Tag Archives: Puerto Rico

To My Puerto Rico…

17 Oct

san-juan-viajes1

I was born there, never thought I would leave.  I was happy, had all I could ever imagined and more.  An amazing childhood, family, friends, school, college… it seemed like my entire life was there.

Driving from San Juan to Cayey, seeing the mountains and all the lights at night.  The singing of our Coquí, which I dearly miss, and the smell of the ocean when you go through “La Puerta de San Juan”.  The cobble streets in Old San Juan, and it’s picturesque houses.  El Yunque, Lechón en Guavate, Frituras en Luquillo, Café in Yauco, bioluminescent bay in Fajardo, the famous Parque de Bombas in Ponce, and all the placitas in all the cities that host so many fiestas patronales, artisan, and any other festivity we can imagine.

Having fruits and vegetables grow in your own backyard, making me fall in love with all things sour like parcha, acerolas, tamarindos, and of course guayaba is another favorite or mine.  Plantains are a must for so many typical dishes our PR has – tostones, mofongo, pionono and more.

The wonderful beaches surrounding us, filled with palm trees for shade and coconuts for fresh sweet water.  Fresh fish for so many other amazing dishes to enjoy!

Of course the music, we can’t forget.  Our PR is always filled with it, keeping our spirits up and happy.

Puerto Rico is a land of very welcoming people, ones who are proud of their island and eager to show it to its visitors.  We take pride in our history, culture, food, and music.

Yes, I say We.  It’s been almost 20 years since I left the island.  It wasn’t what I had planned, or even imagined happening but life happens and you have to change with it.

At first it was a tough and not welcomed change.  I missed my PR, and everything I had left behind.  I would cry and go back as often as I could but, one gets used to their new “life” and thankfully I adapted to my new “home” but PR always has my heart.

It is true, one takes things for granted.  Living there for so long I would often say “I still have time to go there or do that”, I also started thinking, I rather go somewhere new, before going “back home” again, well maybe I should have not postponed it as much as I did.  Time, as an adult, is limited and the things I wanted to do and see in PR have had to wait.  Even when I go back it’s still not enough time to do it all.

As if time wasn’t limiting me, then Hurricane Maria hit.  This was absolutely painful to watch.  To see my little island being hit unmercifully by this hurricane, knowing family, friends, and everyone else were powerless, it was nerve-racking.  The not knowing after was worse.  No communication with anyone, not knowing the extent of the damage, how people were affected…  I do not wish that to anyone.  Then images started to appear on social media…  The PR I knew and loved so much was no longer there.  Tears formed in my eyes without me even knowing.  A helpless feeling took over me when I saw how devastated our island was left.  These were the images I had seen so many times from other islands and never thought it could happen to us.  The stress of not knowing anything about my family members intensified the pain I felt for PR.  But, I had to keep faith and be hopeful, as every Puerto Rican has been through all this.

Yes, we are down but not defeated.  Our island and it’s people are strong, resilient, hardworking, and eager to get back up.  We all want our PR to be what it was before or even better and show why it’s so rightfully called “Isla del Encanto”.  We all help in any way we can to contribute to that, and not only us enjoy the charm of the island but everyone else that wants to visit and see it for themselves.

Just because I don’t live there anymore does not mean I don’t feel what the island feels.  This is where so many memories, laughs, tears, achievements, dreams, were made in my life.  Puerto Rico is in my heart and will always be my home and I can’t wait to go back and see its splendor again, and its beautiful people.

And to end I leave you with one of my favorite songs (from Fiel a la Vega) that always make me feel nostalgic but always brings a smile to my face.

ToroVerde

8 Sep

As I’ve said before…  Yes, I’ve done skydiving but, still afraid of heights.

Just as that one time that I jumped off a plane, I pushed myself, to leave my fear behind and decided to go ziplining.

I was with my sister in PR, and out of nowhere I said “I think I want to do ziplining”. She looked at me in disbelief, but immediately started making plans with her friend, I think part of it was her wanting to do it too and, part of it, acting quickly before I lost my “courage”. Still she kept looking at me, wondering if I’d really do it. She paid, and said, “there’s no turning back…” with a smile and concern at the same time.

We drove the 2.5 – 3 hours it took for us to get to Orocovis. Lots of up curvy roads, no signs… thank God for smart phones and GPS! We did not get lost at all. First of all, the view is amazing from up here. Take a moment before or after you do the lines to enjoy it.  
  
Once inside, they give you a waiver, you sign your life away. My sister’s friend read it, the part I remember her saying is “basically you can’t complaint or sue period, even if 3 months after this you’re still having issues, pains, nightmare or trauma… nothing. I could only LOL, I mean, if I’m going ahead with these types of activities, the phrase “ignorance is bliss” always comes to mind. The less I know the less paranoid I get. So, I signed, I got my number and waited to get harnessed.
Once you have all your equipment, they send you off a trail, where after 5 minutes (if it takes you longer “you got lost or are going to slow” their words, not mine) you will find your first line. Yes, I got nervous, and my sister gave me that disbelief look again but I stood my ground and stepped on the platform. Not defying her look but my fear. I can do this, I thought, especially when right in front of us was a 96 year old man, ready to jump off that platform. Courage don’t fail me now, I thought… Would be very embarrassing to back down now.
My turn, hands shaking a little, and listening real close to the instructions. Down that first line I went and the feeling was incredible! This was a short one so, great way to start and ease your way to the next 7 that await.  
  
The guys working the lines are really cool. They make you feel comfortable and safe. They make fun of you (nicely) if they see you nervous, helping you laugh and forget your fear. Plus, just like one of them said “none complain if they fall”… Ha! Ha! Very funny! Not!
Line after line, they kept getting longer and harder to control. The wind started getting strong against us so, the challenge of getting to the end of each one, without having to pull yourself, was tougher but we were up for it and succeeded in most of them. On the ones that we got stuck, we still felt safe, and just pulled ourselves to the end. This is a workout! but, if you get too tired or can’t make it, one of the guys will come get you and help.
  
Towards the 8th and last line, there’s a steep path you need to go up. Some, might have to skip this (due to health or physical impediments), and get off on the 6th line, but my sister and I went together and almost simultaneously did our last line. Funny thing, we both got stuck on this one. Even after the strenuous effort of working against the wind and pulling ourselves to the platform, we both were smiling and so happy we had this experience together.
At the end we went back to where we started, to the restaurant upstairs. The service here is a little slow but friendly, and food is delicious. Plus, again, the view is priceless.

This is, without a doubt, a must do in Puerto Rico.