Four months – that’s eighteen weeks total today! I haven’t written much lately and honestly, haven’t had much time to step back and reflect on my journey. My collaboration with Ciudad Alternativa has really immersed me in my project and also opened up exciting opportunities for me (including designing and leading a workshop series for women), but it has also tied me to a schedule and expectations that keep me busy for most of the day and make me needy for mindless evenings where I lay on my bed and watch Gilmore Girls.
I’m going to play rose (something good), thorn (something challenging), bud (something to look forward to) to allow myself to reflect for a bit.
R o s e … I feel I have grown roots in the DR. My roommate Dani returned to Germany a few weeks ago, and during her Goodbye brunch I realized I couldn’t imagine myself leaving. I’m not particularly attached to the place, but very much to the comfort of knowing where to go when I head out every morning; having people to laugh with at lunch and drinking coffee in the afternoon; and making dinner and Friday night plans with roommates. I’ve carved out for myself a life in Santo Domingo in six weeks and it’s a nice feeling.
T h o r n … My head is all over the place. I’m struggling to take control of my time and to say ‘no’ more often to others and ‘yes’ to myself, my needs, and my wants first. Oh, and I have to figure out lodging, transportation, and an overall plan for my next project country in 2 weeks.
B u d … I’m excited to go about my project in a totally new way in Peru. I’m also hoping to move around a bit more and spend less time in the city. And now that my foot is healed, I can start exercising again!
Here are some stories|places, not just from this past month but of the 7 weeks I’ve been in the DR:
- I visited Constanza, where I sipped on the best stout I’ve ever had; enjoyed serene mountain views from the balcony of a cozy apartment; and survived a ridiculously bumpy ride up the mountain to Aguas Blancas.
- I took a carrito at night for the first time – I’m pretty wild sometimes.
- I discovered Lechoza Batidas: papaya + evaporated milk + too much sugar + ice = Heaven in a cup
- I walked across the impressive campus of la Universidad Autonoma de Santo Domingo.
- I visited Isla Saona where I got on speedboat and touched a starfish for the first time.
- Had my last dinner with Dani on the roof of our house over candlelight and then shared an awesome brunch with all the roommates! (The delivery guy from the Colmado took this fantastic picture).
- I was introduced to yautia blanca, yautia amarilla, yuca encerada, auyama, ñami, and platano and guineo – both maduro & verde variety – by my Airbnb host who I helped make Sancocho.
- Attended a meeting at the Oxfam office in Santo Domingo – turns out it’s a block from my house.
- I lost my cellphone 😦 I left it inside the bathroom of the fancy Hotel Barcelo bathroom after attending a Gender Seminar. I’m still in the process of getting a new one.
- Discovered La Fabrica, a restaurant with feminist art on the walls, constructed with only recycled materials, karaoke nights, and the best rum tea I’ve ever had.
- I finally danced (and until 3am) Bachata and Merengue, and realized I can’t dance Salsa.
- I went to the 19th Dominican Republic Jazz Festival in Cabarete with my co-workers Anthony & Sera, and my roommate Elsi.
- I watched La Gunguna, a Dominican movie filmed in Santo Domingo and heard a Q&A with the director & actors.
- I’ve successfuly managed to try many of the Dominican culinary classics: mangu, sancocho, quipes, tostones, salami, torta de maiz, dulce criollo, mofongo, queso frito, chimichurri (sandwich), dulce de batata, ensalada russa, casabe, yuca ensebollada, and yaroa.
- I’ve been on guaguas (“voladoras” daily to get to work), carritos (7 person cars that run on gas tanks used by stoves), and twice this week on a motoconcho :O (motorcycle taxi service). I’ve intentionally never been on a motorcycle… but I did it, without a helmet, and on the scary streets of Santo Domingo.
- I participated in another performance! – Gina’s Pelliza: Weaving Narratives (see post before this).