Dec 9

Today started with a much easier trip to school for Ariana. Nicole pulled a classic trick out of the standard parents arsenal. She offered to make Ariana a poster that included boxes for each day of this week. For every day Ariana goes to school without crying she will get a check mark. If she can get four check marks then we will take her to a pool this weekend. Check marks alone are a pretty good motivator but throw in a trip to the pool and Nik had her attention. Ariana was clearly still choking back tears as she left for class but provided no resistance. When she got home she was exited to tell us she didn’t cry, although she almost did once. We’re proud of her and hope she can keep it up for the rest of the week.

Water Line Repairs

A Quick Water Line Repair

This afternoon we walked into town. On the way back we saw a little pizzeria that I couldn’t resist sampling. Although we tried to order one slice of pizza and a drink we ended up with one whole pizza and four drinks. Not entirely unexpected as I think he told us they only sold it by the pizza so we decided to splurge. But who really knows? Total cost for one ham and corn pizza (excluding tip) with four large orange drinks: $350 DOP = 12.54 CDN.

Then on the way home we stopped to get the kids a cookie. I asked for two cookies (4 pesos) and gave the lady 10 pesos, my smallest denomination. She obliged by giving us 5 cookies! I’m not sure if that was opportunistic or simply a misunderstanding but it made the kids day either way.

Language is tough. I honestly feel like I forget two words for every new word I remember. Its still difficult to understand what people are saying; they speak so fast and slur all their words together. We’re trying hard just to start hearing the words and phrases so that we can recognize how they are pronounced. One of the Dominicans that hangs out below, and often plays soccer with us, stopped by tonight and gave us a free language lesson. I think he was trying to tell us that we need all the help we can get….

One last story from today occurred when I was out walking with Ciara this morning. I saw some large fruit like objects hanging from a couple trees. We stopped, introduced ourselves to a local, and asked what was on the tree. He told us they were toronja’s, which didn’t help. Sensing that we didn’t understand he ran inside, grabbed a special hook-on-a-stick, and pulled down a couple for us to take home. Turns out that they were grapefruits. They don’t get much better than eating them two minutes from the tree!

Doctor Doctor


  1. Comment by Mike King

    Suena difícil! El español es definitivamente algo que quiero seguir aprendiendo después de leer estas historias. Especialmente desde que el español es una lucha.

  2. Comment by Brad Davis

    I thought I new a few words when we came down, but its amazing how little others actually understand. Little differences between how things are pronounced, many that I can still hardly differentiate, can be the difference between understanding and complete confusion.

  3. Comment by Jen Low

    Hey Brad, I’m with you all the way on the language thing. I also have difficulty understanding the spoken word, even English if it’s spoken with an accent. When my ex and I were in France, the routine was that they would speak to him, he would translate to me and then I would speak French back to them. I could speak it, but couldn’t understand it.

    Mike is such a show-off!

  4. Comment by Brad Davis

    I’m pretty sure I’ll be the other way around. When I started learning I wasn’t detailed enough to pay attention to little details like if a word ends in a or o, or whether e is pronounced as in get or geek. Now E’ve discovered that people don’t just laugh if you get those wrong, they just plain don’t understand.

  5. Comment by Mike King

    Totally know what you mean Brad. I’ve done some chatting with people online now who speak spanish but they have helped a LOT with pronouncing things right. Simple differences are really the difference between talking and total lack of understanding… Even though I’ve just started learning spanish, I really like it. Keep going, just don’t hang out with so many english speaking folks and you’ll learn it faster….

  6. Comment by Brad Davis

    We try to avoid English speakers a little, but I’ve actually found that having an English speaker around can help a lot. For one they can interpret when I’m at a total loss for understanding which helps me learn new words. They can also explain why a native Spanish speaker can’t understand me, which also helps a lot. They can also explain verb conjugation, tenses, etc for which I could never understand if explained in Spanish. I’m no language learning expert but it seems like you have to balance many things: listening, practicing speaking, memorizing, and studying theory.

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