Wednesday, April 6, 2011


I've decided to write down some of the peculiarities I've discovered here in the DR in order to capture them before I forget that they ever struck me as peculiar.

Me with host sisters Lorena, Libby, and a neighbor girl

Okay - The proper response to "gracias" (thank you) is not "de nada" (it was nothing) as is the case in every other Spanish-speaking place I've visited. In fact, in the month that I've been here, I've only heard this once. Instead, everyone responds "okay". I'm not sure if this means I'm not welcome. I kind of think people aren't accustomed to being thanked for things.

Dancing salsa with neighbor Karina. Note the look of boredom on her face.
She later told me need practice.

Chin - Dominicans have a word for a small amount of something. The word is "chin" (pronounced "cheen"). I suppose this translates pretty well to "bit", but for some reason I still giggle a little inside every time I hear it. Can't quite say why.

Host sister Marilu dances with a friend

Everybody is expected to know everything - In Dominican culture, it seems it is considered poor form to have any gap in their possession of the sum-total of human knowledge. As a result, I have yet to hear anybody use the words "no sé" (I don't know). Instead, they either give some vague answer that makes it clear they don't know or they just make something up.


  1. You know I think that part of people not saying they don't know something may be cultural. It seems they may want so badly to be helpful that they will even give dis- information rather than none at all or having to turn you away. At least that was the case with my limited exposure in Nica. Try asking what they know about a subject possibly, not just the question... Hope your living it up down there, sure you're soakin it up like a sponge. Miss ya bro-heim! Take care.

  2. BTW I've been following and I thought I posted before... but it doesn't appear here...I think my iPhone tricked me! So... IDK if you ever got the other posts sorry ;(