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!