July 26, 2007

Tribute to Grandma Gardner

My cool grandma... wearing rainbow toe socks,
singing loudly, belching brightly,
conversing kindly with strangers,
always playing with us kids,
hammering the dulcimer,
laughing, smoking, having fun...
belting out carols,
sledding at Rainbow Park,

starring in home movies,
playing cards, laying in the sun,
encouraging me to be me.

July 25, 2007

visitando la republica dominicana

The DR Wows: Becky just as fun as ever (hadn't seen her in 5 years!); her Peace Corps. site (La Joya, outside of San Francisco de Macoris) is a beautiful campo with gorgeous floras and lush greenery all around; el maraton (half-marathon in Santo Domingo with fireworks at the end!); chalacas, my new favorite candy; travel to San Rafael and swimming in el mar and el rio where the river meets the sea; funny moto ride with the full moon over the sea; dancing the merengue and the bachata (or attempting to); Becky's cat Cajuil and crazy cool house (with las cucarachas included!); Kristina's site in the mountains with a street party at night at el parque (a marching band came by!); yummy food made by Becky; fresh fruit at all times; jugos naturales (textures are a bit like orange julius's); cold bucket showers (SO refreshing!); swimming in a random river in underwear and tank tops; translating everything in my mind to spanish without meaning to; sitting on a waa-waa (sp?) which is like a transport van, and feeling something standing on my foot-- looking down and seeing a chicken foot!!! (it was a fighting rooster, loose from its bag!); many funny chats with Becky; Becky giving me a psuedo-pedicure; drinking beer in the backseat (legally!); cliff guest house overlooking the sea

The DR Woes: TOO much development (fast food, tight clothes, mass grocery stores, and more-- seems like they've taken the worst of the States' development and copied it); the capitol of Santo Domingo (kind of a cool town, but felt just like a U.S. city-- not what I was looking for); pig (cerdo) smells; calls of "rubia"; disillusionment with Peace Corps. (many stereotypical "rich kid" volunteers without much respect for the locals-- not Becky of course!); fashion "requirements" (tight pants, painted toenails, skimpy shirts, etc.); feeling like a dummy because I have a hard time understanding their Spanish; GETTING SICK (fever, aches, stomach cramps, etc.) for 3 days; translating everything in my mind to spanish