A Break And A New Year

January 9th, 2007

We never really think about what can happen in a month and, at least in my experience, a month away from home rarely means coming home to a vastly altered landscape. But then again, I shouldn't have expected life in the Dominican Republic to be within my previous experiences.

I left my house here in Veragua for the capital on December 10th and for lovely San Antonio, TX on December 16th. After spending a wonderful Hanukkah with my parents and sister and an incredible and very relaxing Christmas and New Years with Corey, I returned home on January 7th, almost a month away in all, to find things a little "out of order."

It had rained for a solid 3 weeks before I returned and everything was damp and smelly. My pillow and sheets had molded along with several articles of clothing in my closet. Termite-like insects thought they would keep an eye on the place while I was gone and decided to have a bite to eat while they were at it. An unpaid phone bill means the Internet at the lab has been cut and the lab's bank account has suddenly dwindled to almost nothing. This happens as 8 of the inverter batteries are acting weird and urgently need a look from a technician. My well-intentioned landlady sent the gardener over and he trimmed 3 large bushes down to little wooden nubs and ripped up my stone walkway while pulling weeds. It'll be a fun 2 hours putting that back together. Lastly, and certainly most tragically, my dog Bebe died a few days after what was described as a bad birth. Of the 5 puppies she had, 3 died at or soon after birth and the other two died lacking their mother. Very sad times here. I was barely getting to know her. She was one of the nicest and most deserving doggies living here in Veragua. Life for dogs here is no "day in the park." Not for one moment.

After two full days here, I'm still not in anything that could be considered a routine. School starts for real next Monday and the constant rain has limited any non-critical errand running. I think what has shocked me most of my vacation is how quickly I fell back into what could be called American Life. In just three weeks I had found my old comfort zone and, shamefully, a certain complacency for things I was hoping to lose for good. I say complacency but perhaps I mean just the kind of care-free laziness one should expect from a vacation. I tend to be hard on myself.

In any case, the vacation and subsequent return have certainly proved to be cuisine for thought. Tender, delicious thought. As will the many books I've brought back with me, I would hope. But if I have to ingest and digest all of this stuff: experiences, weaknesses, conflicts, powerlessness, then positivity has to be the water between bites. Without it I wouldn't be able to breathe.

More coming soon. I promise! Take it easy and have a great New Year. Peace.

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