August 5, 2014: An Unexpected Meeting with Jose and Katiuska

I’ve been so busy writing catching you up on the past, and so much keeps happening in the present: Jose and Katiuska are coming to the farm tomorrow!

We actually saw them last Saturday in Santo Domingo. They had just arrived back from their Europe travels. Somehow Jose had found out that we had a flat tire, although Felipe’s cousin had repaired it at a nearby shop. Hubby and I had decided spontaneously on Saturday to drive into the city since we had Rosa with the girls. Jose called Hubby while we were shopping and was a bit surprised that we were out and about with our tires in the condition they were in (the more I thought about it later, the more I felt a bit surprised at us, too.) He offered to help us get new tires.

The only place we know in Santo Domingo is IKEA, so both Jose and Katiuska met us in the parking lot there and we followed them to a strange neighborhood that is made up of rows of shops selling hubcaps. It was fascinating watching Jose and Katiuska negotiate with a couple of different shopkeepers. First, because I still don’t know Spanish so it’s all body language and sound for me. There’s lots of action. Secondly, in most places in the USA, you go to a type of tire store and usually you get all the pieces and service in that one place, right? Am I remembering correctly? Somehow here we went to different places to get different pieces that hopefully end up all matching at a final place where someone puts all the pieces of the tires on the truck. In retrospect, I realized there are “one stop” car service places here. I’m pretty sure Jose and Katiuska were making an extra effort to save us some money by going to several different locations for the best prices.

It took a long time to get all of the parts and pieces and end up at the service center. At one hub cap shop, I watched a man walking along selling chickens in a basket. I don’t mean like KFC Chicken In A Bucket w/ mashed potato and rolls type of thing. I mean – he had live chickens in a kind of basket cage that he was wheeling along. He stopped across the street from our hub cap place, pulled a chicken out of his basket and swung it in front of a man sitting on the sidewalk. They seemed to verbally come to some agreement. The man brought the chicken back to the basket, grabbed a machete and…well, I stopped looking at that point. At another building corner we passed, an old woman was laughing, head back – salsa dancing with a man – while several people clapped in an enthusiastic circle around them. It’s a lively city.

It was comforting to see Katiuska and Jose – it feels like we’ve been at the farm for a long time now, somehow, and – well, a whole world has yet to begin, when Jose and Katiuska come home. So it felt good to see and remember them in real life. I am reminded that Jose is solid like a bear. He used to have something to do with Karate schools here and he holds a lot of strength in his body and actions. He kind of reminds me of the guy in the movie, “Zorba The Greek.” A feeling of contained intensity, or bursting with life, perhaps both. Katiuska is feline, gracefully dancing about the scene, looking at hub caps, shaking her head, swiftly maneuvering through the traffic to the next stop. Here they are, just off the plane, probably totally jet-lagged with a load of things to do and family and people to see – and somehow there they are, taking us to get tires for our truck. I’m sure they were exhausted, but they didn’t say so. When we were finally at the place where the tires were being placed on the truck – at our urging – they finally went to their city home. It probably took about 3 and a half hours to do the tire thing.

So we had a mini visit with “Jose and Katiuska.” I asked if I could make dinner for all of us to share together on Wednesday at the farm. I’ll try to do something semi-Dominican; strain some fresh passion fruit; boil a plantain, ask Rosa for help. Sofia will collect flowers to decorate for the homecoming. It will be our pleasure to welcome them home, to the home they have welcomed us to.

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