Dominican Republic

The Dominican Republic is gorgeous, hot and loud.

It has a bunch of "firsts" for the Americas. First church, first two story home, etc, etc.
It shares an island with Haiti, and the two countries are famously hostile to one another,
which is really too bad, but understandable after a few wars. 

I moved to the Dominican Republic to teach
 at an immersion English pre-school in the city of Puerto Plata. 

I lived right near the Malecon, the boardwalk by the sea! 

I hung out at this beach a lot 

Being all sunshiny and such 

View of Puerto Plata from a hillside 

But things can change pretty fast,
and through different circumstances I found myself moving
to Muñoz, where I lived in a Haitian immigrant community,
was surrounded by Creole speakers
and taught Spanish pre-school in a Haitian school. 

Because I lived with Haitians, I don't feel like I can tell you too much
about Dominican culture. But then again, I couldn't truthfully say too much about 
Haitian culture either - what I do know is Haitian immigrant culture,
 which appears to be a mix of the two. 

I lived in rooms at the back of this building 

The school was a pretty big change 

View from the school door 

The change was intense.
Suddenly, the safe little job I had signed up for
had disappeared and I was thrown into a situation
I hadn't planned on. 
But I was so glad. 
I had a community there. 
I had neighbors who came to check on me, 
and brought me soup and took care of me when I was sick. 

These little neighbors came over daily and would ask to have their photo taken. 

I also got a crazy roommate 

I taught adult English classes, and that was my favorite thing
out of all my duties. 
My students were enthusiastic and appreciative.

With some adult students 

I loved having the little ones come hang out with me

View from my yard 

If you've read about my hospital experience then you know the DR
was not an easy time for me. 
The DR was hard. It was often lonely. 
Men shouted at me to the point where I was in tears from the constant harassment.
 I got very sick not once, but twice. 
I did good work, but some days it was hard just to get out of bed. 
In the end though, I'm glad I experienced what I did (well, maybe not the sickness).

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