“Me gusta mucho to cuerpo, ¿sabes? ¿Cuanto cuesta?”
Anne, a jet-setting French woman, meets Noeli, a young Dominicana who wanders around her town finding ways to make money from tourists. Anne falls deeply in love with Noeli and the feeling may be mutual.
But love is not easy. Not only is there an age gap, there’s a wealth gap that puts a strain on Noeli’s relationships at home.
Written and directed by husband-and-wife team Israel Cárdenas and Laura Amelia Guzmán, “Dólares de Arena” was the Dominican Republic’s official entry at this year’s Academy Awards. Even though it didn’t get the Academy’s nod, it’s a must-see.
We’ve all had those friends that are so close to us that they feel like they’re family. Well, in the case of these of two Connecticut women who had the same feeling, that ended up being the case.
Best friends Julia Tinetti and Cassandra Madison learned that they were biological sisters, adopted from the Dominican Republic.
The story is stranger than fiction. Julia and Madison met in 2013, when they both worked at a bar called The Russian Lady in New Haven, Connecticut. The women immediately bonded when they discovered that they both had tattoos of the Dominican Republic’s flag.
Cassandra rehashed the meeting via a Facebook post: “Julia notices the Dominican flag on my arm and makes a comment about how she’s Dominican too BUT she’s adopted from there. I stop her in her tracks and tell her I’m adopted from there too.”
“After that moment, we were so tight,” Julia told Good Morning America. “We started hanging out. We would go out for drinks, for dinner. We started dressing alike.”
Apparently, Cassandra felt the same way. “I thought she was cool,” Cassandra said to GMA. “We just kind of hit it off right away. It was very natural.”
The two women immediately knew that there was a chance that they were related, simply based on how similar they looked.
According to them, coworkers were always telling them that they looked like sisters. But when the two of them cross-referenced their birth certificate, their information didn’t add up.
“Papers said we were from two different cities [with] different last names,” Julia explained. “And, our mothers’ names on our paperwork were different.” But the two women believed they were somehow connected–they just didn’t know how.
The mystery finally began to unravel after Cassandra took a 23andMe DNA test.
As an adopted person – I love this story so much #adoption
Through 23andMe’s genetic database, Cassandra tracked down her biological family in the Dominican Republic through a first cousin. She then traveled to the DR where she met her bio-family for the first time–an incredibly emotionally experience. While Cassandra’s bio-father was still alive, her bio-mother had passed away in 2015 from a heart attack.
Years later, Cassandra finally pressed her bio-father on whether or not he had put up another child for adoption. While at first he was hesitant to talk about the painful memory, he finally admitted that he had, indeed, put another child up for adoption years ago.
It was then that Cassandra finally urged Julia to take a DNA test so they could finally put their questions to rest.
The results came back on January 28th, 2021 and finally confirmed what they had long suspected: they were biological sisters.
The entire ordeal has been both thrilling, joyful, and emotionally taxing for the women. At times, it has even been bittersweet, considering the trauma their biological family endured in the past.
What a happy yet dreadfully sad thing for these two women to have to go through.
I hope this reunion brings happiness to both of them.
This March we’re all still in quarantine but there’s no doubt that streamers have upped their binge game! From new True Crime series to a Biggie Small documentary, there’s tons of content to binge and love this March.