It seems whenever I end up in a new culture I shortly end up at a wedding. This one was a joy to attend, though the circumstances were less than perfect. Amanda (the bride) was a teacher at JCS last year, and this year she is an assistant teacher (in theory it was to lessen her load etc.) About 4 days before the wedding she started to show all the Dengue signs that the other teachers had shown, and though she was feeling 'better' for the ceremony, she was still quite ill when she walked down the aisle. Poor Ruben. "In sickness...." shouldn't start on your wedding day. They sat through most of the ceremony (which I thought was a great idea, and I think all wedding parties should adopt the custom) but at one point Amanda was so hot she felt nauseated. Ruben sat and fanned her while the pastor was preaching...it was sweet and sad at the same time. The bride still looked beautiful.
Misty, the K-2 teacher, spent the night with us the night before and she and Rachel and I laughed as we all had some version of black/white/red on for the wedding.
I would have cropped the picture more, but I love the mountains behind the church, and everytime I walk out there I am amazed by the view.
We have a long weekend this weekend which is HEAVENLY. No school tomorrow...PRAISE THE LORD. I needed a break so badly, as did everyone else. We still have a slew of sick teachers. The PE teacher (Katie) and the 4th grade teacher (Kristie) are still in the hospital. Karyn Staats was ill last night and I don't know if she is better. Diego (the groom's brother and the JCS Bible teacher) was ill last week. I hope he is better now. He looked ok at the wedding, but I know he has been struggling to keep up. My roommate, Jessica, has been running a fever for two days. She is staying with Dona Carmen who is taking care of her. Rachel is in Santo Domingo...so it is just Pila, Mona (the cat...more about that in a moment) and myself for the weekend. I am enjoying the relative quiet (animals and neighbors excepted).
I have been very productive today. I was woken up at 6.30 by Pila and so I got up and started a load of laundry. I have done 4 total today. I then made two batches of scones...the first were pear with dried fruit and a powdered sugar glaze. I was so excited when I found powdered sugar yesterday at the Supermercado Jarabacoa. The second batch was chocolate chip drizzled with chocolate. I cleaned, gave both Pila and Mona baths, wrote the 10th graders next history test (on India, China and Japan -- they have world cultures this year) and did various and assundry other jobs -- like bleached out our kitchen garbage, etc. These are the things that my life is made of now. All in all I am learning contentment. Dona Carmen (she is on the board of JCS and a very wonderful woman) stopped by with Jessica after mass and brought me breakfast Dominicana. Quite yummy I tell you. I am about to reheat it for dinner. We had an interesting conversation - she speaking spanish and I responding in English. But we communicated, with some patience on both of our parts. She was very patient and kind. She is a brilliant woman...a lawyer and very well respected here. I feel honored that she is so kind to me. She has told me that she will teach me to cook dominican food and I have promised her that we will have a conversation completely in Spanish before next summer. It is a good goal for me.
I have taken several walks the past few days. Its been nice. I keep forgetting how much of Jarabacoa I haven't seen -- I usually end up going to the same places and it is so nice to see new places! Friday night Rachel, Tondi (the first grade teacher) and I walked around the neighborhood past the house here. We saw this typical dominican scene:
Hard to tell from the pic...but those kids are playing baseball. They are serious about it too! We walked past them and down the hill to see the house being built that I really like:
I tried to paste pics together, but the lines still don't line up quite right...but you get the idea.
Tonight my upstairs neighbors and I and another of the teachers went for about an hour walk down toward the river...since half the party were kids we didn't move at a very steady/quick pace so we didn't make it all the way down there, but the evening was gorgeous. I tried to take pictures...but it is hard to catch the dusk beauty.
The clouds remind me of Fragonard's paintings. I tried to take a pic of the mountains...but it was getting too dark.
Ok, a few other small pieces of life here. This is my room and my roommate, Pila.
Rachel got a cat a week ago...we thought for sure it would die on Friday. It couldn't use its back to legs. It could hardly hold its head up to eat. It was rough on both of us. The cat's name is Mona which means monkey. Fitting to go with Pila (which means battery...because she keeps going and going...) Poor Mona. So we went to bed Friday sure that we would wake up to a dead cat...but NOPE. So, we have one recovering kitten who was not too happy today when I decided to hold her up to get a pic. (She wouldn't stay still long enough if I didn't hold her.) She is lonely because Rachel is gone and Mona is closed in Rachel's room because Pila doesn't understand that she is sick and she shouldn't be tackled...silly puppy!
Again, I am sure there is more I want to say, but 5 hours after starting this post I have decided it is time to sleep! Please keep praying for us here. The sickness is wearing us all out (and we were tired of it a month ago.) People keep asking if it is getting better. The answer is, "not yet." God protect us. It can be nerve fraying.
Also, Rachel and I have decided to start praying for a small motorcycle. A new one larger than we need is only $850.00. We need a $600.00 ish one. We would split the cost and then we would have it so we could get to and from church and be able to run errands etc. It is hard to be so dependent on others for everything. We couldn't take the cat to the vet, I didn't get to church this morning, etc. because we constantly have to call around til we can find someone who can take us. So, if it is God's will we will find a bike. Thanks for all your prayers and supprt. All the emails of encouragement etc. And special thanks to Christine who wrote me snail mail and made my whole Tuesday. How nice it was to get a letter from home the evening that my mother left. Seriously, it was precious! Thank you so much!
Grace and Peace all!