It's so great to hear from you all - I loved your letters this week :) I liked hearing about what you all did for Halloween. They don't really celebrate it in the DR. It was just an average day here - Hna Sanchez and I made brownies, but that's about it.
Mom: How do Dominicans clean differently?
Well, lets just say that it involves a mop, a sponge, and a torrential amount of water. We pretty much flood our apartment each week. They also don't use multi-purpose cleaners like 409 or Windex, instead they just use Clorox bleach and powdered soap (used for everything from doing laundry to cleaning the bathroom).
Jessica: I can't believe that story about the baby formula. That was so nice of you - it made me cry. I can definitely say that you were the answer to that woman's prayer.
My release date? Well, technically my 18 months is up on December 20th, 2014 - but the exact day tends to fluctuate, so I won't know for certain until about 2 months before that.
Oh, and if you'd like to send a lice comb in your next package I'm sure it will come in handy at some point. It would certainly be a lot easier than using Vaporub, which is like murder to get out of your hair because you have to use flour - we all looked like we'd been in a bakery explosion.
The work this week has been slow. I mean, we've been really busy and always have someone to teach, but we've just been visiting a lot of new people and for some reason a lot of people have been forgetting/ignoring our appointments with them. I have a million people's names floating around in my head, but it is still difficult to single one person out that I would say is on a somewhat steady trajectory towards baptism. Don't misunderstand: we have plenty of people with promise that could get baptized, but the question is really whether or not they will make the necessary effort to act on the faith that they profess to have. In other words, we're just battling the daily dilemma of missionary work in the DR. It's frustrating to see people use their agency to ignore doing what they know to be right, but I have hope that eventually everything will work out.
Hna Sanchez and I are still getting along well and learning a lot from one another. We have continued on with cooking primarily Dominican food this week, including locrio (rice and meat dish), and mangu (plantain mash). In fact, I'm probably eating better than I was before because it's hard to find "American" ingredients to make the things that we would normally eat. The only things so fair that we've cooked that I didn't really like was chicken liver - not horrible, but not my favorite. Hna Sanchez insisted that the bigger of a bite that I took, the better it was. Yeah... not so much.
I've also been helping Hna Sanchez with her English a lot this week. There is a Companionship Language Study program that all the Latins are supposed to work on throughout their mission in order to pass an exam and receive ACTFL certification. She understands a fair bit, but still has some trouble with speaking and pronunciation. We've been working on TH, Z vs. S, and B vs. V.
However, we still speak in Spanish 95 percent of the time. And so, with this sudden increase in the amount of Spanish I've been speaking in the past few weeks, and interesting phenomenon has developed in my vernacular. I have named it "Uncontrollable Spanglish." This basically consists of the inability to predict which language will leave my mouth at any given time. It's mostly humorous, but sometimes a bit embarrassing.
In other news, we may or may not be moving houses. Nothing is for certain, considering that they've actually been telling us this for several months. Long story short, Hna Rodriguez doesn't like that we live above a colmado - which we actually love for its convenience - and our duena (landlady) doesn't really like us that much, although the reason remains unclear. The main hang-up that has postponed the move this long and continues to postpone it indefinitely is that there really are not many houses in our area that fit the requirements. So unless we'd like living in a one-room cinderblock house with 2 other families or a tin shack on the mountainside, we probably won't be moving anytime too soon. Hopefully it doesn't come to that.
Interesting things that happened this week:
- Yesterday in sacrament meeting, I gave a 10-minute talk, I then sang in the choir (a song I taught them), and I also played the piano for the opening and closing hymns.
- I was proposed to twice this week on two separate occasions. Don't expect a wedding announcement any time soon.
- This morning we found out that we have cockroaches in our cupboards, so that was fun to clean out.
- We tried to color Hna Sanchez's hair last night. There may have been a bit of an accident that resulted in part of it turning completely blonde. We're going to fix it today.
Until next week,
Hna Kaitlin Olsen
P.S. Have fun in CA! Tell everyone hello for me :D
|Villa Palmarejo sunset|
|Azua lady and her parrot|