Why go to the Dominican Republic?

The most common question we get lately is why are we going to the Dominican Republic? For those who don’t know, let me explain our plans. We will head down to the Dominican Republic roughly November 25th. Our next three months will be spent learning how to live in a different culture that speaks another language. We don’t plan on spending it in one of the tourist areas you may be familiar with, but rather in a more authentic local culture. Why would we give up the luxuries of a comfortable suburban lifestyle for the rustic simple life of a developing country? Basically because we don’t see it as giving up, but more as stepping forward.

For a while now Nicole and I have been coming to a few realizations about our lifestyle. I’ll probably expand on these in my other blog for those who are interested in more details, enrock.net. Basically we’ve been coming to the belief that our possessions and our floor space are eating up more time, and distracting us from our true priorities in life. After questioning this for a while, and asking how to break some of our old habits we decided that one of the best ways might be to completely leave our regular routine for something totally different. Get rid of many of our possessions, get out of our house, and stop buying stuff. This would then allow us to rebuild in a slightly different manner.

Along with this realization was the desire to teach our kids how fortunate they are. That they just happened to be born into one of the worlds richest populations. To ingrain in them one of my favorite phrases about North American culture: There is no such thing as a middle class, only the excessively rich. We also wanted to develop our kids’ sense of compassion. They already seem to want to care for others, but we think its been a little abstract so far. Giving money to a sponsor child, and old toys to the Salvation army are too removed from the recipient for kids to really experience the joy of sharing and understand how much of a difference they can make in others lives.

Another major goal is to start teaching our kids another language. Having previously debated the idea of an immersion school, but struggling with how it may affect them in other areas this seemed like a great step. Allow them to begin learning a language before they’re in formal classes might give them the edge. We also believed it would only have lasting value if they had others to regular speak the language with which required we learn it as well. Spanish was an obvious choice because of its similarity to English, the number of nearby countries that speak it as the primary language, and an education system in both Calgary and California which support it.

And so we gradually decided a trip to the Dominican Republic would give us the incentive and means to reach some of these goals.


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