I’ve been in Sosua, Dominican Republic for three weeks now. I have settled into a routine that is simple yet tiresome in a different way than my routine back in the States. Well, my routine before the quarantine. I was suppose to put this blog out a week ago and now that this pandemic has taken over, I have had to revise. So here it goes from beginning to now…
I spent 4 days in at Piergiorgio Palace Hotel upon arrival and soon found a place at Sosua Sweet Vacations. The apartment is comfortable and cute with a shared kitchen, small dining room, & living room area, along with a pool and gazebo outside. I hadn’t gotten the chance to take advantage of it all as I was only there to sleep and shower, but with this pandemic going on now I have the time to. That leads me to my daily schedule and of course my temporary job while I am here and life amid the coronavirus pandemic.
I am currently helping out my friend Mosha at his highly rated Jamaican restaurant, Mosha’s Reggae Lounge, on Sosua beach. It is #1 in Sosua with 151 five star ratings on Tripadvisor! The work is a bit different than what I am accustomed to in the States, but it provides me with first-hand experience in operating a small, yet thriving business. I’ve also come to understand the hard work and labor put in by small business owners and their few employees in order to make a living every day. I work for about 9 hours, 7 days a week but it varies. I serve guests, run food, set up and breakdown the furniture, wash the dishes, stock and organize the fridge and anything else that needs to be done. My pay fluctuates based on the traffic of people. Some days we have a good amount of customers, and other days (like today) there are none. So far, the minimum amount I have earned is 400 pesos (approx. $7 USD) and the maximum amount was 2000 pesos (approx. $37 USD). This is significantly less than what I am accustomed to earning as a server/ bartender in the USA but it is also a different way of life. If it were up to me, I wouldn’t take the money, but Mosha insists, and it does help to buy food each day. This experience continues to stress the importance of humility and appreciation for the small things in life. I may not earn the same money I do back home, but I am thankful to spend my time with a good friend who’s heart and life are not tied to materialistic desires.
However, with Corona virus restrictions, things are becoming difficult. Starting today, the Dominican Republic is now under quarantine for the next 15 days, following the actions of other countries. The rules for the quarantine are changing every minute. One minute something is allowed, the next minute, it is not. All of the shops along the beach are closed and tourists trying to enjoy the beach were just recently kicked off as I was writing this. The supermarkets are open, with the touristy supermarket having empty shelves and the local supermarket still having fully stocked shelves (interesting dynamic). I am happy to say I am safe, but the restrictions have shortened or canceled majority of my plans. As preventative measures due to the pandemic continue, I find that it will be best for me to return home, organize myself, and return. Thing is I feel safer here, but I will think about the feasibility of staying longer until this virus blows over. My original fear was dengue as dengue is always a risk here and I had heard of the number of cases rising. So all in all I have to take care of myself, despite being eaten alive some days. I swear my repellent is water in a bottle.
Good thing is that I wake up every day only concerned about my tasks for the current day and being present. I wake up around 5:30 am Monday through Friday to get to the gym by 6 am, but that may be interrupted if the gym is closed. Mosha has been teaching me to train properly and if you could feel how sore I am, you might give up on exercise altogether. After my workout, I shower and get ready for work. I arrive to work around 9/9:30 am, do all of my cleanings and prepare the restaurant for the day. Around 6 pm, I clean the kitchen, break down and pack up the furniture, then head to a restaurant in town for dinner. Our favorite place is Fresh Fresh in Cabarete, the neighboring beach town. The food is exactly as advertised FRESH and very healthy and tasty. At about 10 pm, I head home to shower and sleep. Then I wake up and do it all over again, except no gym on the weekends.
The days are long but full of fulfillment (or maybe I should say they “were”). Now there’s not much to do but workout, sleep, eat and do everything that I have been procrastinating on. Anyway, coming here was actually a harder decision than some may think. I confided in mentors and close friends for guidance and received a huge YES from everyone. I also felt that I would have a huge cloud of regret if I did not follow through. I was stuck on what I thought people expected of me instead of what I expected of me. Even during this crisis, I do not regret coming at all. I learn something new every day, and I am excited to see what opportunities arrive during this time despite this pandemic. A part of me has a desire to migrate here, while the other half is pulling me back to the States (but its a lot crazier there right now so I will stay put). I think once I get organized, I will have a clearer idea of what I will do in the near future. Until then, its Que lo Que and Presidente (jajaja just kidding, I only drink water here. :)) and in the meantime please wash your hands and take care of yourselves. One love.