What It Feels Like To Be A Foreigner In My Own Country

What It Feels Like To Be A Foreigner In My Own Country

I finally returned to the Dominican Republic.
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The last time I lived in the Dominican Republic for an extended period of time I was ten years old.


Now as a 21-year-old woman, I am spending my summer on the island doing a three-month long internship. My experience so far has not been that of a common vacationer. I have immersed myself in my country and its culture and I could not be happier.

When I say I have immersed myself in my country and its culture, I mean that having lived in the United States for the past 11 years I have lost touch with some of my roots. I have forgotten what it means to live a day to day life in the Dominican Republic and have taken for granted a lot of the things given to me.

My people and my family live a simple life. A life filled with richness made out of happiness. This may seem a bit fictional and unbelievable but what I mean by this is that I have never encountered a group of people who are as happy as my fellow Dominicans. A lot of people view Dominicans as drinkers and partiers but the world needs to realize that we are more than that.

This past June I was a foreigner in my own country. I did not know how to take public transportation or how to even ask for directions without making a fool of myself. After realizing that I needed to take a step back and relearn some of my own customs I can now proudly say that I feel more in touch with my culture than ever before.

I have learned what it means to live in the campo (country side) and enjoy the blissfulness of being awaken by the call of a rooster. I have gotten the chance to experience public transportation and have learned that more than 5 people can definitely fit in one car. I have learned that my people are revolutionary and that we are hungry for change. I have learned to feel proud and most importantly grateful to be Dominican. #Dominican @depurasepa

Cover Image Credit: Charnelys Martinez

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To The Friends I Won't Talk To After High School

I sincerely hope, every great quality I saw in you, was imprinted on the world.
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Hey,

So, for the last four years I’ve seen you almost everyday. I’ve learned about your annoying little brother, your dogs and your crazy weekend stories. I’ve seen you rock the awful freshman year fashion, date, attend homecoming, study for AP tests, and get accepted into college.

Thank you for asking me about my day, filling me in on your boy drama and giving me the World History homework. Thank you for complimenting my outfits, laughing at me presenting in class and listening to me complain about my parents. Thank you for sending me your Quizlets and being excited for my accomplishments- every single one of them. I appreciate it all because I know that soon I won’t really see you again. And that makes me sad. I’ll no longer see your face every Monday morning, wave hello to you in the hallways or eat lunch with you ever again. We won't live in the same city and sooner or later you might even forget my name.

We didn’t hang out after school but none the less you impacted me in a huge way. You supported my passions, stood up for me and made me laugh. You gave me advice on life the way you saw it and you didn’t have to but you did. I think maybe in just the smallest way, you influenced me. You made me believe that there’s lots of good people in this world that are nice just because they can be. You were real with me and that's all I can really ask for. We were never in the same friend group or got together on the weekends but you were still a good friend to me. You saw me grow up before your eyes and watched me walk into class late with Starbucks every day. I think people like you don’t get enough credit because I might not talk to you after high school but you are still so important to me. So thanks.

With that said, I truly hope that our paths cross one day in the future. You can tell me about how your brothers doing or how you regret the college you picked. Or maybe one day I’ll see you in the grocery store with a ring on your finger and I’ll be so happy you finally got what you deserved so many guys ago.

And if we ever do cross paths, I sincerely hope you became everything you wanted to be. I hope you traveled to Italy, got your dream job and found the love of your life. I hope you have beautiful children and a fluffy dog named Charlie. I hope you found success in love before wealth and I hope you depended on yourself for happiness before anything else. I hope you visited your mom in college and I hope you hugged your little sister every chance you got. She’s in high school now and you always tell her how that was the time of your life. I sincerely hope, every great quality I saw in you, was imprinted on the world.

And hey, maybe I’ll see you at the reunion and maybe just maybe you’ll remember my face. If so, I’d like to catch up, coffee?

Sincerely,

Me

Cover Image Credit: High school Musical

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Poetry On Odyssey: Ask Me

You asked me to delete the water...

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You asked me to delete the water

Where you held me while the sun was resting

You asked me to delete the words I wrote for you

Once it had turned morning


You asked me to delete your eyes

The way that they would grin

You asked me to forget the way

That I would let you in


You asked me to delete the way

I felt when you would kiss me, there

You asked me to delete the night

Of promise in the air


But you can't ask me to delete you

I don't have the strength the way that you do


So let me keep this.

Let me keep this.

Let me keep the moment in the water...

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