Top 5 Dominican Republic Moments
Husband and I moved here a little over a year ago as newlyweds with two dogs and a baby on the way. We didn’t know what to expect about our life abroad. Our emotions were like that Twirl-O-Paint game from the 80’s, which by the way, I looooved as a kid. We had so many different shades of emotion just splattering on a twirling carousel that it all seemed a mess. But when we took a step back and looked at the work we had created, all of the shades of color, splattered and twirled actually resembled something quite lovely.
As an homage to the island that has given us so much including the birthplace of our first born, Rafaella Rubio, I write today about my top 5 moments in the Dominican Republic excluding her birth, of course.
Honorable Mention: Acts of Goodness (AOG):
Ok. So these aren’t exactly moment but there were so many acts of goodness that I had to include some.
The Food Choo-Choo – We had known Mary for only about 2 months before we had a baby. No matter. She sent out an email on our behalf, asking people to sign up for a food train which is essentially a schedule for people to bring you food so that you don’t have to cook. Enchiladas, Butternut Squash Soup, Brownies, Vegetable Lasagna, Pizza (bike delivered by Erin). It was an amazing way to eat the first two months of being a new parent.
“Finding Nemo” – One of our friends lost her wedding ring in the ocean and we formed a search party to find it.
#5: Gobble, Gobble: Thanksgiving
When I spoke to my mom on the first Thanksgiving without with my family and she said she missed me and that it wasn’t the same without me, reminding me that this was “the first Thanksgiving after 31 years we haven’t been together” all emotions broke loose. But Ryan was cooking a turkey and I was playing Christmas music and plans for the next day’s Thanksgiving Football Game on the beach were being made. I realized as we sat around eating turkey that while I missed spending the holiday with my family, sitting with others and being thankful was the point of Thanksgiving – and that you could do with anyone and anywhere.
#4: Bravo: Pub Quiz
We had heard about Pub Quiz but being that our due date was around the night of Pub Quiz, we didn’t sign up for it. She came early but it was still really soon to leave our little newborn and we didn’t have a team. Except my mom was staying with us and encouraged us to go and a team fell short a person. We arrived late and the quiz had already begun so everyone was in their seats and focused. We opened the door to sneak to our seats but all eyes turned to Husband and I. Silence. And then, the whole room began to clap and hoot and holler. I might have even gotten a standing ovation. And if you know me, you know that I am not one to shy away from the limelight… in fact, I quite love it. But this spotlight I was not expecting. Maybe dreamed of it but never expected it.
P.S. I’m trying to plan my next due date around the next Pub Quiz.
#3: St. Patrick’s Weekend
Husband was fabulous enough to let me go away for a much needed, no responsibility St. Patrick’s Day weekend with friends. Since we live on a Spanish speaking, Caribbean island the Irish bar options are limited to up we drove to Jose O’Shay’s in Cabarete. In the past this would have been a shit show but at this mom moment in life, it was the perfect getaway: sit, sleep, play volleyball, sip champagne, swim, drink beers with a hundred other people while listening to bagpipes, Irish jig, Irish jig with strangers, Irish jig into the ocean, take whiskey shots bought by parents from our school, throw Beckett in the ocean, find a dog, name him Patty, think about keeping him, talk to people about things not related to a feeding schedule, drink a cappuccino while it was still warm. So I guess it was still a shit show but a much needed one. Thank you, Husband.
#2: Fa, La, La, La…What?!
Christmas + beer = COLMADO CAROLING! There was no surprise to loving this so much. Led by the fabulous choir/band teaching married couple extraordinaire, we walked around town with our cold, cold beers, stopping at different colmados and bakeries, and hair salons while bringing Christmas joy with our caroling voices. I’d say a good half of the Dominican locals loved it and joined in on the celebration. The other Dominican locals, well, I’m sure they’ve gotten used to the gringos locos.
#1: Renting an ATV for the week in Las Terrenas
If this was your daily commute view on a 4-wheeled machine that blows the wind in your face and makes you feel free as a bird, this would be your #1 too!
All week, I drove up and down this road on my ATV and let me just say, it never got boring. Riding up and down this street in particular with the ocean and sand to my side and the wind blowing in my hair was something out of a movie… maybe Top Gun? but I understood every time I rode this path why people chose to make this place their home. I drove it to the beach and into town. I looked forward to food shopping; sometimes I think I subconsciously forgot to buy groceries just so that I’d have to go back out on the darn thing. And in total Dominican style, we piled 4 people and 1 dog on our all terrain vehicle and rode it up a mountain.
It is an understatement to say that giving the keys back to Maria, the shop owner, was a sad moment. As should be all moments in life, I enjoyed each and every moment on the ATV fully and completely.
There are sooooo many more specific moments that didn’t make this list: Colmado Wednesdays, Volleyball at the Malecon, FOCUS Fridays, Jarabacoa (both visits), The Bluffs… the list could continue. Thank you DR for making this year so incredible of a year that we have questioned how long our life abroad should be.