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Lindsay de Feliz

Columnists > Lindsay de Feliz

Lindsay de Feliz

Visitors From Afar

Posted by: Carole on Thursday February 20, 2014 (13:30:01)   (3458 Reads)

Lindsay de Feliz

As an expat, one of the highlights of life is having visitors from overseas. Friends and family from your home country, or, in my case, visits from new friends you have made on line. Someone to remind you of where you came from.

I think that visitors are so much more meaningful when you live overseas than when you live at home. For me it means I have the chance to speak my own language, which I rarely do here, communicate with someone from the same culture, and, best of all, someone to bring me all those things I have been missing so much, like Cadbury chocolate, suet to make dumplings, Bisto for gravy, Bird’s custard powder and many more unobtainable items here. Someone once tried to bring me parsnips but the nasty man at customs took them away!    more ...


Columnists > Lindsay de Feliz

Lindsay de Feliz

Winter Comes To The Dominican Republic

Posted by: Carole on Friday January 17, 2014 (10:23:17)   (3407 Reads)

Lindsay de Feliz

When you think of a Caribbean island the whole idea of winter does not enter your mind. This year, for the first time in my 12 years here, I am living in the mountains and the change of the seasons seems a lot more pronounced than on the coast.

The change in temperature and humidity has always been sudden, not a slow change as it used to be in the UK. On November 1st or a day before or after every year, suddenly the wind is cooler and the humidity less. In the mountains the temperature dropped sharply from around 90 degrees Fahrenheit in the daytime to 80 degrees.

Night time temperatures dropped from the mid seventies to the mid sixties. The sun is lower in the sky, it used to wake me between 5.30 and 6.00 as it streamed through the bedroom window, but now it doesn’t even make it into the bedroom. Nights draw in quickly and it is pitch black before 6.30.    more ...


Columnists > Lindsay de Feliz

Lindsay de Feliz

It's The Mosquito Season In The Dominican Republic

Posted by: Carole on Wednesday October 16, 2013 (22:19:07)   (15498 Reads)

Lindsay de Feliz

I have absolutely no idea why God invented mosquitoes. I cannot see they do anything useful at all apart from being a tasty snack for lizards and tarantulas. However, living in the tropics they are all over the place and you would think you would get used to mosquitoes and not let them bother you. You don’t. When I first arrived in the Dominican Republic around 12 years ago, when I was bitten, which was often, I would get a large lump and it would itch like crazy for days. However I think your body must build immunity as now when I get bitten I just get a little lump which goes after an hour or so. I still don’t like them though.

In the early days I would spray anti mosquito spray all over my body from head to toe, just like all of the tourists, but if you live with mosquitoes all year round, besides being very expensive, I can’t see that it does you any good to cover yourself with chemicals day after day.    more ...


Columnists > Lindsay de Feliz

Lindsay de Feliz

Education In The Dominican Republic

Posted by: Carole on Monday August 19, 2013 (22:25:58)   (3137 Reads)

Lindsay de Feliz

The new school year begins this week so I thought I would explain a little about the education system in the Dominican Republic.

The vast majority of children go to public school, which is free, although there are private colleges and international schools as well, which have fees.

The schools are all of a similar design, with large classrooms, and start at 8am. The first round of classes finishes at noon. Those children have then finished for the day. Another lot come in the afternoon from 2pm until 6pm. The children either go in the morning or the afternoon. One of the ideas of the new President, Danilo Medina, is to require children to go to school all day, but this will mean building thousands of new classrooms so it is not likely to happen overnight. He has already started on the program and the engineers have all been appointed.    more ...


Columnists > Lindsay de Feliz

Lindsay de Feliz

It’s Mango Season In The Dominican Republic!

Posted by: Carole on Wednesday June 19, 2013 (21:11:55)   (10159 Reads)

Lindsay de Feliz

One of the good and bad things about living in the Dominican Republic is that there is very little imported fruit and vegetables – at least not where I live, so we can only eat things when they are in season. Now it is the mango season, which everyone looks forward to for weeks.

Traditionally in the Dominican Republic they say that mangos are in season after Easter Week – in practice it is during May, and the season lasts until August. The trees are everywhere and laden with fruit. Where I live, in the countryside, every house has at least one tree and we have planted 10. Although we will have to wait four to six years for the first fruit, it doesn’t matter as everyone shares and the neighbours are bringing bags of mangos around on a daily basis.

The mango originated in Southeast Asia where it has been grown for over 4,000 years.    more ...


Columnists > Lindsay de Feliz

Lindsay de Feliz

Missing The Mushrooms In The Dominican Republic

Posted by: Carole on Friday May 17, 2013 (19:15:30)   (2886 Reads)

Lindsay de Feliz

I think that one of the things that all expats probably have in common is missing something from ‘back home’. Most often people – I miss my mum, the daily Skype chat is not quite the same; sometimes places, I miss wandering around the local town, meeting friends for lunch, shopping in lovely shops; miss watching British television. And I definitely miss the food more than anything. My missing food list is endless, from blackberry crumble and real cream, lamb chops mint sauce and new potatoes, Thai, Indian and Chinese takeaways, dumplings, bisto and anything from Marks and Spencer food halls. I miss Cadbury chocolate, drinking chocolate, parsnips, English peas, cheddar cheese…..I could go on and on.    more ...


Columnists > Lindsay de Feliz

Lindsay de Feliz

Moving House In The Dominican Republic

Posted by: Carole on Monday March 11, 2013 (19:26:26)   (2608 Reads)

Lindsay de Feliz

Moving house in the Dominican Republic is not exactly like moving house in the UK. There are no packing cases, no wrapping things in bubble wrap, no newspaper, no labelling of boxes. Everything gets thrown, literally, into the back of an open truck. It usually necessitates several trips.

The problem with this approach is that although it is quick, many things get broken, many do not arrive as they literally fall off the back of the lorry, and the idea of screwing the tops on bottles of ketchup, mayonnaise, shampoo does not enter anyone’s head. Clothes arrive covered in ketchup, sheets full of salt. You get the idea. Also items are not packed in intelligent places, so when you come to unpack you have no idea where anything is. I have been finding knives and forks in my knicker drawer, and mustard in with the sheets in another drawer.    more ...


Columnists > Lindsay de Feliz

Lindsay de Feliz

Interesting Surprises - The Gay Scene In The Dominican Republic

Posted by: Carole on Wednesday January 23, 2013 (15:35:57)   (11223 Reads)

Lindsay de Feliz

This country constantly amazes me as you expect things to be a certain way – and they are not.

The Dominican Republic is a staunchly Catholic country, catholicism is the national religion and it is said that around 80% of the country are Catholics, albeit not all practising. In addition, in several areas you feel like you have travelled back in time, especially in the countryside where the donkey is the main form of transport, no running water and no electricity. So I expected that prejudices would also be as they were in the UK decades ago. But the Dominican people are very open, very friendly and accepting of who you are and consequently homosexuality is more prevalent here than anywhere else in the Caribbean, with perhaps the exception of Cuba. In fact the DR it is the most gay friendly country I have ever seen. However although homosexuality is legal, gay marriages are still not recognised.    more ...


Columnists > Lindsay de Feliz

Lindsay de Feliz

When The Dream Fades

Posted by: Carole on Thursday November 29, 2012 (18:31:45)   (5131 Reads)

Lindsay de Feliz

I was chatting to a friend of mine the other day, a fellow Brit, who also lives here in the Dominican Republic, and he was telling me that sometimes the frustrations of living here become too much and he just wants to go back to good old Blighty. It got me thinking as although of course I too sometimes have bad days, with no electricity or water, or it is too hot, the mosquitoes are eating me alive or I long for a mushroom or Sugar Puffs, I never even think of returning to the UK.

I thought about it for a while and I decided it depends on whether or not you think have the choice. He has houses here and there. He travels back to the UK every few months. He is not committed to being here and has options. I have everything here including a husband, step children, cats and dogs and apart from my mother and some friends and relatives I have nothing in the UK. If you have a choice, then I think maybe life here will frustrate you more, whereas if you feel you have no choice then you don’t waste time and effort and negative energy thinking about what might be and what you could do. You just get on with it.    more ...


Columnists > Lindsay de Feliz

Lindsay de Feliz

Wartime Spirit In The Dominican Republic

Posted by: Carole on Friday October 05, 2012 (19:58:28)   (2673 Reads)

Lindsay de Feliz

I sometimes wonder what I used to do with all the spare time I had in England, as everything must have been so much easier when I was there. I know I was up early every morning with a two hour commute to work and back, and now I just walk from the bedroom to my computer, but everything seems to be much more difficult here, even though after 11 years away the memories of how life used to be are fading.

When I get out of bed I can only have a hot shower if the electricity is on. If it is not, the water heater doesn’t work as the inverter and batteries can’t cope with anything more than a few light bulbs and the lap top. The same goes for the iron, hairdryer, microwave and washing machine. As the electricity is off for 12 hours a day in two chunks, everything needs planning. If I am going out in the evening, I have to be organised, check when the electricity will be off that day, pray the website with the details on is telling the truth, and work out when to wash and dry my hair nicely which could very well be 6 hours before I am going out.    more ...