When you are used to living in a certain bubble all your life it can be hard to adjust to a new lifestyle. Throw in military life and an island where they mainly speak another language and you’ve got a perfect recipe for culture shock.
Despite being born and raised in a strict Spanish speaking family, my Spanish is very less than. I can get my point across but not without making up my own spanglish words in hopes the recipient will understand me. Finding help in English is a struggle but it’s just the tip of the iceberg of challenges. I can bitch all day but I guess, looking back, it’s not all bad.
Gotta take the good…
I can confidently say had I not come to PR, I would have never met the friends I’ve made or the memories. My year started off on the right foot with meeting one girl in particular that made the transition smoother than I anticipated. I was able to share secrets with her, start off my day with one on one chit chats before working out, find motivation to do things with, found a shoulder to lean on. The thing with her was I was able to talk to her and she would really listen. She wouldn’t wait for her turn to talk and she would just give me time to speak. Being military life, though, one of the rules are not to get attached to your neighbors. She moved six months later. Her leaving really affected me and brought me down but I was able to still slowly climb my way up to making friends. That I did!
While it took some time, I was able to muster up the courage to meet new people which lead me to an amazing, talented, thoughtful, and courageous group of women. Kicking and screaming, they forced me to get out of military housing and go on adventures. With the help of my loving husband and these women, I learned how to float, how to make homemade soap, hiked through a rain forest, dove into a waterfall, danced on a party boat while it sailed around the pier of San Juan, seen beaches so beautiful they belong on post cards, seen lizards right at my feet, and visited streets made famous by salsa artists. To get to these sites and experiences, I also had to (and still) deal with a few setbacks by living here.
… With the bad
As phenomenal as the sites can be, the roads are just as terrible. God awful. In fact, it’s the main reason the hubs and I don’t go out often if he has to drive. Me driving is not an option. Whoever said Massachusetts drivers were horrible has clearly never been to Puerto Rico. I had no issue back in MA but here? No.
There is no such thing as a single lane. Every “single” lane is a double lane – illegally. Do the natives care? No. It is terrifying? Every day. I thank God on a daily basis that my husband gets to work and home safely. Don’t even get me started how long it takes for “law enforcement” to arrive at a scene of an accident.
Random black outs, lack of water, and inconsistent cable/internet. It hasn’t happened in a couple of months (knock on wood) but we have gone through a power outage, having our water shut off, and you can never depend on the internet. It was much worse a few months ago but it seems to have gotten better recently (or it just hasn’t happened). I wasn’t here during the drought which lasted a few months! Water was limited so daily showers were not available. I had a small taste of it and, no, sir, I didn’t like it!
That’s not all folks!
Regardless of the headaches, I can always depend on my little family to help me push through and be grateful for living here becaaaauuuuuuusseeeeeee
I was able to meet and bring this little guy into a better life that is full of love, kisses, and warm cuddles. Chimi came from a physically abusive home at only 13 weeks and with the tender love and help from a friend, he was rescued and pitter-pattered into my heart. Homeless dogs (or “satos”) are in the plenty and so hard to ignore. At least we were able to change one pup’s life.
He became Potato’s little brother and her own “support dog”. She has become a little more social and a lot more playful since he’s stepped into the picture. It was love from the start.
More to come
I have about three more years on the island and the only thing I can do is push forward. Worse comes to worse, I’ll always have this picture!