When my mom first told me that we were going to my uncles wedding in Culebra, Puerto Rico, I was beyond psyched. I had never traveled any further than a couple hundred miles from my home in Alabama, much less traveled overseas to a Spanish-speaking culture. Just the thought of it gave me an adrenaline rush.
On the day of our departure, I was never so nervous in my life. I had only been to an airport once, but had never actually ridden an airplane. I did not know what to expect, and could not wait to take off. Once our plane was in the air, I felt pretty relieved. Even though I was excited, I wasn’t quite sure of what was ahead of me. After an extraordinarily long ride in the cramped plane, we were finally landing in Puerto Rico. As our plane approached land, it was absolutely beautiful. With the beach, the old buildings, the culture, and everything else that made it unique, I was in love. From San Juan, we rode a tiny plane, or what they call a “puddle jumper” to the small island of Culebra. The puddle jumper was a bit different from the big commercial airplane, but was still very thrilling.
While there, my mom and I did numerous activities. We went scuba diving, snorkeling, swimming at the gorgeous beach, and hanging out with my uncle and all of his friends. There was only one other girl my age, but I still had an awesome time. It was the first time I had been around adults for a long period of time, and had a fun time doing it. Another thing that was fun was meeting all of the new people. Every person we met was exceptionally kind. Most of the people there were originally from Puerto Rico. Even though I was an outsider, all of the people I met treated me like I was one of their family members. Most people there spoke Spanish, and even though I don’t know a lick of Spanish, they were extremely patient with me when I went to restaurants, asked for directions, or needed help in any way. The island was so small, that they didn’t have any hotels. We stayed in what they call a “guest house”, wish was sort of like a bed and breakfast…without the breakfast. It wasn’t particularly luxurious, but was about as homey as they come.
I felt so different from everyone there. They chilled all day long, and had not a care in the world. In my every-day life, everything was so hectic, like it was constantly being rushed. In Culebra, you went day-by-day with whatever you felt like. At first, being around these people made me a little bit skeptical. But after spending about a week or so just hanging out with all of my uncles friends that lived there, it really helped me relax and enjoy all of the simple things in life. Before, I had never noticed all of life’s tiny details, such as how beautiful the water looked at night, or just how laughter can bring people together. This small experience has had a huge impact on my life.
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