Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Pay It Forward

Start Practicing to be mindful of how you treat people because you'll never know where your future  with them may lie.

I taught this concept in my "practice" class today to our intermediate students.  I don't think my teaching skills in the class today went well, but I'm glad the students enjoyed the video and eagerly discussed their thoughts about it!



Can't Wait!

Just got this Newsletter from Project Esparanza and I'm glad to hear that the school was moved to a bigger & better location.  I'm sure the kiddos are excited and I'm looking forward to getting to the DR to start volunteering!!

Sunday, February 8, 2015

What Ever Happened To...

Good 'Ole Hospitality!

WELL, My faith in it has been restored after eating at Juanillo's in Zorritos.

I can understand Spanish when spoken to long as they're speaking slowly. I can even Read\comprehend Spanish literature. However, my biggest issue right now is holding a conversation with the natives.  But hopefully this will all be resolved by the end of March.  This is when I'll be learning Spanish HARD CORE non-stop. I'm doing a full-time immersion course at a school in Santiago, Dominican Republic.  I'm even doing a Home Stay program with a family that only speaks Spanish.  Go Hard or Go Home, right?!  LOL!!!

I 'm bringing all this up because I have been taken advantage of here in Peru a couple of times. Primarily because of my inability to completely comprehend some of the conversations when it comes to $$$. There also was a time or two when I was to blame for the miscommunication as well. This is not a good thing!  Luckily for me, I have had several angels looking out for me during my adventures in Peru. I've actually come across more people that make me aware of my mistake than I have of the individuals ripping me off. So that's not too bad.

There's this little restaurant that's in walking distance of the school and the hotel I'm staying at.  It's called Juanillo's.  This place is just a small walk down the street (about 5-8 minutes tops walking) and was recommended to Indiana and I.  So one day after class we flagged down a MOTO and asked him if he could take us to Jaunillo's. After we approached the restaurant, we noticed a lady and a couple of small girls standing out on the steps of the restaurant.  They watched us exit the cab and they also watched us ask the driver how much money did we owe him in US dollars (I ASKED IN SPANISH).  He said 2 dollars. The lady standing outside on the steps watched me hand the driver $2 and she began saying something to the driver in Spanish and talking to him very loudly, but I wasn't paying attention to their Spanish conversation as we proceeded to walk up the steps where she was standing.  When I approached her, she told me in Spanish, that I should NOT have given him $2, he overcharged us and that she pretty much didn't appreciate that he did that. She was going off on him!  She told me that I should have given him $1 and still that was too much!.  I thanked her for that and we proceeded inside her restaurant. 

What you don't see in my video (above) after we received our the very long interesting conversation Indie and I had with the little girl and her aunt (I hate that I can't remember their names).  When they brought us our main dish, the little girl sat down at our table and just started chatting away.    She was very curious of the 2 foreign women in her town. We told her which countries we're from and then the aunt came over and sat down in front of me.  At first, I thought it was quite odd (to me).  I just wasn't use to that and it caught me a bit off-guard.  But it is a family own restaurant, so you'd think that would be normal.  In my own neighborhood back home, we have PLENTY of family owned restaurants, but the "sit down at your table and start a conversation " hospitality is very RARE...Even in Texas...the so called southern hospitality state.  Everyone thinks you're up to something or finds it weird (at least in the cities).  But it actually shouldn't be.  They whole heartily were interested in our comfort with the food, the atmosphere and they wanted to know more about YOU.

Neither could speak English, but I was glad that I could understand them quite well.  When I couldn't find the right words to answer the questions they'd ask, I simply pulled out my cell phone and used good ole Google Translate.  I love that freaking app. It even works offline for those moments I'm not in a wi-fi area or in a dead-zone.  I would type my  response in English and they would hear it in Spanish. They were impressed... I thought that was cute.  Anyways, Indie and I asked the little girl about the types of music she likes to listen to and the her favorite artists  She pulled out her cell phone and played songs for us from her favorite artists.  We started naming artists such as BeyoncĂ© and Taylor Swift and we were blown away that she didn't have a clue who these 2 ladies are!  Of course she knows doubt!!  She even knows my favorite little cutie Prince Royce and had a couple of his songs in her playlist.  

Her aunt told us of a story about how she (the aunt) almost died when she was just several weeks old.  She had some type of flesh eating disease that  ate the flesh all around her calf and the majority of her leg.  She showed us her leg and  my jaw nearly hit the ground.  I told that I'm amazed because she's been blessed to live through this from the looks of results! She agreed! To have lived through it while only being DAYS old is a miracle.

We simply had the best dinner and best time that night in that little restaurant. As we departed they wanted to take pictures with us. So we took some pictures.  I couldn't think of the word for souvenir, so I had to google it. I then pulled out a $5 bill and handed it to her and said 'as a souvenir from your new foreign friends'. Her eye popped out of her head and she smiled from ear-to-ear and said OOOOOO, GRACIAS!

As we were walking out of the restaurant, Indie vowed that she was going to help me "STOP" being "SO AMERICAN" by giving people money\tips...LOL! Unfortunately, in the promise land of America, our severs make around $1-$3 an hour and strictly rely on tips.  It forces them to work their behinds off to get the current patron IN-and-OUT of there quickly in order to get a new set of patrons at their table...thus MORE tips.  The problem with this whole picture is that THIS IS WHY the hospitality of dining has come to its death.  The servers look at you as their NEXT TIP...they don't give a damn about where you're from or what brought you into their restaurant. Some restaurants may ask you if you've ever visited them before, but quite honestly if you told them "No", it's like "Damn, now I have to explain to you how our menu works... which is now going to cut into me trying to get the next patron at this table".  Again, it's quite sad.  We really should invest more into small hospitable family own restaurants...the "hole in the walls".

Saturday, February 7, 2015

My Hervideros Experience


So mi amiga, Indie says to me "Tomorrow, I'd like to go into town and get a mud bath. They have a hot springs spa I'd like to try out, I was thinking we can try it out"  Quite honestly, I only heard the word "SPA" from her entire sentence and immediately said YEA, OKAY!  We both had been talking the day before about how we both are in need of a pedicure and how the sand has made our feet really dry. 


I had asked her how she heard of "this hot springs" spa and she stated that it was in the "Things to DO around town" guide that our instructor had emailed us...which I hadn't had a chance to review yet.  Of course anything with the word "hot springs, mud bath etc...I'M IN!  LITTLE DID I KNOW WHAT I WAS REALLY GETTING MYSELF IN TO:

We're approaching the Aguas Termales Hervideos (Hot Spring Waters) I was getting EXCITED!

 It was an outdoors HOT bubbling mud bath.  I guess I was expecting some type of indoors spa where some lady would have been covering me in mud and giving me a massage.  That was such an American perception of me, duh! There were 3 pools, all were at different levels of natural heat and consistency.  We had SO MUCH fun.  I would definitely do this again,

One mud hole was boiling and warm in the center.  It was amazing watching the actual earth boil like that.  I would grab GLOBS of the mud and just rub in all over my arms, and face.  Others, like my friend Indie, just dove right in and were back pedaling and swimming in it...having a ball. Next time I'll take a bathing suite, a change of clothes and not worry about my hair so much and JUST LIVE! You can check out my video of the event HERE.

Monday, February 2, 2015


What a beautiful day!

I don't know what's more beautiful; Waking up each day to the sound of the ocean right outside my door w/the sun rising brightly at 5am OR enjoying the scenery of the beach and the locals from the outside gazebo where classes are being held. 

 Nonetheless, I can't complain.  I was informed by relatives back home that they woke up to 25 degree weather this morning after being in nearly 68 degrees in less than 12 hours ago (brrrr).  That's Texas weather for ya! Hot one morning, then freezing temperatures the same night.  I told my husband, that if I would have been home that day, I would have called in sick, NO DOUBT! My body and brain just can't function in dramatic climate changes like that and I get very irritable - quick. LOL!