Tuesday, August 21, 2012

bienvenidos a la republica.

welp, i made it. 
i'm all settled into a little casita at the end of calle uno here in my little community, and life is great.
i've spent the past day or so just getting used to everything and soaking up the culture, so to speak. 

i am still a bit out of it from all of the travel, so this is all going to be a bit stream-of-consciousness. ...just a fair warning!
here are my observations so far:

the food: considering there are literally two things i can eat from the mercados here, i've become okay with the fact that i'll probably live off of my stash of kid's cliff bars, fruit (soo much fresh fruita!), and "la bandera", the typical dominican plate. 
la bandera is a lot like its tico cousin, casado. a biiiig plate of grilled chicken, salad, rice, & beans. and you remember how much i loved casado? needless to say, i could eat this stuff every single day.

the sights: this place is beautiful! so many colors, everywhere i turn. an aesthetic dream of sorts. it's a unique mixture of culture; there's cabarete, a more developed little beach town that is very clearly geared toward everything touristy, and then you take one left turn down the callejón, and you're inside my little community. this is a much more accurate portrayal of what real life in the DR is like... little family-owned shops, a variety of housing (from small, furnished apartments and casitas to wooden shacks), trash on the streets, chickens and feral dogs running around everywhere. 

the people: they are so great. it's clear that life isn't the easiest down here, but the people are so kind. as i walked into cabarete for the first time yesterday, a little girl, clad in a spiderman backpack, clutching onto her mom's back on the back of a moto as she rode into town, stared at me over her shoulder with the sweetest smile. about ten feet further down the road, she started waving. and my heart melted right then and there.
that being said, as a blonde, white american, it's safe to say that i am a bit of a rarity around these parts. i made a lot of "friends" yesterday, mostly in the form of... "ey, baybee... you look like you need a guy like me. want to ride my moto?" and i don't exaggerate; this happened at least eight times an hour. 

the language: okay, is this real spanish?! the sweetest women, muñeca and oro, live next door to me here. i thought i was doing all right with my spanish skills, until oro started talking. bless her little heart, i just nod and smile half of the time she's talking to me. though she made sure i understood her clearly when reminding me to be home before dark. i'm loving all of the chances i have to speak spanish, but seriously, sometimes i think i'm actually in cuba.

the organization: the DREAM project is really, really cool. i didn't fully know what to expect from them before i arrived, but after learning more about their work and seeing the center, i am impressed. i am anxious to learn more and start taking more photos tomorrow as school begins! 

sorry for the novel. sometimes, i just get a little verbose. and today, i embraced that. 


sjg said...

You are not just a white, blonde woman, but a BEAUTIFUL, white, blonde woman.

Enjoy your time there and be very, very safe!



ChinkyGirLMeL said...

Sounds awesome! Have fun and keep safe. And oh make sure to bring us back more gorgeous photos! =)