And we’re back to terrible-quality outfit photos. You see, all those nice photos from the Dominican Republic are actually thanks to my friend Nancy letting borrow her DSLR for my trip (we have the same camera, but mine is still acting wonky, unfortunately). Still, I’m trying to get back into the routine, so here we are.
This was a comfy outfit for a day of classes. Pretty simple with neutral shades – oatmeal circle scarf, black oversized cardigan, cognac boots. My leopard print long-sleeved tee makes it a touch more interesting, but looking at the pictures now, I sure wish I had a good solid-colored statement necklace for a fun pop of color.
After my emotional experience in the Dominican Republic, it didn’t feel right jumping straight into outfit photos. Writing about a fun place in my favorite borough? Not a bad place to restart.
Right before leaving for spring break, I gave my friend from home, Brittany, a tour of my Little Italy Bronx neighborhood. We had some delicious pizza, and then stopped by the Bronx Beer Hall in the Arthur Avenue Market for a quick drink. I read a review in the Times, but it was my first time there and it just happened to be happy hour.
I’m not much of a drinker, but I do enjoy a hard cider now and then. The Beer Hall exclusively serves craft beers from the Jonas Bronck’s Beer Company, also based in the borough, which has a long brewing history. Brittany and I caught up for a couple hours, enjoying drinking out of mason jars. Too fun. I also ran into some Fordham friends, and it was a great way to spend an afternoon.
If you’re in the Belmont neighborhood, I’d definitely recommend the Bronx Beer Hall as a pit stop. Really though, I recommend anything that gives the Bronx a good rep.
“The question is not whether we can afford to invest in every child; it is whether we can afford not to.” – Marian Wright Edelman
This quote is so pertinent to my life right now – I read it on my roommate Bianca’s closet door the day after I returned from the Dominican Republic. It was another incredible experience that I have been so fortunate to have. I’m still struggling to put it into words, and the readjustment to daily life in the city has been a bit jarring.
Even though I have traveled to Latin America before, I had never seen something like the DR. Even the city we spent the weekend in, Santiago, seemed a bit more impoverished than cities like San Jose and Medellin, where my parents were born.
We spent our first day doing a little bit of sightseeing to get acclimated, and then spent Sunday hiking and on the beach. I want to say the hike was amazing, but it was ridiculously hardcore. We all survived though — I climbed a mountain, and it was beautiful.
After the weekend came the part we were all waiting for, meeting the kids. We traveled to Esperanza, in the northwest part of the DR, to volunteer at the Joan Rose Foundation. We fell in love right away, and the feeling was mutual. It was a great feeling, and we spent the week reading, doing math lessons, and playing. The time went by entirely too quickly. We also learned more about the poverty in the area we were in from the founder of the foundation, as well as some of the older students there. They even took us on a walking tour of their neighborhoods, which was really eye-opening.
I’m so glad I went on this journey (with a great group from Fordham), I don’t think I’ll ever stop trying to understand what I learned. I saw the sort of poverty that I had only seen in the news. The foundation doesn’t have electricity, and many of the students don’t have shoes and wear the same tattered clothing each day. But they always have smiles on their faces, because they’re survivors. I think I learned more from them, and hearing their stories, than they did from me in the classrooms. There’s no truly reason why they don’t have shoes to wear to school, and I get to go to college and take photos of my outfits for fun. I’m so grateful for what I have, and I wish all the children the world.