La Isla Del Encanto

Last week, I had the grand opportunity to visit the small yet beautiful island of Puerto Rico for the first time, accompanied by my best friend and native of San Juan. Thanks to his family’s generous hospitality, we enjoyed an authentic Puerto Rican experience, sampling typical dishes like rice and gandules (what Puerto Ricans call their beans), fried codfish, and pumpkin pie. That last one threw me for a loop, being that it was a quintessentially American dessert, but it spoke to the excellence of Gio’s grandmother’s cooking—I had never tasted a better pumpkin pie on our own American Thanksgiving.

La semana pasada, tuve la gran oportunidad de visitar la pequeña y bella isla de Puerto Rico por la primera vez, acompañada por mi mejor amigo y nativo de San Juan. Gracias a la hospitalidad de su generosa familia, gozamos una experiencia puertorriqueña autentica, comiendo arroz con gandules, bacalaitos, y un pie de calabaza típico de la cocina americana pero testigo a lo rico que cocinaba la abuela de Giovanni—jamás había comido un pie tan rico, ni si quieras en nuestra propia fiesta americana de Thanksgiving. 

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Zip-lining at El Toro Verde in Orocovis

 

While our trip revolved around eating (Puerto Rican’s don’t understand what “I’m not hungry” means), we also unleashed our adventurous side and explored what the island had to offer. I was astounded by the wonders of El Yunque, the only tropical rainforest on United States soil (it’s quite easy to forget that Puero Rico is technically a part of the US), with its refreshing waterfalls and awe-inspiring landscapes.

What stuck with me the most was how truly kind and enchanting Puerto Ricans are by nature. As the daughter of Cuban parents, never having visited the island myself (I hope to visit sometime soon, now that it’s easier for Americans), immersing myself in Puerto Rico’s culture felt like the closest I’d ever come to my own.

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A waterfall in El Yunque National Rainforest

Aunque ‘comer’ fue la actividad principal de nuestro viaje (los puertorriqueños no entienden la frase ‘no hay hambre’), también disfrutamos varias aventuras típicas de la isla. Me asombro la maravilla de El Yunque, el único bosque tropical en los Estados Unidos (fácil a olvidar que Puerto Rico es parte de los EU), con sus cascadas refrescantes y sus vistas impresionantes. 

En realidad lo que se quedara conmigo es lo amable y simpáticos que son los puertorriqueños. Como hija de padres cubanos, pero hasta ahora sin oportunidad de visitar Cuba (espero que pueda planear un viaje pronto), me sentí mas cerca todavía a mi propia cultura en conocer la de Puerto Rico. 

 

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Looking out over El Morro

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