Tag Archives: Greatness

Differences & Culture Plus A Wedding

“To love and be loved is to feel the sun from both sides” – David Viscott

Santi(Located at the old airport)

Earlier this month one of my best friends got married to the love of her life. I took a plane to Santiago de los Caballeros (Santiago,) Dominican Republic and watched my friend say I do with so much joy and happiness in her eyes. After 11 years of friendship; after all the wondering as to who would get married first, we saw how terribly wrong we were in thinking I would be the first to walk down the isle in anything other than a bridesmaid dress!

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Though I am of Dominican descent (from Santa Bárbara de Samaná) I actually haven’t been to the Dominican Republic since I was probably six or seven years old. Needless to say, that as soon as I stepped foot on Dominican ground I experienced serious culture shock.

I could go into this rant about culture and identity; what it felt like to be classified as Dominican-American or how it felt to not be considered Dominican at all but, simply American. However, at the end of the day I know who I am and what I am. So why focus on that?

Instead, I’ll focus on everything that left me in awe like the streets and it’s colors, the liveliness, the heat (love hot weather,) the poverty, the music (that I enjoy so much,) the simplicity, the crazy driving (You won’t ever catch me driving over there!) but most importantly the WEDDING!

Santi3(Santiago de los Caballeros street)

The streets amazed me. There was so much liveliness, it was a raw image of simplicity. Its beauty magnified with the happiness of the people that inhabited the surroundings.

santi4(Santiago de los Caballeros street)

The driving was insane! I think I would suffer from anxiety if I had to drive over there. For starters I hate driving in narrow streets! I think I suffer from claustrophobia when I’m driving because I cringe whenever I drive in super tight streets. So lets imagine me driving in a bunch of narrow streets with close to no traffic lights and huge cars (oh I also hate driving big cars) I would cry! But this is what I appreciate about traveling, coming in contact with all the differences you find in the midst of all that is going on around you. Ultimately, it is what gives your trip meaning and gives you long lasting memories.

Santi5(St.Luis Fortress)

I was only in Santiago for the weekend (Thursday-Sunday.) Therefore, I wasn’t able to explore as much as I wanted too. However, I was able to accompany Mayra (the bride) and her now husband on their pre-wedding photo-shoot which, allowed me to visit a few areas and discover some beautiful locations.

We visited three spots where the amazing photographer was able to capture amazing pictures of the couple:

1. Monumento A Los Heroes De La Restauracion (Monument to the Heroes of the Resurrection)
2. Fortaleza San Luis (St.Luis Fortress)

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Santi

3. Antiguo Aeropuerto (Old airport)

After the photo-shoot while driving back I was able to witness the poverty in the city. It’s always shocking to see so much poverty; it really makes you appreciate everything you have. People visit these tropical islands and sometimes forget that in the midst of such beauty there is a deep sadness and need within.

After the pre-wedding activities and getting to know the city a little better finally, came the day of the wedding. Everyone was super excited for the big day! We had the best make-up artist in the city turn us into celebrities and our hair came out absolutely perfect! I felt gorgeous but most importantly, Mayra looked absolutely stunning!!

The ceremony was beautiful and the reception was spectacular. It’s always breathtaking to see a love story unfold and bloom. From beginning to end the night was magical filled with lots and lots of dancing and laughter; of course can’t forget the Presidente (Dominican beer) lots of that too…the entire weekend actually!

I almost even missed la hora loca (the crazy hour) because of a quick bathroom break! Definitely one of the funnest parts of the wedding. There we celebrated the infamous carnival (Dominican style of course) with los Diablo Cojuelo. It was super cool because she had a photographer taking Polaroid pictures to pass to people as souvenirs (yes, I took one.) It fills my heart with joy that my best friend got the day she deserved and I only wish her many more blessings to come.

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Thank you Mayra for being a great friend and for the trust you enlisted in me to help make your day one for you to always remember. I couldn’t be more proud of you and I am happy to continue to be a part of your life!

Why Be Great?

“The secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new” – Socrates

In the past few weeks I have been throwing around the word “great” quite often.

Be great!” “You’re great!” “Simply be great!” “Don’t be afraid; just be great!

Then I was finally asked why? Well, why not? In the past I spent too much time focusing on the old and not enough time focusing on the present, on the new. I didn’t realize that it diminished my ability for greatness. It stumped my capacity to achieve greatness and simply made me stuck. I became depressed and lived day by day wishing I could go back to fix where I believed it all went wrong.

Great

One day I woke up and looked around me… I realized that there is a lot that I should be grateful for. I realized that life is merely but a puzzle that I have to slowly piece together. I realized that there’s no other version of myself that I rather be than the version that is simply great and thus, this blog came about.

It’s time we all start accepting ourselves for who we are with our flaws, mistakes and failures. We need to realize that despite of it all, there’s nothing else we can do but grow because greatness isn’t defined by our accomplishments, but by our self-acceptance and belief in our potential to succeed and achieve whatever we put our minds too.

I have two quotes that I wake up to everyday:
“Write your own life story.”
“I’m not telling you it’s going to be easy. I’m telling you it’s going to be worth it”

So here it is: I am not telling you writing your own life story will be easy. I am telling you that writing your own life story will be worth it, if you simply believe it. Therefore, do yourself a favor and SIMPLY BE GREAT!

Savannah, Georgia Pt.2

The adventure continues… Savannah, Georgia still had a lot in store for Shakia and I. [Part 1]

“To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people just exist.” – Oscar Wilde

Day 2
We woke up to what seemed to be a rainy day. We were disappointed that our trip was being crashed by the rain, but my mom always says, “Tiffy, a little rain never hurts a flower,” and with that in mind we headed out for breakfast.

We ate at the famous Waffle House. You cannot go to Georgia and not go to the Waffle House. After eating real waffles in Belgium, I swore I would never have a waffle again, unless it was truly Belgian but I couldn’t stay away. Waffle House you did me good!

I would also like to say that I am officially a fan of biscuits and gravy!

Savannah1

It was time to explore Savannah and its beautiful Historical District with 22 squares. As only true tourists would, we decided that a Trolley Tour would be most beneficial. We chose the Old Savannah Tours. It was great! Throughout the day we were able to hop on and off the trolley and enjoy real life re-enactors of important historical figures in Savannah. Nothing like a little history lesson to freshen up the brain cells.

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Savannah is stunning with such beautiful landscape and architecture. Gorgeous place to take a long walk or go for a nice morning or afternoon jog.

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Can you tell how much I was enjoying the scenery?

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One of the Trolley stops was City Market a cute little social center with little shops, bars and restaurants. By the time we arrived at City Market it was pouring rain and very cold. Apparently, the coldest it has been in Savannah since a very long time. So what do me and Shakia do? Go to Wet Willies and have ourselves a very freezing slushy. Yes, we immediately regretted it. Took us forever to finish our drinks. Not our brightest idea.

We made two other stops at City Market. First, this cute little Art Gallery. I’m a sucker for anything creative. I loved the gallery. It was filled with beautiful paintings and awesome pieces of art. There’s something fulfilling about art whether you’re creating it or infusing it. 

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Second, we stopped by Savannah’s Candy Kitchen. Shakia looked like a little girl who walked into a toy store. It was quite hilarious.

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Savannah 6

The place was cute and they gave us free candy as soon as we entered the store! Even spoke some french with the candyman. I never pass an opportunity to <<parlez un peu>> of French. I do highly regret not getting fresh popcorn like Shakia did. She let me taste a bit and it was absolutely delicious! Cheddar popcorn never tasted so good!

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Finally, to end our day we went to dinner at Paula Deen’s The lady & Son’s. We lucked out because on Sunday’s dinner is buffet style! We were ecstatic! Can’t go to the South and not have some good ‘ol southern food.

savannah

I was so hungry I completely forgot to take a picture of my first plate so instead I took a picture of my second plate. You can never have enough plates at a buffet. After plate three…or maybe four, we were ready for bed!

[To be Continued…]

365 Pages

All over the world new goals and dreams are set into place for 2015. Immediately, 2015 became the year of possibility and hope. January 1, 2015 feels fresh and promising!

On December 31, 2014 we all said goodbye to a year filled with all sorts of accomplishments and failures. We all did it our own way either alone, with family, friends or loved ones. Traditions were set into play: Champagne, 12 grapes, the right color of underwear, everyone has their own. Regardless, it was a celebration, big or small but once the clock turned to 12:00AM it was a new beginning.

Today, we begin to write our book of 365 pages. We smile at the world because we feel unstoppable. Today, we begin to dream big all over again because the air smells fresh with the scent of hope. Today, we try to smile even if we didn’t welcome in the year quite as we wanted because there are better days ahead. Today, we forget about our future hardships because we are excited about the new possibilities. Today, I begin to write my book of 365 pages and it’s starting with a small positive note to you.

Lets not forget what we learned from 2014 and put it into action in 2015. Lets start executing our New Years resolution. Lets do what we can’t see ourselves capable of doing. Lets be great!

Happy New Year!