Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Three Years?

At about 7pm on January 30, 2004, I was a local watering hole in lower Manhattan drinking my usual drink, Absolut with cranberry juice. It was my going-away party from my job as a Production Manager at a local trade newspaper. It was bittersweet. I was so happy and excited, but then all filled with a kind of this is it. There was no turning back. I had been having dreams about asking for my job back, saying I made a mistake, etc.

A couple of weeks before I had been having dinner with friends and saying my goodbyes, promising to keep in touch. You know how that goes. But, this was finally it. The next day, January 31, 2004, I was moving to Santo Domingo. Of course I know now that leaving your job one day and moving the very next day out of the country is not the best thing to do. I guess I was scared that if I didn't do it right away I would change my mind.

Getting here was an absolute nightmare. Everything that could go wrong, did. I went to the airport with my "Dominican luggage." I had packed everything that I could think of. I wasn't taking my books, CD's or my endless magazines, but I had everything else. I even took my computer and packed it in my luggage.

When I got to the airport it was pandemonium. My plane was delayed. Okay, nothing out of the ordinary. I went to the counter knowing that I would have to pay for my luggage being overweight. Then I'm told that I can't get on the plane, because I only purchased a one-way ticket. Beg pardon? This made no sense to me, as I purchased the ticket on the American Airlines website. No one could explain to me why they would sell a one-way ticket when it was against the law. After 9/11 anyone (U.S. citizens) traveling from United States had to have a return ticket.

I'm told that I could purchase a $419 one-way ticket with no restrictions, and that once I landed in Santo Domingo I could just go to the counter and have it refunded. I did this, stupidly, with my debit card, as I thought it was just going to be credited easily. It wasn't. I didn't receive a credit for 2 months. For the inconvenience they didn't charge me for the overweight luggage. At least some good came out of this.

We get on the plane and taxi away from the gate, only to have to come back. There was something wrong with the plane. Instead of arriving in Santo Domingo at 4:45pm, I arrive at midnight. To make matters worse, when I get to the guesthouse the lights went out. I couldn't understand it becuase we had spent almost $2K on an inversor with 18 batteries.

That was the beginning of my "Dominican Adventure." I get asked a lot if I still like living here. I do, I just understand that it is different from whence I come, and I guess that is why I like it so much. Here's to more challenges ahead.

Viva Republica Dominicana!!!!!


John K said...

Happy Anniversary, Anthony! It's always great to read your recollections and I know I'm not alone in saying that visiting DR would be very different--and a lot less fun--were you not there. Have a great time and enjoy the warm weather and excitement!

Anonymous said...

To co-sign John K, my experiences in Santo Domingo have been enhanced by your presence. Happy Anniversary neighbor!

the Allen gallery said...

It's funny, it seems as though we've been traveling there and you've been there for far longer than it really has been.

As John said, it would have been a verrrrry different experience without you. You're definitely one of the great people we've had the pleasure of meeting and getting to know!

See you, well, at some point soon :-)

Anonymous said...

Three years? Felicidades, and I will see you very soon.


Anonymous said...

Congrats on your anniversary. I need to get there because it is getting very cold here in Boston.

Anonymous said...

Congratulations on your three years in the DR. I hope to be living there at least part-time next year and I will be looking to you for advice and guidance!
From Puerto Rico,