In the Summer 2014, my then Fiancé and I packed up our crap, and moved to Puerto Rico. There were jobs to quit and cars to sell. There were piles of “Keep” and piles of “Donate.” There were yard sales and panic attacks and google searches for things like “Crime in Puerto Rico,” and “The best place to live in Puerto Rico.” There were one-way flights to book and going away happy hours. It was exciting. But it was also terrifiying.
This was my first “PCS” move with my now husband. The first, but definitely not the last. The first weeks were spent apartment hunting and living that unemployed hotel life. The husband went straight to work. It was weird, different, but I didn’t hate it. I wasn’t sure if I liked or loved it enough, but I knew I was okay and excited.
The first few months were definitely the longest. We argued about the dumbest stuff. We got lost—a lot. I was afraid to go anywhere after our first few attempts because we always got lost. We ended up up in mountains on a one-way road once just looking for Wal-Mart. I missed being able to call an impromptu girls night when my (then) Fiance was driving me crazy, or in the wrong direction (see what I did there? tehe). I felt like a total failure because I couldn’t find a job. I came from working 60+ hour weeks, making deadlines, networking events etc, to the screaming halt of nothing. I ran the beach alone every day. Exploring our new isle on foot. I was still unsure.
But guess what? Unsure went to “I like it here” to “I don’t want to leave.” It took a while. As things do I guess, there were things to adjust to and roads to figure out. But once we figured it out, time started moving a lot faster. There was so much to explore and the dumb arguments faded away. Every weekend was a new adventure. Although adventures in PR can be a bit risky with getting lost, getting stuck in traffic or getting stuck in a downpour, we took them. Our adventure days usually ended with an ice cold 10oz can (or cans) of Medalla, and some rice and beans, and guess what? That’s the best part. I think JP and I got to know each other better than anyone could before we got married, we had no choice. It was just the two of us. We had beach dates and dinner dates, we spent Christmases and holidays in the Caribbean sun, our butts in the sand. I sat on the beach and watched him surf, I collected sea shells and sand dollars and ate Pinchos (chicken on a stick) on the beach (nothing more authentic than that!). We went salsa dancing, and by salsa dancing, I mean we watched. Puerto Rican’s know how to dance! Salsa is so fun to watch! I’m sure even more fun to dance, but I’m totally a chicken unless I’m a few mojitos deep. We always said we’d take salsa lessons so we’d be pros when we returned to the mainland. Dammit 2 years flies by!
We made friends here. Not a lot of friends, (we sort of kept to ourselves and our own adventures here) but a few close ones I know we’ll keep in touch with forever. Real, genuine friends. We did so much in two years, and there is still stuff we didn’t get around to. Puerto Rico is surprisingly big! As as I’ve stated in previous posts, every corner of the island is different, in an awesome way. Every part of PR has something to offer. We tried our very best to take advantage of everything! We even took advantage of being smack dab in the middle of the Caribbean. We island hopped. The Virgin Islands are only a 17 minute flight from SJU, St. Kitts is 45… Flights were cheap. We took long weekends, we beach hopped. We drank rum, we took boat trips, we snorkeled, we watched sunsets and sunrises, and met friends from all over on those islands, some of those friends could possibly be monkeys from St.Kitts, but they’re still my friends, just little hairy ones. Island hopping is my favorite.
As much as I adored the ability to easily island hop, Puerto Rico is such a special place in itself. It isn’t called “Isla del Encanto” for nothing! We haven’t left yet, in fact, we leave tomorrow, but I miss it already. As I sit here writing this, we’ve already packed up, and moved out of our beach-front condo we called home for two years. Moving is so. Damn. Stressful. Especially when there are so many moving parts. Our stuff is on a boat somewhere heading to the mainland. And all we’ve got left is 8 suitcases, a surfboard bag and a cat crammed into a hotel in Old San Juan, that’s all? Ugh. We’ve sold our island car and we’re spending our last days totally emersed in Puerto Rican culture, right in the heart of the old city.
I’m pretty sure everyone that follows me on social media is 100% ready for me to be back stateside, and not floating in the blue Caribbean waters somewhere, that is, if anyone follows me anymore. We’re so lucky to have had this experience and it’s hard to explain all the feels you have when you realize you’ve got two years of island memories under your belt (or under your bikini) and it’s all coming to and end. And coming in HOT!
I don’t know that anyone reading this will be moving to Puerto Rico, or to the Caribbean but if you do, I hope that you take advantage of all this island has to offer. There is so much to see, do, explore, eat, drink, hike, surf, snorkel, soak in. Don’t let the Puerto Rican struggle get to you, because it WILL! I PROMISE YOU. Just sweep that crap under your plate of Mofongo, add some mayoketchup, and move on. There’s a beach chair with your name on it.
Until next time Puerto Rico.