Today was a free day. I am Shivali Naran and I will be writing part of the blog tonight. We started off the day later than we ever have before with an 8:30 wake-up time, yet pretty much everybody woke-up before the first knock because we are used to waking up so early (at least for me compared to when I am at home). For breakfast this morning we had oatmeal, bananas, and crackers and the most interesting part of breakfast was the putting of hot sauce in the oatmeal and on the crackers. After breakfast was free time, which really was everybody calling their parents. It was something else to see everybody on the phone with their parents and the emotions that arose from them. Most people got through and for those who didn’t Tim and Sahar (the big kids) made sure everyone got to talk to their family, even if only for a limited time. Even though today was considered a free day we still had a politics seminar before lunch. During this seminar we debated about political systems in the Dominican compared to the United States and other countries. Lunch today was filled with joy as everyone was eager to leave after lunch with the Ambassadors to explore the city. For lunch today we had chicken, white rice, and salad with vegetables and papaya. After lunch we had the option to separate with different Ambassadors and go different places, yet all 21 of us decided to go out together and stay together as a great big family which shows how close we have all grown. During this giant outing we stopped at a souvenir shop and some of us picked up some knick-knacks to bring home. The most memorable part of the day has got to be though our soccer game in the rain. We played on a futsol court though (where soccer is played on a basketball court with smaller size goals). When we played soccer it started pouring rain. And when I mean pour I mean pour with big drops of water hitting everybody’s body. Everybody stayed at the soccer field whether they were playing or sitting and talking to one another. By the end of the game the players that played were drenched through every layer of clothing they had on. By the end of the night is was time for the English tutoring. At the school today there was some kind of national test going on and we were not allowed to use our usual classrooms. For that reason we fit up to three separate classes into one classroom and taught that way. I enjoy teaching the English classes because we just have a lot of fun and laugh a lot. In my class the students really try to communicate with Eugene and me as we don’t know Spanish really well and it is such a joy to listen to them talk and interact with us. I am sure many other teachers feel the same way about their students. Today for dinner we had mashed potatoes, cheese, baloney, and mixed vegetables. It feels like we have some sort of mashed potatoes everyday. Today was one of those busy free days that was much needed. Onto tomorrow now when we will meet the mayor and try to solve all the problems of the city.
Good afternoon everybody back in California and Buenas Noches to my fellow Glimpsers, it is I Jonathan E. Perez who shall be your blogger for tonight (: As you may know by the title, today was our Free Day and I was the Leader of the Day. To be completely honest our day was not free, we although did have time to do things on our own like gather our dirty clothes and or tell jokes around but for me? Mine was to have everything on schedule. Tim and I led a group of students to a supermarket a couple blocks down from Home (Dilenia) during our free time after breakfast. I was always looking at my watch literally watching time pass by and worrying about what is the next step but forgetting what’s happening now. For a couple of moments I had to stop traffic abruptly for the group to pass by and getting their attention in a city where everything is constantly moving. It’s a bit stressful and believe me I was stressed out. After our hour of exploration around the blocks we came back home to a political seminar and I sensed that no one was really motivated to talk because the subject was so strong and that to compare it to our political system back in the States made it a bit difficult. We had lunch after that, then we had another 2 hour free time BY OURSELVES. Technically we weren’t because our friendly ambassadors were there, but being a leader where it’s supposed to be free felt like walking with shackles around your ankles. I had to preoccupy myself with how many people we had in the group and that no one got left behind, stopping at local merchandise stores and buying a soccer ball. None of that didn’t matter to me but what mattered the most was the safety of my friends. I’m always the person to make sure that no one gets left behind and in one case I made sure no one didn’t wander off in a store, and as I checked in and as I was about to leave a elderly stopped me to ask questions about who we were because we looked suspicious. After I got done with the polite conversation I headed out to the exit and as I did I realized that I wasn’t able to see any of the Glimpsers. I kept my cool and I walked towards the main center of town to see if I can spot any of them walking around. In about 10 minutes I came to my senses and I began to realized that I was a little bit lost. Being lost in a city where you don’t know anyone and not being familiar with the streets is like double stress. I’ve ran to one end of a street and to another. At one point I asked a man who was drinking if he’s seen my group. He told me that he had no idea but told me that there is a place where the kids play soccer and I thanked him, but he upheld me and asked me if I had money and with politeness I said no but I had a feeling he knew I had some but with no hesitation I sprinted the way he showed me. By the time I got to my group, half an hour has passed, and me running around just wasted “time”. I was so relieved that I had found them. No one didnt really know that I had been looking for them nor the fact I had been gone and all I wanted was to catch my breath. They were just so interested on playing a game of soccer. During that I was just fighting my inner demons while dealing with the time issue we had. Couple minutes into playing and it started to rain. But then it just started to pour down on us. As a leader I immediately thought that all of us were to go under shade in order to not get wet but the people playing didn’t seem to faze them. So I put all there stuff in a place where it won’t get wet without acknowledging I did them a favor. And still nothing, so I played a bit of ball to get my hopes up and it was till pouring. Everyone ended up soaking wet. My team won so I had something to be proud of. I was told that our time of being out was at 3:45 and we got back Home at 3:44. I was just so stressed that we weren’t going to make it on time and that I was irresponsible. But the people around me thought otherwise which boosted my self esteem. After this we had English prep and then English classes. Apparently some of the classes were going to use for testing for other students outside our classes. All the students who arrived had to come together and join classes and have one big class or have separate classes in one classroom. I had to check up on everyone once in a while like a worried mother but everything came out fine. Somethings I had trouble on was not being on time, I’d be running a couple minutes late on things that were needed to be on the dot. Another was to not be to serious in a situation where everyone’s trying to have fun because my seriousness clung onto others. For a day being free it wasn’t that liberating. But with these tasks and trials I grew in myself whether if it’s for the worse or for the better. I’m pretty tired and everyone is going to sleep so Goodnight and Buenas Noches from Constanza. Jonathan signing off peace 💕