Wednesday, October 21, 2009

A little Dominican culture

First off, let me reiterate that Dominica is NOT the Dominican Republic. I've had to explain to people several times the distinction. They're not even that close together, at almost 600 miles apart -- or the distance from Chicago to Atlanta. Also, getting to The Dominican Republic is much easier than getting to Dominica! Unless you live in a city with non stop service to either Antigua, Barbados, or San Juan it's going to take you at least two connections an an overnight to get here!

The Dominican Republic is a Spanish speaking country, while Dominica was colonized by the French and British. As a result, English is the standard form of communication here. However, there is a "French-based" language called Patois that floats around here. However, it about as much resembles French to me as English does Swedish. There is a significant African and Carib influence on it as well. It's not a written language, and I only hear it used by older folks. I'm sure there are plenty of younger people who understand it and can speak it, but when walking by groups of young people talking amongst themselves it's almost exclusively English I hear.

From a Caribbean standpoint I'm told Dominicans are very friendly. Define friendly??lol. I come from a culture (Southern) where "friendly" is defined as disgustingly and at times invasively nice. Manners are an art where I come from. Here you say hello to somebody you're just as like to get a simple "OK" (to a "hello", I know) as you are a "fine thanks". It's a little disarming at first.

On a DISGUSTING side note was lab demo yesterday. In a nutshell, not every group does every dissection -- that would be pointless. We split them up and then show them to the other groups. In a nutshell he kept finding ways to uncover and/or touch the cadaver's vagina. He had absolutely no reason to as nothing he was talking about had anything to do with the vagina. But he JUST KEPT TOUCHING IT. I wanted to just say STOP IT! It was very bizarre, and I asked the other people in the group about it, and they noticed it too, saying it was very hard to pay attention to anything he was saying because he kept touching it! Note to all future medical school students -- be well aware of where your hands are at all times.

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