The night after the big spider spotting (we haven't seen it since, but we know it is out there!) we decided we needed to do laundry. Two of the guys at the school came over and helped us move the machine from the living room to the concrete outside so we could hook it up. We figured it out, got it working and started on our first load of laundry. When Regan was hooking up the washing machine he teasingly hooked the drain line over the bars behind the washing machine asking whether we wanted it to drain into the porch. I, having nothing else what-so-ever on my mind, forgot that it was still there (hooked over the bars) and drained most of our first load of laundry onto the patio. Way to go, Christy! Rachel and I made a mad rush to move the hose and mop the water off the porch. Fun times.
The problem with laundry...is that it is outside. This means that every time it rains, as it did last night, it fills up with water so we have to run the spin cycle to drain it. That is not such a big deal. Then opening the washing machine is always a bit of an adventure, as you never know what has crawled inside of it during the times between loads. This morning I was lucky and found no creatures waiting for me (though apparently frogs really like to climb inside.) Additionally, the cut off valve to the machine doesn't always work so when you put it in spin you have to turn the water off to the machine. This too is only a minor inconvenience. The biggest problem, as I have mentioned, is that it is outside. Do you know what else is outside? That's right, kids, SPIDERS! I have a load in right now, and when it is done, I will have to hang it on the line in the backyard where the grass is about 6 inches tall...I have to walk into the grass...ok, I know I am silly, but I KNOW there are spiders in that grass. We are not talking about normal household dime size spiders either. After the initial spider spotting I went online to try to find what was indigenous in the DR.
So I just went out to check my laundry, and the machine is not working at all today...water goes in and drains right out without filling up the tub (which miraculously hold rain water but not washing water apparently.) So, since my laundry is already partially wet, I will be doing it by hand! Oh joy unbounded! (Unfortunately, I will still have to enter the yard to hang it to dry. *grimace*)
On a more positive note, I want to share with you some of the objects I have really learned to love in my time here:
Ode to the Water Bottle
Oh waterbottle, container of energy,
you fill up my dehydrated body while
reminding me that someone I love, loves me too!
Leah gave me this beautiful candle and candel holder (I wrote about it previously) which has proved tremendously useful.
Things just take longer here to do than they do at home. Most of the time we re-rinse our dishes in bleach water before using them (because who knows what has been in the cabinet in our absence). You don't put the coffee in the coffee maker the night before and walk away, leaving the automatic timer to drip it to perfection. Counters have to be wiped down constantly because of ants, the floors get filthy quickly. There is no water pressure, so showers take longer (and you girls know what I am talking about - washing long hair with no water pressure takes forever.) But, all in all its not so bad, once you get used to the process. We are getting more efficient each day. This morning my Rachel went to school at 9 (and I think Kimberly is still in her room) so I got up about 9.30, washed some dishes, cut up a mango, and had a lovely bowl of cereal.
OK, so enough about me and my life. Let me tell you about some of the fantastic people I work with:
Trevor (?) was the youth group leader of the team that came down to help up paint, clean, rearrange for the school year. The group was GREAT. And we are so thankful for them. (Yes, ladies, as far as I know he is single and as wonderful as can be, but he is also 22ish and lives stateside.) He graduated from CIU. Actually there are 5 CIU alumni at this table. *Starts singing, "Columbia alma mater, thy name we do adorn...."*
Karyn Staats is between Trevor & I. She also graduated from CIU and is the English teacher for the Jr. High and Highschool and the girl who was waiting for me at the Airport in Miami. She has been so much help, and has a true servant's heart. Her home room is beside mine, and she has been very helpful with thoughts of how I can prepare and otherwise accomplish things. I look forward to knowing her better over the year, and to sharing with her the struggles of teaching jr. high and highschool.
At the head of the table is Leah Law. She was my connection with Jarabacoa (we went to CIU together) and kindly offered me a job here. It would be hard to know where to start to explain to you all of the things that Leah does for the school and for us as her friends. Officially she is the director for Pre-K through 2nd Grade, but she does so much more than that. It was Leah who picked me up at the airport, who shuttles us all around, and honestly, she is the one who looks after us and our well-being. Tonight is her birthday (saturday) so please say prayers for blessings for her on this special day.
Next to Leah is Karen Speciale. She is the French teacher for 5th - 11th grade. Karen and her husband, Dan, and two boys, Danny and AJ, moved here from Delaware. She is Dominican though she was raised in the states and is 100% american (imho.) She speaks English, Spanish and French and often helps translate in meetings and such. She is also a spitfire and a ball of energy. We usually eat lunch together, and it is nice to share experiences of adjusting to the culture. Karen makes me laugh, and some days that is worth more than money!
Beside Karen is Rachel, one of my wonderful roommates. She is teaching 2nd grade and has been a teacher in the States for the past 5 years. She also speaks Spanish, so whenever we leave the house, I become quite dependent upon her. We have already fallen into small routines. We share coffee in the morning before school, we grocery shop together and often prepare meals together. She is passionate about God and is a great encouragement to me day to day.
Christy Elmer, another CIU graduate, is the other 2nd grade teacher. Christy and I crossed paths at CIU but never knew each other extremely well. Getting to know her here is a delight. She is kind and gentle and whenever I see her my spirit is glad.
There are many more teachers, hopefully I will have a chance to tell you about each one. It is unusual for me to be in a place of such obvious dependency, but the more I learn about the school and life here, the more obvious it becomes how very much I need each and everyone of these teachers. We all have special roles here, and special talents. It is hard being as independent as I am to understand that we are truly connected and mutually dependent on each and everyone of the staff. It is hard...and beautiful.
I have many more thoughts that I want to share, and will try to post again before the end of the weekend. Maybe tomorrow will bring me time to rest and reflect. Grace and Peace to you all. You are all in my thoughts and prayers.
P.S. We got one toilet seat! Yay! One down, one to go!