reflections after nearly a year in DR...

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Eleutheria

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The past few weeks I have been realizing how unhappy I am here. I have also realized how woefully unprepared I was for this move. It took a ton of effort and organizing to pack up my life back home and in retrospect, I didn't spend enough time preparing for life here.
I also feel humbled, as I assumed that speaking Spanish and living in other countries in Latin America would spare me some of the difficulties, the "gringo tax", etc. Not.
By choice, I moved to a very Dominican city and have found it very difficult to make Dominican friends. I had the misfortune of hooking up with a fraudster foreign lady here who made my first few months very difficult. I put my trust in her, which was a mistake, and recovering from that and the blow to my self-esteem has been hard. She fooled me and I did so much to help her and she screwed me over and took advantage of the fact that I was new here.
It has been expensive and frustrating and I am not sure what kind of a future I see for myself here. I do love the weather and find it a beautiful country, and dealing superficially with some Dominicans has been OK, although I have been ripped off, lied to and cheated, and every day some attempt is made to part me from my money.
I feel exhausted and fed up. I do not know if this feeling will pass! I invested a lot of time, money and effort so far, and I don't know if I should throw that away. I have a nice home here but that's about it. I work online, so I am not tied to any particular community here, or to the country.
I do not know if I should try a community where there are more expats or if my goodwill in general towards the DR has come to an end and I should just go.
I have contemplated moving to Colombia, or Panama, but there are times I wonder if on balance it would be any better.
My biggest issue is not the electricity or the garbage, I can definitely work around the inconveniences, as there are also conveniences that help like the colmado and pharmacy delivery, the frequent and inexpensive transportation, etc.
It is the cheating and the corruption and the lying and the general lack of values that I can't deal with. I understand ALL the many reasons for this, survival, poor education, etc., etc., etc., blah, blah blah but I hate it, it's awful.
I appeal to the wisdom of the board in this sh!tty time? keep trying? Throw my shoulder into it and see what happens? Or cut my losses.
I would be especially interested to hear from posters who have left the DR for another Caribbean/Latin American destination and how that worked out.
Thanks everyone!
 

Chirimoya

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Sorry to hear it's been such an ordeal. Why did you move to the DR? Was it for work or some other reason?
 

RV429

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I think it was the Philosopher cccc of Costambar that once said that "if you don't trust anyone you will not be disappointed".
 

Eleutheria

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Sorry to hear it's been such an ordeal. Why did you move to the DR? Was it for work or some other reason?

I moved here because I needed a change in my life. I am very happy that I left Canada as I felt I was kind of stagnating there. I have really enjoyed Latin culture throughout my life and wanted the opportunity to live in a Spanish-speaking country. Although I am glad I left my life there, I feel like the DR may have been a mistake. My other experiences have been in Cuba, Colombia, Venezuela, Mexico and I did not find the people to be like they are here (hate to say it, but it is how I feel). Or maybe a better way of putting it is that here there seems to be a higher proportion of "tigueres" and a smaller proportion of educated people.
 

bigbird

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Just my two pesos, if you are mingling with "barrio peeps" yes, they will rob, lie, steal, look you in the eye while their friend stabs you in the back. Plain honest truth. On the other hand if you mingle with working Dominicans who have a real job, step it up and mix with Dominicans who actually have credit cards in their wallet plus a company given health card. NOW things are truly different.

AZB would always get on his soap box and preach you have to mix with the right crowd. Can't say nothing but that is the truth.............
 

wrecksum

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It can be trying living here I think most ex-pats would agree.

Maybe it's the town you are living in? I didn't catch where you are but the place you live can make a big difference, both good and bad.

Whether it's worth the effort to persevere or not is a difficult one. Many of us have painted ourselves into a corner so make the best of it by a complete change of lifestyle and many just give up and call it quits.
A change of town may help.
 

Eleutheria

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Just my two pesos, if you are mingling with "barrio peeps" yes, they will rob, lie, steal, look you in the eye while their friend stabs you in the back. Plain honest truth. On the other hand if you mingle with working Dominicans who have a real job, step it up and mix with Dominicans who actually have credit cards in their wallet plus a company given health card. NOW things are truly different.

AZB would always get on his soap box and preach you have to mix with the right crowd. Can't say nothing but that is the truth.............



I have heard this refrain since before I got here. I speak Spanish and know how to conduct myself according to the norms of society. I do not spend time with chopos. I am educated, do not dress like a tourist.
Just wondering where this mythic "middle class/upper class" is, the Dominicans who are not trying to "aprovechar". In my experience here, they all seem to be doing this, to one degree or another.
I live in a nice neighbourhood. The other day I phoned a dentist, one recommended by a poster here, by the way, and was quoted 4500 pesos for a teeth cleaning. I had to bribe the clerk at Claro to get my internet installed. Stuff like that. Yep.
I am not sure that "not mixing with the right crowd" is exactly the issue.
 

AlterEgo

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Jan 9, 2009
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I gather from your other posts that you live in or around La Romana. May I ask why you chose that location?

Have you considered other places in DR, and have you traveled about the country to get a feel for other cities?

Before leaving the country, maybe a change of venue might work.

PS. Had our teeth cleaned in Santo Domingo earlier this year - 1000 pesos each, and she did a great job.
 

Mauricio

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Nov 18, 2002
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All the people in my social circle are decent people, most better off than I am. I haven't had one issue with those people cheating on me. To the contrary, they are way more generous than the average dutch friend of family would be.

However, it's the daily dealing with people out of my social circle that ticks me off. In the supermarket, at the doctor, at the insurance company, in traffic, etc. etc.
 

william webster

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I gather from your other posts that you live in or around La Romana. May I ask why you chose that location?

Have you considered other places in DR, and have you traveled about the country to get a feel for other cities?

Before leaving the country, maybe a change of venue might work.

PS. Had our teeth cleaned in Santo Domingo earlier this year - 1000 pesos each, and she did a great job.

I have said before, and will do so gain.....
stay away from the tourist areas (if AE is right about la Romana)

I have suffered nothing like you experience & I showed up with NO Spanish but a fully built house...
Bought land and built.

If you're that fluent..... take a trip 'down the road' to where 'people' live.....

Middle class, etc is big city stuff.

Genuine people can be found anywhere..... easier out of the tourist areas.....
 

Kipling333

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Yes Mauricio I have no problems with the hundred of Dominicans whom I can call good aquaintances. I have learned to live with the others without much frustration.. you just have to keep relaxed and let things roll along .

This is the DR with specific frustrations but if Eleutheria lived in San Jose or Bogota or Ciudad de Panama those places also have their specific problems . I tend to agree with Altaego that Eleutheria should look for a place in the DR where he is comfortable ..maybe where he can mix with other north americans sometimes if the Dominicans are getting him down .
For me, I love the service at las Bombas , or having my shopping taken to my car or even to my house , the lack of mail, the constant saludos or buenos dias from people I do not know and the casualness of the country . I also enjoy the cheapness of good french wine here , the latin music and so on..so that for me the pros outweigh the cons by a long stretch ...
 

CristoRey

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"although I have been ripped off, lied to and cheated, and every day some attempt is made to part me from my money"

Yes indeed, some parts of the Dominican culture can be a little tough on people. Welcome to Wonderland/ Paradise.
Its a package deal. Maybe you should just flip a coin, heads you stay, tails you go. It worked for me, been here 3 1/2 years and counting.
 

Eleutheria

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Jun 23, 2015
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I have said before, and will do so gain.....
stay away from the tourist areas (if AE is right about la Romana)

I have suffered nothing like you experience & I showed up with NO Spanish but a fully built house...
Bought land and built.

If you're that fluent..... take a trip 'down the road' to where 'people' live.....

Middle class, etc is big city stuff.

Genuine people can be found anywhere..... easier out of the tourist areas.....


LR is not a tourist town. There is Casa de Campo (restricted access) and some cruise ship tourists who walk to the park and buy souvenirs. I live in a middle class Dominican neighbourhood. I am a single woman.
I have started to travel to a few different towns and cities to see if I might find a better life there. I appreciate your input, I am just wrestling with the decision to stay or to go.
 

CristoRey

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"On the other hand if you mingle with working Dominicans who have a real job, step it up and mix with Dominicans who actually have credit cards in their wallet plus a company given health card. NOW things are truly different."

Trying not to laugh. Not much of a difference.
 

dv8

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go. it's not gonna get any better. i've been here 9 years and have exactly zero dominican friends. and i mostly deal with so called middle class whom i find boring and vapid. women are particularly bird brained and incapable of any thought outside of the field of breeding and grooming. even those who are seemingly educated and have jobs have completely vacant heads. i prefer to limit my human contact to dr1, really.
 

Robert

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go. it's not gonna get any better. i've been here 9 years and have exactly zero dominican friends. and i mostly deal with so called middle class whom i find boring and vapid. women are particularly bird brained and incapable of any thought outside of the field of breeding and grooming. even those who are seemingly educated and have jobs have completely vacant heads. i prefer to limit my human contact to dr1, really.

You sound like a bundle of fun :)
 

Eleutheria

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Jun 23, 2015
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Thanks for the feedback and the input. I recognize that I am in quite a negative space right now, and I am not sure what to do to change that. I have visited home a couple of times since I got here. I know, obviously, that this is a poor country. I do not believe that it is inevitable that poverty and lying, cheating and lack of morals go hand in hand. Obviously, people who have more, and know more, can make better choices and have more options.
But I see such a ghetto mentality here, such an utter lack of long-term thought, such a disregard for others. I have seen Dominicans rejoice at the suffering of their "enemies", they all seem to think getting one over on someone is a triumph.
This is the single biggest thing that makes me want to leave.
It is easy to say that not all Dominicans are like this, that is definitely true, but there is a pervasiveness to this mentality that is staggering here.
 

bob saunders

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I moved here because I needed a change in my life. I am very happy that I left Canada as I felt I was kind of stagnating there. I have really enjoyed Latin culture throughout my life and wanted the opportunity to live in a Spanish-speaking country. Although I am glad I left my life there, I feel like the DR may have been a mistake. My other experiences have been in Cuba, Colombia, Venezuela, Mexico and I did not find the people to be like they are here (hate to say it, but it is how I feel). Or maybe a better way of putting it is that here there seems to be a higher proportion of "tigueres" and a smaller proportion of educated people.

Funny. My brother found his experience in Havana Cuba similar to yours and he is married in to a very nice Cuban family. After spending six month really enjoying Costa Rica he figured Cuba would be the same. My Dominican wife is a firm believer that when you lay with dogs you gwt fleas. It sounds like you were surrounded by dogs.
 

Kipling333

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go. it's not gonna get any better. i've been here 9 years and have exactly zero dominican friends. and i mostly deal with so called middle class whom i find boring and vapid. women are particularly bird brained and incapable of any thought outside of the field of breeding and grooming. even those who are seemingly educated and have jobs have completely vacant heads. i prefer to limit my human contact to dr1, really.

that comment really explains a lot ..is unbelievable to me.
 
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