Day Nine: Hot and sticky from the humidity and fully rested, I crawled out of bed and made my way to the market to buy some ingredients for breakfast. And then, naturally, I made my way to the beach. A new group of hostel friends that had just made it to the island a few days before joined me and we spent the good part of the afternoon there.
Backstory: I met this tiny little babe at my university who was studying abroad in Colorado from Puerto Rico. We went rafting together more than once and I enjoyed practicing my Spanish with her. Sylvette, is her name, and she gave me the unexpected gift of her company for the rest of my week in Puerto Rico. It started with a Facebook message…
She told me to bring a swimsuit and good shoes for hiking, so I showered the beach off and lightly backed my old school backpack with those items, some pjs, and a toothbrush. I didn’t expect to stay with her for more than one night…What I wasn’t expecting was to stay with her for the rest of my time in PR.
Sylvette picked me up in San Juan and drove me to her house in Southwest, Puerto Rico. I cannot express how thankful I am for the fun adventure that followed.
Day Ten: There is NOTHING for my heart that compares to crystal clear, warm ocean water, a good friend, and the conversation that comes with. Sylvette took me to Caracoles in Lajas, PR. We took a speed boat out to a set of islands and relaxed in the sun all day. We watched kite surfers, kayaked, and snorkelled to our hearts content. But what sticks out to me is how my friendship with Sylvette developed. There’s something so wholesome and raw about connecting with others when you’re traveling is unparalleled.
One of my favorite traits in a person is generosity. And not generosity in the spirit of tangible gifts or given things. Generosity in honesty, generosity in the ability and desire to listen…Generosity in laughter and in patience. I was reminded this day, by example of my dear friend, how beautiful generosity makes a person.
Day Eleven: It’s good to hang out with locals for the insight and enmities that they can offer. Sylvette introduced me to her uncle, who promptly invited us to go speed boating to La Parguera beach, and from there to Combate beach, and then we went to El Poblado, Boqueron. Essentially, we spent another day basking in the glorious sun floating in incredibly blue water. We were well fed and taken care of all day by all of Sylvette’s family friends, who were impressed by the white girl who could speak Spanish, la Gringa Boricua. 😉
Day Twelve: Happy Independence day USA!
Sylvette and I got ready at her house in Sabana Grande and made out way back to San Juan to pick my things up at the hostal (thank goodness, I was wearing the same thing for days now) and to pick up Fabian. From there, we went to a beach front house in Luquillao. Fabian and his two friends were good to me and Sylvette and we celebrated the 4th the way any American citizen would, with good food, plenty of laughter, Kings cup, and dancing.
I really enjoyed hanging out with these boys, who were patient with my Spanish but also spoke great english. It’s amazing how welcoming and kind the Puerto Ricans are. There was never a SINGLE moment in my experience when I felt out of place or unwanted.
Day Thirteen: We awoke on the couches at the beach house, and Sylvette rushed me back to San Juan so I could check out of the hostel (which was funny seeing as how I hadn’t stayed there at all) and then we went to my FAVORITE meal throughout the trip at a hip and funky place called Pinky’s.
After lunch, we went back to the beach house to meet up with the boys and go for a long swim in the ocean. They took us to where part of the river meets the ocean, where I swung from tree ropes like a sea monkey and dove into the water time and time again.
When the day came to a close Sylvette and I made the journey back to Sabana Grande to catch up on lost sleep and enjoy the air conditioning. It’s a good thing the island is so small.
Day Fourteen: My adventure was almost over, and that’s the worst feeling. I’m so prone to leaving that it’s hard for me to work through the feelings that beg me to stay. I felt like I fit in in Puerto Rico in a way I never did in Spain or Mexico or El Salvador. So on this day we relaxed all morning, enjoyed a big breakfast, and did my laundry so I wouldn’t have to mess with it when I got back to the states.
Later, we made queso filled pimientos with bacon on top and brought them to another group of friends that Sylvette introduced me to. These boys live in Ponce, Puerto Rico and let me tell you, they make a killer mojito!
I enjoyed my last night by singing Cultura Profetica at the top of my lungs, snacking on good home made grub, and again…dancing.
Before I flew away we went to Pinky’s again…mmmm. Sylvette, her mom, and two friends joined us for food before sending me off to the airport, which filled my heart with happiness and love. And just like that I was boarding my plane and flying high above the tiny island that I absolutely fell in love with.
I left some of my thoughts on one of my departing instagram photos. I think it describes my sentiments quite well, so I’ll insert it here in closure.
I have fallen madly in love. 💘 I leave this slice of paradise today feeling the happiest I’ve ever felt in my life.
I’ve been thinking a lot during the last two weeks. I feel right in my mind and heart and body and soul in a way I never have before.. I am FREE. I’m free to do whatever I want. Isn’t that something? Easy come, easy go.
I am at PEACE. Things will happen as they happen and that’s all there is to it.
I love human beings. We are fucking cool. Compassion is beauty. Hugs and kisses are gifts. Laughter truly is medicine. A good conversation is therapy. And we can’t have any of those things without each other.. I love my family. I’m utterly out of words for how lucky I feel to go home to my rad brother & chill parents.
I just love LOVE. And all the feelings I’m feeling make me wanna dance. Care to dance with me?
Anyways, if you’ve read this far..hello. Someone loves you. And it’s probs me.
Gracias a la vida.
#PuertoRico #travel #happiness #thefeels#ayquerico #xplore #Colorado#wanderaggressively #adventure #gringa#spanish #love #life #wanderlust#xploreleahjane