Wednesday, November 23, 2011

living here.

when people ask me what it is like to live here... it throws me off. like i've been here so long, that i've forgotten how different life is.

taking cold showers during hours-long power outages doesn't faze me. we take our propane tank to the gas station on the back of a motorcycle to fill it up when it's empty. and every morning i shove myself into a 1980 toyota corolla with 7 other public transit riders.

i forget sometimes about real cold, and wrap myself in a sweatshirt because it's only 65 degrees and a little misty. sometimes i avoid leaving the house at noon because the sun is so hot and even, i'm sorry to admit, carry an umbrella to stay cool.

my kids play baseball with the caps of 5-gallon jugs and broom handles and dance to reggaeton. they collect "tazos" from the bags of potato chips and drink coca-cola from glass bottles. when it's time to hang the clothes on the line, they're the first out the door to help, and the firsts to laugh when it starts to rain.

my husband teaches in a dilapidated old factory building, with floors caving in and the occasional ceiling fan that loses its arm. his students have never used a white board, had a computer class or watched a class movie. they do with what they have and the occasional extra - a science fair with cardboard posters and arts and crafts made from recycled boxes.

i teach in a university that has no admission standards. those who can pay, study. despite the high cost, we use chalk boards. the students commute. there are no dorms. and once i had a mom come to complain about her kid's grade and was not at all surprised by it.

so is it different, living here? sure. but it's not something to dwell on.

it's not for comparing or contrasting, for better or for worse. this is life.


Mariposa said...

I have been reading your blogs for a while now. At times I ask myself why I still read them. Sorry to say but you describe Dominican Republic “como si fuese el país mas atrasado del mundo entero”. Yes people still take carros de concho, and yes the basic standard to go to college is “if you can afford it you can attend”.
But since I have been reading your posts I have noticed that you make the country sound como si fuera un campo donde ni los mismos burros pueden entrar, mucho menos la civilización.
I don’t know what part of DR you live in, but maybe you should try to visit its surrounding pueblos y ciudades and realize how amazing it really is.
Tip: If you start to view DR in a different light. Start to appreciate the beautiful things it offers. Your view might become a positive one. Sooner or later people will stop asking you how it is to live there and start asking “when can I move there”.
Right now I would give what I don’t have to go there. Those things you describe (carros de concho, la madre que se preocupa por el grado de su hijo aunque ya es un manganzón y la agua fría) are some of the things I love. Try to look at life more positive, if not just move back to the States, because it bottles my mind how blog in and blog out you complain about the things you encounter, and don’t stop to enjoy the wonderful things. I guess start by really paying attention to the beautiful picture of the mountains in your blog, where I live you don’t find nature like that… Only a lot of Buildings, Traffic and Snow… Even though I still enjoy it because you have to be thankful for what you have and where you live.

melanie. said...

okay. i'll take that advice. but maybe you should read the entire post to see that i love living here and that this is what i see. i don't live in a mansion in the hills, nor do i spend all of my time with other americans. if i didn't like it here, i would not be raising my family here. so, perhaps you are looking for negativity where there is truth. sure, there are wonderful things here - and i write about them, search the blog - but the reality of life is not what you see when you come on vacations to your all inclusive resorts.