I’ve been asked often, “Why are you living in Dominican Republic.” It’s a complex series of events that landed me here, each worthy of it’s own blog. When I think back over the years, the good and the bad, I’m often bewildered at the extent, the sheer bizarrity (if that’s not a word it should be), made for TV movie kind of stuff that catapulted me into a 3rd World country. Recently a long-time friend asked me to write about, “how you got the guts to go overseas alone.” Therefore this introductory piece has been re-written and amended for this purpose.
My love affair with this country began in 2008 while here on vacation with my daughter. We stayed at a resort in Bavaro. We quickly realized our error in planning only a week’s vacation. Not being one to like to feel tied down I would wander. I noticed mostly in the children, local children, a sense of freedom and joy. These little urchins, and their families, that have nothing compared to Canadian standards were HAPPY! We who have everything fail at the simplest task of being happy in our quest for the “mores”. More of this more of that, and it’s unending.
Returning home was a sad day. The vacation worked it’s magic, our stress vanished in our time on the island. Arriving home we discovered that we had been broken into and robbed. My thoughts were, “yup, we have everything we want and have to guard it. Better to have nothing and be happy with that.” I reflected back on our trip and came to appreciate the concept of a simpler life. Back to the grind we went, school, work, home dinner, bed, and repeat the cycle. Thinking of retiring to the island. Having made numerous friends on our visit that remain friends to this day, I ventured into the land of online dating Dominican style! That set the tone for the disaster that followed.
Meeting my ex-Dominican meant many, many, many trips to the DR. It’s most unfortunate that he was a parasite perpetuating a con, hidden lives, hidden junk. There’s the topic for another article. We’ll chat about Sankies later on. Word to the wise, err with caution. With each trip out, I fell more and more in love with the country and it’s people. A people with no face. They are so mixed, so inter-racial that within one family skin tones can run the gambit. Everyone helps with the raising of the children. This is a welcome novelty having raised my own children as a single parent with little or no help. I stayed in the capital city of Santo Domingo Este with my ex on my visits. I learned first-hand of the lower middle class life. This wasn’t a barrio, nor was it affluent. This was simply life. The hustle and bustle, the noise … the freedom!
Suffice it to say that the fake relationship fell apart, the family that I trusted I could no longer trust as I didn’t know who was part of the deception, if not the entire family, and my health had rapidly declined since 2009. After deleting my ex from my life we considered canceling our planned vacation. Like a child learning to ride a bicycle, or getting back on the horse after you fall off, my daughter and I kept our plans. I admit to being nervous at first. Two weeks of recuperation and recovery from emotional trauma ensued. We were as always, warmly greeted by old friends. These of course were our friends and had no link to my ex’s family. This somewhat restored our faith in the island’s people. I truly wanted to not hate this country nor it’s peoples. So, like riding a bike … when you fall off … get back on.
Returning home once again for the umpteenth time truly wishing we could have stayed, and the dream of living happily ever after and retiring on the island that was snatched away through being the victim of fraud, was put on the back burner. For the time being, the sun had set … one more time.
Back in Canada found us at the holidays. It was difficult to enjoy them when all we wanted to be was on the island. New Years day lead to more family occurrences that affected change. With my health declining I found myself on a downward spiral and a desired change. I said to my daughter, “so, do you still want to live in DR?” And a plan was hatched!
In this effort of portraying this country with honesty, I will periodically include some Spanish. I will not translate as I believe Google is your friend and y’all are pretty damn smart. The surrounding content should be explanatory.
I will do my best to be enlightening and provide you with good quality reads. So enjoy all the articles as they come to fruition.
Why “Loca Gringa?” For those that prefer the grammatically correct gringa loca, too bad, this is poetic license.
Where do I live? Well now that is a good question. On the island, wherever I will hang my hat with no fixed address. I move around a fair amount and I’m rather enjoying being nomadic. Moving around a lot gives me the opportunity of discovery. Self-discovery … what is my metal? … geographical discovery … this island has so many eco-systems! … and human geography … the very many levels of different people … what are they?
Was this a good decision? Was it guts? Maybe. Maybe it was simple foolishness. It certainly hasn’t been dull, nor has it been an easy ride. There are many predators in this country, of Dominicans, tourists, and ex-pats. However, I would be remiss if I did not convey that there are a good many good Dominicans and others as well. I’ve been very lucky there.
This nomad may very well head back to Toronto at some point. We’ll see how long I last … Bets are on!
So, follow my blog as it develops and … let’s all find out where it goes!
Welcome to the Dominican Republic, through my eyes.
Listen to the palms…
© Loca Gringa and https://locagringa.wordpress.com