Wednesday, February 17, 2010


Happy Valentines Day! Well for some of you anyway. For some of you it was probably just depressing. Cheer up though. You're bringing me down.

One day I was in a taxi with some other volunteers and a Polish tourist. He was talking about how fast he could run, like Polacs always do. I told him that I could run faster than him. He was so outraged that he made the cab driver pull over right there and then and we raced in the middle of the street. It was about a 100 meter sprint. I stumbled out of the gate and ended up losing by inches. It was a hard defeat to take. But the one thing about racing european tourists in the Dominican Republic is that there's no do-overs. A few weeks later we spotted a european tourist (nationality unknown) in the park in Santo Domingo and I raced him and won. It was a little too easy. So now I'm 1-1 with momentum in my favor. If you know of a european making his way down to the DR who is looking for a race let me know.

I think I might have made a couple of friends my age in my community. And by friends I mean they found out I can watch movies on my laptop and now they hang around my house a lot till I ask them if they want to watch a movie and they say “Oh yeah, well sure I guess, I hadn't really thought about that but if you're offering then I guess I could find the time.” But I'm not complaining. We're using each other and that's what friendship is all about. It's not that I didn't enjoy hanging out with middle aged women and four year olds but it's nice to talk with somebody my own age. Not that we have a whole lot in common either. They're super nice. The problem is that they don't really do sarcasm or cynicism or self-deprication and I don't communicate very well in other ways. I can hardly blame them. It's hard to be cynical about life if you didn't have a comfortable childhood in the suburbs and parents who paid your way through college as you did your best not to graduate. But saying what I actually mean just doesn't feel right. Without the sarcasm it's just complaining.

I am an English teacher now. I'm not sure if I'm very good at it. I think it's good to try teaching first in a remote community in the country that has the worst education system in Latin America because expectations are lower. Then as I get more confident I'll move to the 2nd worst and eventually I'll teach in Cuba.

There's a goose that hangs out in the street sometimes and bullies me when I walk past him. He hisses and then lowers his head and starts charging at me. I run backwards and kick at him so he won't peck me. I hope nobody has ever seen me do it. I don't know why he picks on me. I think it's a defense mechanism that he uses to protect himself from ever getting close to somebody because he's scared he'll get hurt. But I wish he would stop because someday somebody is going to see me running away from a goose.

There's a water volunteer in the community near me. Both of our communities are part of the same district so we're working with the same Mayor to plan a party to raise funds for our projects. So we want to have a joint party. But the leaders of her community said we couldn't go to their party and then my community crossed their arms and turned around and started pouting and said “Fine! I don't want to go to your stupid party anyway. Jerks.” But we told them tough noogies, they had to learn to share. So if this engineering thing doesn't work out at least I'll be qualified to be a nursery school teacher. Luckily our Mayor has come through for us 0 out of 3 times so far so it probably won't happen anyway.