A Dominican Retrospective: Part 3 of 10

The picture above was taken just moments before I would step into the home of Gladys for the first time, I would discover however that she wasn't home and was in fact getting her hair dyed across the street. I remember taking this picture, thinking I was about to cross into another life and then feeling a bit blah about the whole thing when the woman I sought wasn't on the other side of the fence after all.

I'm on a tangent, this post is about Ingrid, Ingrid and her family (Week 2 Day 4). I remember Ingrid from when I was young. I always called her T铆a, spanish for aunt, though I knew she wasn't my mother's sister. In fact I never quite knew what her relationship was to our family yet she was always a part of it somehow. While in DR this time around I discovered quite a few facts about my time in DR as a baby. Like I stated in a previous post it was not my grandmother who came to collect me from the States but instead it was our neighbour Do帽a Gladys. I also found out that the woman who raised me as a child, the woman I originally called Mami and whose bed I slept in every night for the first few years of my life was actually Ingrid.

I discovered that my mother sent me to live in DR many years ago as I overheard her crying her confession to a doctor. Though hearing this was not easy I had always assumed my grandmother had been the one to take care of me, as I had (at this point) known that she had raised my older brothers. To this day my mother does not know that I know the truth, she thinks I still believe the lie that we lived in a nice house in Connecticut where raccoons would come to our yard and we would feed them rice.

Ingrid was sent to live with my family when she was a young girl. It was quite custom for girls of really poor families being sent away to stay with more affluent families, living in their home and essentially acting as household staff. Ingrid however was a distant relative of my grandfathers, her parents being second cousins of his. After his death his affluence over that side of the family failed (as it did in ours) and Ingrid was put in my grandmothers care. My mother though saw her as a younger sister and basically raised her. When my mother first left DR, she left my two older brothers in Ingrids care. Ingrid was twelve at the time and so it was really my grandmother who raised them from that point forward.

Jump forward 10 years and you'll find that I am now in Ingrids care, though this time she is old enough to take care of me without my grandmother's supervision.

Spending time with Ingrid on this trip was difficult. She still saw me as a toddler, trying to hold my hand when I crossed the street, not allowing me to venture into the streets though her 14 year old son did whenever he pleased, forcing me to eat and finish my plate. It was like I was 5 again. I did not like it. I tried to understand that she saw me in a very different way than I could see her. My mother is my mother as far as my memory allows, it was difficult seeing someone I hardly know coddle me so. I think I hurt her feelings, in fact I'm sure I did, but I did not know how to react to her behaviour.

I recognise that I have been a bit brash with this post, but it is a fair representation to how I felt at the time I lived it. Ingrid and her family were good to me clearly, they gave me a place to stay and food to eat while I explored their town (my grandfather's birth place) looking for answers. I could not have done it without them, and though the time was a difficult one - I did learn something about my past, and learned to be ever so grateful for my future.
A Dominican Retrospective: Part 3 of 10 A Dominican Retrospective: Part 3 of 10 Reviewed by Christ贸pher Abreu Rosario on 21:42 Rating: 5

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