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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An Open Letter To Every Girl With A Big Heart, Except When It Comes To Herself

Because it's so much easier to love everyone around you before yourself.

They say the key is that you have to "love yourself before you can love anyone else," or before "anyone can love you."

For those who deal with mass amounts of anxiety, or have many insecurities, that can be an extremely hard task. It seems much easier to tell your friend who is doubting herself that she looks great in that top than to look in the mirror and feel the same about yourself. It is much easier to tell your significant other that everything is going to be OK than to believe it will be when something goes wrong in your life. It becomes easier to create excuses for the ones around you than for yourself, and this is because you have such a big heart. You want those that you love to be happy and worry-free, yet you spend nights thinking about everything you have on your plate, about what you did wrong that day, fearing if someone in your life is mad at you, believing that you will never be good enough yet convincing everyone else that they are.

You are the girl with the biggest heart, yet you can't love yourself the way you care for everyone else in your life. There are many reasons that you should love yourself, though, and that's something that everyone around you is willing to tell you.

You're thoughtful.

Before doing anything, you always consider how it is going to affect those around you. You don't want to do anything that could hurt someone, or something that could make someone mad at you. It does not take much to make you happy, just seeing others happy does the job, and it is that simple. Because of this, you remember the little things. Meaningful dates, small details, and asking someone how their day was is important to you, and it makes those around you feel important too. You simply just want the people that you care about to be happy, and that is an amazing trait.

You're appreciative.

You don't need a big, fancy, and expensive date night to make you happy. Whether it's a picnic on the beach or a night in watching a movie, you're happy to just be with the person that you love. You appreciate every "good morning" text, and it truly does mean something when someone asks how you are. You tend to appreciate the person that you're with more than the things that they provide and for that, your sincerity will never go unnoticed.

You have a lot of love in your heart.

Every "I love you" has meant something, just as you remember the smallest moments that have meant the most to you. You remember the look in your significant other's eyes when they told you that for the first time. You remember the smile on your best friend's face when you told them that everything was going to be OK and that you would always be there. You remember the swell of happiness your parents felt when you decided to surprise them with a trip home one day, and you thrive off of all of that love.

You don't give up on the people you love, even if they have given you a reason to.

It is a foreign idea to just drop someone from your life, even if they betrayed you. You try to look at their mistake from every stance, not wanting to provide an excuse for them, but to give them another chance. Not everyone deserves it, and that is something that you learn along the way, but you feel good in the sense that you gave them a chance even if no one else would.

It's OK to not love yourself all the time. It's normal, and natural to stand in the mirror and think about everything wrong. And it's OK to love other people, even when you can't feel the same about yourself. But your big heart is why you should love yourself. There are so many reasons that you are a beautiful person, and the people that you spend all your time caring about feel that you have so much more to offer the world, and yourself.

So, next time you think about what you don't like about yourself, remember what makes you special –– the size of your heart and all of the love in it, and then share that love with yourself.

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