Friday, January 18, 2013

Day 12: Por, o Para?

Apropos of nothing (because I took so few photos today),
here's the Michael Jackson impersonator we saw
a few days ago
I didn’t blog yesterday … I gave myself a break to mark the halfway point of our 21-day immersion. I made mention of it on Facebook, but not here on the blog itself. I hear we now have quite a few followers, and some of them honestly wondered if we were OK. Sorry about that!

Today was Catherine’s final day with us. She took the Dominican seminaristas out one more time for a liturgically based chat session, and I hear it was a lot of fun. Then she went to the airport, and we’ll look forward to seeing her again after we got home.

The seminary library, where we have most of our classes
(photo by Annie Pierpoint)
Meanwhile, Sarah and I struggled to learn the difference between “por” and “para.” We may be a little closer to understanding, but it’s very hard to tell. And Annie and Kristin got to have their Spanish lesson at Epiphania’s preschool! I bet they’ll both be posting adorable photos on Facebook.

Charlie and Remy are busy getting the place ready for Diocesan Convention later this spring. This morning after our first class, Charlie got us all involved in emptying a room full of junk. It’s interesting to note the difference between the American standard of “get rid of worthless stuff that’s cluttering the place and that you’re never going to use anyway” and the Dominican standard of “keep it around, because it’s not worthless, and it just might come in handy someday.” I certainly see value in both approaches and have alternated between them in my own life!

Also apropos of nothing, down here they have outdoor
workout facilities ... playgrounds for adults! I still think
the regular playground right next to it would be more fun.

(photo by Kristin Saylor)
So we had guest workers banging away upstairs to destroy old stonework that leaks because it isn’t sealed, and meanwhile the hotel next door (three feet from my open window) is always destroying or rebuilding something. Today it felt like there was no place at all to escape the noise. It didn’t drive me crazy, but it’s another big cultural difference. This city is, well, crowded. I learned tonight that there are 5 million people in the D.R., but 3 million of them live in Santo Domingo. And since there’s so little money, people generally fix things instead of throwing them away—a skill I could stand to learn more about. But it can be noisy.

Street art. The recurring theme of the three young women
is a tribute to the Mirabal Sisters, who were martyred by the
brutal dictator Trujillo in 1960.
Today Padre Servio invited me to preach at the English-language service here at Epiphania this Sunday. I’m very honored … and now I have a sermon to write. Imagine my surprise to discover that I have already done my own prep work, in the form of some commentary I wrote for the national church’s website last month! That Holy Spirit … she does move in mysterious ways. After I preach the sermon (and probably before the service ends), Charlie and Kristin and I will head out to Santisima Trinidad, the congregation that was the topic of Kristin’s guest blog post a few days ago. That should be a very interesting day.

Juan Pastor
Kristin and Jose
Tonight we decided to go out to eat, and we took Jose and Juan Pastor with us. We had a fabulous time, mostly en Español, deepening the bonds of friendship we have been busily forging.

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