They cancelled my citizenship interview yet again and rearranged it for Monday 9 March. I needed Danilo here to take me to town to catch the bus at 8 in the morning to get to the capital for the 2 p.m. appointment but he was playing politics in Guayacanes. He knew he had to get back, ready to leave here at 7 on Monday morning and called me on Sunday to tell me he would be home after midnight and that the car was playing up - there appeared to be a problem with the transmission. Well, I thought, if the worst comes to the worst I can drive my jeep to town, although I don't tend to drive it long distances as I still don't have a jack in case I get a puncture - which I often seem to.
I went to bed early and Danilo phoned at 11 pm to say he was leaving the capital but the problem was getting worse so they, he and dwendy number one Saya, would have to drive slowly. If it were me and I knew the car had a transmission problem I would get it fixed before more damage was done - but not him, he just keeps going till it is impossible to go any further. His car gave up 20 miles from home and he managed to get here with Saya on his motorbike, at around 5 am, giving him 2 hours sleep.
We got up at 7 to get in my jeep to drive to the bus station and it was raining. It was raining hard. That is not usually a big issue, but it is when the jeep has no windscreen wipers. In true Dominican style Saya drove with Danilo hanging out of the passenger window wiping the windscreen with a brush.
A good start to the day not. I travelled down to Santo Domingo with no further problems, met with some ladies from the International Women's Club to hand over my old designer clothes for them to sell at a bazaar to raise money for charity and rushed off to the interview with no time to eat the sandwich I had bought. I was absolutely starving.
I arrived for my interview at 1.45 and was already the last of the five interviewees for the day. The others were a Russian girl, a Venezuelan man and a Colombian couple. They took all my fingerprints and we waited .... and waited. Shortly before 3 we were taken out of reception to another waiting room down a long corridor, and after a short fight between the Colombians and the Venezuelan and Russian as to who was first, the interviews started.
The interviewer was a very very ample chested Dominican lawyer who had a t-shirt on which showed off her cleavage. The Venezuelan gentlemen, in his late 60's I would say, was in and out in five minutes, as were the Colombians who were proudly showing off their paper which had the answers to the questions on the country. The list of questions was published on the website so all you had to do was to Google the answers and they were both revising up to the last minute.
The Russian girl went in and then within a minute came rushing out in tears - it appeared she didn't speak Spanish and did not know the interview was in Spanish and not Russian, and then it was my turn.
The large bosomed lawyer was pleasant enough and she asked how long I had been married, asked to see my passport and then announced the interview would start. She asked me eight out of the 48 questions and the only problem was when she asked for the date of the restoration. I said 16th August 1863 and she said no, the date. That was the bloody date. She then explained she had not asked for the year just the date and she didn't say day. So now I understand. When people ask for the date they mean the day and not the year which means that when I am Dominican I can just give the day of my birthday and no longer any need to give the year, which is a relief.
She announced that I had passed the interview and now apparently I have to go back every three months to see if the checks with the National Investigation Department, Drug Squad and Interpol have been done and when they are, which takes 10 months on average, then I will be sworn in as a Dominican. She pointed out that it was a solemn occasion and I had to be dressed formally. It appears you cannot telephone to ask if the checks are done as people are too busy to answer the phone.
I rushed out to get the bus but had missed the last one which went directly home so I had to go to Santiago first and the little old Venezuelan man was catching the same bus so I sat with him. He was so happy to have passed the exam and I was so happy to think at last I could eat my sandwich. However, in true Dominican sharing style I gave half to him as he was starving too.
Once in Santiago I got the bus to our local town where Danilo picked me up, in my jeep. His car was sick in the garage with the transmission now totally knackered. He had not driven a manual car for years and had forgotten anything he ever learned. I cannot drive at night as I suffer from night blindness so I had to put up with crunching gears as we kangarooed along the road. I explained that you change gear at 2,000 revs as he had no idea about listening to the engine, but abandoned that plan as he stared intently at the rev counter rather than the road. In the end I would shout first, second, third but he couldn't get further than first or second so we came home at a crawl.
At last we arrived home where I was desperate to relax. It was not to be as SOMEONE had left the door to the dog house and the door to the kitchen open and it was not me. Danilo swore it wasn't him so the dogs must have opened the doors themselves. They had had a massive party. The bin was tipped up and half eaten, my bread bin was in the middle of the floor and empty, the fridge had been opened and was a disaster - well basically the whole house was a total mess with bits of food everywhere.
The perfect end to a perfect day - but hey, I am nearly a Dominican now!