November, 2020

Another entry in the DR chronicals...

Being A (single) mom in a third world country.

It is fascinating to see on Instagram the recent trend of having many children.
Sometimes I will watch one of their you tube videos. It could never hurt to get a few tips from a busy entrepeneur mom, who seemingly has it all together.

Although we all know there is a good chance that is at least partly a façade.
So I see these families and they all seem to have a pretty good flow and system to keep things in order. But then I realize I live in a 2nd-3rd world country.

And only rich people have automatic washing machines, dish washers, water heaters, 24 hr electricity, etc.
AND THEN I think about the grandmothers here, the ones who grew up in countryside 'campos,' as they call them. Often without even the luxury of running water. They had to go get water from a well with buckets and donkeys, if they were lucky enough to have an animal.
You start to realize maybe people actually had the children just to have some help around the house!
And many here still live that way.
Yes, HERE.
The Dominican Republic.
The lovely and dreamy island where you come to vacation and experience luxury and joy.
In all seriousness though...
I am a mom of 2 now, a ten year old girl and a one year old boy.

(Side note; I am actually a mom of three but placed my second child for adoption.
 See more on that story here.)

And I don't know what I would do without my 10 year old!
How do you mothers survive with all your little children?!
Husbands are helpful, usually. That which I don't have either.
But that brings up another point in this topic concerning this culture, in that it is a VERY patriarcal society.
From one side the men are actually very sweet and involved with their children, but there are others who are more of the head-of-household type and prefer the roll of being authoritative and served by their wives and children.
Many women do not work, and weren't working before all the current worldly crisis, or whatever you want to call it.

This came up in a discussion with my ex mother-in-law because one would assume things are harder as a single mom as I am.
But on one hand it is partly easier as I have no husband to worry about or serve.
I also don't have the steady financial help of a husband either, however.
 So I'm not sure which is preferable. I'd say neither, and hope for a helpful and involved husband, if those really exist?
I know, I know...negative Nancy. Don't start with me on that.
It's just that society and communities in general have come to such a place of complete disrespect and care of the family unit. 

It takes a village, right?
Well not anymore it seems. It takes faith now, because that's all we've got left.

I am getting off topic though...
Just know, your first world mamas, you've got it a lot easier than many other mothers around the world. As I, as well obviously, have it easier still than others mothers that are worse off still.
We have to stay humble and be thankful for these technologies that have made life easier on us moms, and not take it lightly. 
I feel so grateful as well, however,  for this experience of life in a less technilogically evolved society, and confident to know I could survive in a potential situation, say, if things were to become worse off in the world at large right now.
Like more intense shut downs, loss of electricity or something of the like.
With this crown craziness it's so hard not to imagine that it is headed for some place even worse than what we are in now. Because I'm not sure things can go back to what they were at this point anyways.
 I suppose I ought to do more research on the Spanish Flu and see how that all played out, though.
Lets just all try to be grateful for what we have, and maybe even try to find other more primitive ways of daily life and chores, as simple preparation for the what if's.
 It couldn't hurt, moms.
We have gotten very comfortable in modern day living, and would be quite the wake up call if it all came crashing down one day.
I don't mean to be a downer or sound like a conspiracy theorist, but where I live they regularly (whoever "they" are) for no particular reason,  just shut off the electricity in parts of the city and country.
So this is something I have learned to deal with and be prepared for.
A few examples being:
Never let the laundry build up too much.
(An add on to that, hand wash your panties when you take a shower!)
Don't keep too much food in the fridge.
Keep LOTS of candles, matches and lighters handy.
Mosquito nets are a wonderful invention as well, for those of you who live in warmer climate and humid areas. A necessity here when the electricity is out at night. Helpful still as well for deterring spiders and other critters in cooler climate areas, too.
Just a few things to think about in these weird times we live in.
Coming from the mouth of a priveliged American turned local (expat) Dominican.
Be blessed.
Be grateful.
And be aware of the big world we live in and its potential possibilities...and downfalls!

December, 2020

I feel as though Dominicans have killed the sanctity of love.

Now at first it seems real sweet, and even complimentary. Those first years as an expat are naively wonderful. So much wonder and lovliness in the island paradise atmosphere.
But eventually you get down to the gritty.
"How can I help you my love?" Says the grocery clerk.
"Lets go, beautiful," says the motoconch guy (motorcycle taxi).
"Thank you my queen,"  says the fruit stand lady.
And funny enough, my (ex) boyfriend (and baby daddy) never much used any of these lovely pet names in the seven years we were together. Thats a whole other topic in itself, however...
It seems to me that, if everyone is going around calling everyone my love, my queen and beautiful, it really loses a lot of meaning and significance when you actually genuinely want to express this type of sentiment to a partner, friend or family member.
Dominicans in general are a very loving and accepting type. This is definitely one of the Christ-like qualities many of them have. They really do "love thy neighbors," so to speak. 

 I mean that in more than one way, also...

Again, another topic for another time.
Seems to me I ought to do a series on Dominicans!
But honestly, what sentiments are left for the ones we cherish when we go around calling "Joe Blow" my love and my king?
I often wished my then partner showed me as much verbal sweetness as the colmado guy always does!
 Maybe this is one of the offshoots of some of the realizations I've been having lately.
Maybe they really do love everyone and want to express their love and care.
Another point to mention is every partner/boy/girlfriend they ever have is always considered their 'wife' or 'husband,' while not actually being married of course.
This to me does cross the line a little, because as an adult I now value and cherish the idea and custom of marriage.
So what is it to say to your potential future REAL spouse, when all this time you've been calling any old boyfriend or girlfriend, your husband or wife?
Seems diminishing and unfair to them in my opinion, if they do exist out there somewhere.
Walking in love is one of the hardest roads I have begun to walk. Love your enemies. HA!
Well it's easy to say that, and relatively easy to do, from afar that is. Imagine if you had to cross paths regularly, or even live with someone who constantly disrespects and devalues you-and you have to love them! And honor them! And bless them!
Well Jesus surely takes the cake on that one, no doubt about that.
Dominicans are pretty good at it though, much more-so than Americans.
I don't know, maybe it's the Catholic smoke screen, but there seems to be a lot of contradiction to it when I consider it all from afar.
I mean just the other day, an older lady, an apparent neighbor, was offering to sell me some squash (auyama, as we say here). It was a relatively small piece, so I of course either way would have bought it as to try and support others in these trying times, trying to be as charitable as possible to all. We are all struggling, the non leaders of the world, that is.
In the store or colmado (bodega) it wouldn't go for much more than 20-25 pesos, but she charged me 50.
I didn't complain or bat an eye. I want to do good and be good so I handed it over, thanked and wished her well.
You wouldn't believe, in the next breath she begins to tell me to be careful for people calling me outside the house (as she had just done). To always check them out and keep the door locked for safety, and not to trust anyone.
Well first off, duh! I'm a white girl in a dominican only local town, and second; you just ripped me off completely lady with your high price piece of squash and your going to tell me not to trust others? I don't even trust you!
People baffle me, and so does this walking in love business.
But I won't give up, and mostly out of stubborness and determination, as usual I suppose.