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Annamarie Gaglione, Santo Domingo

Who are you?

Im Annamarie Gaglione, a 20 something year old originally from New Jersey, United States.Author of Jersey Girl Gone Caribbean blog and a full time student studying political science.

Where, when and why did you move abroad?

I moved to Dominican Republic in June of 2017 because my fiancé was offered a job opportunity and he couldn’t resist. I followed my heart and began the move along with him.

What challenges did you face during the move?

There weren’t a whole lot of challenges during the move. The biggest challenge was probably figuring out when our shipping container was arriving and when we could actually get it from port. There was a lot of miscommunication about the dates and tax info before we arrived. It was extremely hard getting answers from the port and customs in Dominican Republic.

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Are there many other expats in your area?

There are many other expats in my area. I haven’t met too many from the United States yet but I know they are here. Santo Domingo is extremely culturally diverse with expats from all over the world, literally.

What do you like about life where you are?

I like the simplicity about life where I am. We are truly on island time here and I am able to take life a lot more slowly and really relax while appreciating everything that’s surrounding me.

What do you dislike about your expat life?

What I like about life where I am is a bit of double edged sword. I enjoy being able to relax but along with island time, comes large amounts of waiting. Waiting for everything, whether it’s maintenance on something for your house or mail, or just sitting in a restaurant waiting to be waited on. It can extremely frustrating.

Another dislike I have would have to be the power outages. The power goes out here fairly regularly and there is nothing more frustrating than when you’re in the middle of something that requires power and it abruptly goes out.

What is the biggest cultural difference you have experienced between your new country and life back home?

Being that my fiancé’s family is from Dominican Republic, I already experienced a lot of the culture and knew what to expect. I would say the biggest difference between here and life back home for me is the language. I speak minimal Spanish and it has been a challenge for me. I’m working on it, but Dominicans speak a lot of slang and it can be hard to understand.

What do you think of the food and drink in your new country? What are your particular likes or dislikes?

I love the food and drink in my new country. I pretty much like it all and haven’t really found something I disliked yet. Being from New Jersey, we have lots of hispanic restaurants so I pretty much knew what the food would be like here. The arroz con habichuelas guisada, or rice with red beans, would have to be my favorite. Also tostones. You can’t go wrong with some nice tostones.

What advice would you give to anyone following in your footsteps?

The advice I would give is to try and learn as much of the language of where you are going, before you arrive. Before coming here, my Spanish was extremely minimal and it has proved to be very difficult for me. With that said, if you’re thinking of moving abroad I say go for it. The appreciation gained far outweighs any negatives about moving abroad.

What are your plans for the future?

Right now, I’m trying to live in the moment. In the near future, I’m not so sure. We will definitely eventually make our way back to the States because the degree I’m working on will better suit me there.

You can keep up to date with Annamarie's adventures on her blog, Jersey Girl Gone Caribbean.

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