Dancing, dinner, and dominicanisms

Authored By:

Lindsay Nelson
Since arriving in the DR on Sunday, we haven't had any trouble adjusting to Dominican cuisine. In our first feedback sessions earlier this week, the answer to the question, “how's the food?” was almost unanimous: AWESOME. From generous servings of rice and beans, to fresh fruit juices made from the mangoes on the patio, we are enjoying each and every meal here.
Pictured: Coca-Cola, Goamaar, Ashley, Naomi, Nydirah, and Kenny 
On Wednesday evening, in an attempt to demonstrate the culinary skills of the many host families of CIEE, students took part in a “cena compartida” (shared dinner) where we walked from house to house, enjoying a different course at each house. Each course, soup, then salad, the main dish, dessert, and coffee, was served by a different host family. On the walk between houses students worked up their appetites.
Adapting to Dominican culture:
In the first day of orientation, we learned that Dominicans are known for their collectivism, which means that they place great value on togetherness and closeness. This becomes apparent particularly when eating, and spending time with guests.
Lyndsey, Goamarr, Leyden, Kenny, Rosa, Franscina, Ashley, Naomi, Tyler, Indigo, and Nydirah
We were shown wonderful hospitality the evening of our shared dinner. The place settings were perfectly placed as we arrived. We enjoyed fresh fruit juices, pumpkin soup, chicken soup, bean salad, pasta salad, spaghetti, cake, dulce de coco, tea, coffee, and of course: Coca-cola.
Not only was the food on point, but entertainment was also readily available.
In Doña Rosa's house students enjoyed the music of famous bachata artist Romeo Santos , and in Doña Soila's house the dessert and tea was served with a side of dance lessons. We turned on the stereo, grabbed a partner, and practiced our best merengue steps in her living room.



Naomi and Goamarr during "El Plato Fuerte"---the main dish 
Stuffed to the brim with food, refreshments, and lots of sugar, we made our way home as the sun set over Santiago.
An evening wouldn't be complete without the hosts enthusiastically inviting everyone back to their house “cuando quieras!” (whenever you want). These families have embraced us so warmly, that even though it's barely been a week, we feel right at home.
Hasta pronto, amigos!