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I dream in Spanish and speak in English.
I live a life of soñando y viviendo entre aquí y allá.
But now, the aquí―the United States―and the allá―the Dominican Republic―have been flipped
as I navigate the odd space of a somewhat insider-outsider anthropologist.

Being in the Dominican Republic
makes me believe that I should feel at home, but I find myself missing home.
I somehow now realize how “American” I am. 
Even so, I am not sure that I will ever really come to feel fully American, 
whatever that simply feels like it is not me nor do I want it to be.
Yet the colonized land on which I was birthed and where I reside 
is still home. 
I am living through a new experience 
in the land that birthed my parents, 
in my most recent ancestral land, Quisqueya. 
But it does not feel like a homeland. 
I recently celebrated my birthday here
and on that day, there was a bit of a kindred feeling. 
I woke up to a warm breeze, bright skies, and the sound of cock-a-doodling roosters. 
I ended the last quarter of my XX year  
and started a new leap around the sun in this particular place. 

For once, it felt like I had experienced a semblance of home; to the home that is my family. 
I could imagine my parents' childhood and young adulthood in this country. 
I am nowhere near the places where they walked, danced, ate, cried, laughed― 
but the mass of land is still the same, 
as are the sounds of bachata and merengue, the honk of the motoconchos, and the scorching sun. 
Sure, this place is something to me 
though I am not sure what I am to it. 
I am still working through a wave of thoughts and emotions―
fraught with ideas of what should be or could be,
of dissipated dreams of a place I thought was also mine to claim. 

La República Dominicana. It is a kind of home, I suppose. 
But what kind? I don’t yet know. 


Photograph of a woman with dark curly hair smiling

Karina Beras

Karina Beras is a PhD candidate in anthropology at Cornell University, where she studies the ways in which statelessness challenges notions of displacement and belonging. She is currently conducting ethnographic fieldwork in the Dominican Republic. Outside of her academic interests, Karina enjoys cycling, running, and trying out new cooking recipes.

Cite as

Beras, Karina. 2023. “A Distant Home[land].” Anthropology News website, March 2, 2023.