Thursday, February 21, 2013

The move begins

It is nearly time to move out of the barrio and into the campo, the countryside. In order to save me being stressed, my husband said that he would be in charge of everything. He is currently doing renovations on the house we are moving to, basic things like building walls, sorting electricity and water, sticking the roof on and planting trees in the garden. He is also slowly moving furniture in there. He has taken control of absolutely everything, including decorating. I had asked him to think carefully about the cats and dogs, to try and make sure they were kept separate.
He told me not to worry as he had installed cat flaps – I was intrigued as I had never seen them on sale here. Here is his cat flap.

As the outside wall is high up, he has built steps for the cats.

Now I know that some people are going to shake their heads at my new cat flap but it really makes me smile, and I know that every morning when I get up and am making the coffee I will laugh at it, starting the day off on the right note.

I asked for a vegetable patch too and was expecting one like England, a sort of square or rectangular area with different veg planted in rows, each seed 4 inches apart, with the seed packet on a little stick at the end. I don't quite have that. I have palm trees with seeds scattered around the bases. Cauliflower, carrots, peppers, chillis and even parsnips.

Cauliflower already growing. You can see the packet stuck in the tree

And a couple of days ago half of our furniture moved into the new house.

Well I should say it left this house. No idea if it all arrived or fell off en route.

Whilst all of this chaos is going on in the campo, life goes on as normal for me in the barrio.

I went with Chivirico to the bank a couple of days ago for him to deposit 147 pesos he had saved up. When I looked at his bank book I saw that he had interest – 5 pesos, so I explained to him that the more money he had in the bank, the more money the bank would give him. Having thanked the cashier for giving him the interest, he went very quiet as we walked home and then disappeared for the rest of the day.

He reappeared in the early evening with a contraption he had made using some part from his Dad’s motorbike as a wheel and informed me that he wanted to make as much money as possible so that the bank would give him more interest. His plan is to buy and deliver 5 gallon water bottles which we all use as drinking water and which are very heavy.

His ‘wheelbarrow’ has been specially designed to carry the 5 gallon bottles of water. He will collect your bottle from the colmado and deliver it to your home for a 5 pesos delivery charge.

No idea what his next money spinning idea will be.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

What about your saucepans?

Well I have done it at last.

February 27th is a key day for the Dominican Republic. It is the date when the DR became an independent nation in 1844.

It is also the date my book will be published. I started this blog whilst I was looking for a publisher for my very first book, entitled “What about your saucepans?” It was a long and arduous process, and I received many emails from publishers and agents saying that whilst the manuscript was intriguing it was “not right for our list’. I was never sure if the manuscript was rubbish and they were being nice, in a very Dominican way, telling me what they thought I wanted to hear, or if they were telling the truth. In the end one publisher, Jo Parfitt of Summertime Publishing, gave me a glimmer of hope and said that if I changed all sorts of things, like introduced dialogue, described the characters in much more detail, and “showed what happened, rather than tell,” then she would look at it.

That is when I started to learn how to write. She put me in touch with an amazing editor, Jane Dean, and little by little I started to rewrite it. It was very hard writing dialogue, and  it was even harder digging deep into my memory and my soul and writing about my feelings and all the things which have happened over the past 10 or so years, many of which I would rather forget.

However, between the two of them they turned my original account of what happened into a real live book, which amazingly to me, people appear to like.

"What About Your Saucepans? is not only essential reading for anyone moving to the Dominican Republic, it's also a damn good read. Lindsay de Feliz's fight against political corruption, being shot and almost losing everything is one of the most inspiring expat stories I have ever read." 
Jamie Morris, Founder,

 "Despite the incredible setbacks she has faced, Lindsay's love and loyalty for her adopted country radiate through this entertaining chronicle of her eventful life in the DR." 
Ilana Benady, co-author, Expat FAQs: Moving to and Living in the Dominican Republic (Summertime Publishing 2011)

"Lindsay's adventures in the DR will shock and amuse in equal measure, and her vast knowledge of the country makes this a hugely entertaining memoir." 
Shelley Antscherl, Book reviewer,

“It's in a class by itself, this is no tour guide and no 'how to do DR' book. It is a non-fiction account of the events in her life over the past 10 or so years. To say it's a page-turner doesn't do it justice. Although I already knew most of the incredible stories she relates, I was unable to put it down and go to bed.” 
Grace Olivio

Most of what is in the book you will not have read about in this blog, but I think it will help you understand a lot more about my life in this country. It is not just a gentle memoir about upping sticks and moving abroad. It is about following your dreams (even though there are a few nightmares en route), finding your soulmate (your half an orange), life-changing moments, such as being shot, and fighting for what you believe in, whatever the cost.

I really hope you enjoy it. It is now available for pre-order on here, and will shortly appear on and, as well as the other Amazons around the world. I will have some copies sent to me here in the DR soon, so those of you who live here and don’t have access to Amazon, can email me on and I will get one to you. The Kindle version will also be available soon.

If you do read it, please let me know what you think of it. You can of course post here, or on the Facebook page,  “What about your saucepans?” or directly onto the Amazon site, which would be great.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Valentine's Day

In English we talk about finding our soul mate, or discuss our other half, or our better half. In Dominican Spanish the word for soul mate is your half an orange! Not strange really given Dominicans' fascination with food I suppose.

So, being in a mushy mood as it is Valentine's day, I was thinking that it isn't easy to think you have found your soul mate when you don't speak the same language, have the same background, education, traditions, culture and everything else, but in the end I think the orange wins through.

Thanks to Mari for the picture that she posted on Facebook. I love it.

The translation says. God will never give you half an onion who will make you cry. Nor half a lemon who will make your life bitter. God will give you your half an orange who will help you with everything, care for you and love you for eternity.

Happy Valentine's Day.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

The sad tale of the crisps

One of the things I miss living here is British food. And before you all start saying the Brits can’t cook, I swear to you, British comfort food is the best in the world.
The last time I was in the UK was 2006, so over 6 years ago and I dream of a proper English roast dinner.

I also dream of blackberry crumble and cream – have never seen fresh blackberries here, nor fresh cream, just UHT stuff which is not the same.

I also long for parsnips, especially roast one, but have some seeds that I am praying will work in the new house as it will be colder in the mountains. I tried to plant them before but no luck.

And Bird’s custard powder – bananas and custard , or apple pie and custard, or I could even put it on my blackberry crumble instead of cream.

And I also miss the snack food. There is very little to snack on here. The crisps (I think Americans call them chips, which is what we Brits call french fries) are oily and not many interesting flavours, and apart from that there are just biscuits. The chocolate is horrid. I miss Cadbury Fruit and Nut. No one makes chocolate like Cadbury.

And Walnut Whips where you can bite the top off and suck out all the marshmallow then eat the chocolate and the little walnut which hides at the bottom under the marshmallow.

And I really miss decent crisps. Like Walkers Cheese and Onion.

And therein lies the tale. A friend went back to the UK and bought me 6 packets of Walkers Cheese and Onion crisps. Unless you have been without for 6 years you cannot know how excited I was. Much of the excitement is in the anticipation and imagining how they will taste. She flew home via New York and had to overnight in a hotel and came to chat on line. This is the conversation.
Her: “Hi, I am here in hotel and am starving.”
Me: “Oh, go and eat in the restaurant then.”
Her: “There isn't a restaurant. I will just eat a packet of your crisps.”
Me: “Noooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo.”
Too late. She ate a packet. Can you imagine the pain? So near and yet so far. 1 down, 5 to go.
I went to see her for the weekend with Chivirico to pick up my crisps. We were coming back on the bus and Chivirico announces he is hungry. “Eat a raw mushroom,” I said. “I want crisps,” he replied. “Think again. You are not touching my Cheese and Onion crisps.” Quivering lip and I gave in. 2 down, 4 to go.
Arrived home and put crisps in bedroom for safe keeping. In the morning, 2 packets gone. Investigation carried out, appears husband and stepson did not realise value of said crisps. 4 down, 2 to go.
Next day Chivirico in the bedroom watching cartoons while I was working – 5 down, 1 to go.
Yesterday I prepared myself to watch television and at last eat my Cheese and Onion crisps. I dreamed about it all morning as I was working. I sat on the bed, opened the packet and savoured the smell. I ate my first crisp. Fabulous. Then someone yelled at the gate, so I ran out. I returned to the bedroom to see dog licking lips and one empty packet of Cheese and Onion crisps on the floor.
Moral of story. Trust no one when crisps are around.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Chivirico goes to the farm

Chivirico and I went off to a friends finca or farm for the weekend. He was so excited and turned up at my house as soon as school finished, having packed and unpacked his bag all week.

We had a lift into Santiago where we met friend Jonathan, who was coming with us for the weekend. The most important thing was lunch, as Chivirico is always hungry. He ordered a ham and cheese sandwich, ate one and then gave the other to the shoeshine boy lurking outside the restaurant who was hungry. He then proceeded to devour Jonathan’s mofongo (mashed plantain with bacon and garlic).

We set off over the mountain to Shirley’s house with Chivirico asking every two minutes if we were there yet. A couple of hours later we arrived and he jumped straight in the pool and then next thing I knew he had discovered the ducks and yelled at me to go and see them.

Jonathan had bought him some non alcoholic champagne which he adored, and he now knows how to hold a wine glass!

Then it was off to bed, but I made sure he cleaned his teeth first. Mind you had I known it was such a messy business I might not have bothered.

Day 2, having woken me up at 6, he then donned his chef’s hat and apron and helped me make omelettes, concentrating very hard to make sure they had no egg shell in them.

He then played with Shirley’s cleaner’s granddaughter and washed Jonathan’s car so that he could earn some money. I suggested he buy a present for his aunt or grandmother with his money, and he said he would buy a present, but for himself.

Then off to his first ever visit to the beach where he built sandcastles and was in and out of the sea. He absolutely adored it, although was very surprised the sea was salty.

Lunch was pizza – which is now his all time favourite, and he was very taken with Jonathan's sun glasses.

Then back home but not before Shirley had bought him some swimming trunks and he bought himself some swimming goggles. Straight back in the pool on our return to check out the goggles which he then refused to take off, even at the dinner table.

One very tired little boy then crashed out. The next day we visited all of the farm animals, and he decided to feed Bob the donkey.

However, he thought Bob would bite him, so couldn't get closer than 6 inches from his mouth and poor Bob was desperate for his biscuit. In the end I had to help out.

And then homeward bound. He had a fabulous time, but was happy to be back with his family in Barrio land regaling them all with his adventures. 

Friday, February 1, 2013

Time for a change

I haven't blogged much recently as I have been very busy and it is all change on the Western front.

It is time to leave the barrio and move onto pastures new - literally. Since moving to the DR I have lived in a villa in a tourist area, a house in a barrio in the middle of the country, and now am off to live in the mountains in the campo. Campo means countryside but also refers to little settlements in the countryside as well. We will be living on a little farm or finca with about 8 tareas of land which is around 5,000 square metres. My plan is to grow all our own fruit and vegetables, have a few chickens for fresh eggs and husband says I need a horse to get around. I am not convinced about the latter as have never been a good rider at the best of times.

View from house with mountains in the background

As usual he is doing all of the work at the house before we move in. It is lacking things such as water, electricity, sewage, a kitchen and even walls. He wants to do it all himself and me to only see it when it is all finished and we move in. When moving time arrives I have to go into a hotel for the night and then he will let me know when he, the dogs and cats and furniture are all installed. Not only do I have no say in the colour he is painting the walls, I have no say in anything at all! Ho hum. Still, only 3 weeks more to wait apparently.

The other big news is that at last the book is about to be published. It was sent through to me by the chap doing the layout and design and it now looks like a real book! I have just finished going through it to check for typos so it should not be long now. It will be available as a proper book and also a Kindle version. Once it is ready I will post all details here

We have a new addition to the household. A Siberian Husky called Lobito meaning little wolf. Luckily the other dogs love him and Chivirivo adores him.

He is a tad on the small side though as he is only 10 weeks old but no doubt will grow a little more!

Talking of Chivirico, I am off for the weekend with him to visit a friend who has a farm.  His bags have been packed for a week and he is brimming with excitement. Next blog will be Chivirico at the farm. We will also try and get to the beach as he has never seen the sea, nor been to the beach. Should be fun.