The Spirit of my island

This was written exactly one month after hurricane Maria.

I

The Puerto Rico I grew up in is green, all green.
It extends vibrantly until it reaches a decisive blue topped with white frothy waves. It has a blinding, resilient white light that you have to avoid, turning your head from it, if you want to watch the sky.

When it’s sunny, it has a forget-me-not blue sky and everything looks clear and sharp. The sand beneath your feet will be warm and white and in the mountains the birds and the trees will be having a party of joyful sounds that welcome you and make you just-happy. When it rains, everything gets a romantic, almost nostalgic veil and your heart feels like a bolero swaying to a soft melodic tune. It feels like a good glass of fine wine, with a breeze in your face.

I have run all my life, both in my mind and with my feet, through it’s forests. I have laid under a palm tree and thought “this right here, this warmth around me, this ocean in front of me, are of me and I am of them”.

II

The Puerto Rico I wake up to now is destroyed.

Every single leaf was burned by wind. The plains were so savagely cleaned of vegetation that I can now see from a few blocks off my house, standing in the street without any effort, all the way to the town center, which is ten or fifteen minutes away. The land gave it’s trees away to the hurricane winds as if saying “yes, take them all, I am in need of new ones”. For days after the heavy rains the rivers refused to return to their places. They rebelled a little longer, wild and angry until they finally tamed down like a herd of wild horses that had seen danger and had shown their courage, swinging their manes, jumping, puffing and snorting and then upon seeing that their anger was unfounded, returned to their grazing a little reluctant.
I can finally see the shapes of every mountain around us, and see how so many of them have caves that the taínos used to scout the coasts.

The first time I drove out of my house after hurricane María, three days after it went right through us; through our island and through our hearts, and through our lives, and through our dreams – three days after it went through our futures, for now we will talk of the days before the hurricane and the days after the hurricane and no one will even have to ask ‘which hurricane?’ Because everyone will know – the roads looked like they do on those ‘end of the world’ movies. Every few feet there was a tree or power pole and I had to keep going from one side of the road to the other. There was no zinc piece of ceiling in it’s place and they all lay on the ground looking like someone curled them as you curl a ribbon with scissors under a balloon.

I cried.

It hurt. Every single broken thing hurt. I also felt alive, very consciously alive “I am living right now, in this broken place” I thought and I felt the air in my lungs and I held on to the steering wheel, feeling it under my hands, and I felt my hair on my cheeks. Everything looked surreal but also very true, very on us. I was the broken trees, I was the broken house with no ceiling and no walls, I was the sky over me and the ground under me, and everything was me. I extended outwards further than I had ever before, and every other person around me did too.

We looked at each other and we knew.

III

The same day the hurricane left us behind, neighbors called each other, in friendly shouts – there were no communication systems for days – and they cleared their streets. People gathered wood pieces from the street and repaired what they could. I saw three houses around my neighborhood with fixed ceilings that same day by nightfall.

I walked around drinking the new surroundings in, trying to make peace with them. “I know you, I accept you, I embrace you and I love you”, I saluted every thing before me. I talked to people I never saw before and one of them, holding a box, called on me and said “do you want an avocado?” And I said “if you give it to me, I’ll take and I’ll thank you” but what we were saying was “would you share this new land with me? Would you be my sister? Would you care for me?” And we said “yes, I will share this land with you. I will be your sister. I will care for you.”

We bathed outside under rain water. We soaked in the sun. We talked to our neighbors.There was no radio, so at any time of the day, I could hear my neighbors singing. We found joy in looking at someone else’s face and bless them because they were alive. Little by little we gained back the spring in our step.

A month after the hurricane went through us, right through us all, something peculiar happened: Puerto Rican flags started to pop up everywhere. In front of stores, in houses, in cars. It looks like we are celebrating Tito Trinidad winning a new belt, or a new Puerto Rican Miss Universe, or Monica Puig winning the gold medal. We were celebrating our lives. It is a wink to our compatriots, it is a hand in the shoulder, a “I know it’s a challenge, but you can do it”, a “don’t give up”, a “you’re doing good”.

The spirit of our people was shaken, but not destroyed. The island gave everything willingly, ready for it’s renovation, but the hearts of Puerto Rican’s it protected.

Every one of us is Puerto Rico, and we are not broken.

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Little island status update

Why do we keep asking for help a month after the hurricane?

I saw someone in twitter responding to a plead to help us with a chart of all the “help” we are getting from the US.

It looked real good, the chart. Please don’t be fooled into thinking that is directly impacting the most of us.

There is a VERY small percentage of people in need – in the poorest sectors – that are getting food and supplies. For that I’m thankful.

Most people, like me, have to travel 2 hrs of high traffic (after a line to get gas for 72¢ per liter) to get ONE CASE of potable water and some canned meat. Although we have other foods available in supermarkets.

I ran out of no-lactose milk for Little J and my uncle had to go to the actual manufacturer’s site in San Juan to get some cases because supermarkets are simply empty of it.

Word is there is water and food and supplies in the docks; there is INSIGNIFICANT DISTRIBUTION of it.
And I live in the urban north area, where I can walk to the nearest supermarket; I have family in the mountains were until a couple of weeks ago, only had whatever a HELICOPTER would bring them.

There are families living in roads that were destroyed on both directions who only get supplies through neighbors who HIKE collapsed trails to get to them.

We do have the US Comfort in our docks. Reports say it has tended to less than 300 (actual number was around 150 last week).

Meanwhile Centro Medico, our biggest medical center in San Juan, has every hallway full of patients and there’s a shortage of doctors and supplies to tend to them.

I personally know of 4 hospitals who collapsed because they had no diesel to run their generators. Diesel distribution for hospitals is supposed to be on the hands of the military, in this specific area the National Guard.

I haven’t been able to earn a dollar for myself in a month because I have no constant source of power or internet service. There are thousands (millions?) of people like me.

Meanwhile, a contract for 300,000 million dollars was signed towards a two person company – which last year earned 1 million dollars – who just happens, casually, I’m sure, to be friends with the president and are also linked to SEVERAL corruption cases.
That’s just ONE of the irregularities in all this trying-to-rebuild-our-power-system mess. If I was to write them all now I’d need 4 hours typing into my cell phone.

I have never in my life seen a slower or worst response to a hurricane emergency in this island.

Oh, and packages are being stolen in the USPS – generators exchanged, boxes arriving empty, which you know, makes it really hard for individuals to get things from family and friends.

As I said before, if you feel you could help, contact private groups that have formed to respond to this emergency. I recommend church’s and such.
I saw a report on supplies received through unidosporpr being held up and not reaching people.
The people cooperating with Lin Manuel have reached their targets super fast.
I don’t know about somosunavoz, but I’m super thankful because so many artists united to help us.

So. That’s why we are still asking for help, for people not to forget us.

Have a blessed week.

After the hurricane

Just popping in, from a spot in the street where there is a bit of mobile reception, to say that my family was safe during the hurricane.

The island is unrecognizable, yet I still see it shining bright and green under the ruble. Communications systems are super weak.

Please pray for the spirits of our people, and for our health.

Thanks to every one of you who kept me in their minds, please keep the good vibes up towards this side.

Tuesdays of Texture | Week 38 of 2017

Tuesdays of Texture is a really awesome weekly feature. You can read about it over here; but the short version is I want to see a bit of your world so link up your post in the comments!

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We are now bracing for Hurricane Maria, a cat 5 with a pronosticated route through the middle of PR Wednesday to Thursday.

Please KEEP US IN YOUR PRAYERS that we stay safe and it goes by fast.

THANKS TO ALL PARTICIPATIONS!

Tuesdays of Texture | Week 36 of 2017

Tuesdays of Texture is a really awesome weekly feature.  You can read about it over here; but the short version is I want to see a bit of your world so link up your post in the comments!

#Campfire after hurricane Irma.

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Last week, after hurricane Irma passed some miles from the coast of San Juan (it was prognosticated to pass about twenty miles from our coast, but it went up a bit and at the moment I don’t have the actual number – just know that we felt it weaker than expected and knew it was going upwards and at that point? We are mighty glad it was going away) we are left with no power service for four days.

I personally think that’s very reasonable, given the fact that the state of the power system of the island is terrible (refer to last year’s three day total outage) but, to preserve our fridge things (and to feed his TV addiction) my father found a generator. That made things feel more normal during those four days – although it did not worked for the A/C and I slept four to five hours each of those nights – we had most of our powered commodities available.

Even then, I confirmed my theory that the best thing to do during those situations is go outside. Nothing beats the old fashioned fun of gardening, running, and helping each other out.

While cleaning the road of branches, Little J had the awesome idea of making a campfire. It was her first but we all enjoyed it as if it was our first too. The sky looked beautiful and the breeze felt so good outside.

It was a beautiful moment of calm after the storm.

THANK YOU TO ALL PARTICIPANTS, this are the posts you shared for week 35 – I’m thankful if you shared a post last week, you can link it up here and I’ll share them together with this week’s posts next week.

Your contributions are awesome. Go check them out:

Bracing for Hurricane Irma

Hi friends!

Tuesdays of Texture is supposed to go up today. I have the draft ready and everything.

But I’m not going to put it up. We are bracing ourselves to wait for Hurricane Irma to pass, you might’ve seen this thing changed from Category 3 to Category 5 in one day.

Preparations turned into serious preparations and now we are pretty much terrified.

The electric power of the island is in bad state so, they have said some sectors might not have the service for 4 months.

I ask you to please send a prayer, your good vibes and good thoughts that this island and our families may be protected.

Have a great week.

Tuesdays of Texture | Week 35 of 2017

Tuesdays of Texture is a really awesome weekly feature. You can read about it over here; but the short version is I want to see a bit of your world so link up your post in the comments!

I'm in the middle of the water! I'm not! I loved this angle.

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Mist falling. Birds singing.

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I stopped in the worst road ever to take this pic because I just had to. It looks like I’m levitating on top of this river because of my amazing flying powers I’m standing on the side of the road! Isn’t that cool?!

There’s a sort of cement “step” right on the edge and it almost looks like you can just step into shallow water but the trick is, that’s actually deep! Not like ten feet, but deep enough that you would go “WHAAAAAAAA” if you actually stepped in.

THANKS TO ALL OF YOU LOVELY PARTICIPANTS! Go check them out:

Tuesdays of Texture | Week 34 of 2017

Tuesdays of Texture is a really awesome weekly feature.  You can read about it over here; but the short version is I want to see a bit of your world so link up your post in the comments!

Palm tree leaf under eclipse sun. #green #palmtree

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As I stated in the description, this is how a palm tree leaf looked under the eclipse sun. Over here we had an 80% eclipse; I planned to look at the TV transmit ion and go outside to enjoy the subdued light. When the eclipse was at it’s peak I got so exited to see the sun of around 6PM so high in the sky!

The most amazing thing was to not feel the heat of the light on you, it was like standing under a yellow lamp. The temperature dropped a couple of degrees and it was simply delightful to soak it in, without feeling like you were melting.

Of course, the states that had a total eclipse had a much more dramatic experience, but I was disappointed to find that most people were recording the actual sun view and not their ‘Earth’ view, which is what I wanted to see, I wanted to see the darkness falling and then lifting.

Did you had an experience with the eclipse? Share!

THANKS TO EVERYONE SHARING YOUR POSTS! Check out all participations over here:

Rental Feedback

Guys, I NEED YOUR FEEDBACK!

I have a beach apartment rental (if you are going to stay in Puerto Rico and want a beautiful place to stay – contact me 😉  ) and have recently listed it in different websites.  Last week was the first time someone booked it through the internet and it was AN EXPERIENCE.

I had a last minute booking and the cancelation of the last day rental and it made everything really bumpy on my side since I’m about three hours away from the place.

So I need to know, because I’ve only rented to people that have been referred by friends and family, what is common for people when you rent this kind of place (beach apartment):

Please select all that apply:

Regarding special instructions, like if I asked you to please don’t leave any perishables in the fridge and turn off the electric breakers:

Thanks so much for clicking through. Have a great day!

There’s always time for music: Versace On The Floor

I couldn’t make Dancing Mondays this week. My monday got all tangled up and I had to fix it with patience, a hair brush, high heels and ice cream, but the Versace On The Floor video came out … Sunday? Monday? A day, and when it did I started giggling like a toddler in front of a lollypop.

I got so hyped.  And then I watched it:

 

First time I saw that fro I covered my face. I blushed. I giggled more. I can not handle the amazingness of that fro. And then I saw Zendaya… and there was screaming and childish behavior that I’m not going to share because I want to keep an image.

But I mean. LOOK AT THEM TWO BEING BEAUTIFUL. LOOK AT THE ELEGANCE EXUDING FROM THAT SET. LOOK AT THE DRESS OMGOMGOMG THE DRESS IS DIVINE. EVEN THE PURPLE HAZE IS PERFECT. THIS WAS SHOT TO PERFECTION.

I love it. So I’ve watched it about twenty times and every time? I love it more.

I can not with the people commenting on age gaps – do I have to mention every classic, Oscar worthy movie with a male protagonist almost in or in his forties or fifties (specially those from the 60’s and 70’s) and the female protagonist in her twenties? Because actresses just barely started to get away with ageing very recently and that’s gonna take up so much space in any thread.

And the lack of actual sexual imagery because seriously, you are already on the web and if you want to see porn just freaking google it. This video is perfect for this song: a timeless, tasteful, elegant jam that will make you close your eyes and feel all the feels with all your clothes on.

That’s one of Bruno Mars special powers;  his songs are sensual and sexy but never vulgar.

So. This is the jam I’m singing twenty four seven this week.