Comienzo la escuela de espanol hoy
Trip Start Oct 16, 2007
83Trip End May 09, 2008
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I walked over to the main road in the morning and saw one of the guagua vans coming up the street, so I flagged them down
They guaguas cram as many people as they can inside, and there really is no concept of "a seat." They pack people so tightly inside that sometimes people are half-sitting on top of each other. And since everyone can be crammed in so tight with no aisle in the van, if someone way in the back needs to get off, usually a few people near the door need to physically get out of the van to let that person out, and that person is still usually stepping between and over people to get out when it's especially crowded. However, everyone is usually very courteous and cooperative on the guagua. If someone comes in, everybody makes room for that person. People in the back also pass their money to the side door guy via other people, and get their change back the same way.
I saw my stop coming up and I told the side door guy "El Texaco por favor!" (the Texaco station please!) and got off at the right place
It turns out that before 1940, Sosua had only a hundred or so residents. But in 1940, the US pressured the DR dictator Trujillo to allow German and other European Jewish immigrants to settle in the DR, and they migrated to Sosua. Many of them moved back to Europe after WWII, but some stayed, and through the years, more and more Germans, and also expats from other countries, have made Sosua their home. (More info here) I read that there is also is a Jewish Museum and a synagogue in Sosua!
Casa Goethe is a fairly small school, much smaller than the last Spanish school I went to in Costa Rica (CRLA). It turns out that the school is German-run (thus nicknamed Casa Goethe). A large number of their students are from Germany or neighboring Austria or Switzerland, so at the breakfast table I could hear many of them chattering in German. Since Frank is also taking his kite-surfing class at a German-run company, we joked that we came to the Dominican Republic to take a "German vacation."
I was placed in a class with 3 other girls, one from D.C., a German, and a Hungarian (but lives in Germany for many years now)
By the end of the week, I decided to take the smaller guaguas (small sub-compact sized sedans) as much as possible instead of the vans. The sedans still cram in 3 passengers in the front + the driver, and 4 passengers in the back. It's not so bad when there's only me and 3 other women in the back, but when there's a couple guys in the back it is a little uncomfortable. It is easier to get in/out of the sedan, and it doesn't take as long to go between Caberete-Sosua, only 15 minutes.
Week 2-3 of Spanish School:
I decided to switch classes and had Gralia as my new teacher. She was terrific - really explained the grammar points well, and we had lots of interesting conversation topics, from what we do in our free time, typical dominican foods, relationships/marriage, acupunture, and the consequences of telling lies. We had one conversation class at a cafe on Sosua beach, where he also played a guitar and sang for us! It was a really fun class. I learned a lot, and now feel I am fairly comfortable talking about things in the present and some past tense. I still need to improve my listening comprehension, increase vocabulary, and learn imperative and subjunctive forms. I'm hoping I can do more spanish classes before the trip is over!