Meeting Expats in Dominican Republic

Published: 14 Jun at 10 AM
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Filed: Meeting Expats,Dominican Republic
My first question is why on earth would you want to? It seems odd to me that when we travel abroad because we want to experience the excitement and wonder of living in a different country, with a different culture, different people and maybe even a different language, the first thing most expats want to do is to meet other expats.

The traditional vision of an expat is a slightly pink, slightly overweight person, definitely in shorts, standing next to his barbecue in the back yard near the pool, wearing a worn straw hat and with a gin and tonic in his hand. He is surrounded by others of a similar ilk, all laughing raucously at something which happened, usually involving the local community. His wife is busy in the kitchen, gossiping with other expat women and supervising the local ‘help’.

In the Dominican Republic there are several of the traditional expats. None can speak Spanish, all live in gated communities cut off from the real country. They play golf, watch satellite television, receive weekly food parcels from their home country so they do not have to go without anything they are used to. They could be at home – apart from the weather.

The problem with wanting to meet expats is that you will find yourself associating with people just because they speak your language. Very often you would not go near them if you met them in your home country, as they are just not your type of people. But once you find yourself desperate to be able to associate with someone who comes from ‘back home’, you will take whatever you can get.

They say that in the DR you should trust the expats even less than the Dominicans. Many are con artists, some on the run and hunted by Interpol, some have run out of money and will worm their way into your affection looking for sympathy, a bed for a night – which turns into months, or even hard cash.

Having said all that, I have some great expat friends, all of whom I met online, through forums, expat websites and other social media. This, to me is the best way of meeting expats. You can get to know each other online, work out if someone is decent, someone you would want to spend time with. Even if you live miles away from each other, you have someone out there who can share your good times and bad, who can pick you up when you are feeling down, give you advice when you are stuck. Eventually you can meet up, and when you do, you know you already have something in common.

So yes, I like meeting expats, but not in bars to talk longingly of home and trash my adopted country, not in their manicured homes on the edge of golf courses, stuffing my face with food from their home countries, but online – so I can live like a local, eat like a local, interact with the local people, but still get my touch of sanity from people who think like me and speak my language.

About the author

Expat Blog ListingLindsay de Feliz is a British expat living in Dominican Republic. Blog description: The story of the life of an expat woman living in a Dominican barrio with her Dominican husband, step sons and an assortment of animals.
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