Describe your home away from home…. how is it the same or different from where you come from?
This is an amazing question that I’ve asked myself various times within the last three years of my travels to and from the Dominican.
Surprisingly, when I’m here in the Dominican I feel more at home and more myself than I do when I’m in my very own country. I’ve often wondered why I feel this way, but I can’t help the feeling. What does that mean? How am I supposed to feel about that?
When I’m here I live in a rather large Dominican house in a quaint little area called Palo Seco. I spend my workweeks there and my weekends in San Juan where I am able to enjoy a night out dancing. Palo Seco is in the countryside, just a few miles from the Haitian border. There is a ton of farming, goats and cows roaming the streets and welcoming neighbors who are always inviting me in for coffee.
So what is so different about this home that pulls at my heart? The people. The community of Elías Piña has welcomed me since day one. I have made many amazing friends, both Dominican and American, that are sure to stick by my side for a lifetime. I’m also pretty sure I might have met my soulmate (he doesn’t know it yet). The most incredible thing is the way that the community cares for one another. If someone is sick, everyone comes over to check on them and care for them. If you are walking down the street, the neighbor will stop you andpull chairs outside in order to offer you a cup of coffee. Dominicans have a tendency to sit forever simply enjoying one another’s presence all day long rather than missing encounters with others based on a busy schedule that doesn’t allow for time to get rid of some stress. This then leads to the point of Dominican time. The pace of life here is much better and much more my style. It’s flexible, go with the flow, enjoy every minute rather than run, run, run.
Of course, there are other things that catch my attention besides the people themselves. I love the culture. The music, the energy and spirit. I absolutely love dancing bachataand merengue. I could dance all night! The culture has won my heart.
I have found my home. But perhaps, the reality is that I’m rootless, able to adapt to new homes. A peaceful wanderer that finds home anywhere where my heart is full.