Why Dental School, Chloé? And why the Dominican Republic?
These are questions I get asked quite often and are questions I find MYSELF asking to this day.
First off, for those who don’t know, my father is a dentist. He, along with his partner in crime, my mother, successfully run three dental offices in South Florida. Growing up, surrounded by teeth, dentists, and the minty stench in the dental operatory drew me far, far away from choosing dentistry for quite some time. As a little girl, medicine was always something I saw myself pursuing. In middle school, throughout high school, and halfway through undergrad I had this mental picture that I was going to be a medical doctor, specifically a neurologist. That is, until I reached a point in my life where I had to take a few steps back to decide if it was really for me.
I prayed long and hard for guidance, a sign, anything to lead me down the right path. As I weighed out my options, something just didn’t sit right. 14 years before I can actually start my practice!? What?! I didn’t want to be a workaholic. I wanted a life. A diverse one. With a family. To be a daughter, a wife, a mother, a sister and a friend. Most importantly, I wanted what God wanted for me. And surely enough He revealed it to me.
I remember stopping by one of my parents dental office’s one afternoon and instead of being appalled by the sounds of drills digging into patients’ teeth, and the weird smells that came with it, I was loving the environment. There was a certain warmth to it. It felt like home.
I loved the way you can choose your own hours of work. I loved that you would have the ability and the time to have a family of your own. I loved how you have the ability to change the lives of so many in just one visit, and it was in that moment I saw myself expanding what my father started many years ago.
So what brought me to the Dominican Republic?
Family, Time, and my God.
I wasn’t stepping into unfamiliar ground. My father, aunt, and (not too long ago) my brother also graduated from the same school I am currently attending in the Dominican Republic. I guess it’s safe to say they paved the way for me and I couldn’t be more grateful.
The timing couldn’t have been more perfect. The same year my brother graduated, I had decided I was going to take over his apartment, fill in his shoes, and make my own impact on the island. That following year, I was moving in.
Honestly, I didn’t want change. I’d have to move to another country, to study dentistry completely in Spanish, and to live so far away from the comfort of my home. I didn’t want to go, but I felt led to go. I remember even telling myself, “I’m not going unless I go with someone. I won’t go alone.” Soon after, without even speaking to my cousin about it, she came over my house and found herself speaking to my parents about the dental program in the DR. It was in that moment I felt peace in saying, “If she’s going, I’m going too.” After that day, it was like everything fell into place. Although I didn’t 100% know why, I knew this was the path He wanted me to follow.
“The place God calls you to is where your deepest gladness and the world’s deepest hunger meet.”
2 years later, dentistry is more than just a career path.
Today, dentistry is my pathway to evolve and sharpen the many gifts, talents, and skills I possess. The experience I have gained so far, both inside and outside the clinic is priceless and for that alone, I would choose to study on this island all over again if I had to.
We live life forward and understand it backwards. I may not have all the answers right now, but there’s a certain peace hidden beneath the mystery of it all. This is the road I’m set to travel on and with His guidance to lead me through, I have all I need. There’s no greater peace than knowing you’re right where you’re meant to be.
“I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go;
I will counsel you with my loving eye on you.” -Psalm 32:8