Wednesday, January 04, 2012

So far so bueno .... famous last words

When one finds one self in a Spanish speaking country bordering a French and Kreyol speaking country on a rainy day, what does one do to add a little pizazz to their life?

I'll tell you what one does.

It's really quite simple actually.

One travels to a gargantuan furniture store born in Agunnaryd, Sweden thanks to the courage of one Ingvar Kamprad.  That's what one does.  Of course.

Because: like they say, "at IKEA our vision is to create a better everyday life for the many people."

And who doesn't want a better everyday life for themselves and the many people?
I mean really. Who?

So that's what we did.  We drove into Santo Domingo in search of a better everyday life with Paige and Hope. (Everyone else stayed back at the house to have their regular everyday lives.) We walked aimlessly around the giant Swedish furniture store with our glazed eyes and racing hearts.  The escalators alone were enough to intimidate fools of our variety.

About 60 minutes into the adventure we agreed that our lives weren't so much feeling "better" as they were feeling sort of odd and random. Instead we were overwhelmed by the vastness of the store and the complexity of the choices and our inability to read Spanish signs.  The singular item I wanted to look at was bedding for Hope's bed.  It took all of our energy and brain power combined to locate that section and quickly determine they didn't have what we had in mind.

In addition to visiting the biggest and most overwhelming Swedish furniture store in the history of the universe, we also visited a more comfortable, predictable, small, and familiar store. Payless sells poorly made hoochie platform shoes world-wide people!

On our trip toward home, during a self-congratulatory moment Troy said, "So far so bueno".  As not to leave him hanging out there congratulating himself all by his lonesome, I said "good job getting us here honey!" ("You are a courageous warrior!!!" was implied.) Approximately fourteen seconds later I heard him say in a voice of urgency,  "you better pray".  I looked up from what I was reading to see a friendly Dominican officer approaching the driver window.

As it turns out our poorly thought out escapades didn't cease upon our arrival to the D.R.
Stupidity runs deep in these here parts.

From Facebook:

Dominican Republic police stop .... no passports on us ... we are idiots. (Only by grace were we just allowed to leave with Hope - we cannot prove she is ours w/out passports.) There is no one dumber than us. Period. End of story.
 ·  · 2 hours ago near Juan Dolio, San Pedro De Macoris

So when the officer asked for passports and Troy could not produce all four of them because three of them were still at the house 25 miles away, we used google translate (this happens verrrrry slowly mind-you) on the iphone to tell the officer that Hope was/is adopted and that we don't speak Spanish.  As in nada on the español (well, except for nada I mean).  He seemed unimpressed. 

While he walked a circle around our car trying to decide what to do with us, we prayed.  For approximately five minutes we were wondering how Britt and Chris could come bail us out of the clink without a vehicle or phones we could call them on to beg for their help.  

When we drove off we checked our pants for poo and thanked God for the merciful officer and google translate.  

It seems like there was a lesson to be learned in all of this.  Maybe "stop being morons" or "act like you know something" or just "carry your passport in a foreign land when your children don't match you." 

We've discussed it at length and we are feeling fairly certain that yes, indeed - it has got to be one of those.

We've been aware the entire time we've been here that a family like ours is a bit unusual.  Between the curious looks and the questions from fellow-vacationers we're learning that what we have going is not such a normal thing in the Dominican Republic.  "Are these children yours?" has been a frequently posed question.  (Fair enough question.)

Haitians don't have high social status in the D.R.  There are organizations and brave people fighting to change that, but the fact is, Haitians are often treated poorly here.  I admit that knowing that the other vacationers could be thinking we use our Haitian kids as "house help" has made for multiple occasions where-in I had to force myself not to do something super obnoxious to prove that is not the case.  I mean, asking Lydia and Noah and Paige to fan Isaac, Hope and Phoebe and massage their feet while feeding them grapes poolside for hours could cause some trouble among siblings.  Possibly.  The only other idea I had was to yell "I love you ISAAC - like SO SO MUCH"  & "I love you HOPE!"  loudly across the lawn while the Dominican neighbors looked on and felt guilt for judging our intentions.  "Oh - for shame on us, they really love those kids" they'd whisper to one another.

It will soon be time to head home.  We're blessed beyond measure to have been given this opportunity to exhibit our naiveté and poor planning skills ... And to enjoy time as a family.  

We're hearing from Haiti that in just four days FOUR baby boys have been born to moms in the prenatal program.  We're hearing the Harbor House gals have almost all returned from seeing their extended families for the New Year and Independence Day celebrations.  We're worrying slightly about the two that haven't. We're happy to have learned we miss that place and those people by about day seven. 

Most of all, we're excited to get across the border where things are more familiar and life is what we expect it to be .... An adventure.