Sunday, January 5, 2014

Lounging

Hello Readers

I last left you in San Juan, where I was vigorously debating between the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico. That argument has now shifted and the DR has been thrown out of contention by a surprise victor, Fort Lauderdale, FL. It entered the race with the sudden arrival of four heavyweight job interviews last December. When Ft. L was able to accumulate and add five more locations to the list, including two from its partner in Miami, it even nudged out PR as the likeliest candidate for this writer and claimed top prize.

Therefore, I have just spend a very entertaining and interesting evening with some distant relatives down here, who took me out to dinner, and now I am mentally drained and thus in perfect condition for posting a blog. This is because the airline gave me a choice between arriving very late tomorrow, less than 12 hours before Job Interview 1, or 9 hours following the specific moment of the question. I chose exhaustion today over exhaustion at JI 1.

So, I am lounging and again soaking up the wonderful feeling of being on the road. There is nothing which suits me more than travel, but this place does not yield much travel, I do not think. That is not its lure. Its lure is that I have a feeling that my talents still require some unlocking in terms of publicity, publishing, and getting high end jobs, and these positions will not only train me to do those things, they will transform me from an amateur to a professional.

And besides, some of them are wonderful positions on their own merits and I hope I can be happy with any one of them should they decide to offer me a job. I am not afraid of hard work, I am willing to take risks,and I have an eye to the future -- all key components of what these entry level manager positions are asking for. So, I am here, in the USA, working on becoming...

The Floridian Wolf

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Rich Port

Hello

There was supposed to be another blog post between this one and Cheese but the wifi died and I forgot to save the word document and accidentally deleted it when I had the chance to recover it. So that one, which detailed how sad I was that I was trapped in the Dominican Republic and unable to leave, no longer exists. Sorry. It was rather poetic and sad but now I have something happier to write.

I AM IN PUERTO RICO

I AM IN PUERTO RICO

I AM IN RICH PORT

Yes, that is right. I made it, finally, into this country. Well, semi-country. Hard to say what Puerto Rico is, since it is practically a country, and practically a state and I was welcomed back into the US even though this is more like a US protectorate. Or something. Anyway, the point is, I am here in San Juan.

And that feels wonderful. Come the morning I am going to walk to the beach and check out the beach. I am going to visit the Old Town. I am going to do something cool. I might even look into jobs and apartments for a few days. I saw a studio apartment for rent a few blocks from the hostel.

The crickets or something are chirping outside. It is a rather pleasant sound. The sounds here are much nicer than the sounds were in Santo Domingo. That might just be that it is night but not really because night at the hostels in Santo Domingo were LOUD. This is not loud. This is quiet except for those crickets or birds or whatever they ares.

Most importantly, I feel happy. Happy to be moving again. Happy to have a cool place to sleep, which is really just the top bunk of a four person dorm with two of my bags on the ground and the third up here with me, as I will probably sleep with my laptop. Not out of love, mind you, but because that is the sort of thing I would do. Saves space down below and keeps it safe.

I would recommend hostels to anyone who does not mind being forced to interact with other people while staying in their rooms. There is a kitchen to make food so I do not need to pay for overpriced restaurant stuff, there is a table where I can eat, chairs where I can meet other people who happen to be from all over the world, and the price is super affordable. By super affordable I mean like ten bucks a night affordable. Pretty cool, huh? And there's wifi and for five dollars more they will even wash my clothes. This is living. I like it.

I'll be here until Saturday then I am returning to Minnesota for the holidays. At that point I have a decision to make. Either I apply for a DR visa and go there, or I buy a plane ticket to come back here sometime in January. Or I try for both, apply for a visa and if I do not get it by the end of January I come to Puerto Rico anyway. We'll see. Life is what life is. I will take what I can experience and call all the experiences good ones, whether they are harsh like losing a passport or joyful like walking down a quiet nighttime street in San Juan on my way to buy hot dogs.

Puerto Rican? Wolf

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Cheese

This really is quite the experience hanging out at my boyfriend's house by myself. The same sort of thing happens every time, usually more than once. For example:

Man/Woman/Teenager/Kid comes to door. "Saludos...Hola...etc"

Me: "Hola."

Other Person: *stare* *think: Oh, it is the Rubia. Isn't there anyone else? "Donde esta (where is ...) (insert names of everyone else in the house)

Me: No, no esta aqui (Nope, they are not here)

Scenario One

Other Person: *Hands me thing*

Me: Now what?

Other Person: Already gone.

Scenario 2

Other Person: Explains something in incomprehensible Spanish that they were here for, and walks away.

Me: Huh?

I cannot say that I am not amused. This is all very amusing. I never really know where any of the people are either. So I cannot redirect anyone. And I did at least know what to do with the cheese today.

Then I explain what happened when somebody gets back, but of course I do not know the names of these random people and the words in this house are not the words I learned in other houses (strange diction thing) so I just start saying everything I can and hopefully the point gets across. This is how one gets a reputation as a Rubia with very amusing Spanish. So I really cannot blame people if they are a little disappointed that it is just me in the house.

*****Part 2*****

That was just a vignette. Really I am going to write in this blog about how I am going to Puerto Rico, blah blah blah. The blahs are not because it is boring but because I literally have no idea what is going to happen there. I changed my mind about my plans halfway through this vacation and I am keeping on going to Puerto Rico to get the lay of the land for a week, then I am going back to Minnesota.

After a week with the lay of the land, I should be able to say more definitely if I want to live there or not. If not, I am going to do my new plan B, which is to get a DR visa and live here for a year. If I do not get my DR visa and do not want to stay in Puerto Rico, I will move to my new plan C which is to move to Florida or Arizona. Or maybe New Mexico. Wherever I see the most job opportunities in the sort of fields I am looking at. And the cheapest housing with the lowest crime rates.

Worst case scenario I can always go to China for a year or so and teach English. Or South Korea. Or any other country I set my sights upon. But I have sort of lost my interest in teaching English as a career path. I've had my adventures abroad and now I want to settle with my "real work". Writing. There are other countries too where I may not need a visa. I can always run off and live in one of those. Really, my life is what I and the Immigration Officials choose to make of it.

That is both incredibly liberating and incredibly terrifying, all at the same time. I keep standing on high places and feeling like I have wings and if I just jump, I would fly. Except the wings are in my mind and I am not going to literally fly anywhere except in airplanes. So I refrain. But I cannot shake the impression from my thoughts. And one day soon, I will actually have a place to settle down. I think that is my deepest ambition at the moment. To unpack my suitcases and call a place my own.

Perhaps the day will come when I forget that feeling altogether, and happily live suitcase to suitcase. But if that happens, first I want my magic Mary Poppins bag.

Wolf


Tuesday, November 5, 2013

From Caribe Tours

Oh the joys of crappy internet connections. I am currently exemplifying how one’s plans can be made, changed, rewritten and acted upon very quickly. Not only have I left one friend’s house with intent to visit my Pantoja family, I now am waiting for two hours in the nicest bus stop in Santo Domingo (which is not saying a whole lot) and trying to see if I can get the wifi to connect. No such luck so far. Odds are against it happening, but if it does, I will post this.

Anyway, turns out that I was unable to visit with my Pantoja family really because my host mom had to go up to the Cibao region for her aunt’s funeral, and it was just the host dad there, but he was leaving in a bit, so I stood out in the courtyard with a guy who used to be deeply in love with me on the other side of a clothes line, where he was washing clothes. He did not look at me and I tried not to look at him. It was very awkward. I wanted to get out of there.

So, instead, I just stood there until I felt like I had stood there long enough and caught a series of public transit options to the Caribe Tours bus stop. I will be here for the next two and a half hours because that is just the way it works. I fear it will be bored but it could be worse. I would like it better if there were a wheat free option in the cafeteria, but the ice cream was locked up, so I ate a couple of gummi worms and am holding out for a meal in Samana. I do remember that there is ice cream next to the station there, so maybe I can treat myself to a snack while waiting for my ride back to my friend’s site.

There is one good thing about being gluten intolerant in a country like this. You really do learn how to ignore the desire for food and just gnaw on a banana or something until better food comes along, like a cup of ice cream. And ice cream is so wonderful in this hot climate. I STILL have not gotten my helados bon and I am determined to remedy that as soon as possible.

It was very nice visiting a volunteer’s site and doing volunteer things. Maybe I am trying to live the life I could have had vicariously for three weeks. Maybe that is why the urge to find the guagua to Barahona and leave for the south and live there is still so strong. I cannot shake it, no matter how hard I try. And I am trying as hard as I can. When the heart wants something badly enough, it has a way of steering the head around to its way of thinking, and that makes doing the rational thing extremely confusing – because the irrational becomes rational and the rational becomes undesirable.

Puerto Rico is my future. I have no idea how or what I will do there or what will come of this, but I will not let myself decide to leave Puerto Rico for Barahona until I have at least made the attempt at shaking off the desire to live there for a year, applying for a visa, all that.


Anyway, I just wanted to let you all know how I was doing, and to pass a bit of time here in this bus stop. It is what it is.

Wandering Wolf

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Do Not Look Back

Nor should you read the next post after this one, when scrolling down. It was going to be a post but then I changed my mind and really just wrote about nothing.

Sometimes life is like that. We get ready to do one thing and then we turn around and do something else. As for me, I happen to be living that very moment right now. I am in the Peace Corps office, where I have a sore ankle where I kicked off some skin, and I came here in a taxi from the Caribe station because the rolling duffel bag was heavy and that was how I kicked my own ankle out, and that had not been my intention. My intention had been to walk.

The upside is that I have a package from home which had been intended for a "I am sad in Los Patos" gift but will now make a great "starting out in Puerto Rico" package. So far, the director of security and the director of the education sector have both given me some very impressive double takes. Clearly my appearance is not expected, but it shouldn't have been. I left three months ago, and I just have told some people that I am "Passing through" and have come for my package.

Actually, I am hovering in the lounge right now. The volunteer lounge. It is a safe place because I look like everyone else except instead of my face on a badge I have a plain red badge which I received in exchange for my passport at the front door. Wifi is nice. I missed wifi. Then there is a party tonight. I may go to the party. I may not. I do not have a costume. I will go as myself, a Traveling Minstrel/Poet/Singer/Storyteller currently on viaje por La Republica Dominicana.

Here is my plan. I will continue traveling through the country, visiting with friends, and all of that. Then, I will go to Puerto Rico. No clue what is going to happen to me in Puerto Rico. Something. Hopefully something cool.

Or hot. I really want to live somewhere hot.

Libre Wolf

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Washing Clothes

Hi

In a bit I really want to wash my clothes. It is a simple enough wish but hard to accomplish. Apparently this morning there was no water. Then I just heard now that there is water. But I do not know for sure. So I will do my best to get this water and I will wash my clothes in the bucket and be happy because it is freaking hot right now and I really want to get wet. Washing clothes is a wonderful way to get wet.

I am also trying to put together the rest of my viaje in this country. In a few more days I will be traveling again and tomorrow I will do a mini bit of traveling, which is the second reason I really want to wash clothes today. That, and I don't have many clean ones left. Haha.

So, I think I will leave this blog post here and try my best to figure out whether or not it is possible.


Friday, October 18, 2013

Blog Post 1

Once again I find myself typing out a post in the dark. Which is to say, I am sitting on a bed in a dark room with the electricity out, except I cannot find my internet stick in my bags so I am typing this into Word and hypothetically I will post it when I go to Barahona this afternoon. Or this morning. It is raining outside, or at least it was pouring a minute ago but from the fact that the chickens and birds are now louder than the rain I do not think it is quite as bad.

Some of you are no doubt wondering how this trip has gone so far. All I can say is it has gone as wonderfully as I had hoped, and there are enough good parts that I can disregard the fact that I have literally been craning my neck around corners when passing by certain places where I know certain people are possibly at, just so I do not have to see them. As of now I am down to just avoiding one person and that is probably for the best, no matter what someone hinted at about time changing people. Time does not change people quite that much. Would Caesar have wanted to chat it up with his old pal Brutus if he’d survived the Ides of March, even if the other people in their circle of friends had described his change of heart as eloquently as Shakespeare’s monologue? I doubt it. Knives in the back hurt. A lot.

But that is unimportant. I have other Rubicons to cross, and I cannot be bothered with the one I already built a bridge over. What matters now is that the bright Caribbean sun shines down on me every day when it is not raining and the sparkling river is as fun to swim in as ever and the turquoise Caribbean sea still churns its white waves against the white rocks near the vast green mountains. This is where I am. This is what I am doing:

Get up. Hang around the house, maybe read a book. Well, probably read a book, chat, wait for breakfast, nibble at food, brush teeth, sit on porch, read more book, chat some more, hang out, maybe watch TV if there is electricity, eat lunch. After lunch, go to river, chat with old friends at river, swim in river, chat some more, go back to house, visit with old host family, do whatever, see volunteer friends from neighboring communities, eat dinner, watch more tv if there is luz, walk around Los Patos a bit, maybe read more book if there is luz (light) and hang out with the family here until I go to bed at some point in the night. It’s really quite relaxing. I know it probably sounds boring but I’ve never had a vacation quite like this one before. It’s different not having a schedule for my days.

And it is very different from how things were during the diagnostic, which was much more packed than the average volunteer’s diagnostic. For one, I am avoiding the school where I spent hours every day and the Center I was supposed to be reopening like they are centers of plague. I went to the school my first morning to give the map of Los Patos back to the sub-director, who’d given it to me during my service. It was made by a volunteer but really it belongs to the community. So I darted into the school like a polar bear plunging into the water after a seal, delivered the map, and fled. Then yesterday when I stopped by the sub-director’s house I apologized for my abrupt and probably rude behavior by explaining that I was scared somebody would ask me when I was going to be working in the Center or coming back to the school. It wasn’t unreasonable either. Kids have been asking me that ever since I got back here.  I do not want to answer. They don’t like it when I say never. But that’s the only answer there is.

Tomorrow I’m going with some friends by motorcycle to a place called Bahia de los Aguiles. Apparently it is the most beautiful place in the whole country, a real eye opener, a beach alongside a desert located on the other side of the southern bend of the DR. It’s only an hour or so from Los Patos. It should be pretty fun. One never knows what time one has. I’d planned on going there at least a few times during my service but I never did during those six weeks so I am going to do it now.

Oh, and speaking of motorcycles, one of the good friends of my neighboring volunteer told me he did not want to see what would happen if I’d been able to live here on my writer’s salary. Just because I said I would buy a motorcycle of my own and start driving it. I think I’d look great cruising down the main highway in my sporty black helmet when I go to visit my neighbors or whatever. Apparently, though, that thought is rather terrifying to him. Wonder why. Haha. I’m sure I’d learn how to drive one without smashing into everything on sight. Eventually.

Now it is pouring again and the chickens have gone silent. Probably hiding. Oh DR. I remember you and your rainstorms so well. Some things really do not change. I’ll never forget the sound of rain beating down on tin. Even though this particular house has a cement roof, there is still tin over the chickens out back, and it is their roof I am  hearing while the lluvia beats its raindrops down upon them. Wonder if I dare go up to the chicken farm again. The farmer was a really great guy. Very friendly. But it is outside of the town, up on the mountainside, and I am not allowed to stray beyond the boundaries of the town without a guide. When I was a volunteer I planned on doing so eventually, when I gathered groups of kids or teens to go with me, but that is out of the question now.  That future does not exist.

So, that’s how things are going so far. I’m sticking to the good like glue and making every effort to avoid the bad. I have a lingering suspicion that she is avoiding me too. It’s not like nobody could find me if they tried. Probably the whole town knows by now which house I am in, and she always had a knack for knowing what I was up to the moment I did it. Perhaps she disbanded the surveillance once I was “banished.” Either way, out of sight, out of mind, and I would much rather spend time with the people I once considered my dearest friends. So I am. J

Wolf of No Country

Lobolius

PS: Better yet, I found the number of my internet stick so I am posting this from the bedroom. Perfecto. :)