Thursday, June 28, 2012

Yeah... I Hate Loaning You My Pen

Welcome, fellow knuckle crackers! Before we begin, I feel it is of the utmost importance for everyone to know that I will loan you my pen when you ask- but I won´t like it. Selfish? Probably. Rooted in reality with righteous reasoning? Claro! Over this last week, I have been asked for my lapicero numerous times, and each time, I hand it over, I mentally kiss it good-bye. I guess I don´t understand the mentality behind it, which must be at the root of my problem. What do these people think when they´re done using the pen? "Woah, a magical new pen! My prayers have been answered!" The reason you needed the pen in the first place is because you keep misplacing yours and then, you misplace mine, which makes us both pen-less losers. I need that magical ink stick to make my appointment and take my notes, man! Be oh so careful with a borrowed pen. It may cost a mere dollar or two, but it´s value lies far deeper. But I guess I should just be glad that I can be the answer to someone´s prayers. I´ll work on being a good person... tomorrow.

But in tremendous news, I got my suitcase back! Yes, as of Sunday night, last night, and verily, it ranneth over with all of my clothes and bed linens. I had a delicious night´s sleep last night, thanks for asking. But in not so good news, I´ve been living with the dead, o sea, the Hermanas who live in the same house and work in another area have been generously taking turns fainting and being sent to the hospital. And when I say every day, I mean every day, and it´s been strange. It´s been me and my companion only in a house for four, and I´m just not sure what to do without all the spanish conversations floating around and above my head. I hope someone figures out what is wrong with them because up ´til now, no one seems to know. I guess there are some people with slightly more important problems than those pertaining to pens.

Also, in news neither bad nor good but rather, interesting, I am so close to La Yuca, I can taste it, which is not such a bad thing since I know actually like the taste of Yuca. But it´s literally about 5 minutes away by carro. And guess who I ran into while doing contacts one day? Does anyone remember the great Epifano, the one who is, er, a VERY passionate gentleman? Well, my companion and I were walking down the famous tiny callejones that have houses staked one on top of the other on either side, when I hear a "SWEEEEEEEENEEEEE....." I thought, "I hav definitely not been here long enough to earn any sort of fame or prestige. That takes time, like, 6 months in Azua time. A man stood up out of his chair an eyed me intently. I was wondering if I needed to go into fight or flight when he started coming over, but it didn´t take long to recognize dear old Epifanio. He looked like he couldn´t quite believe it. I know I couldn´t. He complimented me on actually being able to speak his language now and asked why Hermana Brown and I stopped visiting him. I said, "uh, I´ve been in Azua for 6 months, and we tried passing by several times back in the day. But we´ll hook you up with the cool Hermanas that are serving there now." He noted there names down, and we parted ways. There really just is something indescribably cool about seeing an old "friend" you never really expect to see ever again.

But as promised, I will now mention someone I am actually teaching now, in the present. My companion and I just set a baptismal date with Robbinson for August 11th. He´s the awesome and thoughtful young man who lives in a really nice house with two demon dogs. Did I mention I hate dogs? I do. Like the one who keeps entering in our back door and defecating under the sink in our laundry room. We live on the fourth floor, how is this happening? The back screen door is all bars, and just big enough for a small dog to slip through, but from whence it comes, I have not clue. Luckily, the room has another door leading to the kitchen that closes, so it can´t get into the rest of the house. I invented a blockade of sorts made out of tape and laundry pins and a large sheet. It seems to be working thus far. Will pray for continued success. But Robbinson really comprehends well the things we teach him. His family has interest, well, his mom, dad, and younger brother Alfi, but the parents don´t want to get married as of yet. Commitment of that sort is hard to come by here. But we´re hoping with Robbinson´s good example, they´ll come around. They all ask really smart and probing questions, which we are happy to answer. Over the next few lessons we´ll be covering the big commandments, starting with the Law of Chastity. We´ll see how it goes from there.

Well, that´s unfortunately all the time I have for today. So much to say, and always so few P day minutes to spare. But I forgot most shamefully last week to give a big ol´ Happy Father´s Day to all the present and future awesome daddy-O´s out there, especially El Mío. So happy belated Father´s Day. And speaking of Father figures, keep my Papa in your prayers. He had a stoke this last week, and I wish I could be there to let him know it will be ok. It all comes down to that. I will all be ok someday, if not today. But he´s an ox and a tiger and a pterodactyl all rolled into one, so I know he´ll pull through like the Seinfeld-loving, hamburger eating champ that he is. Love you Pop!

Keeping it rolling,

Hermana Sweeney

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Everybody Hurts...

And how. I´ve always been opposed to people who whine a lot about hurting, especially when I suspect that it´s not that serious. Like if someone accidentally bumps someone, and that person acts like they were just punctured with a mighty spear. Not necessary, unless it´s a Britney Spear, and then I´d be annoyed too. But the point is, instead of becoming more compassionate, I may be becoming less so, and it´s all thanks to a little sickness called the gripe (gre-pe). If I haven´t complained about this before, I shall allow myself to do so now, and if so, well, the cathartic effect remains the same.

Anyway, the gripe is dangerous, deadly illness, and takes many forms. Supposedly, it´s the equivalent of the common cold, and the key word here is common. Someone, without fail, will have the gripe any given day of the week, especially when it comes time to commit to something. There´s the "I couldn´t read the pamphlet you gave me" gripe. There´s the "it´s Sunday" gripe. There´s the, "oh crap, the missionaries showed up on my doorstep" gripe. The classic "my toe, tongue, eye (insert appendage of choice here) hurts gripe." I love that gripe is Spanish is gripe, or complain, in English, because that´s a perfect translation. Everyone here is constantly in pain, especially when it´s convenient. I was too ill to read or go to church but I felt bully well enough to run a 5k later that day. I´m just kidding. A lot of people here wouldn´t ever run a 5k because they have the crazy leg or the wobbly tooth, or who the heck knows what else. I can´t get over it. Sometimes in church, during lessons, people will randomly break in with some comment about how eternal families remind them of how bad their arm was hurting the other day. Maybe it´s annoying to me because I walk like every step was going into my retirement fund and my feet will probably have to be amputated when I get home. I just don´t feel like I need to knock on doors and say "hi, I´m a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, and my dogs are barking. Seriously, get me a chair or something, I´m hanging on by a thread here." The idea of allowing pain to slow me down is not an enjoyable one. No one is invincible, but it´s amazing what someone can do when they "put their courage to the sticking place," as good ol´ Shakespeare would say. Often times, when we pray for the strength to go on or to bear the burden we have, our weakness can become strengths and more often than not, blessings for other people. Our pain might makes us more relatable to someone else who goes through the same thing. And we learn something we wouldn´t have learned otherwise. It doesn´t mean we have to enjoy the stings, aches, and sores, but while waiting for them to heal, we can go about doing good in spite of it all, because really, what other option is there?

But even though complaining technically doesn´t fix the problem, it makes for interesting table talk. Apparently, I have been cursed for leaving Azua. It wasn´t done punishing me yet, so it would seem. The luggage problem I mentioned having, well, I´m gonna have it now for the third week because the people who were going to bring it, well, didn´t. Which means I get to use clothes as bed sheets and pretend I have three skirts I like so much that I wear them interchangeably ever other day. But it´s really the shoes I miss because I´ve been wearing the same pair for two weeks now and they smell like Satan. So, I bought another pair at a Pay less. In my former life, the in durability of Pay less shoes made me scoff them to scorn. Now, I will wear them as though they were Pradas. But it´s not just my luggage that Azua has held back from me. You may recall that I didn´t have a whole lot of water in Azua my last two transfers there. Well, going on for about 5 days here in Quisqueya (Key-skay-ya), we haven´t had water either, although now that I´m living with all Latins, they actually know what to do about it (a.k.a. demand that the Elders who work in the office bring it to us at 10:00 at night). Whatever gets it to us. But because some joker won´t pay their part of the bill, all of us suffer. I don´t get it. I´m pretty sure in American, people would be out with their torches and pitchforks if such a scenario occurred there. But in America I am not, and if these people in our apartment complex don´t care about water, I guess I shouldn´t either. I mean, it´s not like it´s a necessity of life or anything. But we´ll just hope in the next couple days, the curse will be lifted, or I may very well be showering with water bottles.

Speaking of water systems, the area where my companion and I are contacting is having it´s sewer system redone. This means that all the manholes have been removed and there are huge open holes of murky water every few feet, and sometimes, men inside them, literally shoveling the crap out of them. It smells wonderful over there. But don´t worry, that doesn´t mean everyday life has to stop. There are still young children playing marbles in the middle of it, and if their marbles land in a pile of well, fecal, all the better. Who doesn´t like a challenge? Thankfully, they´re starting to cement it all up, but for people who say they´ve really stepped in it, have I got story for you!

Lest anyone think that my life is a big cesspool right now, I say, not so. Pro of the week: I get to wear real tropical flowers in my hair, suckers! It´s pretty nice. When the mood strikes me (and it always does), I can just pluck a flower, whether from ground or bush, and put it directly into my hairdo. And the variety of colors available go well with any outfit. Oh, other pro: having three baptismal dates set with three inquisitive, interesting teenagers, Charlin, Carlos, and Robbinson. More to follow on them later. Well, if my memory will serve.

And lastly, a big fat pro is being in the area that has all the fast food. I´m a junk food junkie at heart. I´ve heard tell that when someone gets high, all food immediately tastes like heaven-sent manna. I´m here to tell that all you have to do is go to a country where the spiciest flavor they have is table pepper, and then eat a frosty. I can almost guarantee the effect would be the same, and probably more enjoyable, though I couldn´t tell you for sure. Oh, well, the point is, eat a frosty. They´re delicious.

Ok, I lied. The real lastly is that I have two new places to add to my growing list of strange places to teach an investigator. 1). In a banca, which is like a really tacky place to buy lottery tickets. I taught with in the back of one with Hma. Lund awhile back and it was distracting, to say the least. But not as distracting as teaching in a barber shop while the barber is in the middle of his hack job. You may insist you can come back later, but this guy can multi task. Luckily, we did wait at least until the client had left. I tried not to let the list of different hair styles distract me from my overall objective. Believe the mission was semi-successful.

Well, I have fought a good fight these week. Being without water is hard. Being around so many fast food options is hard. Having the "I´m tired from walking all over the D.R." is hard. But just one step at a time, and eventually I´ll end up... somewhere. Somewhere good. Because life is a highway, and I´m gonna walk it all day long.

Continuously moving, (and advising you to do likewise)

Hma. Sweeney

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

There and Back Again: A Sweeney´s Tale

Woah. I´m back. I go from La Yuca, to Azua, and now to Quisqueya, which is not the pit of misery I thought it would be (I may have exaggerated a weeee bit in my last blog). It´s actually really nice here, for so many reasons, and weird a la vez. It felt like coming home, which is weird, considering I don´t live in the D.R. But Quisqueya is a lot like Yuca in the fact that both have great big wards with responsible members who fulfill their callings. Most of them have cars. It´s alarming how many people come to church and do the reading in the pamphlets we give them. They don´t even use clever excuses like, "I was busy," or "the light went out and heaven forbid I go outside and use the natural stuff." So I´m essentially having to readjust to all the stuff I took for granted when I was working in the capital the first time. For example, I made an absolute boob out of myself when we went food shopping this week. There´s this place here called Bravo, and they have an entire section dedicated to bread, and other bakery-like items. You can buy bread with seeds in the crust, did you know? Well, you can, and I think I stood in front of every flavor for a solid ten minutes. It´s strange how you can literally forget something exists because you don´t want to bother yourself by remembering you lack it. You can´t just stick me in the campo for 6 months, and think I´ll just go back to being a semi-normal American who lives in luxury´s lap. But now, all that nonsense of doing without is in the past. Well, at least, for the next six weeks...

And speaking of food, I think Katy Perry was onto something when she proclaimed that girls can be hot enough to melt your Popsicle. I think if you wanted a glass of orange juice, all you´d have to do is hold a creamscicle to my skin for a solid five seconds, and you´d be set. I once again am sweating like I´m getting paid per droplet. Cursed Capital humidity! And the even more unfortunate news is that during the transfer, one of the Elders forgot to load my second suitcase onto the transfer guagua, so I now currently am the proud owner of 3 skirts and some blouses. Luckily, the one that made it to the Capital is the one that had my make-up and of course, hair spray in it. But being as I had all my bags together and they all say Sweeney on them, I´m not quite sure how this negligence happened, which is why next time, I´m loading my own junk myself. That´s a big punch in the gut to chivalry. I don´t have time for it. And because the Browns, the mission grandparents, weren´t able to fit it in their truck this time, I have to wait another week to get it. Patience, Patience...

And while I´m on a roll about talking about food (ha!), I might as well mention how I´ve had to eat a few slices of homemade humble pie this week, what with being in a new area and all. How could I forgot how smelly and crowded and full of back alleys the city is? It took me a full two transfers to really feel comfortable knowing where I was in the Yuca, and Quisqueya is just as big, if not bigger, and just as twisted. Just when you think you´ve found the last callejon (small back street), you find one that leads to two or three more. I simply don´t know how they do it. I feel like I´m in a rat maze and I have know idea where to find the cheese. Luckily, my companion knows her way around just fine, but it´s weird to go from being the trainer to starting from zero again. To top it all off, I´m in a house full of Latins. That´s right, 3xL. Not an English word to be found. Ok, that´s no true, because my housemates really like church music in English, but other than that and reading the back of American cereal boxes, I´m on my own in the house. It´s a strange sensation, but I feel that my Spanish has nowhere to go but up. My new companion, Hma. Alfaro, looks a bit like Pocahontas to me, and she´s from Belize. Even the Dominicans say she talks fast, which is saying something. But we´re getting along well enough and she made me a fruit cocktail with evaporated milk in it, so what more can you ask from a companion? Plus, we spoke the international language of shopping today at La Sirena, looking for a new blouse for her, and it really doesn´t get any closer than that. So we´ll see if I can get used to being Junior companion again and if I´ll be the one to kill her or not. She dies after this transfer, so we´ll see what happens. I´ve stopped trying to guess.

And now, the story of the week: Once upon a time, I got moved to this place called Quisqueya to start all over again. I don´t know the people and I don´t know where anyone lives. Yesterday, Sunday, I met this decently attractive guy at church, and he says hi, and I greet him and all the other new members I don´t know. Later, we meet again in the house of another member who was going to go out to visit investigators with us. This guy was with his friend, and on our second meeting, I learned he spoke English a bit. Bonus. He leaves, and my companion starts talking about this Dominican guy who got to be in The Fast and the Furious 4 and 5 and is now part of a show called "Ropes" which of course I haven´t heard of cuz it´s new. I thought, "that´s cool." Fast forward an hour later and we´re in the home of another member to ask her husband for a reference, but he´s not home. Instead, we find her son there, who turns out to be the same guy from the last two visits. This time, I actually get to talk to him, and found out he´s married and lives in New York and comes down once a year to teach a film class here in the D.R. So then I said, "oh, so you´re the guy who was in the Fast and Furious movies?" This is the problem with a). being in a new area and b). getting all your information in Spanish. Something is bound to slip through the cracks. And this guy put himself a little offended that I didn´t remember him after meeting him three times in one day. Which wasn´t true; I remembered him, I just didn´t realize all the details I´d learned about him throughout the day were all about, well, HIM. So he stayed miffed until I said, "jeez, I´ve only been here a week!" to which he became less of a turd and apologized, saying, "oh, I didn´t know." Yeah, that´s right. He fastly got furious, and then cooled off pretty quick. Oh brother. But he´s a pretty cool guy who does some acting and is a professional fashion photographer. Oh, the people you meet on the mission. And meet. And then meet again. Oh, well, someday I´ll know this area, and hopefully, the people in it. I don´t want to have Vin Diesel or Paul Walker showing up on my porch in all their glorious fury. Then again...

Well, from what I can see, the church is true in all parts of the Dominican. I may have to try a couple more out just to be sure, but until that day comes, I´m enjoying myself here in Quisqueya with my access to Velveeta Mac ´n cheese and chocolate whipped cream, neither of which I really plan on eating. We already have a few baptismal dates set, one which I got to set myself, and I´m looking forward to my whole new world. Until next week, don´t forget to blast the A.C.- just because you can! Because I´m already sweating enough for the both of us. In case I forgot to mention.

Barely dry,

Hermana Sweeney

It´s Opposite Day... Again

I am in a glass case of emotion right now. Actually, there isn´t a
whole lot of glass (or grass) out here in the badlands, so I´m in
another type of case of equal or lesser value. And I put all the blame
on transfers. I have to wonder if I will ever get used to the
vomit-inducing suckiness that is transfer call night. I´ll answer my
own question: Nope. All I can do is stay up late, late into the night
and contemplate my fate, which is being sent back to the capital, to
the area of Quisqueya. I am also getting another Latin. Feelings, such
strong feelings, and not all of them good. The area I´m going to is
known for being wealthier, which means you spend a lot of your days
pushing buzzers and hoping to get to talk to somebody. Well, looks
like this is my chance to be creative. Is it dishonest to tell people
via buzzer that I´m the pizza guy so that they´ll open their door? But
I really shouldn´t judge an area by it´s hype. Before I came to Azua,
all I heard were negative things, and low and behold, I´m actually
(and surprisingly), quite sad to leave it. So I think an area is only
as bad as the attitude of the missionary working it. Sure, there are
conditions that make some areas easier to contact than others, but
apparently, there´s a reason for me to be in Quisqueya. Guess I better
find out what it is. But a Latin companion... who´d of thunk it? What
is this, a Spanish-speaking mission? Let´s just hope she takes it easy
on the rice (and beans). I´m on a fast from the both of them for a
while.

Other than the fact that my life is completely changing, it´s business
as usual. If by usual, you mean that lately, it´s been more and more
obvious to me how different the D.R. is from America. It´s like living
in a perpetual opposite day. Coming to a sentence near you, some
outstanding examples:

1. Parents call their kids "mami" and "papi" as in, "what you want,
mami?" And a lot of kids call their parents by their first name. But
don´t worry, the equality comes in the form of both parties getting to
hit each other. I can only say if I took a swing at my parents, I
would have been on a speedy rocket to a world of hurt. I would have
gotten my trash handed to me, so to speak. But here´s, well, it just
mutual punishment.

2. Bugs live inside. A couple weeks ago, I got to watch a rather
fascinating showdown between a spider and a cockroach dueling it out
on our ceiling. I was obviously rooting for the spider. At times, I
wanted to look away (the light bulb WAS pretty bright, you know), but I
just couldn´t. The cockroach got away, then restuck in the web, then
got away. We humans interceded and Hma. Brown sprayed the roach to
death.

3. You know how in America you can give the cashier money for
something you buy and you get to walk away with you change AND the
item you purchased. Not so here. I bought a CD full of pictures from
this place called Luchy. They do passport pics, school photos, and
burn CDs, hence the reason I was there. In giving me my change, they
were X amount of pesos short, so they look at Hma. Bryant and said
"give us the difference and your friend can owe you." Uh, what? How
delightful to enter a place of business and, whether you buy something
or not, still have the opportunity to leave a little lighter in the
wallet.

4. You don´t offend the customer, the customer offends you. I was
looking to buy a can of green beans from the market, and the nearby
stalker lady starts trying to sell me a more expensive brand. I tell
her naw, I want the cheaper brand, and she looks at me like I told her
to keep her B.O. under control. She then tries to sell me a steal of a
deal of two cans of beans I didn´t even have close to a desire of
wanting. Sorry, saleslady. Next time. We´re still friends, right?

5. The women have no problem going outside in hair curlers. Heck,
they´ll board the back of a motorcycle and do a turn about the town.
They´ve really learned to multi-task. I´m trying to imagine any of the
women in my family doing such a thing. The mental picture is blurry at
best. But still delightful.

6. And finally (for the moment), the general up-in-your-face
touchiness. Don´t know the person you just passed on the street? Not a
problem. Just kiss their cheeck or put your hand on their stomach,
and you have insta-friend.

Now, some of these things I find to be annoying, but others are
actually rather amusing. I do like how friendly and non-concerned
people are about getting to know each other. It´s something I think
I´ll miss quite a lot when I go back to the states. And I know I´ve
mentioned a lot of these things before, but when I stop and think
about how I´ve literally stepped into a whole other world, I realize
I´ve gotten more used to it, but not completely. We´ll see what
another few months will do.

Anyway, wish me luck in all that´s about to come crashing down on me.
It´s only for a few weeks, months, who knows? I never do. But I will
soon enough. And you will always be more or less well-informed.

Oh, and before I straight-up forget AGAIN, Happy Birthday to my Aunt
Penny and Papa. They both turn years on the same day. And I hope it
was good. Cuz I´m a decently nice human being. And being as it´s time
to go, I bid you all adieu, o sea, chiao.

The opposite of hello,

Hma. Sweeney

Gotta Keep Your Love Locked Down!

Preparados, listos, ya! Ok, so I decided that not only do I have friends in many an interesting place, but I have been teaching in some strange places as well. Recently, we got a reference for a man who lives and works at a funeral home. It was hard to hear him over the roar of the ceiling fan and the drilling of the mosquitoes into our flesh, but other than that, a pretty normal appointment. Naturally, he had a lot of questions about life and death (don´t we all?), so we set up another appointment with him for this coming week. He seems like a sincere enough guy, and I don´t even have the willies that should naturally overcome me because of the locale. I hate death, and especially dead bodies, but I´ve learned to tune out a lot of things, and so this is yet another one to add to the list. This man (his name is Manuel), seems to think his biggest obstacle in coming to the church meetings will be surprise emergency calls for a funeral. More or less understandable, and as he explained it, "you can´t prepare for death." Interesting. Yes and no. We may not know when it will hit us or how hard, but we can prepare ourselves now to live a life worthy for a reward after death. Why some people are comforted by the fact that there´s nothing after this life, I don´t quite comprehend, other than that it makes us less accountable for our actions. But when I die, I fully expect to be greeted by loved ones and two Jack-in-the-Box tacos, and the peace that comes from knowing I did my best to better myself and serve others. That´s how I see it, anyways. What´s heaven without the ones you love best? Or the food you crave? If God hasn´t tried a Jack-in-the-Box taco, then we´re all in trouble.

We were also for a time teaching a guy who is a medical supply driver for a hospital that is only a street south from the church. The hospital is only open during the mornings, though, and seems to be for people who are super poor. I will call this guy we were teaching Ames, although I don´t know why I bother, since most of you will never meet him. But regardless, Ames had us meet him a couple times in the more or less deserted hospital, and even the member we´d brought with us felt creeped out. She´d witnessed a guy coming out of one of the bathrooms there bloody and holding a gun as a young girl, so that´s understandable. But I think I might hate hospitals more than funeral homes, so it definitely took some focus not to think about the creepy wall mural of a woman breastfeeding, or the fact that I was teaching Ames (why did I pick an American name for him?) on waiting room chairs. Ugh. But Ames´s interest was piqued, so that´s what counts. The things we do to help people learn about Jesus. But when people actually take what we teach them and apply it for themselves, I could care less if I was teaching in a castle or out of a boxcar. Tomato, potato. In this case, it´s literally the thought (and action behind the thought) that count.

Other than that, it´s just been your typical week. Trying to teach a lesson to a less-active member and having some crazy guy with beer-stained teeth sit down in the middle of it all and start talking about New York. Later on, he might whip out some weird electrical device and a screw driver, and you might wonder if he´s going to stab you with it. Then he will tell anyone who good naturally stops to chat (if it´s a male at least), that "the white one´s mine." Later, as you wrap up said visit, he will shake your hand in the most pervy way possible and then tell your companion, "I´m really sorry, but I prefer her. She´s the one I want." I tell you, I never knew what it was like to win the lottery, but now...

Oh, but that´s not even my favorite. We´d have to travel to this last Thursday during English class, when my companion and I taught about nature. This other less active member decided to come. He actually teaches English himself at one of the schools here in Azua. I´ve seen him off and on over the last couple of transfers here, and I even lured him to church by promising to bring him some cool English phrases. What a deal! But before we started the class and while Hermana Bryant was talking to someone else, this sorta member told me he didn´t care who else was sent after me, it wouldn´t be the same. He even offered to get me a job here. If the economy still blows in America, it´s nice to know I have options. But then after the class was over, he hands me a note. I tuck it away, and read it when I get home, only to find this little ditty: "I hope it won´t break up the friendship if I tell you that since we met, I only think of you." Uh, come again? What did he want me to do, check yes or no? Maybe instead of wearing a missionary name tag, I need to have a tee-shirt made. "ON MISSION, NOT FOR SALE." This is supposed to be stuff that happens to other people. I feel like I´m gonna have to bust out with Stephen Price again, and yes, I changed his last name, for his protection, and because I like it better than Joyce. Plus, you can´t put a Price on fake love. And I don´t plan to.

So, I guess I need to stop being so attractive. I thought I was sweating enough, but I guess not. These things always seem to happen when I feel I´m looking like crap, so maybe I´m on to something. Less effort equals more attractive? Why didn´t someone explain this before? But regardless, apparently, I need to lock it up. Or people need to get a clue. Either or.

Anyway, now I will fill you all in on tidbits I keep referring to in other entries but never concluding. First, in all the excitement about the real lock down, I forgot to mention who won. It doesn´t seem to even be important, but it was Danilo, from the purple party. Adios, Papá. Oh, well, sorry Hermana Carmén. There´s always next... four years.

As for mother´s day, my mom did do most of the phone hogging, which it being her day, is pretty understandable. I did get to talk to everyone, which was great. Yesterday was the Mother´s Day here in this country. The colmado downstairs kept playing a song about treating your mom right and asking her forgiveness for past stupidities. Sounds like the perfect Mom´s Day gift. Look it up on itunes and save it for next year. Heaven forbid I should give you a freebie and tell you the name of it (I couldn´t even if I wanted to).

And finally, Olga did indeed get confirmed, and there was much rejoicing. She is currently going to classes twice a week to learn how to read. Some people have to lock it down, and some people have to open up. I´m glad Olga has started doing the latter.

Well, that´s pretty much all you need (and probably want) to know for the moment. Except for the fact that yesterday, I turned 10 months, officially. Seems like just a year ago I turned 9. But Hermana Bryant and I celebrated by eating delicious smurf colored ice cream that we bought from some lady´s house. Welcome to the D.R. And now that you´ve been welcomed, I´ll be signing off. Enjoy your stay, and remember, no matter what, don´t eat the fried street intestines. Trust me. If you can´t trust someone´s word of honor on their blog these days, well, what is this world coming too?

Neither a little bit country nor a little bit Rock ´n Roll,

Hermana Sweeney