Context is a funny thing. Every year, my family meets at the same house for Christmas, we eat the same meal and have small talk and laughs over movies. Within that communal context and an evening of 7 hours, my family is left with a small space for deep, one on one interactions.
Now, rewind 4 weeks to boxing day in the Dominican Republic. My family of 9 and I are all sharing one house, spending quality time for Christmas. This time for 10 days. We had no car, no TV, patchy Wi-Fi, yet a front row view of the Atlantic ocean. This Christmas, I bonded with my family the most I can remember.
The view from the house’s porch
Don’t be fooled by the serene scene above though. Night 1 consisted of a large bottle of Dominican rum. Night one was also the first time I have ever seen my uncle dance with a smile on his face. Needless to say, our drinks, an ocean breeze, no responsibilities nor timelines, put us in a state of bliss.
This context was good for the soul.
As expected, there was a lot of dancing among the younger cousins, contagious laughter, and ongoing music. We had family dinners, explored, and kept each other busy.
Daily strolls on the beach were a must. Blondie Garcia, the beach dog, was always sure to join.
Night 6 was one that pleasantly surprised me. It was New Years Eve and my family had settled into their proper routines: some reading, some swimming, others dancing. I approached the communal area to grab my drink and my uncle asked me “What goals do you have for the year Angela?”. I hadn’t thought about them yet so I took a seat beside him. Over the course of 30 minutes, my family joined to brainstorm and jot down our individual goals together. In a confined yet relaxed context, I learned a lot about my family. I’ve known them my whole life but this vacation allowed for new conversations, understandings, and much appreciated memories.