Describe where or what you come from. The people, the places, and/or the factors that make up who you are.
This first prompt of Blogtember (by Jenni) is a little difficult to answer. I am the child of Dominican immigrants who has acclimated to American culture with a passion. I’ve been called the “white girl” on occasions (I’ll leave that for you to decided if it’s offensive or not) because I speak English and Spanish differently than that of my siblings and every other Dominican I know. My husband says Lisette, you’re just a nerd. Yes, this is true. I will forever be a bookworm, but I digress. This weekend I spent time with family at a wedding and a BBQ in New York City and Long Island.
I’m part of the rare breed of first-generation Americans that has acclimated more with American culture than her parents’ culture. But it doesn’t mean I don’t love Dominican culture. Bear with me as I try to describe the Dominican people in a nutshell.
Dominican people can be referred to as gente alegre, or simply ‘happy people.’ There isn’t a family gathering without laughter, drinks and good food. Not to mention dancing merengue and bachata. And, if you’re of the younger generation, reggaeton as well.
You walk into any Dominican household and you’re immediately offered something to eat or drink. ¿Quieren un cafecito? is a common question, which means Would you like some coffee? That or ¿Quieren algo de comer? which means Do you want something to eat? It’s rare to not be offered something at a Dominican home, even if you’re on your way out the door. I’ve been offered fruit, juice, bread and other small snacks on my way out. It’s out of love and care. Even if you say ‘no’ you’ll be offered another item.
Dominican people love playing their dominoes, just like many other Caribbean countries. The men love to gossip over these games (but they’ll never admit it!). If you’re ever in need of gossip, just watch them on the sidelines. It’s hilarious.
The good domino players (like my father there in the red t-shirt) will know which dominoes (or fichas) you have in your hand just by watching you play. They’ll also signal to their partner using secret taps and looks, what their opponents’ hands look like. It’s all very subtle and takes a while to pick up. It’s a fun game that doesn’t require much skill if you’re playing for fun (like me).
The women of course do their own gossiping, when they’re not posing for pictures. All in all, the culture of the Dominican Republic is like a booming party. There’s always something to enjoy, whether it be dancing, food or a good game of dominoes. This was the smallest of nutshells, I know. But if you have any question, let me know! Buen provecho!