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Today, Dominicans around the world celebrate its Independence Day from Haitians rule in 1844.

First, Special homage to – Juan Pablo Duarte who was a liberal leader, visionary thinker, writer, artist, fighter, and founding father of the Dominican Republic. He created a secret society named The Trinity Foundation, to take action to wean the eastern part of the Spanish island the Haitians were trying to dominate. He succeeded and in terms lies the independent country Dominican Republic is today.

* You know you are Dominican if there is at least one person named Juan Perez in your family. Hi dad!

* You know you are Dominican if you take “El Fuku” very seriously.

* You know you are Dominican if you eat mangu for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

* You know you are dominican if you learned how to dance merengue and bachata before you could run.

* You know you are Dominican if you grew up listening to Sergio Vargas, Juan Luis Guerra, and Fernando Villalona.

* You know you are Dominican if you can dance without music.

* You know you are Dominican if you ate rice, beans, and some type of meat for dinner yesterday, today, and probably will tomorrow.

* You know you are Dominican, if you’ve gone out on the street to drink with everyone in your neighborhood during an apagon.

* You know you are Dominican if you point by puckering your lips in the direction of the person or thing you are referring to.

* You know you are Dominican if you wrinkle or scrunch your nose to mean, “huh”, or “what”.

* You know you are Dominican if you have showered with a bucket of water in the back of your house when the water is out.

* You know you are Dominican if your grandmother has a picture of a saint in her living room.

* You know you are Dominican if you are use to the saying, “se fue la luz”.

* You know you are Dominican if you have been waken up by a man yelling out “Platano/Aguacata”.

* You know you are Dominican if you can have your groceries delivered to you from the bodega down the street.

Beyond Price: childhood in Dominican Republic (I'm the little girl in the pink sitting on my father's lap)

All jokes aside, we are proud Dominicans with a rich culture. We love our Presidente, our Brugal, our mamajuana. We love our bachata, merengue, y salsa. We love to dance like there’s no tomorrow. We love to be great host. We love house parties and having get togethers more than a club. We love our Goya products and our platanos. We love the same meal almost everyday cause it’s darn good rice and beans. We love to talk. We love to fall in love. Most importantly we love to live life to the fullest. We know how to enjoy and appreciate the things that we do have instead of dwelling on the things that are out of our control. “Se fue la luz!”

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Beyond Price: My Father (having a role-model)

When I was asked to write something that is beyond price in my life, I began thinking about so many different examples of which I could be appreciative for in my life. I’m not, by any means, a writer so I could easily think of a few things but had some trouble getting my thoughts written down so please bear with me. Since I consider myself a person of great fortune I couldn’t narrow this down to just one specific experience or memory, so I will give a short list. Immediately, one of the first things I thought about was my father. He taught me so much about myself, being a man, family, and about life. By no means was the man perfect but learning from his actions made me the person I am today.

I didn’t realize the effect he had on my life until he was no longer a part of it anymore from a separated household.  I realized then how much we take for granted, things in our life that just aren’t as common anymore in this day and age. Loyalty, commitment, love, fear of God, patience, joy, humility, honesty, responsibility, forgiveness etc. Every experience from then on was really just a product of how I viewed the world with these new lenses in life.

I wanted to be as great a man that I viewed my father, a great role-model to the community, God fearing man who tried to do right by most, a great father to my children and even try to surpass him in the only part he may be lacking in; being a husband. Having the strength and commitment to be a part of my fraternity, graduating from college, landing my first real job, my spiritual achievements, my wedding, my relationship with my wife, the extreme love I experience when my first child, born on January 27th 2012, looks me in my eyes, holds my finger and looks like he wants to smile; all of these events I can accredit my father somehow. I guess to answer the original question, what is beyond price in my life? It’s the past, present, and future of my bond to my role model: my father.

   Moises @mucaro206is an earnest, meticulous special rep in the medical industry located in Berks County, Pennsylvania. He is well educated, buoyant, and eager about life and all of its unpredictable adventures. He is fully entrenched in filling his role as a loving husband, caring father, devoted brother, and responsible son. He believes in being responsible for where you are and what you are doing there, and in being part of a moment and paying attention to nothing else but that moment. 

80s Baby raised in the 90s.

Taste of childhood: Alphabet letters. Nickelodeon. Disney everything. Aladdin. Lion King. Beauty and the Beast. Banjos. Power Rangers. Candy bracelets. Warheads. Cola bottles. Twister. Bubbalicious. Sega genesis. Sonic. Super Nintendo. Boardgames. Sorry. Guess Who?. Pacman. Birthday parties at Mcdonalds. Pinata. Goosebumps’ books. Dresses with puffy shoulder blades. Ghostbuster. Full House. Boy meets World. Save by the Bell. All That. Fresh Prince of Bel Air. Hat to the back. Summer icy. Teenage Mutant Ninja turtles. Getting dragged to family house parties. Bicycles. Playing house. Video Cassettes. Water gun in the summer. Sprinklers. Barbies. N’Sync. Backstreet Boys. Kenan & Kel. Yankees. Introduction to hip hop. Climbing trees. Britney Spears. My Girl. Home Alone.  Matilda. Clueless. Yo-yo. Legos. Clarissa Explains it All. Beetlejuice. Hocus Pocus. Kids making fun of you if you watched Barney or wore payless shoes. Being terrified of Chucky. Bad hair days almost everyday. Getting grossed out by your parents’ romance. “Who loves orange soda? I love Orange soda”. Your parents being your biggest heroes.

Beyond Price: SIMPLICITY 

When I think of Beyond Price, I pulled out so many different memories from my brain archive.  I thought of songs, movies and events that took place in the course of this ride I call life. Then I thought about the people that were there from the beginning and the people that are here still. I’ve been blessed with awesome people, whether blood related family or little special packages (friends) I picked up along my journey. It’s not just a friendship, it’s a commitment to someone else that says “I got you no matter what because I know you got me.”  Betrayal is inevitable, true Loyalty is POWERFUL beyond measure, beyond price.

We’ve all had those temporary friendships that appear trustworthy but then collapse to nothing when you realize you both have TWO  different definitions of what a friendship is. I swear friends get sent to you to show you lessons in life, to show you what type of people you want around and what type of people you should keep at a distance.  Let’s face it, you can’t trust everyone!

Beyond Price: loyal friends

However, whoever has known you, loved you, respected you and has been there since day ONE, deserve the glory of this write up today. For they are the ones that helped mold my heart and conditioned my understanding of what it means to be a good woman. Through that unfailing loyalty and my dreams, I’ve been convinced that soul mates do exist. THEY are my soul mates, they are the ones who hold my utmost respect and love. I feel honored to know that I have my own team of warriors behind me 200% and even when faced with defeat, WE WIN, because loyalty is something that could NEVER be broken once it is dually established.

You see, I’ve watched my mother and father stay together through the worst of times and the best. I’ve been raised by two committed individuals that understand the definition of loyalty to one another and to their family. It’s much more powerful than love, it is a clear concise appreciation of another person that never gets tainted by exterior or interior factors. I weep for the children I work with everyday that do not feel that from early on. Trust me, they are so many children who need to be embraced by this thought: “whatever happens, I know someone is going to be there for me.” Often times I come across mothers who abandon their children for men, I constantly hear “the father is not involved”, and my personal favorite, “JUST TAKE THEM!”. So many children learn from complete strangers because they never had a strong foundation to begin with. I believe in being that stranger.

Make it a point to be appreciative of those in your own circle of loyalty because it unconsciously starts to guide those standing outside to do the same.  

 J’Ma rie  @ising88xoholds a Bachelor’s degree in Criminology from Barry University located in Miami, Florida. She is a triumphantly young, vibrant, energetic professional presently situated in Berks County, Pennsylvania where she works as a Child Protective Specialist. The biggest love of her life is music and SINGing! She is a huge fan of life’s randomness, joyful moments, noisy parties, people roaring with laughter, endless jokes, and good music.

 

Dear you,

I love you. No, I like really fudging love you. I think you are awesome. I love that you aren’t perfect-looking, and that sometimes you say the wrong things, and that you’re a little different, but pretty average at the same time. I love that you are real and that you don’t know how to hide your emotions. I think sometimes you forget how awesome you are. If I had one wish it would be for you to never forget how utterly amazing you are when you are completely yourself. You seem to carry your awesomeness pretty well, but sometimes a super hot savvy person walks in and intimidates you and you shut your awesomeness down a bit. I hate it when you do that, but it is okay. You are working on it.

I love that you are an opportunist. I love that you graduated with a Masters degree before the age of 23. I love that you did that in one year. I love that you have found something you love doing. I love that children and positive people rock your world. 

I love that you are obsessed with movies and stories and characters. I love that you sleep with books on the other side of your bed.  And that you don’t go anywhere without a book or your kindle in your hand. I love that you love the arts and that you really appreciate talented people and people who work their butt off to perfect what they do. I love that you get inspired easily.

I love that you have hobbies. I love that you write, knit, and run, and play the keyboard all to yourself because you know you really suck at it. But I love that you still try. I love that you have goals and that you make list of all the things you want to do on a weekly basis. I love that those lists involve a lot of fun stuff, things you want to try, and places you want to go rather than just an exhaustive list of errands you have to run. I love that you stay busy, but I love more that you know how to stand still and know how to occupy the NOW without flustering your brain with the future. Who knows anything about that anyway?

I love that you believe in math, and science, and God. I love that you take notice, write footnotes, and you make sure you experiment those ideas before denying anyone’s truth. I love that you see that spiritualism and science are one. I love that you can explain photosynthesis, and the simple laws of physics, and that you believe that even with detailed explanations there is a higher power involved.  I love that you’ve plastered Garth Stein’s statement in your heart after you read that, bodies evolve and souls evolve and the universe is a fluid place that marries them both in a wonderful package called a human being. 

I hate that you are such a bad listener and that people have called you out on it. But I love that you have recognized that you are a bad listener and now working on shutting the EFF up, and just simply listen.

I love that you believe in love and in marriage and that you want those things for your self. I love that you want a relationship that would lead to love and marriage and a house and some babies, but that you don’t see it as the ultimate prize. I love that even though you want to come home from work on a Tuesday night, make dinner, and curl up in bed with someone who loves you, you are just as happy coming home on a Tuesday night, making dinner, and reading a book all by yourself. I love that you are living your life as happily as you are all on your own.

I love that you make bold decisions and that you live your life on your terms without hiding under other people’s opinions. I love that you quit something you hated and didn’t even bother to get a second opinion. You just did it. And now you are happier getting ready to embark on yet another grand adventure. I love that you have made the decision to move to Miami, completely on your own, again. I love that you love. Sometimes carefully but deeply. I love that you are generally satisfied with what you do have, but still ambitious enough to want more. I love that you are taking this time to do things that really make you happy, instead of feeling the need to whore yourself out. I love that you are taking the time to just be single. To just be with yourself and to love yourself more everyday.

P.S. I know you aren’t making enough money, but you are making more than ever before. You haven’t found your ONE and only, but you are finding more love than you’ve ever found before. Little scraps of it, in every person you’ve met. Everyone has something to give and I know you have something to give them, too.

Make sure you always embrace your authenticity,

from yours truly

beyond price: love

Love letter to min älskling,
From the first time I met you I knew it was something special with you, but never in my wildest fantasy did I think I would ever be your wife. I had lost hope and stopped thinking movie love can happen in real life, but thanks to you I know it actually exist, cause I have it with you. I get to actually live my very own happily ever after with you. From the day we got married you changed my life forever in so many good ways. I will always be grateful to you. Everyday you make me laugh and smile, you make me believe in myself and never let me go one day thinking I can’t do this or that, you always tell me, “You can do anything you want baby!”,  and I just savor it all. You are my strength and I dont want to go one day without you in my life.

I love you forever mi morae
Din fifita

 

josefine – Lives in New York City with her husband by way of Sweden. She loves working with children, cooking, dancing, live bands, and celebrating good times. Her heart is full of optimism and unfettered bitterness. She is a hopeless romantic who believes her love is rare and wonderful and definitely something to pine for.

on their first date 25 years ago

A love note for my husband,

Back when I was just 18 years old, I met this cool guy that was just so funny to me. Him being simply hilarious, charming, and outgoing, was what attracted me to him. We were just friends for a long time and then he became my boyfriend. And obviously, later on my husband! 24 years later, he’s all that to me. But even better, he’s my best friend, my best supporter, the father of my three kids, and my soul. Back then, I had no doubt he was the one I wanted to spend the rest of my life with. Now, I look back and think about how much we have grown together.  My life started with him, he’s my all and everything someone can ask for. He gave me three wonderful kids, he gave me stability, peace, harmony, excitement, love, and finally, utter HAPPINESS. Because of him, if I die tomorrow I can truthfully say that I was the happiest woman alive. And for all that, I have no words to express how much I love him. My life with him is like having an angel next to me all the time. God didn’t give me a father, but ended up compensating with the best man alive. I love you my Angel, YESTERDAY, TODAY, and ALWAYS.

Forever,

your wife

Beyond Price: Our love

Beyond Price: My husband

Ana – Mother of the girl who holds this little blog here. Mother of three all together. Matriarch. Wife. Supporter. Hard worker. Home owner. Dominican Republic native. Pennsylvania resident. My Mother, the best woman I know. She is kindhearted, honest, magnanimous, selfless, an interior decorator, and  true perfectionist. She worked extremely hard to provide for us but still managed to be there to celebrate every “A” we’ve ever received in school. She always managed to cook dinner and share moments about our day, to make every parent teacher conference, and has been there for every tear that has ever made us feel anything but worth it. 

Beyond Price: My Marriage

What strikes me as beyond price is my marriage and the love of my husband. To me this love represents my future, the fulfilment of my potential and my plans to have a big happy family. Knowing I have someone so loving and encouraging and who blindly believes in me, deepens my belief that I can do anything, I can be anything and that whatever I decide and no matter how often I change my mind or make mistakes, that it is just fine.

He makes me a better person in endless ways and this in turn makes me want to be a better person and a better wife. The best wife I can be. Through difficult times my love for him encourages me to look at what I can do differently to resolve things. He does the same, so our disagreements are rarely about pointing the finger, but rather an exploration of what went wrong and what we can learn about this situation to become better for ourselves and for each other. I like to think this is good practice for being great parents.

He is the most fun and exciting person that even lazing around the house is entertaining with him, never mind all our travels, immigrations and adventures. He’s my best friend and my number one fan. He’s been the greatest extension to this adventure called life. I literally couldn’t have imagined more fun and excitement since our worlds came rolling together.

Beyond Price: My Husband and I

My experiences as a wife have taught me the benefit of being vulnerable, sharing all of everything and trusting entirely. I hope that I continue to improve as a person and as a wife and I hope I bring to my husband’s life what he brings to mine. My marriage to my soul mate is beyond price.

 

Aisha – is inquisitive, attentive, a brilliant conversationalist, and a total goofball who charms everyone with her British accent. She was born and raised in London. She leads a fun, fulfilling, fascinating life with her husband in Florida, whom she met while attending West Virginia University. They have been married for three remarkable years, and despite minor setbacks they have had to endure, as all newlyweds do, they have managed to remain genuinely happy together. 

Life is always better when you have a purpose, whether in a job, relationship, or simply for a night out-and for each day the goal is clear: to always have a wonderful time.

Here’s a short story you may or may not know: F. Scott Fitzgerald completed his first novel at age 21, age effin 21, and got rejected by publications-whatever, we all get rejected at least once. He then revised the same story again starting a pattern of constant revising that characterized his and the rest of the worlds writing style. He rewrote ‘The Romantic Egoist’ and resubmitted to publication, where he got rejected for the second time. He is a persistent man who believed in his work. Scribner’s publication finally accepted the novel after he rewrote it for the third time as ‘The Side of Paradise’. A’HA!

What you choose to do takes time to refine. It takes mistakes and misspells and misunderstandings and effort and a vision to perfect it. But mistakes are exciting. Mistakes are diversions and detours and unexpected frenzy and most of the time necessary even when we hate ourselves for them. Once they occur, you are closer to knowing what will work-because you know what doesn’t. 

What would you do if you knew you could not fail? Do it. Fitzgerald did it. Three times. And then published three other novels and so many other recognizable short stories. After every mistake and every rejection, he did it.

What are you going to do?