Dominican Republic / E-mail / Fulbright / Langauge / Latin America / Life of A Scholar / República Dominicana / Women and Politics

One Month Down (Email Update Excerpt)

2005 Me at INTEC Presenting

Hello,

A lot has happened in the month I have been here:

  • I moved in to my house
  • Started my project
  • Joined a gym
  • Met lots of cool people
  • Started taking French
  • Became a master of the carros públicos

Well about two weeks ago I moved into a house. I am renting the downstairs and my friend Yanira and her sister are renting the upstairs. It was a really good deal that I fell upon by chance. The funny thing is that where I live there is a club on the corner and the beer brewery (La cervecería de Presidente ) across the main street. I’m also 3 blocks from the Ocean and 3 blocks from a park. It´s weird living on my own and having to wash dishes and cook but I’m doing ok. I made eggplant with bananas and cheese last week (sounds weird but its really good) and I am going to make tortilla Espanola this weekend I think. Oh yeah because Dominican apartments and houses come EMPTY I now own a refrigerator, a oven and a set of couches. Also I had to learn how to clean the Dominican way and was asking how do you mop a floor since I haven’t mopped a floor since I was like 7 (my house in DE has hardwood floors now)

Well since I now have a place to live, I started my project last week. I finally met in person Dr. Polanco, the woman at FLASCO, who I am working with this year. We had a really good conversation and received lots of information and advice to get started on my project. I also went to INSTRAW, the UN International Research and Training Institute for the Advancement of Woman which is based in Sto Dom, and met with someone there and they also gave me lots of information. I also practically managed to pursue and internship for next summer so I´m excited about that.

This week I also joined a gym. It’s called the Body Shop and I really like it. I have gone two days already and today I go for my physical evaluation thing that they do now at gyms. But going to the gym here and going in the states is completely different. It is really a fashion show. All the Dominican women have their flared workout pants with their little tank tops; a lot of them don’t even use sports bras. I just think to myself how can you workout in that. Anyway, by Christmas time I hope to be back in shape.

I have met so many cool and interesting people here and also I have gotten to know better people that I met in April when I came here for a conference. I would love to tell all the stories but then this email would be really really long. Let’s just say that going out here is different. Lots of times if you don’t go out with a group of people you will never dance with anybody because Dominicans like to keep to their groups.

Lastly, I started taking a French class with the European Academy. Basically, I saw their ad in the newspaper and it was a really good deal. By Christmas I will have mastered conversational French and if I keep taking classes during the time I am here I should be almost at a TOEFEL type level, or that ´s what they say at least. It is a really hard class thought. Its all in French, we speak all the time and it’s for two hours four days a week. It’s super intense but I really like it because I only have like 5 other people in the class.

I almost forgot…I have become a master of the public transportation system which includes the taxi buses (carros públicos) and the buses (gua guas). (For those who don’t know the carros públicos are like taxi buses because they run along the streets but you can get off anywhere you want unlike buses where you have to wait for a stop) Basically, in the beginning I consulted with my friend Raldy and he would tell me how to get where I needed to go in the taxi buses. Now I basically know where I’m going and I now tell other people how to get to places, =).

Well that is all for now as I need to get to the gym and get ready to go to this forum tonight.

I hope everyone is well…,

Danielle

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