Wednesday, April 4, 2012

All-American Rejects

Well, from what I remember of American culture, I like the band, but to them, I am not currently referring. Essentially, what we got goin’on in our district is a parade of the pale and pasty. We are an all-American district! This is my first experience in a district without any Latinos in it, so I’m sorta just letting myself enjoy it. If I absolutely feel the need to express myself using some English then by George, I can do it. As Prince and Ms. Spears would gladly attest to, that’s my prerogative. Just to let you know, every Tuesday we meet as a district to discuss how we can better our part of the mission and help our investigators. And whenever we’ve had Latins, the conversations have always been more, er, spicy? The Latins I’ve met have not even the hint of a problem expressing themselves and there opinions, so if there was ever a problem or a situation that arose during a meeting, they’d just let out how they thought it should best be handled, and that was that. Hmmmmmm…
Which makes me wonder how I have changed and how I have remained the same. In some ways, I feel more Dominican. If there’s no water when I turn on the tap, I don’t find that so strange anymore. If another missionary tells me they don’t study the language as part of their daily study, I gladly tell them that’s ridiculous. But the funny thing is, we all like to think we have the answers and know how things should be done, when in reality, we all give hypocritical advice we don’t always take ourselves. No one likes being told what to do, yet all of us at some point have tried to persuade someone to adjust to our perspective and/or way of doing something. But that’s just the human condition. We want to help but not necessarily to be helped.

I did, however notice the more Dominicanized, advice-giving version of myself in my last blog. Part of it I owe to my current circumstances of being surrounded by lifestyles of opinions and the opinionated. The other part comes from my own frustrations of hearing the things going on in the lives of my friends/family and not feeling like I can actively do anything to help them. So, what’s my solution? To the blog, of course! It’s the quickest way I can get out the most advice/feelings/information in the shortest amount of time. Cuz we all know that time is pesos. But I just want people to know that even if though I don’t know all the answers to all problems (just most of them), doesn’t mean I don’t want to help in my small, half-Dominican, half-American way. And most of all, if I could give any useful advice that I’ve learned from the mission (you know, besides that the gospel blesses lives), it would be that just because you can’t have it now, doesn’t mean you can’t have it. I don’t know if that catchy turn-of-phrase has already been copyrighted by some other witty jerk, but it’s true regardless of who it’s from. Waiting is another game humans don’t seem to like to play. But that’s why we have to endure instead. As Elder Uchdorf, one of the current apostles of the church said, enduring is not just waiting. It’s striving to fight through the hard times and enjoy the good. Well, I paraphrased, but that’s the idea in a banana peel. Sitting on a fence won’t get you anywhere. Make like a cow and moooooooooove. As long as we try, strive, and drive ourselves forward, we’ll make it where we need to be. Wherever that is. Like a small, tropical island, for instance… just saying.

However, one part of me that will never become Dominican is the part that refuses to be without shame. This past week, I’ve had people ask me for everything from my phone number (not so uncommon) to a pair of basketball shorts and the skirt I was wearing (not-so-common). My companion and I were making our way down the street when a lady with a young girl and a shopping cart asks for the skirt I was wearing. “You live at the Mormon chapel right?” She asks. “When can we do the exchange?” Apparently she’s Evangelical and as part of their religion, they have to wear skirts all the time. So I guess she was bored of hers and wanted to try something new, something fresh. “Uh, you do realize I’m a good two sizes bigger than you?” I said, trying to reason her down, but she wasn’t having it. I managed to get away (skirt intact), but I’ve seen her a couple times and she’s still waiting for her new apparel. Who knows? Maybe as a going-away present when I finally leave Azua.
Oh, and in other news, we are currently in the midst of Semana Santa here, or the Holy week. They celebrate Easter here for a whole week. There are olive branches hanging off of car fenders, bike handles, you name it. I can’t complain. Easter’s a great holiday. I love me some cadbury eggs. And I am also truly grateful for Christ and his sacrifice for all of us. He did rise again! Some things you just can’t buy a big enough thank you card for.

Well, that’s about all I have for you this time. This week on “How to do in the D.R.” please enjoy the complimentary how-to tuvi instruction manual. You never know when you’re gonna need these things.

Semi-faithfully yours,

Hermana Sweeney

*Brought to you by the now dead and ever-attractive Hermana Lund.

1. First, You get your hairs all did nice and purtytuvi.
2. Divide the hair into two parts, as though you were going to do piggy tails.
3. Wrap the hair around your head in a counter-clockwise motion and pin it with bobby pins.
4. Keep going
5. Yup, you're getting there.
6. Make sure the hair is tight around your head. It should sorta look like a beautiful cinnamon roll.
7. It's time to put the tuvi on now
8. So do it already!
9. There you go!
10. Now remove all the bobby pins through the holes in the tuvi. Spin it around on you head a couple of times, to keep hair firmly in place. Yeah, I know it sounds weird.
11. And in the morning, remove tuvi (with class and sass, of course)
12. And now, you're looking all sorts of good!

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