A Fresh Start

Santo Domingo
View from the residential community in Santo Domingo.

I am writing from Santo Domingo, the capital city of the Dominican Republic, where I moved three weeks ago. It is still in the 80s here, which is fantastic, as my home city of New York is in the low 70s. I do miss the changing foliage, but not the harsh winter months that it signals.

Zona Colonial
Alcázar de Colón – Historical Site in Santo Domingo in Zona Colonial

Currently, I am focusing on finding work in my area of expertise – nonprofit development, marketing, communications. Currently I am assisting two organizations with their social media remotely – one is a DIY fashion blog based in New York and I am helping a little with their Twitter, the second is a nonprofit educational theater organization based in California, and I will assist with their social media platforms as well as their launch of a new blog.

A neighbor watches the road.

The weekend before I moved to the capital, I went to visit my host family near Esperanza, who I stayed with during my first visit here in 2012. I spent a nice afternoon with everyone. My hermanito took me on a little tour of the community and it was nice to catch up with him. I am sad that I now live so far from them but I am hoping to visit soon.

My host family and some friends
My host family’s store.
My despidida (going-away party) on my last night in Santiago. A tropical drink (top left), my housemate (top right) and host sister (bottom right).

This country is diverse – while those who have not been here may conjure up images of beaches and palm trees, here in the capital, in the south part of the island, it is an urban jungle. You can find anything: any type of food; any type of nightlife; any tourist attraction you desire: music, historical sights, museums, culture; a rapid transit rail system; shopping: local colmados, department and international chain stores, as well as major malls. Of course, there is a lot of visible poverty, as in any major cosmopolitan area, especially in developing countries, which the Dominican Republic can be considered, according to the link. One adjustment, being used to the US, is the occasional lack of power and water to the residential community where I live, but there are ways around it, planning ahead.Last weekend, I went to Cabarete, a small beach town on the north coast. I spent a wonderful weekend there, checking out the town and relaxing at the beach.

Cabarete Palm
Palm trees in the breeze.
Fruit Lady
A woman cuts a tasty mango for me at the beach. Cabarete is full of vendors who stroll the beach selling their wares.

Cabarete overall has a different lifestyle than Santo Domingo – from what I can tell, there is a higher percentage of tourists, and it is much less fast-paced and more casual. In the capital , people generally wear jeans or pants and cover their shoulders; as the urban center it is quite formal, even in this hot weather. In Cabarete, as a beach town, you can find people much more casually dressed – many people vacation in Cabarete and as a result even shopkeepers dress very casually.

Some (paid) seating options at the beach.
Cabarete Beach
Some Cabarete sights – palm trees, breadfruit, mango and chinola (passion fruit).

I did not know what to expect when I moved from Manhattan to the Caribbean, and I am grateful for my family and friends who have been supportive of me on this journey. The past three months have been wonderful, meeting new friends, catching up with old ones, and having uniquely Dominican experiences.

North Coast Road
Road on the north coast.

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