As Brandon mentioned in a previous post, we had the opportunity last Sunday to have lunch with a family who lived in the D.R. for 4 1/2 years. They now live in Bolivar, but up until last year, they were living in La Romana on the southern coast of the D.R. Even though we will not be residing in the same area, they were able to offer much insight as to what we can expect.
We joined this couple at their home for an authentic Dominican meal, La Bandera as they call it. La Bandera typically consists of black beans, rice and some sort of stewed meat, in this case chicken. They also prepared tostones, which are fried plaintains. The food was very tasty and I think Brandon and I were surprised as to how much we liked it!
In addition to a great meal, we enjoyed hearing about what everyday life in the D.R. is like. The following are just a few things we learned to expect to encounter when we move:
1) Rodents. Yes, rodents. Apparently it is not uncommon to have a rodent problem (think rats, not mice) in homes, stores, etc. This also explains why cats are a vital part of Dominican life. Cats = less rodents. Did I mention Brandon is highly allergic to cats! Yikes....
2) Tardiness. Well really it's not tardiness, it's Dominican time. You see in the Dominican if someone says to come over at 6:00 pm, they really mean don't show up before 7:00 pm. And if you show up at 7:00 pm, you will still probably be the first person there. I'm thinking about just setting my watch two hours fast. Then I would always be on time, right??
3) Everything seems to take longer, move slower. This is actually one aspect of life that we are looking forward to, although I can see how it could become frustrating pretty quickly. In America we are use to everything being fast and convenient. In the D.R., not so. This couple said they would go to the doctor with the expectation that they would most likely spend all day there waiting...and waiting. Again, in some ways this will be a welcome change, in others, a daily frustration.
Honestly there were so many other things that we learned from them. One thing that really excited us though was that when they heard what we were going to be doing in regards to working in an English speaking church, they were beyond excited and encouraging. One of the main reasons they left the D.R. was because they didn't have a church or community of believers to fellowship with. They were ecstatic that we were going to be working with an organization that was meeting the needs of all people in the Dominican, including the expats. It was so encouraging to us to hear that they, as people living there, saw the need to reach out to the English speaking people in the D.R.
All in all, we were so blessed and encouraged by our time with this family. Both of their children were born in the D.R. (which was also encouraging to hear), and they both said that they would move back if given the opportunity. Thank you Darrell and Holli for opening your home to us and for your openness and honesty in sharing about your life there!