Upon seeing the bright orange Puerto Rican sun rise slowly over the Cordillera Central, my body and mind become almost instantly revitalized. The warm breath of fresh air, the sweet smell of lemons and espresso with steamed milk, and the distant sound of a mariachi performing for the bustling tourists in “el pueblo” hang over my bed as the salty blue waters do the beaches. I am one with human life and earth, without even having stepped out of my room.
The merchants are happy to greet me as I walk towards the fruit stands for breakfast- the delectable thoughts of fresh pineapple and juicy watermelon have tempted me since the second upon waking up in this extroverted land. The colors of the shopkeepers’ dresses dance in my eyes for a moment; the bright reds, yellows, greens, and whites spiral downwards in the shapes of flowers and hearts.
Looking back, I remember making a new friend on Luquillo beach; her name is Munda, a yellow Labrador who must have had similar cravings as I that morning. I gave her a piece of pineapple, and in return she gave me a wet lick on my cheek and an appreciative grin.
In a sense Munda and I were exactly the same. We were both lost souls, searching for something on Luquillo: as she searched for food and maybe a nice petting, I searched for myself. Staying with my sick grandmother that summer in Puerto Rico taught me a lot about living, and that in order to obtain a truly fulfilling life one must be true with themselves in every way- this island of openness and beauty helped me understand this.
My Grandmother died that summer, but I plan on traveling there again because of her. She will very much consume my every memory of Puerto Rico- the waves gently rocking me back and forth are her hands holding me as a child. The sun casting its warmth and brilliant radiance are her hugs, which sheltered me from the world and her contagious smile which reminded me everything will be okay. The uplifting acoustic bands spread across the towns and cities of this island are our family parties, where I watched her in the prime of her life, with a look of success on her face while looking over the family she created.
Some people go to Puerto Rico for the dancing. Some go for the food. Some go to get away from the stress that tags along with everyday life. I went to help a dying relative, and learned the greatest lessons of life at such a young age. Although my grandmother died, her life is remembered in the terrain of Puerto Rico- and for that, I am grateful I embarked on this journey.
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