|The s'mores were a hit!|
|Tree growing through the floor in the hallway!|
(Side note: It felt weird typing out "Americans" in that last paragraph, because Dominicans, and Latin Americans in general, feel that the word "americano/a" describes the entire continent and should not be used to describe things only pertaining to the US--to say that, you should use the word "estadounidense." Unfortunately, there's no easy way to make that distinction in English. I should also point out that multiple Dominicans have described me as "americana" but they get to do that since they live here, but it would be seen as arrogant for me to do it because I'm from the US.)
|The view from our balcony! Paradise!|
In short, I'm glad that I went to Cabarete because it made me appreciate the fragile, but growing sense of belonging I have in Santiago. I know my way around the neighborhood and I feel comfortable walking back and forth to school on my own and greeting people in the streets. Between my looks and my accent I'm still obviously a foreigner, but I feel like people tend to perceive me more as an exchange student and less like a tourist. This makes it a lot easier to let down my guard and ask more questions and go new places and try new things, and then those experiences help me feel even more comfortable and ready to try something else. One of my goals for the rest of this week is to keep pushing my boundaries by talking to more Dominicans on campus and going out to explore more of the city.
|CIEE dancers at the International Fair|