Hurricane Maria update, 9/30
avatar

A friend writes . . .     

Almost four years ago, I first set foot here, in the storm-battered airport from which many are leaving, maybe forever. It was love at first sight. Not of the island. Not of the beaches, although both are beautiful. It was love for Puerto Ricans. With that spirit of life. With that warmth. Of elevator greetings and “Buen

Almost four years ago, I first set foot here, in the storm-battered airport from which many are leaving, maybe forever. It was love at first sight. Not of the island. Not of the beaches, although both are beautiful. It was love for Puerto Ricans. With that spirit of life. With that warmth. Of elevator greetings and “Buen

Almost four years ago, I first set foot here, in the storm-battered airport from which many are leaving, maybe forever. It was love at first sight. Not of the island. Not of the beaches, although both are beautiful. It was love for Puerto Ricans. With that spirit of life. With that warmth. Of elevator greetings and “Buen

Almost four years ago, I first set foot here, in the storm-battered airport from which many are leaving, maybe forever. It was love at first sight. Not of the island. Not of the beaches, although both are beautiful. It was love for Puerto Ricans. With that spirit of life. With that warmth. Of elevator greetings and “Buen

Almost four years ago, I first set foot here, in the storm-battered airport from which many are leaving, maybe forever. It was love at first sight. Not of the island. Not of the beaches, although both are beautiful. It was love for Puerto Ricans. With that spirit of life. With that warmth. Of elevator greetings and “Buen provecho” to strangers. Of living, in many cases, a tough life, as a result of the crisis, but living!

I would continue to return here for work, sadness filling my heart each time I presented a boarding pass at SJU, headed back home. Two years later, the “one day” that I had said I would move to Puerto Rico came, and again I arrived, with two suitcases, and no return ticket, as this was finally my home.

Since then, I have spent the last two years getting to know my new home. From Cabo Rojo to Fajardo, from Aguadilla to Yabucoa. I lived in Gurabo. I lived in Puerta de Tierra, and now, Miramar. I went to Guavate for lechon. And found frituras, and mangos and the best piñas un the world on the side of roads. I went to the placita, and decided that I desperately needed some salsa lessons.

And then, I watched Maria beat up my beautiful island, and tear down its trees, and destroy the electrical grid. But that hijo de p*** madre Hurricane, will not break us. Look at the picture. The building fell, but the streamers are still there. She made life hard, but she didn’t take down our spirit.

Most of our lives these days are spent waiting in lines for basic necessities. Most of us have finally heard from loved ones throughout the island, but some still wait, and worry. We pray for their families safety. And most of us are not doing anything illegal. We’re not hurting our neighbors for a bit of gasoline. We’re not freaking out.

Maybe it’s because Puerto Ricans have always known the secret to life.
That it could be hard, but it is meant to be enjoyed. To be shared. To be celebrated. That it’s not what you have in your life, but who you have in your life.

That’s what I learned from my upbringing in Greece. And maybe that’s why, from the first time I came here, after more than thirty years up north, Puerto Ricans felt like family. That if you have a little, you share. That everyone around us is our brother and sister. Nuestros padres, y nuestros hijos.

And if you don’t believe me that Puerto Ricans know how to celebrate even a difficult life, you had nothing more to do than to be anywhere that sold cold beer yesterday, when Ley Seca was lifted. The electricity will return. New leaves and new trees will grow. And this Isla del Encanto will continue to be one of the most special places on this planet. Because of its people.

Wepaaaa, mi gente. Let’s show the world how we do it here in Puerto Rico!

Comments are closed.