Bienvenido A Santa Domingo
Welcome to Santa Domingo—the first city of the New World!
What does that mean exactly? It means that the capital of the Dominican Republic was the first city to be established in the America’s. Santo Domingo was founded in 1496 by Bartolome Colon (brother of Christopher Columbus…I guess conquering new lands ran in the family?) Tromping through buildings dating back to the 1500’s on our walking tour with Runners Adventures, I was in awe of how very, very old the buildings were and how very, very little I knew about the rest of the world.
I had no idea that the Spaniards came to the islands around the 1500’s and bartered with the indigenous people who already resided there and then brought in slaves from Africa. The fact that it had the same parfait of history as the United States blew my mind a little bit. The reason for the confusion is because all three cultures have melded together so beautifully that it’s difficult to see the distinct races and histories of the people who reside there now. The fusion is especially evident in music. Bachata and Merengue songs pull from ancient African beats while the Spanish language wraps itself around the harmonies with the longing and romance that only a Dominican man can convey.
We visited the Columbus Lighthouse, the burial site of Christopher Columbus. Again it struck me that due to the curiosity, ambition and mercenary nature of this man, worlds have collided, cultures have clashed (some have been wiped away entirely). Due to him and other explorers like him (Marco Polo, Hernan Cortes, Vasco da Gama, Zheng He) there is no country left that consists of only one race and religion and mindset. Due to our predecessors, we are all Global Citizens consisting of so much more than just the country we reside in. And with this realization, came the swift conclusion that we all face Global problems such as climate change, overpopulation, pollution, and dwindling resources. The only way to tackle these issues is by working together as a planet, and not being childish and blaming one group of people for the problems that we all face.
Watching the Dominican people accept their past with such grace, enjoy their present with joyful music, and prepare for the future with enthusiasm, it became clear that there is so much more beauty in coming together than tearing each other apart.
Can you believe this will be my last article for 2019? Crazy, right?
I wanted to take a moment to thank you, dear reader. You see my writing means nothing without having someone on the other side to read it. So thank you for taking the time out of your busy schedule to glance at my articles. The world is filled with shiny, distracting things, so the fact that you allow me to occupy your mind (for a tiny period of time) is incredibly flattering!
I hope you take a minute to reflect on everything you’ve accomplished this past year. On the battles you’ve taken on (and won) and maybe certain losses that couldn’t be avoided.
If you are receiving these email blasts, it’s because we’ve probably met somewhere and you contributed to my life in a positive and lovely way. I look forward to writing to you in 2020. My apologies in advance that the articles have no rhyme or reason—I am just driven by curiosity and it doesn’t fall under any particular category.