White light filtered through the greenery and streamed through the old-world windows. I got out of bed and bounded up the stairs to the veranda, only to find a few rather naughty and determined faces. They greeted me with a challenge. “The green door on the beach exploded in a volcano and transformed into a purple closet floating in space. Can ______ enter this purple closet in space?” Yes, the boys had cooked up their revenge overnight and this word puzzle was the result. Good morning to you, too!
So, we had a few more rounds of the Magazine and “This Is a Very Simple” games (thank you, CP Gathering!) until we gratefully heard the breakfast call. Today Tomás served up mashed plantains, salami, fried cheese, and orange juice to hold us over until suppertime, for we were going to set out to the town of Constanza and would not be back until evening. However, the roads to Constanza curve and bump and slither through absolutely charming and equally disenchanting scenery, so we decided it would be best to have our 1 Peter study before our assay into windy paths; you don’t want to lose your breakfast in a leather-lined Suburban, ya know.
The especially lightbulb-moment-filled study closed and we scurried around to pack some ham and cheese sandwiches for the road, on which we set out at our usual slightly late hour. The girls drove with Daddy, who started a 20 Questions session, grown-up version (What is your favourite doctrine in the Bible? What are the two books which have impacted you most? What is one thing that seriously irks you?). The two-hour drive, needless to say, did not seem that long and, praise God, nobody felt too queasy.
Constanza is an agricultural centre, with a fertile valley and sizeable mountain town combining to make a thriving community. The weather does not seem tropical at all, and even frost can appear in the winter. As in, pears grow there. All of us liked it a lot, but we did not come to see its pretty flowers and mounds of garlic and quaint plaza complete with doves, gazebo, and cute little bridges crossing cute little streams. We were there to see the church that Daddy and his daddy (and Daddy’s brothers) built with their own hands, as well as the house in which they lived when Grandpa pastored there, which was attached to the back of the church.
Because it was siesta time, we could not enter the building, but we were able to snap a few photos as Daddy told us a bit of what my grandpa did when the Raimundos lived in Constanza. Then we went to the plaza to eat a quick sandwich and drink coconut soda, pick flowers, and sing a few songs in the nice gazebo acoustics. It was so strange feeling like a Dominican and a tourist all at the same time, but I decided to look at it as though I were tasting the best of both worlds rather than feeling like a belonged to neither of them (there is always a choice, no?). I personally had a splendid time of it, and I think the others did, too.
Once we wrapped up our doo-wops and hymns, we participated in a three-car runaround the city, losing one vehicle of the caravan, then finding it, then losing the other one. After about an hour, we finally left the town all in one piece.
When we reached the house, Tomás and Evelyn began supper preparations, and soon the homey smell of rice and beans mingled with the tantalising smell of pork chops caramelising in Dominican coke (remember Jenn’s thing for pork? Exactly). Admittedly, it was a really late supper, but the aroma was worth it. And, hey, my lemon-marinated chicken and garlic veggies was very yummy as well. While dinner was cooking, I finally got the Magazine game and tried my best to help others see the light, with moderate success. Druing the meal, our very long and full table rang with shouts and laughs and boos and cheers as we discussed the Biblical principles behind...what does one call them? pre-marital relationships? I guess that. in good old Dominican fashion. Imagine Vikings talking about their most recent exploits in battle but add a healthy dose of familial country affection, and you will have an approximate idea of what regular Dominican discussion is like. That was fun to translate, let me tell you.
We closed out the day with our third study on Biblical Thinking, which introduced the way the souls of believers and non-believers interact with reality. We talked about whether or not reality and its description, truth, could be relative and how an understanding of the Bible affects what we believe about it. What do you think?
The study ended around 11:30pm, after which the night owls played a few more rounds of Speed Uno. Then the girls headed to bed, but were kept awake by the boys who sounded like they were playing Master and Commander with their walkie-talkies upstairs. Mhm. Hilarious. But we got our rest, because the next day we would be packing our bags once again to go to another part of the mountains, La Tinajita (Jessie translates it as The Little Brown Jar; we called it The Little Vessel). I went to La Tinajita last year and was positively delighted with the place, so it was with much anticipation and sweet rest that I closed my eyes and drifted off to sleep....