August 29, 2013

The Pros and Cons of Moving Out

My New Home
I have never liked background noises. When I was a kid I would ask my parents to turn down the music down in the car, and I would get in fights with my sister as to whether or not we should have the radio on while we worked on our homework. This inherent dislike of background noises has made my life in the Dominican Republic, at times, difficult. People here like noise.  Music blares so loud it sets off car alarms. You can always tell when the electricity returns because immediately you hear the sounds of televisions and radios coming back to life. During training in Santo Domingo I would wake up at 6am to the sound of mass thundering through the speakers at my host-family's home.  While living in Monte Plata I would fall asleep to the sounds of the telenovela unfolding on the television of my neighbors. Being able to sleep despite all the noise has been one of my saving graces. Unlike other Volunteers I don't wake up in the night to barking dogs or crowing roosters (it is a major fallacy that they only crow at dawn). Still, while I am awake the noises Dominicans don't even notice can drive me up the wall.

I am therefore super excited to move out of my host family's house and into one with me, myself, and I. Sure, I will still be able to hear my neighbor's TVs and radios but at least in my house I will not have a television on maximum volume all day long, no matter if someone is watching it or not.

Here are some other reasons why my move-out day couldn't come soon enough:

  • I won't have to listen to children fighting. I will still have to deal with it but I can kick the kids out of my house. Do you remember how you acted with your siblings and cousins between the ages of 8 and 15? There is guaranteed to be crying when all of my host-mom's grandchildren are at the house. I am also looking forward to not hearing arguments between kids and adults as often. There is so much sass in this country.
  • I will have a private space bigger than a small dorm room.
    I'm looking forward to not calling this home.
  • I won't smell the smoke the outdoor kitchen in my room or on my clothes. It never ceases to freak me out when I am on my computer and I begin to smell smoke.
  • I won't be walking in on people going to the bathroom. Seriously people there is a door, close it. Or at least say something as I am walking in!
  • People will not walk in on me in the bathroom - the door cannot be locked. Thank God there are curtains in front of the toilet and the shower.
  • I won't have to strategize when I will use the bathroom or uncomfortably wait until it is unoccupied.
  • I will always have toilet paper. I keep toilet paper in my room but sometimes you don't realize there isn't any toilet paper in the bathroom until it is too late.
  • I will be able to cook for myself. Since moving to my site I have gained some weight, I attribute most of it to the food I have been eating for the last three months: carbohydrate, oil, and sugar heavy foods served in large quantities. I am hoping that now that I have full control over my diet I will be able to quickly loose the extra pounds - tight jeans in a hot country are not comfortable. Also, I am glad I will no longer feel like I am treating my host family like restaurant staff.
  • I will have pets! My host family has dogs and cats but it wasn't the same as having my own pets. In part because Dominicans don't tend treat animals the same way we mostly do in the States. For example, aside from the occasional table scraps my host-family does not feed their two cats because the cats are expected to hunt down pesky mice for their dinner. Also, none of the animals are treated for fleas so they all have them. This means that nobody wants to pet them, let alone cuddle with them - including me.
  • My new kitten! I told my host-mom I wanted a kitten and two hours later she comes in the house holding a sack with a kitten inside. The poor baby was so weak from hunger that the first few days he didn't even meow. He also has a big wound on his head but it is already starting to heal. I have decided to call him Pato, which means duck in Spanish, because he is my ugly duckling. 
Reasons I am sad to move out:
  • My host-family has a generator, a luxury I won't have in my new home. Instead, I will be using my flashlight and headlamp more often. The DR has an electricity problem, in almost every community there are daily power cuts. My community is lucky because we have an electricity schedule, dawn to noon then back at 6ish until midnight. But sometimes things happen, like when a transistor blew up down the street, and we went without power for a day.
  • I won't have the security of always having someone in the house. There has been a rash of burglaries at Volunteers homes so I am going to have to be on alert and maybe have someone house-sit when I am out.  I am also crossing my fingers that tigueres (Don Juan wannabes) won't be emboldened by my solo status to come knocking on my door.

Despite the decrease in security, the positives definitely outweigh the negatives. I am very much looking forward to Sunday when my move-out will be complete. Remember to come and visit!

One last thing, for those of you who have commented on my blog, sorry for not responding. I can't see to figure out how to post my own comments - sad I know. Thank you for all your kind words and support!

1 comment:

  1. Man reading these things, I can't help to feel embarrassed for my country sometimes, i know we have to love our culture and I do, but some things i cannot bare them myself as a dominican like really loud music blasting from cars and tigueres and the elctricity issues, and the chaos, the filth etc., though those things are pretty much everywhere but in smaller proportions of course.
    Hang in there what you guys do is great :)