Sunday, December 16, 2012

Devil with the Name Tag On

You and me and the Devil do NOT make three. I am not a witchy woman. What is with the people this week? Answer: They are no longer people. They have turned into a hideous sub-species of perpetual drunkards. I don´t know if the people who are telling me I´m a blond American devil are drunk or just crazy. Yesterday, Sunday, the supposed day of the Lord (go figure), is when people started freaking out on me. One bearded gentleman (why do most of them have beards?) started chasing us with his big metal pole telling me I´m the devil, so I ignored him and entered in my apartment complex. He left me alone. As Hna. Paus and I, later that day, were walking up to the craziest street in this entire country, the Dr. Defillo, when I lady with Medusa-like hair and milk streaming from her mouth yelled for us to cross to the other side of the road, because, you guessed it, I´m a giant devil. I think she had me confused for someone else... but anyway, I couldn´t help but think how lucky I am not to have a ton of self esteem issues, or this country would probably have broken me in pieces. I just wanted to have a special break-out moment and inform these miscreants (or lovely children of God... you know), that "No, I´m not to devil... your mom´s the devil!" But that´s not really fair to their moms.

But back to the crazy Defillo and the absurdity thereof. My comp. and I were passing to pick up some of our investigators and bring them to church. It was 7:30 in the a.m. And what to our wondering eyes should appear, but a car with all it´s doors open, blasting music at the top of its lungs, with what was surely a rather large prostitute dancing with a couple of severely drunk dudes. Freshly drunk dudes. There were open beer bottles and cups filled with alcohol on top of the car. The Defillo- where the party is always just getting started. Considering one of the people we were bringing to church was a 10 year old boy, I felt like I wanted to shield him from it all, but here, you just can´t. You see all you could possibly imagine and then some. And it´s only gonna get worse because during December, everyone receives double payment from the government, so everyone think they have a lot of money. So you have to watch your back, because, well, everyone assumes that everyone else is walking around like a mobile bank. And they want a withdraw. And they will search you for it. As a missionary, I haven´t had this problem. Yet. And I hope it stays that way. Let´s just say missionaries aren´t known for our incredible wealth. We work for free- with benefits of a, er, more spiritual nature. But yeah, Merry Christmas, and a Happy New Year. Please be careful to cover your rear (and your front, and belongings you hold dear).

In pleasant news, I can sorta cook Dominican food now. It´s a work in progress. My rice-making abilities have improved. And I can make some decent beans. Beans beans, the magical fruit. And fried bananas. Well, they´re really pl├ítanos, and when you slice, mash, and fry them, they really taste more like potato chips. Sort of. Comparing the me now to the me of a year ago, I really can´t believe the crap I eat. If someone had told me what my mission would be, I would have said, "boy- you CRAZY!" But I find that it´s really mind over matter, you can eat what they serve you from any platter. It would appear I´m feeling rather rhyming and whimsical today. That would probably have to do with the fact that our Zone is preparing our Christmas presentation. Our annual mission Christmas party is in exactly a week from now. Boo-ya! I don´t have to cook (there is such a thing as a free lunch), and I get to see all the missionaries I haven´t seen in forever. It will be extreme. And our zone will be acting out how it would be if missionaries contacted and converted the Grinch. I will be one of the narrators. And it is gonna be just a whole pile of fun. Can´t wait.

But speaking of crazy boys and zones, I´ve learned a valuable lesson this week during our zone conference. Us hermanas brought oatmeal cookies to share. Yes, it´s true- no one deserves us. Especially some of the Elders in our zone. After greedily partaking of the goods, some of them thought it was perfectly natural to leave their crumbs all over the place. When I informed them otherwise, some half-heartedly picked up a little here and there. And some had magically gone deaf during my clean-up announcement and others thought I was speaking pig Latin. It´s not that hard, my dear young gents! Clean up after yourself. No one is your maid. As the Prophet Alma so wisely put it, "oh remember my sons and learn wisdom in thy youth..." Good point. If you develop good habits early on, the better you´ll be later on. Now don´t get me wrong, a lot of these guys are really great Elders, but I am reminded of a saying I´ve always heard and always hated- "well, you know, boys will be boys." No, boys will be what you let them be. O sea, people in general. Expect more, get more (do NOT apply this saying to your holiday wish list). But really, if we let people know our expectations and don´t just give them pre-made excuses, (starting them off right while they´re young), it just really makes a whole world of difference.

And finally, I would like to rejoice and praise the brilliance of cheap Christmas decorating. Colorful snowflakes hanging from invisible wire from the ceiling? Festive. Tiny Charlie Brown Christmas tree? Space saving. Homemade candy count-down paper chain? Tasty anticipation. It´s amazing what you can do when you put yourself to the task.

And an apology- this blog contains little to no info. on investigators and their progress. That´s because this week was a typical series of ups and downs. People being touched by the spirit. Making commitments they don´t keep (going to church, reading the material we leave, etc). But such is the mission. You just have to rejoice in the day you´re in and the success that you had. You never know what people will decide to do tomorrow. And it also doesn´t help that I´ve been a little distracted. One of our ward member only has four fingers on his right hand. I just noticed this last week when I shook it. We contacted a man on the street who has 6 fingers- that´s right, there was a fully-formed thumb on the side of his other thumb. I was highly disturbed and fascinated, and could only think of The Princess Bride movie quotes the whole time. And he´s not the first case I´ve seen. I´ve seen people covered in boils, people with spines that put Quasimodo to shame, and lots of people with the same skin condition Michael Jackson claimed to have. Half black, half white. I would say there must be something in the water, but I probably shouldn´t because it´s probably true. But it just goes to show that these things shouldn´t matter as much as we think they do. Here, these people are just accepted and absorbed into society, in spite of their appearance. What a concept. Lesson observed, lesson applied.

Well, that´s what we call a wrap. Not a sandwich wrap, although that would be tasty. But we will be saying the goodbye word. But don´t cry for me Argentina. The truth is, I never met you. Cuz I´m in the D.R., baby! And so I shall remain. Well, for a little while longer at least.

Keeping it Klassy,

Hermana Sweeney "the Fearless" (except on Sundays)

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