February 28, 2011


Each month, we highlight some of the reflective posts of our work study students. Unedited, they blog about observations, experiences and thoughts about diversity in their lives as seen through their lenses.

Reflection from Wanny:
Today, February 27th, is the Independence Day of one of the most beautiful islands in the world, Dominican Republic (D.R). On this day D.R declared their independence from Haiti and changed it’s name to what we call it today La Republica Dominicana (D.R). My parents both immigrated to this country from D.R. With them, they brought history, their native language, treasured traditions, culture and unique customs different from those in the United States.

On days like these I remember I have two sides to myself. I have my Dominican side and my American side. I celebrate February 27th in the same spirit I celebrate July 4th. I speak English with the same fluency that I speak Spanish. It is an experience not everyone can say they have and from those that can, very few realize how important it is.

It can be difficult to juggle the two especially when cultures are what clash. Growing up my parents never understood American schooling. The idea that their child had to leave for college was probably one of the hardest concepts for them to grasp. This past Thanksgiving, a holiday we started celebrating once we came to this country, the most incredible thing happened. Right before my father said grace, he looked around the table and for the first time in a long time I saw my father cry. At first I didn’t understand why but then he began to speak. He said “In this country there comes a time when your children must leave you. Of course, they leave in hopes to achieve a higher education. This is something I had never experienced until Wanny, my first daughter, left to college last year. I give thanks because in the hurt of having to let go somehow our family found the strength to come closer together than ever. Having your baby who is growing up but still very much a child leave you is one of the hardest things I have had to do since I got to this country.” Right then it hit me. I had never thought of the fact that in D.R kids live at home their entire lives up until they save up enough to move out or find a companion to move in with and if neither of those happens there is nothing wrong with living with your parents. In America kids attend boarding schools all the time, they leave to college and are expected to live on their own as soon as possible. Living with the parents is almost a bad thing in the American culture.

Despite the differences between the cultures and the views I have because I was born in America compared to those of my parents who were born in D.R, we still manage to find some common ground. I must say that’s the beauty of it.

Que viva La Republica Domincana en su dia de independencia! Y que viva la Dominicana Americana!