1. I spent less than $300 USD in 2 months
    I wasn't worried about money and no one else seemed to be either. My host families rarely talked about it.
  2. Practically everyone in the country is black/brown
    Of course it was a different type of blackness and Dominicans don't claim being black and white supremacy is still present, but it just felt different. Safer. Like home.
  3. The door to every home is open
    Random Doña's or mothers would invite me into their homes (especially in El Seibo) and talk to me about random shit like chikungunya and my hair. They reminded me of my grandma.
  4. Ate some of the best food I've ever had
    Mmmmkk the salami and unsweetened platanos started to get out of hand near the end but SANCOCHO though. And la bandera of course. And platanos maduros.
  5. Fear of being alone in the world lessened
    I had never been away from my mother for 2 weeks + before my trip. But I survived. It taught me I can go places and not die from missing my family too much.
  6. Learned to really like my face
    This sounds silly but the incessant and comical catcalling from Dominican and Haitian men never felt malicious and also did a lot for my self esteem. I felt cute as hell the entire summer.
  7. Had the privilege of meeting the people in the Bateyes (sugar cane plantations)
    When I first went to the plantations I was an emotional mess and I felt guilty that they were living the way they were. However, I met people (my fav person Elizabeth) that are literally some of the happiest, interesting people I've ever met. They live in huts and don't have much yet they have traditions, hopes, dreams. They exist.
  8. Realized that even though black people are dealing with universal bullshit, there's so much beauty in all of our cultures
    I don't know man, we're just so much more than struggle.