Dominican, for Life

Lately, I've been really into learning more about my heritage, deep diving into my personal experience growing up Dominican (which is definitely a hashtag). I must admit: I've let myself assimilate the American culture perhaps a little too much, switching out platanos for corn flakes, Bustelo for Dunkin and my naturally curly hair for pin straight tresses. Yeah - I'm a little disappointed in myself too.

In no way am I ashamed of who I am. No matter how far I travel, I'm a Caribbean gyal through and through. This wide hipped, bilingual woman was born in the sultry island of Hispaniola, smack dab in the capital of the country on the right. And although I have a lot to learn about my island, I do know that we have quirks that others may not understand. Heck- I can't even understand my own family's colloquialism! Whether you're Latino/a or not, I think a few of you can relate. America takes us in, eventually accepting us but we still have a long way to go, as human beings. But that's another topic entirely.

For now, here are some of my country's quirks that are worth noting.

Five things to know about Dominicans:
1. We're different but alike. Just like every other human on this Earth, Dominicans come in all shapes, sizes and walks of life. If my entire family posed for a family picture, we'd need the world's largest selfie stick and you'd see the diversity between just one bloodline. Example: my grandma is dark-skinned with dark brown eyes and hair, while my grandpa (her husband) is a green-eyed, lightly tan man with a head of silver hair.
2. There is more to DR than Santo Domingo and Santiago- & resorts. The island is rich in culture, history and many beautiful natural wonders to see. Although the country has unfortunately been experiencing high crime, I would advise anyone who visits, to go with a local and experience the beauty beyond the resorts and the major cities.
3. We LOVE a good party! And by party I mean we love getting together as a family to share meals, jokes, gossip and dance. A lot of dancing. A lot of talking. I remember growing up and my friends asking me how I can party so much. I'd be confused responding, "Huh? There were only like 10 of us at the apartment. That's just a typical Saturday with my cousins." (Disclaimer: 10 Dominicans is a lot to handle, LOL).
4. Contrary to popular belief: we're not all loud. (See number 1: We're all different, from different walks of life). I'm very soft spoken to the point where people think I'm shy. But once I get comfortable with you, my "Hello. How are you?" turn into "Hola! How are you?!" (Yeah, I'm pretty much a Spanglish mess LOL).
5. Yes- the rumors are true: we actually do love our cuisine! So bring on the platanos con salami, arroz con abichuelas, sancocho, pan de agua con aguacate, chimichurri (no- not the green steak sauce) and the mamajuana! We are not ashamed of being platanos- that we wear proudly (literally).  

Stay true to you. 


P.S: I had a difficult time last week figuring out what to post. It made sense to post about this as I could not stop thinking about it. Our roots are beautiful and we should always celebrate who we are and welcome others to learn more about us. We all have more in common than we think. Where are you from? Any quirky behaviors or traditions from your heritage for sharing? Comment them below!

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