As one of the familiar songs from the DR began playing while we were out and about in Santiago last night, I instantly thought back to my semester spent in the DR in the Spring of 2009. From the moment I began planning my departure that semester, I wanted to be reassured that I would return someday to this lovely country! I had no idea about the Backpack Journalism program at the time, but I consider it such a blessing to be back in the Dominican Republic within only about a years time, spending 10 days with such a great group of people!
Seeing all of the familiar faces when I got to ILAC on Monday night/early morning was a great and I am enjoying every minute. The mosquitoes are also here to greet me, how sweet of them, haha.
When thinking about what we discussed prior to leaving for the DR, I am reminded of one thing in particular and that is paying attention to details. I have always been the observant type, quietly taking in my surroundings, making mental notes of what other people are wearing and any unique things that I notice. For reporting, this is particularly important.
From a car ride or guagua (small mini-van size vehicle, common in the DR, only 20 pesos for a ride!)I am able to recall the many sights throughout my first few days back in the country. To begin with, there is the overwhelming feeling of a “second home” by returning to ILAC. The staff here is phenomenal and I don’t have enough fingers to count the number of friendly greetings I’ve received since my return.
Another observation includes Dominican women dress. It is common to see many embellishments on their jeans paired with either brightly colored or solid black shirts when they are out and about at night.
I always have enjoyed the many colors used for decorating homes here in the DR. The combinations of mint green and a light rose with blue may seem out of the ordinary to Americans, but here, it is a far from unusual pairing.
As far as tastes go, the Red Snapper I enjoyed at lunch today was delicious! It didn’t have a very fish like taste in my opinion, but rather a wonderful seasoning accompanied by the chewy texture.
The DR has many sounds and music is certainly one of them. It is often played at a raised volume, motos (or small gas powered vehicles similar to motorcycles) race down side streets as workmen are heard hammering and pouring cement for yet another shopping mall.
I said it once, but I’ll say it again-it is wonderful to be back in this lovely country! It has so much to offer and I hope that everyone who sets foot here takes the time to let some of the details soak in, because I would say that those details are what helps to make the experience important and memorable.
So classmates, now’s the time to get out your reporters notebook, still camera, or journal and take note, remember to keep some sort of record during your time here. I’ve found it is a very useful tool as I move through life and from time to time think about my different experiences here within the country.