Home Again: Living Out My Dominican Dream

Estimated read time 5 min read

After almost 20 years living in the United States, I finally got to live out my Dominican Dream: moving back to the Dominican Republic for a year. This has been a long-time dream of mine, getting back to my home country to live here with my children. Yes, we moved to Santo Domingo as soon as the school year ended, after a lot of planning, saving, and dreaming. It’s been exactly 3 weeks since we came and I can finally say we feel settled. WE ARE FINALLY HERE!

Of course, it wasn’t without some hurdles…

Ever since I moved to the US, I kept longing for my home country, and that longing only grew stronger after my children were born. We brought them as often as possible for vacations, but it never seemed enough; there was always a feeling that we were not fulfilling everything my heart wanted. Then, a light ball lit on! It all started four years ago after our last month-long trip in December 2009 when my whole family came to spend the holidays together.

It had been more than 15 years since I had enjoyed la Navidad here, which to clarify, here it’s a whole season that kicks off in October, but we joined in December. After we left in January of 2020 I thought about all the places I wanted to take my children to and the events I wanted them to experience: humpback whale watching, carnaval, festivals, concerts, and the list went on. To top it all off, we all know what happened in March 2020 when the pandemic hit.

During those first few months of quarantine, I thought a lot about traveling, about the ocean (which is my ultimate happy place), and about all the things we were going to do during our vacation that year. Of course, no one was prepared for COVID to be a pandemic and to last as long as it did, but that happened. Although that delayed our plans, it only made the feelings of wanting to do this stronger. All those months of uncertainty and seeing how fragile life is, reinforced the importance of taking this trip to show my kids a simpler way of life, and also for my own sake, to feel whole again without having to negotiate my identity, without having to code-switch, without thinking about school shootings while my kids are in school.

Then the last 3 years became the planning stage for this dream. Those who are close to me know that I love to dream, plan and execute. I like dreaming with my eyes open and get as excited with the journey of getting ready as with the trip itself. Amidst all that was happening, one of the things that kept me going and hopeful was planning for this trip. I was fortunate enough to have a lot of work, so I worked and worked to keep busy, but also thinking about the financial goals this plan would entail.

In 2022, I took 2 trips to the Dominican Republic to see potential schools, neighborhoods and get a better idea of where and how we were going to live. By March of this year, I had found the right apartment in the neighborhood I had chosen and had most of the paperwork required for my kids to get into school here. All that was left was to wait for the school year to end so we could travel here. 

Things were going according to plan, but two weeks before our trip, I had a horrible bout of sciatica nerve pain: by far the worst pain I have experienced in my life, so much so, that I wasn’t sure I was going to be able to get on the plane. I had massages, did stretching exercises and things helped somewhat but I didn’t seem to really get better. 

Then, three days before our trip, our flights got postponed for the next day. Although stressful, this was a relief since I needed the extra day to go to the orthopedic doctor and rest before getting on a long trip with several stops. Our flights got postponed twice after that, but it all worked out because it allowed me to get better before the trip and we ended up with a better route: from Raleigh to Miami to Santo Domingo (the original trip had a crazy route and very long hours). 

We finally landed on June 21 and had plans to spend the weekend in Punta Cana, and so we did. We also spent a few days at my cousins’ house in La Romana and a couple of nights at my brother’s house in Santo Domingo before we officially got the keys to our apartment. On July 1st we were finally sleeping in our new home and have been adjusting to the new rhythm of life here.

It’s summer break, so we have been spending time by the pool and already had a weekend adventure in the town of Baní. I will be sharing things we do and experience here as a way to create a record for my kids that they can go back to. Also, I had neglected this space for too long  and it’s time I got back to blogging, which I love.

Hasta luego,


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