J: What was life in the Dominican Republic like? What did a typical day consist of?
K: I would go to school in the mornings and then spent the afternoons playing sports. I practiced Tae Kwon Do, gymnastics, volleyball, basketball and ballet, among others. I also studied theater and took some painting, and computer classes… Hum, I was a very busy kid and I loved it!
J: Now that you have been in the U.S. for the same amount of time that you lived in the D.R. How has your conception of home changed? Where is home for you now?
K: is a very subjective and delicate topic, and I think that everyone who is «transplanted/transterrada» like I was, will understand the difficulties that come with the change (i.e. different language, cultural shock, limitations, etc.) However, for me was even more complicated because I never felt I had a home in The Dominican Republic. While there, I lived at my grandparents’ house and even though I would have not changed that experience and their company for anything, I grew up embracing a sense of detachment, belonging but not owning. Here in the States was even worst. I moved constantly from room to room, from apartment to apartment, from other people’s houses to other houses. Only and only know, after I had my daughter I felt that my home was where she and my partner were, which is not necessarily a place, a here or a there, it is more like a state of mind. I finally belong to them and they belong to me and my home is where they are.
J: What does citizenship mean to you? Has this notion changed over the years?
K: Citizenship equals opportunities (and these days more than ever.) As an individual who wanted to pursue higher education, I had to become a citizen; and, after learning that as a Dominican, I would not lose my Dominican citizenship by becoming a citizen in the U.S., instead I would have dual citizenship, and therefore I would have more opportunities, I didn’t think it twice.
J: What does it mean to belong?
K: In my case belonging is almost a synonym of happiness. As human beings we seek for the closeness of others with whom we can share our likes, those we can love and with whom we can find/share enjoinment, bliss, and pleasure. Also, seeing ourselves in the eyes of others, gives us a sense of belonging; that is the key to happiness!