I am writing this post after taking time to contemplate my experience in the Dominican Republic. While my time in the Dominican Republic was really challenging, I did meet some great people this session and I will cherish that forever. In the words of Maribel, one of my friends there, “…These group of girls is something else… if I were to lose this, fall off, not try, forget about what came from these friendships- I would always wonder and crave whatever greatness was supposed to bloom from our connection. Sometimes it feels like a dream- almost like it never really happened. I mean not only do I know these girls but these girls really know me- which is mind boggling. I mean we might not know each others favorite color (except Ellie because it’s her entire wardrobe), or our pets’ names or whatever else, but we know one another’s truths; and that’s more than I can say about some people I’ve known for years. So to you lovelies, if you’re reading this, I gotch-y’all. I know it took me a little longer to talk about my reality- I know I want to be by myself for a little bit longer- but I felt what we had just as much as you did and we’d be dumb to let it float away.” I can think of no better way to describe my time in the DR than through the wonderful women that I met. The orphanage that I worked in was so rewarding and I feel so blessed to have had that experience. The way that I was sexualized and treated by men in the DR was really difficult to deal with. The way that I was spoken to when I expressed that I was having a hard time and being followed and yelled at and groped was worse. “What did you expect?” they asked me. Not. This. The women’s’ movement has not happened in that country and while I fully recognize my position as a visitor in their culture I do not believe that asking for basic respect is obscene. There were too many cases of harassment to name, but I wish to instead dwell on my positive experiences gained there. The orphanage, my classmates. I learned more than I could have imagined, and though some of the lessons were learned the hard way, I will value them always. I am so grateful for the grant that I received to study there and will cherish my time there forever.