The Real Housewives of Dominica

Contrary to what you may expect, life on an island is not always a vacation. The students study 10+ hours a day, which leaves those of us who are here as spouses to come up with our own entertainment. To liken the situation to reality TV, imagine what would happen if The Real Housewives were put on Survivor. That's right, we are:

The Ross Spouses Organization (RSO)

Pagua Bay, First Semester - November 2010
RSO was my saving grace when I got to Dominica.  I was immediately connected with a group of girls who knew what island life was like and who genuinely cared how I was adjusting. Through RSO I went on many island trips, was introduced to volunteer opportunities and was basically given a social group. I appreciate everything those girls did for me during my first semester, and ended up acting as vice president and then president of the group for the following year.

Clare & I : raising money for a local charity

But where does the Survivor aspect come in?

No, we don't have to scavenge off the land (or at least not since a real grocery store opened in Portsmouth). 

Clare, me & Megan - SO excited for a Real grocery store
But I'm sad to say that the matriculation rate for Ross is rumored to be around 33%. That means that 1 out of every 3 students who start at Ross will not graduate. The good news for us is that most of those students are voted off asked to leave during their first two years. Now that Chris has passed the Comp we are on the upside of things. 

{Now, on to the drama!}

The Real Housewives of Dominica

Although it varies from semester to semester, there are generally 40 to 60 "spouses" (wives, husbands, boyfriends, girlfriends, etc.) of students on the island. About half of them are 20-something women who don't have children yet. As with any time you put a group of 20-something women together, you know there is going to be some drama. 

Now picture those women trapped on a small, humid, island.

Thus, The Real Housewives. I think the drama arises from a combination of boredom, different personalities and living in a college-town environment. Without much else to do, girls will talk behind each other's backs and argue over petty things. But don't get me wrong, we have lots of fun together too.

What I've noticed is, that back in the states you have your close friends (best buddies from college or high school) and then you have your acquaintance friends (from work, activities, etc.). Your friends from work or other places don't expect to be invited to every backyard bbq you have and they certainly don't mind if you go to the beach with your best friends on Saturday or have them over for dinner.

That acquaintance level of friendship is missing on the island.

Among the spouses without children, there seems to be this assumption that we are all supposed to be best friends because there are so few of us. But that just doesn't work. People have different personalities, are different ages, and simply get along with some people better than others. That's how the world works! 

All this to say, it's been quite the ride learning to navigate the social climate here. I'm so thankful to have found a few friends along the way who I've really bonded with, and I'll miss so much when I'm gone. 


Anonymous said...

The Real Housewives of Dominica really sounds like an adventure! Haha! I can imagine how the heat and humidity must be a major factor in all of this. It would definitely drive me a little nutty.

Clare said...

Well said, Katie, well said! I love seeing all of these photos, we have had so many fun times here! And thanks for not voting me off of the island :) I feel so lucky to have made such wonderful friends like you here!!!

Joy said...

Amen! I can totally see how being in such a charged environment would cause drama, drama, drama. It's great that you also have this blogger life as a creative/social outlet -- can you imagine being there with no internet?

Kate said...

That must be crazy! I can imagine how it would be tough with a size like that- you all know each other, but it's still too big of a group to do a ton of things together.

P.S. I've really been appreciating your #bitchesbecrazy hashtag. We say that all the time, haha!

Supal said...

It's like a small bubble! I could not really understand/wrap my head around this really. But I kind of find it entertaining. There should be a show on this! and "voting off" hahaha


Empirically Erin said...

Now I must say you say it's not a vacation living on the island but these pics sure look like one! :) beautiful!

Liz said...

Unfortunately a lot of what I saw in the spouses group reminded me of the "cliques" in high school and that is never a good thing. I think it's true that some people are meant to enter your life and stay and some are meant just to pass through it. I think most people here are of the "pass through" variety just by the sheer nature of what this whole medical experience encompasses.

Unknown said...

Where are the real Dominicans???

Unknown said...

oh my goodness what a small world! My husband's best friend is at that same school-Brandon Stokey and his gf Melissa Gomez!

So nice to meet you and it looks like an amazing place to be!

come say hi at nichollvincent.blogspot.com

have a great Friday!

Anonymous said...

I love this ! Keep writing Clare.... You need to write a book!!!

Andi of My Beautiful Adventures said...

I wish I could have met some of you ladies when I was in Dominica! Great pics!!!

Claire Kiefer said...

Seeing your pictures really makes me jealous. I'm sure there are downsides, but being at the beach all the time and having a built in social network sounds pretty amazing, even if there is occasional drama.

Allison said...

Wow...this definitely sounds interesting. You are right about it being a completely different social environment than here, but it looks like you've had some really fun times!

Anonymous said...

Wow, what an adventure! Looks like a lot of fun times despite the interspersed drama!

Chelsea said...

You have made this look really neat & dare I say, glamorous? I know it's not. But, really you guys look so much more put together and civilized than I EVER did:)