Thursday, January 8, 2009

La Isla del Encanto

Something about Puerto Rico really endeared itself to me, and also to my quirky brother-in-law, during our recent family vacation there. BIL spent most of his few waking hours in the car envisioning tropical careers for each one of one us, so that we could all relocate to the island together one day. Well, I assume it would be together, anyway. In any case, even if he wasn't, I was myself thinking literally about moving to this island. (Living in Lugano has convinced me I could be perfectly happy in a nice climate. I have discarded my tough midwesterner persona.)

Puerto Rico, as someone there reminded me, not without pride, is the world's only remaining commonwealth. This means, very basically, Puerto Ricans get US passports but no vote in federal elections. But it seems they are perfectly happy to remain a commonwealth. 

The mix of political and cultural realities really fascinated me. The juxtaposition of the jungly green rainforest and the familiar brown retro Park Service sign for some reason brought tears to my eyes. The language, made kooky by intermingling with English, made signs seem like personalized notes in some special shorthand. Its history is both long and short, iron and sand. In short, it is a place that feels full of history, lived-in, proud, idiosyncratic, complex, rich... much like my definition of home.

I'll be the amarillos-maker. 

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