The Art of Mission.
In Canada I make a fool of myself often. I’d say it’s my best quality. I’ve termed these ‘ginger moments’. In the Dominican I’ve renamed them ‘gringa moments’ … as the term gringa refers to a white girl. If you care to hear about some of these embarrassing moments, please read on…
At a bank machine I typed in 250 thinking it was in dollars. The machine gave me 250 pesos. Each withdrawal costs me over 300 pesos.
In the Dominican a banana costs 5 pesos. In a store a lady told me they cost 45 pesos. I bought three.
One morning I woke up covered in red lesions. I was convinced that my bed was infested in bed bugs. Turns out my skin is just sensitive to the pool water.
Another morning I was having an allergic reaction. Benedryl was initially a great idea, until I fell asleep in the staff meeting. Not a great first impression for the first staff meeting.
At the clinic I kept mixing up the words guapo and gripa. Guapo = handsome. Gripa = cold.
A man asked me if I had a boyfriend. Not understanding his question I responded by asking his question as a question. Confused he asked me the same question and I responded again with his question. Our conversation was:
Man: “Do you have a boyfriend?”
Me: “Do you have a boyfriend?”
Man: “No, do you have a boyfriend?”
Me: “Do you have a boyfriend?”
A lady asked me if I’d ever been to a place in Dominican. I responded with “No, I’ve never even heard of that place”. Apparently that place is where I live.
When forgetting a word in Spanish, Mandarin Chinese came out instead.
Scrub material is slippery when on a motoconcho. That driver thought I liked sharing body warmth when I kept sliding into him.
The kids in the villages love lifting up my shirt and yelling ‘blanca!’ (white). They also love to tell all their friends to do the same. My midriff is quite popular.
A man asked me if I had any children. I thought he asked if I like children. In response I said “yes, all the kids in this village”.
When in the very back row of a tightly packed gua gua (bus), I tried to leave out the back window at my stop. My bottom got stuck in the window. In attempt to ease the awkwardness, I started exclaiming Dominican expressions. This caused more of a comical reaction amongst the other passengers. 4 people had to pull me out of the window and crowd surf me to the side door.
A guy told me I must have just arrived because I was so white. I had been here for 2 and a half months at this point.
I almost ran into a pole when walking. In attempt to make it less awkward, I swung around it pretending it was my dance partner. Not sure if that made it any less awkward after all.
When showing my cousin the town for the first time, and telling her to be careful when walking, I tripped off the curb and broke my flip-flop. Turns out I’m really not good at walking.
A concho driver was attempting to be quite seductive, wooing me with compliments. When I asked his name he said it was ‘Angel’. I laughed for 5 minutes straight, thinking that was a funny pick up line. The he showed me his nametag. He wasn’t joking.
Whenever the kids yell ‘Gringa’ (white girl), I yell ‘Donde?’ (where) … and look around dramatically.
Originally posted to The Art of Mission.