08/15/06: 4 Beds In 4 Days
Hey everyone. Well, the dream has finally been realized. quixfox.com is up and running, thanks mostly to the time, patience, and dinero of my loving mother, Meredith Fox. But really, thanks mom.
As the title suggests, I had a pretty hectic weekend. We newbie volunteers had our 3 month In Service Training in the Capital. We all presented our Community Diagnostics and worked on some project plans with our project partners. It was two FULL days of programming, and was a little tiring to say the least, but I think all of us agreed that it was worthwhile, if not more for our project partners than for us. I think more than anything, we talked about our experiences and realized how crazy it is that we've been working for over 3 months, and been in the country 6 months. It does go quickly...
After 2 nights at the retreat center, I spent a 3rd night at the hostel in the capital hanging out with other volunteers and venting in English to people that are dealing with the same kinds of issues. It was a nice getaway and exactly what we (I) needed. Beer might have been involved.
The next morning, 2 volunteers and I set off for Samana, the lush peninsula jutting from the north-northeast region of the island. We stopped in Sabana del Mar and took an hour long ferry across the Samana Bay. We didn't see any whales, but several Dominicans did become ill during the trip. We met up with a group of other volunteers for a quick meeting and (free) Chinese food. We spent the night in the pueblo of Samana, ending the night at a car wash. Yep, the car wash. Dominican car washes don't wash cars at night, but they do offer dancing, pool, and drinking to those interested. The night in the hotel in Samana was comfortable, and short.
We woke up Sunday, ate a quick breakfast, and headed to the tip of the Samana peninsula to visit one of the most beautiful coastlines in the country (and I'd guess it wouldn't rank too poorly on a world-wide list either). Pictures forthcoming. Planning to head home at 4, we arrived at the bus station at 3:40 to find every bus full for the rest of the day. Not having the money or desire to stay another night in Samana, we caught a guagua (mini-bus, public transport) to Sanchez, another to Nagua, and another to Pimentel to spend the night at Neal's house. It was another two guaguas back to Veragua the next morning. I was exhausted, but finally where I belonged.
Home sweet home.
Currently: Remembering why I like Elliott Smith
The sheer amount of nostalgia culture-shock conjurs forth has surprised me. Even awful memories bring a smile to my face. And I wouldn't call myself the nostalgiac type either (assuming there is a type). It seems my situation, which utterly lacks cultural reference or a personal history, has pushed my thoughts more backwards, "pastwards." I'd like to think this is a temporary coping mechanism as I create cultural linkages and spend more time here. Not that I'm complaining. Remember that time...?
Take it easy.
Updates: New Page
Reading: Nabokov's Lolita
The page has changed a bit. This is for two reasons: I'm always looking to make a better site, and I've been giving classes on Cascading Style Sheets and they've sharpened my motivation and ability. Let me know what you think, especially if something doesn't look right or doesn't work.
I'm "house hunting" here, or not so much house hunting as mulling over the 2 options I have available to me. The decision really comes down to good neighbors vs. indoor bathroom. I still don't know what to do.
As for the blogging, this, admittedly, is not my medium (as I sit here realizing I don't have any medium). Practice makes perfect though, so check back if you can stomach it. Peace.
It's a quiet Friday here. The kids at the high school are taking final exams and the younger kids are hardly showing up anymore. But you can't blame them. Today is the last day of school for them. On Monday, I start teaching my first class (ever in my entire life). I'm working with a group of about 13 high school aged kids who already have some more advanced computer experience. It's a web design class, and I hope to start basic but get more down and dirty with some newer technologies and methods.
Besides that, things are going smoothly, if not a little slowly. But the pace of things here is what I need to adjust to. I'm slowly suppressing my impulse to schedule and organize. People here work better without schedules and appointments, which will certainly give me issues later on.
I'm going to see El Codigo DaVinci this weekend in Puerto Plata with another volunteer 25 minutes down the road from me. We'll probably go to the beach too. Life is hard somtimes...
I'm going to take this opportunity to quickly introduce myself and the main focus of this blog. My name is David, I'm 23, and I'm currently living in Veragua, Gaspar Hernandez, La Republica Dominicana where I'm ending my first month as a Peace Corps Volunteer working with technology (computers mostly) in education. I've been in the country about three and a half months now if you can believe that. I'm looking forward to about 22 more of them.
As most of you who will read this probably already know who I am and even a little about what I've been doing recently. I'll try not to bore you with recaps of the past. This blog will pick up now and move forward. Thanks everyone.