5 Reasons Why I Want To Go Back To Puerto Rico

5 Reasons Why I Want To Go Back To Puerto Rico

An Open Letter From A Puerto Rican Currently In The United States

Yo soy Boricua!

These three simple words resonate in the hearts of Boricuas (Puerto Ricans) all across the globe. See, for us, being from the Island of Enchantment is not just a privilege, it is something we are proud of!

Sure, the economy is bad, but where isn't it bad?

Puerto Rico means more than a political or geographical region. For us, Puerto Rico is the people, the food, and the culture.

We have a saying that translates, "I am Puerto Rican, even if I was born in the moon" and it couldn't be truer because as previously stated, Puerto Rico means more than just a place.

As a fellow Boricua taking my Bachelor's degree in Biomedical Sciences in the United States, it is definitely a struggle to live somewhere so different from home. (Especially if you are in a cold state!)

But more than just wanting to get away from the cold and living near the beaches again, I want to go back because of what Puerto Rico means for me.

1. It's home.

I've never called anywhere other than PR my home, despite the time I've been away from it. Home is where your family is, where people close to you helped you learn to love and care for others, the place that saw you grow up, and where you can actually see yourself living in at some point.

2. The family- and friend-centered culture

Puerto Rican culture, and in turn, its people, are very family- and friend-oriented. We grew up knowing almost our entire extended family even up to second and third cousins, we will always figure out a reason to go somewhere and be with each other, and these people (both family and friends) make up an important part of who we are individually.

3. The lively spirit of our people

This is probably one of the biggest things I miss. We are an overall happy, musical, friendly, joyous, and optimist people. Despite the economy or education problems that affect everyone worldwide, Puerto Ricans have actually been considered the happiest people in the world. The 365 days of the calendar are not enough for the approximate 500 festivals and celebrations in Puerto Rico.

4. Mami, Papi y Mi Hermana

In English: Mom, Dad, and my sister. Being such a family-centered culture, our parents and immediate family mean the world to us, and because of this, college is a bittersweet mix for many of us between finally being an adult and having to leave the people who mean so much to us. They make home what it is, they have moved Heaven and Earth for me, and they have always been there in highs and lows - so much more than simply people who raised me. Plus, mom's cooking is the best ever!

5. There's a need I can do something about

This point varies among many Puerto Ricans depending on their vocational choices. For me, I want to be a doctor and go back to work in Puerto Rico to do my part in improving the medical professional shortage problem. Currently, there is a shortage of doctors in virtually all major areas of medicine in Puerto Rico, and despite the island's size being 3500 square miles, the population is over 3.6 million. There aren't enough doctors for so many people; therefore, "see a need, fill a need." Puerto Rico needs everyone's help and, like many other brave people, I want to do my part.

As stated before, Puerto Rico is an amazing place and the people and culture are even better! I count the days until I can go back to the beautiful island, the great friends, the delicious food, and the loving family. I am sure I speak for myself and countless other Puerto Ricans when I say, "I can't wait to go back to my home, Puerto Rico."

Cover Image Credit: Latino Rebels

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A Senior's Last Week Of High School

The bittersweet end.

Well, this is it. This is what we've worked so hard the last four years - who am I kidding - basically what seems like our whole lives for. This is the very last week we will set foot as a student in our high school's hallways. As most schools are getting ready to set their seniors free at last, it all begins to set in - the excitement, the anxiousness, and also the sentiment and nostalgia.

For seniors, the years since our first day as a freshman at the bottom of the high school totem pole have seemed endless, but as we look back on these last few weeks, we realize that this year in particular has gone by extraordinarily fast. It was just yesterday that we were sitting in our classrooms for the very first time, going to our 'last first' practice, and getting our first taste of the (very real) "senioritis". With all that's going on in our lives right now, from sports and clubs, finals, and the sought after graduation ceremony, it's hard to really sit down and think about how our lives are all about to become drastically different. For some it's moving out, and for some it's just the thought of not seeing your best friend on the way to fourth period English; either way, the feels are real. We are all in a tug of war with the emotions going on inside of us; everything is changing - we're ready, but we're not.

THE GOOD. Our lives are about to begin! There is a constant whirlwind of excitement. Senior awards, getting out of school early, parties, and of course Graduation. We are about to be thrust into a world of all new things and new people. Calling our own shots and having the freedom we have so desperately desired since the teenage years began is right around the corner. Maybe the best part is being able to use these new things surrounding you to grow and open your mind and even your heart to ideas you never could before. We get the chance to sink or swim, become our own person, and really begin to find ourselves.

Things we don't even know yet are in the works with new people we haven't even met yet. These friendships we find will be the ones to last us a lifetime. The adventures we experience will transform into the advice we tell our own children and will become the old tales we pass down to our grandkids when they come to visit on the weekends. We will probably hate the all night study sessions, the intensity of finals week, and the overpowering stress and panic of school in general, just like we did in high school... But it will all be worth it for the memories we make that will outlive the stress of that paper due in that class you absolutely hate. As we leave high school, remember what all the parents, teachers, coaches, and mentors are telling you - this are the best times of our lives!

THE BAD. The sentimental emotions are setting in. We're crying, siblings are tearing up, and parents are full-out bawling. On that first day, we never expected the school year to speed by the way it did. Suddenly everything is coming to an end. Our favorite teachers aren't going to be down the hall anymore, our best friends probably won't share a class with us, we won't be coming home to eat dinner with our families...

We all said we wanted to get out of this place, we couldn't wait, we were ready to be on our own; we all said we wouldn't be "so emotional" when the time came, but yet here we are, wishing we could play one more football game with our team or taking the time to make sure we remember the class we liked the most or the person that has made us laugh even when we were so stressed we could cry these past few years. Take the time to hug your parents these last few months. Memorize the facial expressions of your little sister or brother. Remember the sound of your dad coming home from work. These little things we take for granted every day will soon just be the things we tell our college roommate when they ask about where we're from. As much as we've wanted to get out of our house and our school, we never thought it would break our heart as much as it did. We are all beginning to realize that everything we have is about to be gone.

Growing up is scary, but it can also be fun. As we take the last few steps in the hallways of our school, take it all in. Remember, it's okay to be happy; it's okay to be totally excited. But also remember it's okay to be sad. It's okay to be sentimental. It's okay to be scared, too. It's okay to feel all these confusing emotions that we are feeling. The best thing about the bittersweet end to our high school years is that we are finally slowing down our busy lives enough to remember the happy memories.

Try not to get annoyed when your mom starts showing your baby pictures to everyone she sees, or when your dad starts getting aggravated when you talk about moving out and into your new dorm. They're coping with the same emotions we are. Walk through the halls remembering the classes you loved and the classes you hated. Think of the all great times that have happened in our high school years and the friends that have been made that will never be forgotten. We all say we hated school, but we really didn't. Everything is about to change; that's a happy thing, and a sad thing. We all just have to embrace it! We're ready, but we're not...

Cover Image Credit: Facebook

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'The Farewell' Brings An Asian-American Narrative To Hollywood

I've never imagined that a story like this would make its way to Hollywood, and it's definitely a welcome change.


The trailer for Lulu Wang's "The Farewell" was recently released. The film, based on Wang's own experience, stars Awkwafina as Billi, a Chinese-American woman who travels to China after learning her grandmother has been diagnosed with terminal lung cancer. "The Farewell" initially debuted at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival in January, and currently holds a rating of 100% on Rotten Tomatoes.

"The Farewell" is an exciting film for members of the Asian-American community, as it encompasses many of our own experiences in having family overseas. Having this Asian-American narrative portrayed in Hollywood is especially groundbreaking and important to the community. "Crazy Rich Asians" has received much well-deserved acclaim for its leap in Asian representation, but the film did not necessarily depict a completely relatable experience and was only one story out of many in the Asian-American community. There were aspects of the characters' cultures that allowed the Asian-American audience to connect with much of the film, but the upper-class narrative wasn't quite as accessible to everyone.

While "Crazy Rich Asians" portrays Asians in a way that is very much uncommon in Hollywood and American media in general and had a hand in helping to break stereotypes, "The Farewell" introduces a nearly universal first-generation American or immigrant narrative to Hollywood. In doing so, the film allows many members of the Asian-American community to truly see their own experiences and their own stories on the screen.

For me, the trailer alone was enough to make me tear up, and I've seen many other Asian Americans share a similar experience in seeing the trailer. The film reminds us of our own families, whether it's our grandparents or any other family living overseas. I've never imagined that a story like this would make its way to Hollywood, and it's definitely a welcome change.

"The Farewell," which is scheduled for release on July 12, 2019, depicts a family dynamic in the Asian-American experience that hits home for many, including myself. The initial critical response, especially towards Awkwafina's performance, is certainly promising and will hopefully motivate more Asian-American and other minority filmmakers to bring their own stories to Hollywood.


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