Sunday, November 29, 2009

Thanksgiving 2.5 and the Afterparty with Diddy

After I wrote you all yesterday we went over to Sarah and Sean's for Thanksgiving 2.5. It was amazing. Sarah made an enormous turkey and there was so much food it was ridiculous. We had about 2 entire dishes per person and I think I ate my body weight in dinner and pie. After dinner we talked and played Wii for a few hours. When I say "we" I mean the boys and there were some fightin' words flying around about Mario Cart. Apparently JP is getting quite the reputation with the other boys for being a trash talker (no surprise there). While they played I drank coffee after coffee and ate piece of pie after piece of pie and chatted with the other girls. Great Thanksgiving.When we left at around 8 we came back to Zona Colonial to go out. Stacy, Doug, Brigitte, Bastien, Nick, JP and I all hung out here for awhile and had drinks/coffee. We decided to go out (Stacy, Doug, Nick, JP and I) and we went to this bar called Doubles.

When we walked out of our apartment a car smashed into another car right in front of us, which was kind of scary, but everyone seemed to be alive enough to get really really mad at the other car so I think everything will be okay for them. 

Usually when I go out dancing here I try to go to Dominican places that play merengue and bachata and other forms of Latin dance music, but we were meeting up with a girl that Nick wanted to see who was at Doubles. Imagine The Post in East Lansing type of music. Lots of techno mixes. It was amazing. When we first got there JP and I were doing the shopping cart and the fishing pole and other dances of that sort, and we were getting a lot of weird looks from the Dominicans which made it even funnier. I would like to think that they thought that was how gringos dance. We ended up staying at the bar until around 4 a.m. It was a great Thanksgiving. Delicious food, good company, and ridiculous dancing.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Thanksgiving 1.5

You probably all thought that because I am out of the United States that I would miss Thanksgiving this year since it is an American holiday. Well the joke's on you people because I am celebrating it two and a half times. At school on Thursday we had a "shared snack". There are a lot of things that rich kids do that is annoying, but bringing bad shared snacks is not one of them. We had every kind of delicious fried Dominican food that exists in miniature, cupcakes from people's parent's bakeries, and everything else a greedy teacher could want. It was nice because we went around the circle and all of the kids said what they were thankful for, and almost all of them said their families (one said money, but there are always a few bad seeds).

On Thursday night JP and I wanted to celebrate on the actual day so we planned on having dinner at our house. We invited our neighbor and then Doug and Stacy, so we ended up having a mini-Thanksgiving party here. We had wine and rotisserie chicken, mashed potatoes and stuffing. It was delicious. Rebecca, our neighbor, brought this pumpkin cheesecake which she had half-frozen which was amazing. We ate on our balcony. It was a really good Thanksgiving day. Because we didn't have school off for Thanksgiving all of the Americans at school decided to celebrate Thanksgiving together today, Saturday, so that we could devote the entire day to the festivities as God and the Native Americans intended.

I am currently making mashed potatoes to bring over there and JP woke up early and make cinnamon corn pudding which I snuck a bite of and it is delicious. I will let you know how Thanksgiving 2.5 goes afterward, but there is going to be a turkey and a Wii, so I imagine it will be pretty good.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

My Life in Ruins (The movie, not my life)

Today after school JP and I went to the grocery store and then took a taxi back towards Zona Colonial. I dropped him off at Centro Olympico, which is where he uses the pool, and then came home and took a short nap, which was delightful. When I woke up I was planning to go to this talk about Egypt nearby. This entire week there is a big film festival happening throughout the city. I have been wanted to do more in Spanish (which, lately, I have been succeeding in) and so I thought going to some of the workshops would be a good idea. I walked over to Bridgitte's apartment to see if she wanted to come, but realized after talking to her that the talk was not, in fact, in Spanish.

She and Bastien (her boyfriend) were planning on going to a different theatre and seeing "My Life in Ruins" which for some reason is a part of the film festival, so I decided to go with them. I don't know how many of you guys have seen it, but it is a little bit on the stupid side. What made it amazing though was the audience. We were probably the only people in the theatre who were over 17, and many of them were in school uniforms. It was free to get in and it was in this really nice cultural center, but it was in a pretty bad neighborhood. It was the loudest theatre I have ever been in but it was hilarious. Every time the main character talked to the man she liked the crowd whooped and yelled. They laughed hysterically at the smallest jokes, and basically screamed throughout the entire movie. I thought it was great and by the end of the movie I was having a great time.

When we left there was a random fireworks show outside which my mom would have thought was very dangerous (because it was). It was about 50 feet from the building and it was so close that ash was raining down into my eyes and got into Bridgitte's contact. It was cool nonetheless, but we had to go to a colmado to get some water to flush her eye out with. Worst.

Great night at the movies.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Long Absense

Hey all,

I haven't posted in awhile for 2 reasons. Kind of a good news, bad news situations. First, on Monday night I watched Walk the Line dubbed in Spanish. It is called Johnny y June when it's dubbed apparently. Anyway, I was coveting June Carter's clothes and I started obsessively looking up 50's and 60's patterns on the internet so I could make my own. Unable to order anything online and not in possession of a sewing machine I couldn't sleep that night because I was plotting ways to make clothes. Those of you who know me well know that sometimes my brain gets on one track and will not get off it until I have accomplished whatever it is (such as move to Latin America).

Anyway, by the next day I decided that it would be kind of ridiculous to buy a sewing machine without making a single article of clothing first, so I went to the store near our house after school and bought some fabric and a sewing kit. When I say sewing kit I mean a glorified version of those little emergency sewing kits that my mom is always trying to force me to take with me wherever I go, "Just in case". With scarcely enough thread I made an a-line skirt from directions I found on the internet. This took me two days. I basically haven't seen the light of day since I started this little project but I have been happy as a clam. After I finished that I started working on a wrap dress because I bought way too much fabric. I also found a store that sells thread and zippers and the like about a block from my house which was very helpful when I ran out of red thread. I have a bunch more material now and I am going to start working on another skirt later today.

The bad news is that I was so wrapped up in sewing that I didn't realize that damage I had caused to my computer by trying to "fix" the internet connection at school. It wasn't connecting to the internet but in my sewing frenzy I didn't even notice. JP and I were a tag team of destruction on my poor, unsuspecting computer. After I had destroyed the internet connection JP took his turn to try and fix it. In doing so he somehow deleted Safari, which is my sole internet provider, and so I had to reformat my hard-drive. I had everything backed up so this wasn't a huge problem, but I am still working out some of the kinks that this caused. But now, obviously, I am back on the internet writing to you all so life is good.

JP and I stayed in town this weekend to relax because we have been traveling so much and because we just bought our plane tickets home so we are trying to save a little money. We have the day off school tomorrow because of some Dominican holiday, so we are enjoying the weekend here. I feel like we are the only people in Santo Domingo though because everyone left for the three day weekend which is nice during the day and bad for going out at night. I think it is high time you all come visit. Thanksgiving anyone?

Monday, November 2, 2009

Coming Home

I bought my plane ticket to come home for Christmas! I'll be there December 19th- January 3rd! I can't wait to see you all!

Sunday, November 1, 2009


So the last week has been crazy. JP had really bad food poisoning (he has been kind of a sickling ever since we got here), but luckily he recovered in time for us to go out of town for the weekend. To be honest, I kind of wanted to stay in town this weekend, and by the time Friday rolled around I was feeling so worn out that I wasn't sure that I would make it to Constanza, but I am so glad that I did because it was the best place I have been so far in this country. We ended up going in a taxi instead of a bus, it was a little minivan taxi, and for only a few dollars more each we were way more comfortable and they picked us up right from the supermarket where we were. The ride took about 3 and a half hours, and the driver was getting really irritable on the way and started saying things like, "How much are you guys paying?" (something that had been agreed upon between his company and us before hand) "I won't do it for that much." At this point we just stayed quiet and pretended we didn't understand because we were three quarters of the way there and that was a ridiculous thing to say. It was really dark by the time we got there though and the roads are really windy and dangerous so we did end up giving him a little extra money for his troubles.

Constanza is a little city up in the mountains which has waterfalls and beautiful green forests all over the place. It is where most of the potatoes, strawberries, and flowers are grown for the whole country. It is fairly high up, which was delightful because the air was cool and dry as opposed to the hot wet air of Santo Domingo. We went to this place called Rancho Macajo, which is a little ranch owned by a lady with a little restaurant and a bunch of cabins. We rented one of the cabins which had two bedrooms and a kitchen and was $60 a night. Not too bad. The lady who owns it makes delicious food and also has a bunch of random animals around, including a caged monkey named Lupo.

We ate dinner there on Friday night, and were thrilled when we got cold enough to put on jeans and sweatshirts, and watched part of a movie and went to bed. Saturday morning we got up, JP, Stacy, and Doug walked down to the colmado to get supplies for breakfast (a walk which turned out to be about an hour long) and I stayed back at the cabin to boil water. I didn't mean to be the weakest link in that job list but it turned out that they had to hike down quite a ways to get food, and then an equal distance directly up hill to get back while I wrote in my journal and read and made sure the water didn't boil over.

After they came back and we ate we all pilled into the ranch's pickup truck driven by a friend of the owner named Amauri. We headed another hour or so up the mountain to this national park with an enormous waterfall called Aguas Blancas. It was amazingly beautiful, and I'll post some pictures on here so you guys can see. JP and Doug climbed around on the rocks for awhile and then Stacy and I started to climb up the trail. We were just trying to get a better view but it turned out to be one of the most intense hikes I have ever been on, which, of course, thrilled JP to no end. There were parts of the trail where we had to use rope to climb up and down. It was very very steep and had been created by nothing more than other hikers in most parts. There was a lot of climbing over rocks, hopping small streams, and holding onto branches to avoid plunging to an untimely death involved. Moni you would have been right in your element. I did alright but as you all know I tend to be a little skiddish about hikes of that caliber.

Once we got to the top though the view was amazing.  There was a small pool that JP immediately jumped in, and Doug was right behind him. The water was freezing. It was raining a little bit but it was nice because we were hot from the hike. We stayed up there for a little while admiring the view, I almost slid down the rock into the waterfall but JP caught me, and then we started hiking back down. The hike down was easier than the hike up in terms of physical exertion, but it was much more nerve wracking and the rain had made the traction even worse. I hiked down behind JP though so I wasn't very nervous.

After getting back from our hike we were starving. We ordered some food in the restaurant at Rancho Macajo and then headed back to the cabin to take showers. Once I learned that there was no hot water (I was already really cold) I decided against it (big surprise). I was the only one not to shower. As you all know, Monica, again, you especially, I do not like to shower if it is going to make me cleaner but colder. This is why I was so filthy throughout all of Bolivia. Anyway we went back up to eat and I had rabbit for dinner. I had never had it before, I felt a little guilty eating it because Stacy has a pet rabbit at home, but that didn't stop me from cleaning all of its little rabbit bones of meat. Even though it was Halloween night we decided to go back to the cabin, drink some tea and go to bed. We are getting more and more boring as we get older I think.

This morning JP and I made the walk down to the colmado for food, which we did fairly early and it was really nice. We came back, made breakfast, and caught another cab back to Santo Domingo. This one was a much more experienced mountain driver and we got back in record time.

Constanza reminded me a lot of being in Ecuador in the Andes. It was so beautiful. I think JP and I will definitely go back there soon and stay in the same place again. Those of you who are planning to visit and want to hike that would definitely be some place we would take you.

I hope you all had a great halloween, miss you all and love you.