It’s surreal to read where I left off last week- a week that seems like a year- a clock that is both spinning faster than the storm that hit us and frozen on September 20th- the day we emerged and were hit by a reality far scarier than the one we had just endured. So I’ll to begin there- the beginning of the end…
I’ll need to fill this story in with pieces of information that my mind has not yet totally processed, so please bare with me.
The first thing I remember is us jumping in Broc’s tank (87’ Land Cruiser) and driving the wrong way down oneway streets that were flooded with water and cut off by trees, traffic lights and other undecipherable debris. Every tree that wasn’t uprooted was leafless, as if winter had hit overnight and stripped everything bare. Winter or a nuclear explosion. Our only thought was to get to Palmas Del Mar as soon as we could, as we knew it had taken the first & hardest hit. All of our friends that hadn’t left before the storm were there and no one had heard from them. It was a race we would never finish- a location we would never be able to reach- a garden of eden we will likely never see again.
About 10 minutes out of the city my phone pinged off maybe the one working cell tower on the island and I immediately posted this message on Facebook that I knew my friends and family in the states were praying to see.
“We’re safe. It’s bad”.
I then called Melanie Eiler, Broc’s boss and best friend’s wife who had escaped with her three kids the night before Maria hit.
Today is Thursday, September 21st at 7:15 PM and we’re once again locked inside our master bedroom, this time to avoid both the salty heat pouring through our broken front windows and the wrath of the city of San Juan, which now has a mandatory 6 pm curfew. Nothing feels real anymore and despite the island-wide power outage, the lack of cell service, internet and television is what’s really keeping us in the dark. Somehow the latter is more miserable, even though the nightmare outside our door is as real as anything I’ve ever read or seen on the news. Maybe having a screen between me and the images of such mass destruction makes it easier to process, or maybe I’m still in shock. Either way, I find it difficult to think about what we just went through and will continue to survive over the next several days, months or even years…
I first have to say that Broc has been more than amazing in so many ways- I have no idea what I would be like without him here. He kept us safe, maybe even saved our lives, and was not only so calm and so strong during the storm, he’s been going non-stop ever since it passed. He’s cleaned up massive amounts of debris, traveled across the island to try and locate friends & helped our neighbors carry and secure tattered boards and shutters to the gaping holes where windows once tempted us with a glittering ocean views… Our generator has also been such a blessing for almost a month now and our only source of power and water since Irma teased us with what was to come. It’s crazy to say we were the lucky ones, but for now, at least I have a computer to type this on.
Hurricane Irma really was the start, skirting across northern Puerto Rico on Sept 7th and leaving an already weak island even weaker. While she only knocked down a few trees and flooded a few streets, most of the island was still without power when Maria was announced. Many said that our near miss with Irma was a much needed wake-up call for Puerto Ricans- causing them to be more prepared after seeing the wide-spread destruction she left across the Caribbean and Florida- which ultimately saved hundreds of lives. Or so I’ve heard. With no real news except for the occasional text or tidbit of gossip from neighbors I have no way to know how many people survived Maria. I just know we did.Continue reading “Hurricane Maria Hits Puerto Rico”
When we first embarked on our exciting move from Arkansas to Puerto Rico, I had this glorious, dreamy vision of how amazing my life was going to be. Beautiful beaches, great weather & the laid-back lifestyle I always thought I wanted. But life never goes as planned now does it?
While I’m still (almost 1 year in) adjusting to island-life and probably always will be, certain realities became apparent almost immediately. Here are some hard truths about living in Puerto Rico that I never expected (or know how) to deal with.
1. Puerto Rico celebrates 30 bank holidays each year. The 7 that mean anything to you, you’re celebrating on your own (b/c you have no friends or family close by)… The other 23 just mean the bank and other businesses you need to do business with, are closed.
2. You should never, ever, have a predefined grocery list. You’re lucky to find a lemon/ which is the same thing as a lime/ much less a squash or avocado. And forget ranch dressing packets, coffee cups or boxed wine, you spoiled little American!!! Just check back next week for the flour- it didn’t make it on the boat ride over this time.
Living in Puerto Rico has many challenges but the hardest is being away from friends and family. Broc and I both come from close-knit families and cherish our relationships with friends we’ve known (in some cases) most of our lives. I think a lot of people who move here want to get away from their lives back in the states- or had nothing keeping them there. But for us, it was the exact opposite.
So when good friends make the trip to visit us we drink it up like water in a desert. Patrick and Anna Matthew’s came in mid September and we had a blast. My only complaint is that they had to leave 🙁
Wow. My last post was in JULY! I’m very disappointed in my commitment to blogging. It’s almost shameful that I’ve been doing it for so many years over at meganknight.net and then this year– the biggest & craziest year of my life- I simply take a hiatias.
But better late than never so here we go.
Since July of 2015- much has happened with my little family on our little island. We had a wedding ceremony/reception back in October (huge mistake- but that needs it’s own post), moved into a new apartment in Palmas Del Mar (again, a nightmare experience and possibly future post), we bought a new car (scary), finally received our ACT 22 decree (it’s gonna be hard to write that one!), went home for Christmas (family=the best), and continued to spend our weekends exploring the wonder & beauty of Puerto Rico. Crisis Island could not be a better description of where we live!
Broc and I just celebrated our 1 year marriage anniversary on March 9th and were a little shocked an entire year has flown by so quickly. The hardest year of both of our lives, by far. In fact, this blog should really be called love and HATE in Puerto Rico, but I’ll try to keep the negativity at a minimum.
It’s been just around 2 months since we made the move from Arkansas to Puerto Rico, and the transition was as hard as I thought. I suppose moving anywhere new, without friends and family nearby, is difficult, but adding our “newly wed” state and the bit of culture shock, it’s been darn near miserable at times!
But for the most part, it’s been amazing. I’d take 20 days of wonderful over 5 days of misery any day, so I feel pretty lucky over all. Several things I’m grateful for include:
1. the ability to do contract work for Inuvo (my old company) from home.
This has been a blessing for sure, as I was so worried about what I would do with my time during the day. Having new and challenging projects to figure out and getting to chat with my favorite boss every day makes the 8-5 weekdays quite bearable, even if I am completely alone (minus the dogs) for the better part of the day.
2. my dogs. duh. but more specifically, that they made the trip here without any problems and seem to be loving the indoor/outdoor space we have for them.
Hilde hasn’t limped once since we’ve been here (which I attribute to the balmy weather) and her coat has completely grown back. She’s blind as a bat and deaf as a post but is getting around great and still get’s super excited when I yell the word “treat” at her. Continue reading “A Few of My Favorite Things…”
In the southeast corner of the Island in a tiny town called Maunabo there is one of the most beautiful and important Lighthouses of the Caribbean, the Point Tuna Lighthouse, or the Punta Tuna. It was built in the year 1890 and was in use until around 1970. The lens of the lighthouse is one of the only original lenses that remain on the island.
The drive to the attraction is winding and narrow, but the view is amazing! I drove through miles of fields & mountains, streeted-lined food & merchant vendors and beautiful ocean views. Then walked through a maze of palm trees to photograph the oxidized remains of this important piece of Puerto Rican history.