Tuesday, April 28, 2009
Tuesday, April 21, 2009
There are many reasons why we enjoy having Jon at home, but one of the reasons Jonah is happy to have Daddy home is to build forts. Here's the fort Jon built for Jonah today. This video is also cute because it shows Jonah's new habit of saying "Yeah" to every question we ask him.
I have your hat. I am holding it for ransom until you come visit me and wrestle with me. Until then I will be wearing it as often as I want. Today I pretended it was my motorcycle helmet and then Mommy let me wear it to the grocery store.
Wednesday, April 15, 2009
Monday, April 13, 2009
I wish I had more Easter pictures to post, but this was the only one we took on my camera. We took pictures with Dad's camera, but I forgot to put them on my computer before he left. Jon is still in the DR, so my dad came down to celebrate Easter with Jonah and me. We had a very nice weekend together. We even managed to pull together a pretty nice simple Easter lunch for just the three of us: ham, jello, devilled eggs, and homemade rolls. Meal preparation on special occasions really makes us miss my mom - she seemed to be able to put those things together with such ease and they were always just right.
We didn't do an Easter basket for Jonah and we skipped the community Easter egg hunt because it was so chilly out, but he did get a toy golf club and a swing to hang from our porch as Easter presents from Grandpa. We haven't tried the swing yet, but he's already been swinging away with the golf club. The only problem is that he insists on holding the club end and whacking at the ball with the handle end. Oh well. I'm sure he'll figure it out at some point.
Friday, April 10, 2009
Tuesday, April 7, 2009
I got a kick out of this sign on the mall entrance. What? I can't bring in my gun or my machete?
This car went up and down and played annoying songs including "Oh My Darling, Clementine" and "We Wish You a Merry Christmas".
This morning I wanted to go to a cigar factory I read about in my tour book. The book said it closed at 4:30 so we needed to go before naps. But when I talked to the guy at the front desk he had never heard of it and when he called the place they said they only shipped cigars, they didn't make them and they didn't do tours. Good thing I asked. So he sent us off to a different place where we could see cigars made. When we got there it was just two guys rolling cigars and Jonah wasn't allowed in because of the smoke - I think they were giving free samples. So I parked him right outside the door with his juice and animal crackers while I watched for a few minutes.
I bought a small box of cigars for Jon to give to some of his friends back in Harrisonburg. Of course I know nothing about cigars, but the guide book said that this is a local brand that is as good or better than the Dominican brands you would find in the States. Hopefully that's true. I'd like to keep the box when they're done - I think it would be a cool souvenir.
Monday, April 6, 2009
Sunday, April 5, 2009
For yesterday's adventure we decided to visit the monument in the center of town. It's on a big hill and you can get a view of the entire city. A lot of people were flying kites and it was fun to just walk around and watch. The monument is surrounded by statues of heroes of the restoration. Jonah climbed up the stairs to this one and said, "Grandpa! Hi, Grandpa!" Any man over 50 is "Grandpa" to him, but I didn't know that bronze statues of uniformed, mustached, Latino men with huge swords also qualified in his mind as "Grandpa." A group of school girls showed up and they completely mobbed Jonah. One Spanish phrase that we've picked up on rather quickly is, "Ay, que lindo!" which aparantly means something like, "Oh, how cute!" Everyone says this to Jonah. Everyone touches him, too, and if he's not strapped in his stoller he gets picked up or people will even take him out of my arms if I'm holding him! Good thing he's not shy and he's a very good sport. These girls picked him up, put him next to a statue and started taking pictures! It was hilarious. I also got a kick out of them because even these nine- or ten-year-old girls were wearing what seems to be the national dress code for women: skin-tight jeans and high heels. Everyone dresses as nicely as they can, and women in particular always look like they're about to go clubbing. NO ONE wears shorts, even though it's about 90 degrees at all times. I get around the rule by wearing skirts and dresses, even though technically no one really wears those either. I break the rule completely for Jonah. He's just a baby - I'm not going to subject him to wearing designer jeans like all the other babies around. Jon has to wear pants, of course, but he has made a compromise in just wearing his uniform polo shirt without an under shirt.
I had decided to have dinner out by ourselves because Jon had gotten back so late the day before. It turned out that he had gotten back earlier and we could have had dinner with him. Today I got a pre-paid cell phone and Jon also has one, so now I can call and coordinate with him so we can eat together if possible.
Friday, April 3, 2009
Today Jonah and I took a taxi to the main drag of downtown Santiago. It was quite an adventure! I tried to get cash at the ATM at the hotel before we left, but it was out of service. I had just enough to pay for the cab driver and then I needed to find an ATM when we got there. It was total craziness. Santiago is not really a tourist destination and no one speaks English. I walked all the way down one street without finding an ATM and I was starting to get nervous thinking I wouldn't have money to buy food or anything or to get a taxi back to the hotel. Then I realized that I had gotten off the main street and once I got back to it I found an ATM within a few blocks.
The streets were utter chaos with traffic and vendors on practically every inch of sidewalk. The sidewalks were all brick so it was quite a bumpy ride for Jonah. He seemed a little overwhelmed by it all at first and didn't really say much of anything for the first half of the trip, but he loosened up after a while and became his usual chatty self.
I found a nice drug store and found some makeup to replace what I lost (I really didn't think I'd ever see that stuff again). It looked like it had been sitting on the shelf for a very long time, but I was able to find Cover Girl and Max Factor and I even found the exact shade of blush that I normally use.
I bought a big floppy sun hat for myself. Every store in the Dominican Republic seems to have about three or four times as many employees as necessary so there are always all sorts of people standing around with nothing to do. Four employees stood around playing with Jonah while I tried on hats. He has gotten quite charming in the way he says, 'Hola!' and 'Gracias!'
Then we found a souvenir shop and bought Jonah some maracas and a little straw hat with a Dominican flag on it. He loves the hat! It looks so adorable on him and he wants to wear it, take it on and off, and carry it around with him. I have pictures - I'll post them as soon as we get the laptop back.
We ended up having lunch at McDonald's. I know that is so lame, but I felt like I had been adventurous enough and I was really feeling my lack of language skills. I wasn't sure I could successfully navigate one of the little cafes by myself - McDonald's was challenging enough. Do you realize how many questions they ask you when you order from McDonald's? Little bits and pieces of my one year of Spanish in high school are coming back to me, but that was ten years ago and it was only first year Spanish. I remember how to ask how much something costs, but I don't remember my numbers well enough to understand quickly when people answer me.
After McDonald's we went out and found a taxi to take us back to the hotel for our naps. I showed the driver my key card and he seemed to understand where to go. I knew our hotel was part of a chain, but I thought the other hotels were in other parts of the country. It turns out that there are four hotels with the same name in Santiago. After the first wrong hotel I gave him the card again and pointed to which one was ours on the list. I tried to tell him it was near the airport, but he didn't get it. After the second wrong hotel I reemphasized 'airport' and he got it. 'Oh, aeropuerte?' 'Si! Si!' We finally made it. I paid him a very large tip.
After naps we went swimming, but by four in the afternoon the entire pool area was in the shade. We still had fun, but it was quite chilly without any sun, even though the water was warm. There were a bunch of other kids in the pool and they were very sweet in playing with Jonah. By 6:00 we were ready for dinner, but Jon wasn't back yet, so we had dinner by ourselves. I guess people in the DR eat dinner much later than Americans - the front desk lady looked at us like we were crazy and we were the only people in the restaurant for the entirety of our meal. Jon didn't get back until Jonah was already in bed. He had a long day of work and just ordered room service for dinner. Sounds like all of his days here are going to be like that, unless the weather turns bad. So, Jonah and I will continue our adventures on our own. I think tomorrow we'll do our swimming in the morning and go out in the afternoon to avoid the chilly pool experience.