Yesterday morning, I called my mother to update her on the past few days. My primary goal was to figure out how I could live in Vieques or Puerto Rico (the main island)? It was an operating question throughout my day yesterday. I loved that my mother’s first response was not to discourage my enthusiasm. Rather, she asked why the desire and how could you make it work. She immediately went into a mode where she began to offer questions: are there universities in Vieques where you could teach, where would you live, etc. She was offering to think it through together. I noted that and she said, “Raina, I have known you your entire life,” with the implied meaning of I know who you are. I see you. I celebrate you. What a gift I have in my parents!
Mami and I were talking about how my father would react to the same prompt: a lecture for an hour or two about how bad an idea this was … and then about a half hour to hour after the call, he would call back. He’d have talked to all of my aunts and uncles, gotten their insight. He would have asked my aunt and uncle who are still connected to different families in Puerto Rico to look around for jobs, identify places to stay. Inside of a week or so, I would have leads on setting up a life. Inside of a month, I would have secured those avenues. Inside of three to six, I would be there. Papi may lecture, but he will explore the idea, too. Just in a different way.
I am, indeed, very blessed.
I am thinking about coming back to PR in the summer, visiting Ian and his roommie Joe, who is also a writer. If I like things, then I’ll try again next January, if I’m not teaching. If that works, then I’ll try to follow the example of a colleague and spend part of my year there, December- January and June to August. I’ll teach in the Spring and Fall, and learn to surf in the Summer and Winter. I might be able to live in Paradise, to keep my traveling focused on one location for the next few years.