A Wedding, the United Nations, and Disney

A wedding. Two unique people become one. A mystery and a marvel. Until recently I’d never attended a January wedding, but starting a new year with a couple committing to share the rest of their lives felt right. And kind of Disney. Weddings renew hope, reminding us that there is happy-ever-after, not only for the…

Relax in Nashville Like a Local

Before moving abroad, I lived in Nashville from 1987-2014.   This year I plan to move back to Tennessee and the place I call home.  Most tourists come to Nashville for offerings in the  downtown area –country music, sports, special events–but for lazier days wandering urban neighborhoods like-a-local is relaxing and fun.  Over Thanksgiving weekend I had…

Wisdom Wanted for the New Year

It was a good day. My coworkers in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic  greeted me Latin-style after our being off for 3 weeks for Christmas break. Hugs. Kisses.  Big smiles.  “Happy New Year!” “Feliz ano nuevo!” On my way to the grocery an older lady saw me trying to cross the street in the rain and…

Knoxville & Smoky Mountains: Great Escape and Journey Home

Though I am writing this on a Dominican Republic beach a couple of hours from Santo Domingo where I’ll return to work on Tuesday, I’m reliving the mountain escape I had while home for the holidays.  I’m sorry I missed the snow in Tennessee that arrived just after I flew back to the Caribbean on…

Perfect Gift: Italy All Year

Nine trips to Italy and I’ve just planned the next one.  This year I spent New Year’s Eve in Venice, my birthday in Tuscany (below), and Easter in Rome, but I’m asking Santa for an extended holiday in the land I love. Thanks to Chef Paulette‘s just-released book,  Italian Cooking Party, this tour will last for…

Pat’s Palo for a Front Row Seat to the Real Santo Domingo

Like I said, Santo Domingo takes salsa seriously from Sunday night dancing-in-the-street in the Old Town to Saturday night shaking-in-the-courtyard in the New City.  According to health experts and dance studios, such as Arthur Murray, salsa and merengue burn an average of 400 calories per hour.  Good to know for those who love the pulled…

Piantini Pleasures…Good Eats in Santo Domingo

We must have a pie. Stress cannot exist in the presence of a pie.–David Mamet I am not a glutton.  I am an explorer of food.–Erma Bombeck Santo Domingo has surprised me with its wealth of food choices– from mega groceries full of imports to familiar chains and international cuisine.  While many coworkers have cooks…

Sunshine Blogger Award

Just in time for Thanksgiving…I am thankful for this nomination and a chance to thank some bloggers who bring sunshine into my life. When I was a little girl, my parents, sister and I ate every Thanksgiving at our grandparents’ house.  Mama Lou was the most positive person I’ve ever known.  I can still hear…

Salsa in the City: Santo Domingo Rises from Ruins

Dance first. Think later. It’s the natural order. – Samuel Beckett For those wanting the ultimate Dominican experience, check out Las Ruinas in Santo Domingo where every Sunday night locals gather to dance merengue, bachata (both invented here) and salsa—the world dance popular from Asia to Africa to Australia. I love hearing Latin music played…

Samana Road Trip: Day Two

After a Domincan breakfast of eggs, bacon, sausage, beans and rice, papaya, mofongo we were  back on the van following the blue bus above deep into the jungle. It is estimated the Dominican Republic has 1.5 billion USD in marble, most of it mined in the Samana province.  When we explored  Mina de Marmol I…

Road Trip to Samana Province: Day One

I understand now why local friends kept saying they love  vacationing in Samana.  While Punta Cana on the easternmost tip of The Dominican Republic is better known by tourists for mammoth all-inclusive resorts, Samana on the north shore is more a Mom and Pop kind of place–pristine and private.    The beach above, Caylo Levanto,…