Personal experience: how to move to live in the Dominican Republic.
Before turning her life upside down, Sofia Sachik worked in Moscow as a PR director for popular artists. But one day a thought arose – I want to go to warm countries. So Sofia was on the other side of the Atlantic. And now for two years she lives on a paradise island – in the Dominican Republic, she takes pictures and organizes weddings. This way was long and thorny: with fears, doubts, unemployment and lack of money. Through what the girl had to go through to live like in the advertising of “Bounty”, read in our material.
In my Instagram, always exceptionally bright and carefree pictures. Many people think: “Well, what kind of problems can it have? Unless to think up, on what beach to go to sunbathe today? �But in a reality all is far not so. Rest and life in the Dominican Republic are two parallel straight lines, and they, as you know, never intersect.
It often seems to me that it was not I who chose the Dominican, but she chose me. I did not plan to move anywhere, I liked to live in Russia. The only thing I dreamed about was to be able to fly to the warm regions for three winter months. And if someone had told me that I was going to live here, I would turn my finger around my temple …
In November 2012 I had a long-awaited vacation, but I could not decide where to go. Pulled to the last. In the end, after seeing a burning tour of the Maldives, wrote on the wall “VKontakte” that I was looking for fellow travelers. One of my friends responded to the offer, but as long as he thought the tickets were over. We urgently changed course for the Dominican Republic and two days later flew out to rest. I fell in love with this island at once – a beautiful Spanish language, smiling Dominicans, an unreal ocean color and an atmosphere of infinite happiness … The vacation flew by like one day. I wanted to forget that Moscow, with its gray, running and kilometer traffic jams exists!
On the way to the airport on the bus, we talked with the guide. He told how fun it is to live here, how many Russians, and offered to help in finding work and apartments. It sounded very tempting! I did not feel like going back to the cold. And now, fate gives me such a chance … Two hours before the flight. Moscow? Punta Cana? Mom, the dog? The ocean, the sun? But all the same, I was scared and decided to give myself a year to prepare: learn Spanish, make documents, save money.
In a short period of time, I changed several jobs, and then completely left without it. Debt accumulated, but every day I was convinced that my move was inevitable. All the necessary documents were collected, a one way ticket to Punta Cana was purchased. I was filled with fear. On the one hand, I wanted it so much, but on the other hand it was a step into the unknown. There was a month left before departure. It seemed simply impossible to be 100% ready.
I withdrew the limit from three credit cards. Fortunately, on arrival I was helped, as promised, the same guide from the bus. The first two days I lived in a hotel. And when I came to settle in the apartments for which I had already pledged, I was refused, explaining that I had to urgently resettle tenants from another house. I was temporarily given another apartment, but she had to be released in two weeks. I arrived at the height of the tourist season, and housing was very difficult these days.
Another blow was waiting for me. The local government expressed dissatisfaction with the huge number of migrants. Employers refused to take illegal immigrants to work, as they risked to run into heavy fines. In addition, after the New Year, it was no longer possible to obtain a work visa directly in the Dominican Republic, it was necessary to fly back to Russia and mess with a huge number of documents.
I planned to get a job in a Russian gift shop, in a few months to learn Spanish, then to find a better place, such as a hotel or a travel agency. A year ago, salaries in souvenir shops from Russian speakers were more than worthy – about $ 2000. Representatives of travel companies could earn up to $ 10,000. Therefore, I was not afraid to fly to the Dominican Republic, even with a small amount of money and debts. There was one hundred percent certainty that there I would earn them faster. But it was not there.
At my first job in a Russian store, I held out for three weeks. It was more like a concentration camp – hell in paradise. I had to hang around in a stuffy room from early morning until late at night, seven days a week. Fines and disrespect were the norm. During this time, I did not even have time to see the ocean – not just to plunge! One of my colleagues liked to approach and pester me often with the phrase: “Your distance to Moscow is declining every day.”
There were things that shocked me at first. For example, when I first came to the capital, Santo Domingo, I felt like a little star. No taxi driver could pass by without twisting his neck, not a single Dominican could not help but whistle, even with me on the street. This hypervision was frightening. Now I know that there is no danger in this, they do not tend to molest girls. There is a danger in another – fraud is very developed in the Dominican Republic. There is no great crime, but theft is thriving. One night, through the open balcony of the living room on the second floor, thieves got into my house and dragged out everything they could carry. After that, I was haunted for a long time by paranoia – I slept with closed bedroom doors, a balcony and even windows.
When local people see a white man, they often try to cash in on him or deceive him. You will give to fix the button on the phone – they will slip the old battery, and it generally ceases to work. You call the plumbing to fix the faucet – the next day the flood. Even such an elementary thing, like blockage in the sink, they have been repairing me for a month and a half. Rather, they break, but do not repair to earn more money.
During the first eight months of my life in the Dominican Republic, I changed five jobs. After the store, I got a job in a hotel, and then in a timeshare – this is a club recreation system, which is very popular in Europe and America. Given the fact that I did not have a work visa, I did not have to pick and choose. Never in my life have I had such a financial crisis! Thank God, I worked in hotels where everything was included, and there was no need to spend money on food.
Money all the time was not enough. Constantly there was a desire to collect a suitcase, leave everything and leave, because in Russia I still had debts that I did not extinguish, and they grew … Strangely enough, whenever I was on the verge of buying a return ticket, people appeared who helped . The Dominican did not let me go!
It seems that every second tried to help. The guy from work bought a hair dryer and iron, without which I suffered so much. The policeman drove to the house completely free of charge. A boy of 16 paid for my ticket on the bus. It used to be that the purchases in the supermarket and in the pharmacy were paid by guys I did not know at all. Disinterested, free … It was like a real miracle!
Then I got a good job in a five-star hotel. But the head of our department, the Cuban, began to make me indecent proposals, blackmailing the dismissal. I managed to protect myself from communicating with him, in this I was helped by the company’s management, because the truth was on my side. However, I had to go to work as a war.
When I really despaired, the Dominican again gave me a chance. In my life there was a guy who brought me out of depression. He helped me get a job at a souvenir shop, but on different terms … The team was very friendly, we all became incredibly friendly. The store itself was near the ocean. I went to work with pleasure.
When it began to pay off debts, the dollar’s exchange rate reached its peak. And it was only on my hand. The debt on the credit card grew to $ 6000, and I gave a little more than $ 3000.
After the New Year, the government announced an amnesty for illegal immigrants. During the year it was possible to collect documents and get a working visa without leaving. It was a chance. A friend suggested to me a lawyer who assisted in this matter, but without any guarantees. At my own peril, I sent him money …
The message that I was approved for a work visa, I received two months later, right on my birthday. It was the best gift! Fortunately there was no limit. Finally, I am a legal resident of this country.
Meanwhile, the tourism industry has experienced the most severe crisis since its inception … The agencies closed one after another, and the flow of tourists in spring 2015 declined exactly five times. But they say for no reason: “There would be no happiness, but misfortune helped.” A black strip is often a takeoff. Perhaps, it was thanks to this crisis that I had an idea to create my own business.
I’ve been fond of photography for a very long time, but for some reason it never occurred to me to make it my profession. Perhaps, if it were not for moving to the Dominican Republic and not for a personal crisis, I would never reveal my potential. Now I get great pleasure from filming and even more – from the result. Every day I improve myself and make sure that this is mine. In addition, I was fortunate to meet here with a wonderful girl Nadia Kuzmina just at the moment when I did not understand where to move on. We came up with our own wedding business. The feedback of our customers is sometimes touched to tears, inspired, charged. Now I really like what I do. Finally, there were plans and goals. There was a sense. My move does not seem casual.
Councils for those who dream of moving to another country, I do not like giving. Everyone has his own way, his own circumstances, his own story. The main thing is not to be afraid and not to give up. In general, if you are determined to emigrate, then you do not need any advice – life itself will lead to the desired point on the map. It happened to me like that!
Personal experience: how to move to live in the Dominican Republic.