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

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