Okay guys, so I’ve been wanting to blog about my travels in the Dominican Republic for some time now, but I wanted to be in the right head space when I did it, and I think I’m there now. Ya see, this past January through June was everything but conventional and really made me grow as a person, and I felt like that growth continued even after I returned back to the states. I’m now at the point where I feel like the changes that the DR caused me to make have plateaued and I can now kinda (kinda being the operative word) make sense of it all.
As you can see in the title, this is just part 1 of what took place while I was in the Dominican Republic and also what took place while I was preparing to go. DISCLAIMER: The stories & situations that I will share today & in the coming weeks are MY experiences, this is not law & your experience in the DR may be very different than mine. I just have to put that because y’all know these snooty, politically correct folk out here will try to troll in a minute & I just ain’t here for it (but am I ever?).
So now that we’ve set the stage and cleaned house a little bit, let’s just dive right in, shall we?
I chose the Dominican Republic because I needed to immerse in a Spanish-speaking country and wanted to do a little mission work after graduation (I was a Spanish major), and Spain was OUT (if you read back to the beginning of the blog you will know why)! So maybe you’re saying “there are 21+ Spanish-speaking countries in the world Gaby, why limit yourself to two?” Well y’all, I refuse to commit to living anywhere that I haven’t at least visited. Mexico is out (to live anyway) because I love ALL my limbs & would just like to spare my family trying to identify my dental records because the cartel has burned my American, chocolate, body, beyond recognition. No bueno y no gracias! So as I travel more, I will be open to living in those countries as well, but not a second before! Now, let’s get down to the nitty gritty..
- I love Puerto Plata (the city I lived in), and I loved it from the first time I went to visit (October 2015)! It is on the Northern coast of the DR (coast = BEACHES), and the best word I can use to describe it is “rich”. Now if all you see is $$$$ when I say “rich”, you’ve got the wrong idea pal. The DR is a developing country (that’s a lil step up from 3rd world) and the majority of the population in Puerto Plata (POP for short) is poor. However, they are rich in beauty, rich in wisdom, rich in culture, and rich in food supply. I’ll go into detail about a lot of this in the weeks to come (it’s a series remember, so you gotta wait).
- The people in POP are so nice & very genuine. While I was there they took me in & made me feel like one of their own (they’re just black people who speak Spanish so I felt right at home). I’m sure they are nice and accepting to everyone they come in contact with, but I think they were so glad to see a person who looked like them was there to help them. SIDE NOTE: Black people, we have got to do more mission work overseas so people do no associate right with white, they need to know that there are Americans that look just like them that want to help them as well. However, I digress. I literally feel more comfortable there than I do in my own country and that’s zero exaggeration. If I could leave right now & go back, I WOULD! They celebrate life, and I feel like that’s how it should be. After work, you have a beer with friends or your neighbors, 10pm is early there, & if an event starts at 2:30, that could mean between 2:30 & 3:30 (this situation is only annoying if you show up on time, once you learn the game you’ll fall right in line with everyone else). Birthday parties are so genuine & full of love, there is a holiday literally like every month that warrants cancellation of school & work (that’s enough for me right there), and the whole wavelength that they’re on is just totally different than here in the States. On Sundays, everyone is at the Malecón (the boardwalk) barbecuing, drinking, dancing, flirting, just really having a genuinely good time
- THE FOOD! This is really big for me after living in Spain because I lost so much weight (y’all know I need ALL my pounds) because that food was so unappealing to me. Paella was cool, but y’all can keep that cold tomato soup aka Gazpacho. The food in the DR deserves an entire post, so make sure to check back because there is more to come about it later in the series. However, I will give y’all a lil teaser: fried chicken, potato salad, and cheap… Need I say more?
- La cultura, or the culture. Like I said earlier, the DR is so rich in culture that you literally just wanna soak it all in – everything from Sundays on the Malecón to dancing Merengue & Bachata. More to come about this also later in the series.
Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic stole my heart in a way no other city ever has, and I want to convey that in the best possible way to you guys, because I really want y’all to go. With that being said, you’ll have to wait until next week to read Part 2. Make sure to tune back in, it’s way more enlightening that Love & Hip-Hop. (: