It was during my senior year at a new school that my family would be taking a vacation. It had become a rare thing to have a vacation especially when classes were in session. The third week of school was to be spent in Puerto Rico visiting family and beautiful places. Everyone was incredibly excited not only for skipping a week of school but for getting the chance to visit our original home. The family elders and the rich warmth of the country awaited and we would not pass up the chance.
Getting on the plane from Washington all the way to the Caribbean would take at least a total of three different planes. Every couple of years we would move from one state to the other. Not for fun but because my father is in the army. So in a way we were accustomed to the traveling and the many airplanes. There was panic and confusion at the airport. With the many bags in our hands and the different ports we were running most of the time instead of enjoying every minute we got closer. Making stops and switching planes from Washington to Colorado, then Mississippi and finally Puerto Rico. The jet lag was over whelming but once the captain announced we had landed in the San Juan airport all the passengers cheered and applauded.
The air was humid and the ground hot. Wearing jeans the heat took me by surprise. Regardless of the heat stroke that I was potentially to endure the environment was grand. The palm trees lined the way out of the air port and on the highway we were headed to Ponce. There some of my childhood had been spent. In Jardines Del Caribe, Garden of the Caribbean, the community in which my grandmother lives in, we spent the night.
Everyone opened there arms and as always were very welcoming as if we had never left. Culture was in the air and the smell of grandma’s cooking filled our hearts. Discussion over whether she would cook or not for our arrival took place in the cab ride on the way there. We were so happy to have had some delicious traditional food. Rice and beans with bacalaitos, fried cod fish. Our stomachs content we ventured to a waterfall a few miles away. With my cousins and aunts and uncles we all suited up and crammed in two cars. In Adjuntas we arrived and a feast was on its way.
There were drinks and food and a pool table and the family spread to play. The older generation drinking and playing pool while the young ones jumped in the cold rushing waters. The rapids were strong but finding the right stream was at an ease. The rocks made for a relaxing climb and an adventurous drop. Once the hunger came grumbling in the pits of our stomachs, the smell of the roasting pork called to us. A fire pit lay in our reach and the man with the machete warned to take a step back as he chopped the pig into pieces. Flakes of the crispy skin fell on the ground and so like us the ants would have a feast.
Our time was spent like so. Eating and talking. The culture was thick and Spanish lay the atmosphere. Love and familiarity filled the heaven above and the stone in my heart fell. A piece of home would come back with me. A new adventure would be added to our family and hopes of another visit laid the path for our return.
Dear Reader: This page may contain affiliate links which may earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase. Our independent journalism is not influenced by any advertiser or commercial initiative unless it is clearly marked as sponsored content. As travel products change, please be sure to reconfirm all details and stay up to date with current events to ensure a safe and successful trip.