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From the Outside, Looking In

Memoirs of an Observer

As long as can remember, I have been an observer. There are two kinds of kids, the ones doing and the ones watching. I was the watcher: extremely shy, awkward and skinny, too afraid to talk. I could watch for hours and never utter a word recording everything around me, taking it all in – every detail –  watching lizards, spiders, birds, and exploring the rich paradise that was Santo Domingo. And reveled in the stories around me carried forward by the women in my life: my mother, aunts, maids, etc.

I have started this site in order to share stories of my family and my life. I have led the most exciting, complex, chaotic life full of ups and downs, adventures, lots of fun, lots of pain, but at the end, full of peace and happiness. I wish I could go back and tell that scared little girl that it is going to be alright. To relax and enjoy the ride.

I would like to dedicate these stories to my daughter, Avaryl, and my nieces and nephews — a generation free of political repression, anxieties, and fear, full of hope and open to every possibility.  I am aware that your generation has no reference to relate to the world I grew up in. Even I, at this age, and in this reality, feel like this was just a movie I saw a long time ago, but, sadly, I know it was all very real.

I am adding entries in the Blog when I can. Short stories of memories, events, or just observations throughout my life. Browse through and comment if you like. I welcome any information you might be able to add to the stories. 

coat-of-arms arvelo-dalmau

Family Crest designed by my father in the late 1940s.


Rafael Alberto Arvelo González.
Born: Santo Domingo, dominican Republic, August 22, 1916.
Address: Camino Transversal No. 85, Arroyo Hondo
Telephone: 5-1723

Graduated High School in Physical Sciences and Mathematics, Santo Domingo, DR

Graduó Estudios Superiores con

Civil Engineering College, Santo Domingo, DR

Graduated from Advanced English at New York Universal Institute, NY, NY

Vice Chief Lighthouse and Buoy Service, Santo Domingo, DR

Joined the Dominican Navy as Lieutenant J.G., Santo Domingo, DR

Commanding Officer of Escort Vessels in the Caribbean, Santo Domingo, DR

Graduated in Anti-Submarine Warfare in the Sub Chases Training Center in Miami, Florida. Trained in Naval Communications.

Commanding Officer Several Dominican Naval vessels, Santo Domingo, DR

Dominican Naval Attaché to the Embassy in London, England

Director General, Flota Mercante del Estado Dominicano, Santo Domingo, DR

Rear Admiral, Dominican Navy. Chief Naval Mission to the Coronation of Her Majesty Elizabeth II, Santo Domingo, DR

Technician Office of Port Constructions, Santo Domingo, DR

Sales Manager Continental Lambic Corporation, Puerto Rico

Director Dominican Weather Bureau, Santo Domingo, DR

Dominican consul General, Miami, FL

Sales Department, DALSAN C. por A., Santo Domingo, DR