Thursday, November 13, 2008

I'm back :)

I have been so busy lately, that i haven't been able to write on my blog :) so what I'll do is divide this entry in two, one for the month of October, the other for the month of November (believe me, there's a lot to tell from both months).
#1. October:
At the end of August I started looking for flights to the DR...That took me a lot of time, because everything i found was over the 1000 Dollars we said was the most we'd pay for a ticket there... I was going alone with Lara, Peter having recently started a new job, couldn't come, so i was looking for flights that wouldn't take the whole day to get there, or that would stay overnight or anything like that. Those are the cheapest ones :)...Finally, one night at Linsey and Bart's, i found it, booked it, and it was arranged that I'd go to Santiago for 3 weeks, then spend the weekend with my friends the Ernests in Tampa. And all for just over 700 Dollars. I found it almost in the middle of September. It was very important for me that i got there on the first of October, or before that, because my grandma's birthday was the second, so i was very happy with the arrangements. Very nervous, but happy. This was going to be the first time for me traveling alone through various cities, and i was going to do it with a toddler...You can imagine how nervous i was, and every single person i talked to would do that little something people do with their noses when they think you're crazy for doing a certain thing...Like a shrug of the nose, that i don't think anyone realizes, but that if you're observant, you'll see it. For example, when i told my friends i was going to date a guy i met over the internet, there it was (except for Nadia, but she knows I'm weird, so i guess she figured a geek like me wouldn't do it any different than that), or when i told them after a few years that i was going to marry that same guy, and move to Jarabacoa, being a city person and all that (i even got it from my family that time, lol)...You know, that little wrinkling of the nose that people get when they don't want to hurt your feelings, but they are thinking, "you're nuts for doing that"...Well, i saw it a lot, specially from people with children. It would go like this: I'd say, "I'm going to the DR next month", and they'd say "Nice, is Peter coming too?" and when i said no, they'll say "oh, you're going alone with Lara?", and then the wrinkle. I got lots of advice from very well intentioned people, and i followed each and every one of them, except the part about the Benadryl, i just couldn't get myself to medicate my baby like that, and everything went well, she cried for the first few minutes (to me it was like centuries) then fell asleep until we got there, for the most part. On one flight she made a friend and spent the whole flight, 2 hours, passing the magazines and the emergency instructions to him. Back and forth, over and over again. And he was smiling, the whole time. I think i believe in flight angels now, that was the last flight, from Miami to Santiago, and she just wanted to go home, nothing was working until this grandpa (he told me he had two little grand kids, both boys) started playing with her. God bless him, that's all I'm going to say :)
The day we left started early, in fact you could say it started the day before, because since my flight was leaving Minneapolis on the 1st at 6am, we left Fargo after Peter was done from work, and spent the night at a friend's house. I was nervous, but everything went very well. We got to the DR at about 7:30 PM (we had to stay in the Miami airport for 5 hours in between flights, Lara and I probably walked around it 3 times, because she was bored and just for fun, i guess). My mom, my aunt, my cousin Heidy and her son were waiting for us. I was so tired! the flight had been loud and crazy (the poor flight attendants! there was people shouting and laughing loudly, some of them refused to put their seat belts on, etc. It made me respect their work, it is hard to be that nice when you want to hit them over the head with a shoe, I'm guessing, or maybe that was just me... Those two guys were so nice and polite, i think they deserve a raise) and Lara was reaching the end of her rope as well. When my mom tried to hold her, she freaked out, and wouldn't let anyone touch her. It was weird to come back, to see the things i was used to and didn't notice before, like the driving (i almost died of a heart attack a couple times while my cousin was driving us to the city, you got to see it to understand it). We got to my grandma's and stayed there for the night, and a few other nights after that, but it was very hot and Lara kept screaming at night, so i decided to go to my aunt Sandra's house, to see if we'd have more luck sleeping there. And she did sleep better there, so we stayed.
The day after we got there, my aunts threw my grandma a party, with food, soda and a cake, like a little girl :) and she enjoyed every second of it, she even danced around (she just turned 83, but still moves about quite a bit). Lara discovered Kipes, a sort of meat and spices, cracked wheat combination that it's formed into an almond shape and filled with more meat then fried, so on every picture she has one in her mouth. And it's not the same one. She ate at least 4 before i noticed and took them away from her reach, and then other people gave her two more...I thought she'd get sick, but she was perfectly fine the next day. And she had cake. You can tell she's Peter's daughter alright.
The next few days were spent just socializing with my aunts and spending time with my grandma, and Lara got more comfortable and started to reach out to them. By the second week she would cry when my mom left the room...It was fun to see them interact, and get to know each other, a hint of the relationship they'll share in the future...She felt right at home with them, and i believe she knows they're family, for the way she connected with them.
One of the weeks i went to Santo Domingo, to visit my friend Iliana, and to see my sisters, brother and father. From the sisters i only saw one (apparently the other one was too busy), Lara loved Tony at first sight, and my dad made a thousand excuses and promises, which is normal to him, and then never showed up. I feel so sorry for him, he has no idea the joy that it is to be close to people. I'll pray for him, that he finds himself and God. It's funny how that doesn't hurt anymore, how i can forgive him like that - I guess God has been working in me, even without me knowing it. I had a great time, Lara enjoyed Iliana a lot :) she'd follow her around from a distance, real funny to watch. She also had the chance to play with Jael, her cousin (she's 3).
After that, i went to La Vega, to deliver something that Bart had sent with me, met up with Ricardo and his wife, and spent the afternoon with them. I took pictures, but they were lost when Peter put them in a CD in Tampa (another story- i cried so hard for losing them)...From there i went to Jarabacoa, and stayed a couple days with the Petersons, they have a cute little boy named Jeremiah, who would follow Lara around :)...It was nice to see all of them again, and the school, but it was weird to be there after almost a year, and know that i was no longer a part of them. Of course i had Gilberto's chicken, there was no way I'd travel so far and not go and eat it! After a couple days there i went back to Santiago, and spent the next week and a half there, until i left to Tampa. It was a good trip, weird in the sense that it was different for me to come visit, when i was used to being part of the country, weird that now, when i think of home, i think of Fargo. Made me surprised that in just over ten months i had left the country that saw me grow up, to come live here, and to feel it as my home, to miss it after a couple days...It just tells you how much fond of this city I've become, how it grows on you...
When i had to leave, my mom took me to the airport, but there were no tears, somehow we managed not to cry...My flight there was OK, with Lara repeating her 5-minute-cry-then-sleep routine, up until we got to Miami airport (not my favorite one, you got to run from one corner to the other to get your luggage and then find your gate, which happens to be on the same corner you arrived at), then another hour wait, then Tampa. But there was a surprise there, Peter had asked his boss to give him Friday and Monday off, so i got to see my sweetie a little sooner than i thought.
We spent Thursday night, Friday, Saturday and Sunday there (went to a museum in Orlando for free- their computer was having problems, so in we went without paying, it was very cool, it's an upside down house, complete with palm trees hanging...Sort of like the kind of museum you dream about when you're 5, where you can touch everything and run around and not get tired. I'm so coming back there sometime :), then on Sunday we went to Disney. We thought we'd get three people free - Colby knows a guy that works there - and then split the cost of the rest of the tickets, but when we got to the door, there was another employee there that gave us two more tickets, so we ended up going to Disney for free too. We spent the day running around Epcot, then went to Magic Kingdom, then back to Epcot again. It was a lot of fun. We want to come back next year for a longer time so we can see the other parks) We came back to Fargo, and back to reality, the day after that.

#2. November:
This month started as any other months, specially when you've been away for so long as I'd have. Doing laundry :), fixing around the house, checking for phone calls i needed to make, getting ready for Lara's check up appointment, etc. Nothing out of the ordinary. I eased into my daily routine faster and easier than i thought, and so did Lara. I thought she'd have a hard time getting used to sleeping by herself again, but she seemed to be relieved that she was back home at last. Never cried at night again, not even the first night.
Peter and I had talked before i went down that we wanted to buy a house in the spring, when our rental agreement was due. We decided to start looking around, just to get a feeling of the kind of house we wanted and stuff, and start the process and all that, so we went to a Realtor he likes (the same one that got him his first house). When they did his credit report it showed a few mistakes, that we had to wait to have erased...We kept looking around and searching on the internet, looking for houses in our range (now we knew more or less what we wanted, a house with some character, around this area, in good condition, and with enough storage). To make the story short, after a couple weeks i managed to come across a property listed back in August that i hadn't seen before. When i saw the pictures for it, i thought it looked promising, so i saved the number so we could go see it. I even drew 2 stars next to it. Peter told the Realtor lady, who made some calls, and we went to see it on Monday. My first reaction upon entering was WOW :) it's not perfect, but it's just what we're looking for! Peter was disappointed it didn't have a fireplace, but quickly perked up when he saw the finished basement...In all the houses we had seen so far, the basement was so low, it was hard for Peter to move around, and not hit his head, but this one was high enough for him to be comfortable, and it had a finished bathroom! we went to see another house, a little bit cheaper, that didn't measure up (it was hard after seeing the first one, i guess), we realized that whatever money we saved by buying the house, was going to go to replacing the old stuff in it (like the 60's pink carpet, and the neon blue bathroom tiles), so we talked about it and decided we wanted to make an offer on the one we liked. And we got it :) The closing date is December 12, and we are so excited that we drive by every time we go out (it's only 5 blocks from here)... I don't have any pictures, but as soon as i take them, i'll show it off. It's my first house in the USA! and i love it.
I love this season, with its colors and the cold :) I like the clothes you wear and the things you can do. I like watching the leaves, and Lara playing with them...I didn't know a place could change so much in such a little time, as i've seen our street change. It's like living in four different places at once :)
I've met so many people here, that i don't feel like an outsider anymore. We went to a museum in Moorhead that had a cultural thing they call "Pangea", it showcases the different foreign cultures that live here, showing their traditions and food so we all can see it. I wrote my phone number so i can help with it next year, who knows, there might be another Dominican here somewhere, maybe we could get together and make sancocho sometime...It would be nice to connect with Spanish speakers in the area too, so Lara can hear conversations in Spanish more often. I'll wait and see.
I didn't join the dancing classes this year, my trip took three weeks, they'd be too advanced for me by now. I want to start exercising in the YMCA, though. I've become too lazy :P
Anyway, it's enough for now. I'll keep you guys posted about any developments :)