Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Rich Port


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.




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


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.


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