Looking back on Puerto Rico

What a great time Mariola and I had in San Juan. It was amazing to just take a break from everything and not think about all that has happened in the last six months. It would be complete denial on my part to say that getting laid off didn’t affect me. I was emotionally spent after building a career for 10 years and seeing it all go away in a day. When it happened, I kept my head up and talked about all of the positives that would come out of it. I was going to start my photography career full-time and it was all for the best. Unfortunately, things didn’t quite take off right away as I’d hoped.

I think it affected me at home as well… losing your job can be an isolating feeling, and even a loving partner and family isn’t the answer. Support is always great, but eventually we all need to pull ourselves through and find out what makes us truly happy. Luckily for me, I found that in taking photographs. It’s the closest thing I have ever had to a “calling” and I feel like I am finally on my way to making it happen now. No more malaise or hangover from the past… it’s time to move on and just do what I feel I was meant to do.

All that being said, the timing could not have been more perfect for our little trip to Puerto Rico. Mariola works her tail off as an RN in Brooklyn and was very much deserving of a break as well. We were both in such a perfect headspace leading up to the trip that the foundation was there to have a great time.

Maybe it’s because I am older now, but a great time just doesn’t consist of me getting shitfaced at a bar and vomiting all night back in my hotel room. I’ll leave that to the young travelers looking to find Mr./Ms. Right Now that were there en mass. I was content with doing some sight seeing, getting some great shots of the Ocean and Mariola… and just relaxing.

The last time I visited Puerto Rico was after my 15th birthday when I went down to a timeshare that my Aunt and Uncle had on the South Coast of PR. While I could appreciate the pool, the beach and not having to share bed with my cousin, it didn’t quite have all that much of an impact on me. Going back as an adult, having had a lifetime of experiences in between visits, made this trip a lot more special.

My family is Puerto Rican. It was easy to forget that sometimes as my parents moved us out to the suburbs when I was 4 years old. Before moving out to Long Island, I speak little to no English… it wasn’t long before Spanish was a distant memory. I wish now I had done more to keep the Spanish language in my back pocket, but we were still able to have a good time as Americans.

Going there this time with my eyes wide open, it was so easy to see where I come from. The cooking, the music, the people. Going to certain places, like Camuy and Luquillo reminded me of time spent with my grandparents and seeing my family almost every weekend for the first 12 years of my life. There’s a part of me that wishes I wasn’t so good at assimilating to “American” culture, but I think my wife and friends can appreciate the fact that I am not driving around in a Scion XB with Reggaeton blasting while I drive.

I guess I just never realized that I came from such a beautiful place with such amazing people and culture.

On that note, I leave you with photos from the trip. Enjoy!

10 Responses to “Looking back on Puerto Rico”
  1. Takooza says:

    Hey Marcos,

    Nice story! I am glad you had a good break and some time to reflect so you can pick up the thread again!
    Spring is in the air here in Belgium, I hope that’s the same in NY.
    I’ll be in NY from April 17-21. Let’s try to get together for a coffee, mojito, lunch, whatever.



  2. Brian Dolan says:

    Hey man. Very happy to hear you had a great time with your wife in PR. Sucks when you at one point knew spanglish and then it’s gone-i feel the same way.
    Loosing your job blows no matter how you slice it. Not sure if you remember but I lost my first gig out of FS and it wrecked me. I was devastated and truly felt depressed because of all the hard work that I put into becoming someone in that industry leading up to that day. After a couple of years I bounced back into the industry but it changed me forever, seriously. My point is, i understand where you’re coming from and am happy to hear you’ve turned the corner because it usual takes people a lot longer to do that.

    All in all, good to hear your head is in the right place and you had a chance to relax and reflect a bit on life.

    Hope everything else is well and talk to you soon.


  3. matt says:

    It’s so great to have a friend who goes on trips who actually knows how to take photos.

  4. Hey Marcos – I just heard and read about your lay-off. So sorry! The same happened to me, but I too am taking the artistic road. I’m applying for a master’s in creative writing and I started a web site – http://www.jewtah.com. You have everything to look forward to, you are incredibly talented and you have a beautiful wife who loves you very much! I remember when you started dating :). Good luck and keep us updated. I’m glad to reconnect even if it’s just through a blog.

    xo, Paula “Fabel”

  5. Eddie Davila says:

    How inspiring, just looking at those pictures brought back some good memories when Celia and I went there. You know what I find really wierd was when you had mentioned that you spoke spanish and that you lived in PR? or that you visited PR, because all I could remember of our youth was you guys living in West Islip. Regardless of that I am glad that you found your nitch. You also need to realize that here today gone tomorrow- you need to live your life to the fullest and don’t hold back. Love ya cuz!!!!!!! keep on living your dreams don’t hold back.

  6. Eddie Davila says:

    Celia Davila

    Marcos and Mariola,

    Thanks for sharing, what beautiful pictures, and so much better then the ones we took in PR.
    You have an incredible gift Marcos. We wish all the best to you both.
    The best is yet to come!
    Much Love to you too…

  7. Carly says:

    hey there…i am amazed at your pictures. both brent & I think you’re hugely talented. i know about the layoff thing, but (and i know it sounds cheesy) it really is the best thing, especially for those of us that had been there so long and it was just easy, rote, etc. i loved it there, made good friends, built my life, but what i have now is soooooo much more/better. it looks like you’re heading in that same direction. good luck…

  8. Wow, those pictures are awesome. Those pictures alone has changed my image of Puerto Rico. I have to go now. And you can photograph me in my bikini.

  9. Suzanne says:

    Marcos —

    The photos are beautiful — you know I’m a fan! Your evolving perspective is inspiring as well. Good luck!

  10. Thaddeus says:

    Hey Great photos — I am going though the same thing that you posted here – so it spoke to me.
    Small world – Just have to have faith and trust yourself, scary as hell at times – but we have to do what we love right?
    Otherwise we become bitter and sad and the chances we never took.

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