So my main reminder while I’m here of life in the states is the 5 updates Yahoo puts on their main page. Though it isn’t much “news worthy” material it often reminds me of what life is like in the states. Many of the articles I read are the “How to…” articles so today I’m writing my own….How to Dominicanize Your Life:
1. Be content with what you have. Life isn’t about material things. You don’t need fancy things to be happy. It amazing how much you don’t need a cell phone, tv, air conditioning, and a hot shower…or even running water for that matter. Surround yourself with the people you love and spend time with them. Go play outside with the kids…or better yet…make the kids go outside and play.
2. Greet everyone with a hug and a kiss on the cheek. The main part of this is not the hug and kiss…its the greet everyone part. Here when you walk into a room you walk around and greet everyone with a kiss. If you miss even one person they get upset that you didn’t greet them. Everyone is family.
3. Gloria a Dios. Give thanks to God for everything. Here when someone asks how you are doing, you say, “Good, Thanks be to God.” Give praise for every moment…including the small ones.
4. Be colorful. Everything here is colorful. From the clothes, to the houses, to the streets. Color is everywhere. Add color to your life! Its amazing how much color changes your mood.
5. Eat a big lunch!! If I want to change one things about my “American” life it would be eating habits. Here, everyday around 1pm we have a big lunch. The family comes home and eats their meal. Breakfast and dinner are relatively small, which for the sake of digestion is pretty smart. Better yet, after the big meal, you take time to “desconsar”, to rest. You take a siesta or just relax before starting back into your day. This does of course mean that you have risen early and have done more than just eat breakfast before 1pm (which some days I struggle with in the states).
6. Eat natural. If everyone in a neighborhood were to grow one fruit or vegatable or herb, how amazing would it be to share in these fruits. Even here, you have to go to the store, so you shop on the outside. I’ve heard this before but never seen it done. Start with the produce and move to the meat and around the outside. Lots of fresh vegatables, fruit, and meats. When possible buy on the street (or farmers market). Stay away from pesticides and chemicals. Go to the paneria (the bread store) to buy fresh bread and most importantly know where you food comes from. I asked Sairy how do you tell if a pineapple is good. She said, here they are all good…but they say the best ones come from Cuesta Arena. Any pineapple from there is always good.
7. Worship with your whole heart. I love the Christian people here. They great everyone with “hermano or hermana” (brother or sister) and “Dio te vendiga” (God bless you). They worship with all they have. Dancing and singing, regardless of talent to a God they have given their lives to and a change to be seen by all. They give an offering, pray, and read the bible everytime they are together, and they pray with their heads in the chairs and knees bent or together with passion and love for their creator. Its so rare that a group of people come together to just pray…and don’t care about the time that has past.
8. Pile into the car. Who cares about comfort, if you are going somewhere and can take a crowd why not.The more the merrier. Pick up a stranger on the way (you definately can’t do this in the states) that needs a ride but can provide directions. Take someone even half way to their house if it is on your way.
I’m sure there is much more that I will add later the more time that I am here.