this point). He does not like living here. In the middle of some choice expletives, he explained to us why the people here are straight up savages (thankfully, he did this in English). He then proceeded to greet one of his street homies, then turned back to us and was like, "yeah, man, straight up SAVAGES!" It was too much. I don't know how I kept from splitting a gut right there in front of him. The next time we saw him, he insisted on running up to his apartment to bring us a really "deep" forward about how we have more medicine, less health, we've conquered inner space, but not outer space... cheesy fun stuff like that. It was about as deep as a tear drop, and I'd heard it all before, but he was so into it, that I couldn't bear to break his good spirits. He claims he wants to go to church, change his life, all that jazz... we shall see. He's just too ridiculous and fantastic for me not to want to visit with him more. And he's so unhappy about so many things, that I think he could really benefit from what the Gospel teaches.

Well, as usual, I am low on time, high on tired, and hoping that today will be enough to get me through the week. My companion and I have been teaching upwards of 30 lessons a week, which is a TON. One moment I'm on a high because someone agrees to come to church, the next minute I'm bummed because someone says they're Catholic and they wouldn't change churches if God himself came down and told them to. I'm learning to live life on a rollercoaster, and to enjoy the ride. Now that's cheesey! I just might need to send it to Davey...

Well, until next time, all I have to say is that if any of you have the opportunity to try dulce de coco, I would highly recommend it . It's like an Almond Joy minus the chocolate, and it's fabulous. I am really also fond of Tamarindo, if it's made right (a drink made from some sort of fruit named tamarindo. It looks like a root), and sugar cane. You just bite down on the cane, suck out the sugar, and spit out the fibery outsides. It's the simple things in life that bring the most joy... ok, I really need to stop with the cheesiness, cuz now we have enough to make nachos. Vaya con Dios! (The farewell of every living person here).

Abrazos and stuff,

Hermana Sweeney

Sunday, November 6, 2011

You Can Break my Arm, but You Can´t Break my Halloween Spirit!

Ok, So yeah, being me, last P day, I broke my arm. Or thought I did. Hermana Brown and I decided to wrestle. I beat her at leg wrestling (of course) but she got her revenge. About 5 seconds into our real wrestling, I felt a grotesque pain in my left arm. Why would I automatically assume it´s broken, you might wonder? Because apparently my bones are made of marshmallows and when I do something REALLY strenuous, like taking a step or opening the fridge, I just snap. So the thought of being broken in a foreign country seemed very possible, and very unappealing. Turns out, it is, or, that is, would be. We went to the doctor on Wednesday (we didn´t go right away, in case the pain went away. It didn´t). Well, they didn´t accept my insurance, but they accepted my 2,000 pesos pretty readily. Ai! But I swear, the doctor twisted my arm a bit, and I didn´t really feel anything, so he assured me he was 95 percent sure it was ok. Whew, thanks for that, but I would still like some x rays, if that´s alright. Well, they x rayed my clavicle bone, so we had to redo them. Then the doctor looked at the x rays in his office, which was about halfway lit and affirmed that it wasn´t broken. We introduced ourselves as missionaries, had a nice chat and he told us he´s Evangelical. Oh well, it was worth a shot, right? Then he promptly went back to watching the video he had playing on his computer. Oh the D.R. It is so not the U.S.

But today is Halloween, and that makes up for any pretend broken bones I may or may not have had. I was a little blue that I wouldn´t be able to celebrate my 2nd favorite holiday with my traditional outrageous costume, and so my companion had the brilliant idea that we should go as… each other! Being as she is small, and I am not, she looks a bit like a bag lady and I look like one of those people that doesn´t realize I´m too big to be wearing the clothing of teenagers, but hey, it´s still fun. We even traded bags, name tags, shoes, the whole bit. If you look at the pictures, you´ll realize we traded smiles too. For some reason, that´s how she smiles in pics (the way I´m smiling) and she is wearing my traditional over the top cheesball grin. Oh Halloween, you never let me down.
In other, more missionary related news, we had the baptism for Osiris this last weekend. It was really neat, even though his mother was yelling-whispering at her rather poorly behaved grand kids during the service. Sometimes I just don´t know what to do with the human race…
The next day, though, when he was supposed to get confirmed during sacrament meeting, he was no where to be found. Por suerte, the announcements ran long, and he FINALLY showed up, so he was able to get confirmed. If not, we may have had to have him re baptized because next week is stake conference (no baptisms) and if there are more than 8 days separating a baptism and the confirmation, they have to re baptize the person. This would NOT be a good idea. Osiris has a bit of a difficult family life, so he just needed it to all be over and done with. And it all worked out. Oh, God, he does come through.

Well, as usual, there is more to say, and no time to say it. I will continue my futile attempt to keep you updated on the crazy adventures of my missionary life. Until next time, I wish you all a happy night of fright and sugar overload.


Hermana Sweeney