Wednesday, June 20, 2012

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

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