Book Recommendations, Thoughtfulness

Reflections of a Dominican-American

Happy belated Dominican Independence Day!

This past week was Dominican Independence Day and when I think about the Dominican Republic I always come back to the years I lived there as a child. When I lived there I did not appreciate it at all, but now that I’m older I can’t help but feel nostalgic and wish that I could go back to those days. And because I am feeling nostalgic, I thought I’d share with you a bit about my heritage. I am a Dominican-American. I have lived most of my life in the United States but I hold close to my culture.

I didn’t grow up in the fancy or more advanced part of the Dominican Republic, I grew up in a small town by the beach with my dads side of the family. To this day, I have no clue what the nice parts of the Dominican Republic look like but hope to one day find out.

My grandfather had been a fisherman and his sons followed the same route. My grandfather, who we all know as Papa, ran a small pescadería (a fish market) and his sons and others provided the fish to be sold. My whole family lived by this beach, Papa’s beach. I lived with an uncle, his wife, and their children. They took me and my older brother in as if we were one of their own. My older brother always had a much more carefree spirit than me, I was more of a grumpy old troll stomping around, complaining about wanting to return to New York every time I got the chance.

Looking back, I wish I could simply return to those days when I lived by the beach. I wish I could just sit for a whole afternoon staring off beyond the coast and not worry about a thing or listen to the slapping of the palm leaves against each other on a windy day or the rain tapping at our tin roof on a stormy night.

Gone are the nights when we sat on the sidewalk when the light went out and told ghost stories about pepito (who just happened to be the protagonist of all our scary stories). Those are the moments that I cannot regain. I can only look back at them, just as someone looks into a snow globe, wishing that life stood still so that they could revisit those moments that were precious to them.

Nevertheless, I am proud that I can tell stories such as these. Simpler times I experienced as a child, the sweet memories of life on my beautiful island, the Dominican Republic. Maybe the reason I look back at those times with fondness is that, deep down, I regret not appreciating the time I had there. Maybe God had been trying to teach me contentment as a child and here I am, an adult reminiscing about time lost. Every once in a while my nostalgia leads me to write a short story, maybe I’ll share a few with you guys in the future.

I recently came across a book that I am interested in reading, it’s titled Too American to be Dominican. Too Dominican to be American. It’s funny because this is exactly how I feel sometimes. I think it will be a good read and might provide more insight into my beloved culture.

SDG – “Soli Deo Gloria”

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