It’s official! I’ve been in la República Dominicana for an entire week, and I’m loving it! Although I don’t speak much Spanish, I have fully immersed myself into Dominican culture by living with a host family and doing everything I can to be in the community. From the rhythmic music and dancing to the rich food and fresh fruit, the DR has truly proven itself to be a wonderful place through my two favorite things, dancing and eating.
Dancing is something I’ve done my whole life (informally) that will stick with me forever. I don’t know where I got my talent, but one thing I do know is I LOVE to dance to Latin rhythms. Here in Santiago, there are many places to dance, las discotecas (clubs), los balies (dances–at school), and one of my personal favorites, las calles (the streets). Calle Cuba closes down every Sunday–weather permitting–to become a dance floor for everyone. Merengue, bachata, and salsa are the most common forms of dance seen here. Here, a man is expected to approach a woman and ask her to dance (which happened to me). Sometimes–if it goes well–a friendship or maybe even a courtship will develop.
Breaking a sweat on the dance floor sure makes a girl hungry and, luckily, I will eat almost anything at any time. My favorite dish so far is sancocho. ¡Me encanta SANCOCHOOO! (I love sancocho!) And just in case you’re wondering, yes, it is that good. A stew made up of chicken (bone-in), carrots, corn-on-the-cob, yúca (a Dominican staple; similar to a potato), potatoes, cilantro, and some type of magical broth lay atop a bed of rice complemented with a slice of avocado is a complete game-changer. Sancocho is often made as a welcome dish or a dish of celebration, for example, New Year’s Eve/Day, but it can be seen (and devoured) throughout all seasons and for any reason.
Well that’s all I have to share with you for now. I can’t wait to experience more of what this beautiful country and its people have to offer, and maybe I’ll bring a recipe or two back to share.