Sunday, December 15, 2013
The American brings Christmas
Visitor week. We don’t have many visitors – not many brave enough to face campo life, but this week Tracy from America arrived laden down with goodies - solar lights for the garden, garden tools, barbecue tools, dog stuff, food, clothes and she was determined we should have a proper American Christmas, so as soon as she arrived she went off in search of a tree, and decorations, and a fairy.
That wasn't enough, we also had to have stockings from Santa Claus and presents from her, her mum, and members of Chivirico's Facebook page. Santa will of course be filling the stockings on Christmas Eve night.
Tracy also runs a company making healthy dog treats. Called Snackeroos, you can find them here. She brought various cat and dog treats to test out on my dogs, taught them to sit properly, and a long leash which I can tie in the garden so that Lobo the husky can run almost free without disappearing through the fence. He is a very happy husky now.
Unfortunately the upshot is that the dogs absolutely love the treats and now live next to the fridge hoping someone will open it and take out the treats.
One of the main reasons for her visit was not just to make Christmas happen for me but also for Chivirico and his family. We had collected some money from those on his Facebook page and several people sent gifts to her to bring. First stop was to buy groceries for his grandparents, who he lives with.
Then off we went to deliver them, along with US$150 for their Christmas Eve meal. Grandma was totally over the moon.
Chivirico came back with us and was totally overwhelmed by the tree.
Tracy also wanted a pig roast, which is why the barbecue was built in the first place. We decided a 25 pound pig would be fine and Danilo was duly dispatched to find the pig. Somewhere along the line he invited people from his university, as well as the neighbours, so the little meal for just us sort of grew. And also somewhere along the line the 25 pounds was lost in translation and he came back and announced he had bought the pig, it was 80 pounds and would be delivered the next day, alive.
I was most unimpressed and even more unimpressed when told I was to cook the inedible bits for the dogs. Danilo was firmly told the pig should be delivered dead, cleaned and shaved.
The following night a horn honked at the gate and I shouted out asking who it was. The pig, was the reply. Full of dread I walked to the gate. Thank goodness it had come on the back of a motorbike and was dead, not running beside on a leash.
That night the pig was seasoned all ready for the next day. We got up early, and were faced with technical hitch number one. You are supposed to light the charcoal first, wait for the flames to die down and it to be glowing red, then put the pig on. But the pole went through two holes so you had to put the pig on whilst the pole was in one of its holes which would mean standing on top of the charcoal and more than the pig would be barbecued. Given that Danilo didn't fancy his bits being crispy, the pig had to go on first, then the fire lit. The pig then charred a bit – well a lot, but in the end all was well , although all the Dominicans howled at me sticking my thermometer in it to check it was cooked.
So, all in all a great week. Tracy ate Indian curry for the first time, made pizzas from scratch, no packets, no tins,no jars, ate lentils for the first time, ate peas and pumpkin from our garden, used a Dominican washing machine for the first time, and, I think, realized how easy and time saving, appliances and shopping are in the first world as opposed to the third world.
It was lovely for me to be able to speak English – well American – for a week, and we have been thoroughly spoiled with the fridge full of cheese, American sausage and Cadbury chocolate from Robyn, a Canadian friend.
Christmas will certainly be coming to the Feliz household this year and Chivirico and I can’t wait.