Even after eight years here it still takes a bit of mental effort for me to be hospitable in a Dominican way. In her book, Foreign to Familiar, Sarah a. Lanier shows some major differences between hot- and cold-climate cultures (Most North Americans would be put in the box of cold-climate culture while Dominicans would generally be in the hot-climate culture box). When sharing about the differences in hospitality she shares that for hot-climate culture “There is little concept of it being a formal occasion that requires a special menu or cleaning the house first. Spontaneity is part of hospitality.” She also goes on to explain that in a place like the Dominican Republic visiting someone unexpectedly will never be taken as an interruption nor would people ever forfeit hospitality for time alone.

This is still hard for me at times. For example, three nights ago some friends were over and I suggested that we make dinner together…. It was about 7pm and I was really hungry and a little tired, we ended up eating rice & eggs with onions on top by 9pm and then everyone wanted to watch a movie. By then I really wanted to go to bed but I ate a little bit of chocolate and enjoyed a fun Dominican movie.
The next day I had young girls in and out of my all day, some practicing a dance for Sunday School, others wanting to draw, and others just wanting to say hi. And then in the evening the same group of friends that I made dinner with the previous night came over wanting to make dinner again. I really didn’t want to as time alone seemed really appealing, yet at the same time hanging out with friends is really appealing as well. So we made a nice pasta dish and had a lot of fun. Last night it rained really hard so I had an excuse to close my door and stay hidden in my house for a little bit of alone time. All that to say that I’m still learning and growing in hospitality.

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