Puerto Rico – My Disconnect

Hello everyone, In case you have forgotten, I’m Fico and it’s been way too long since I’ve posted anything on this blog. Life has gotten in the way, and the life that keeps coming in front leaves me, sadly, with less time to do much of anything else. But today I read a wonderful post from PetiteWise about her experiences with trying to find her inner Filipino and, coming to some sad conclusions but I told her to buck up, because it is OK. Her post will be here. The abridged version is that she was trying to discover her culture from listening to it’s music, and eating it’s food and that is a good start. Music and food ties culture really well, and says a lot about the said culture, in my opinion. Plus she dived into her country’s history and she is, sadly, not feeling well. Because she found herself not feeling much like part of her culture since, she doesn’t know what it is like since she is not physically there.

I’ll let you read her post, but in my perspective, I am too from another country and I’ve been away from said country for almost 10 years. Living in the land of the Free is awesome, and in Puerto Rico, it is part of living in said country because it is an American commonwealth with every Puertorican by default, is an American citizen. And with Puerto Rico being a well known tourist attraction, place for fried plantains made the best, and music around Christmas that is actually fun to listen to, it would seem unreal that many of my people are leaving every year, wouldn’t it? But it’s true, and with this news of Puerto Rico defaulting on a $300+ million payment of what is a debt of billions; Puerto Rico is not becoming Greece, it’s already Greece, it just doesn’t know it yet. So in inspiration with PW’s adventure with her heritage, I was inspired to write how a person being from there, can still feel disconnected in, pretty much every way. And this is not to oppose anything, but as a perspective from a person that, sadly, is kind of happy I’m feeling less Puertorican and more Floridian. Pains me to say, but here I go.


Family

With family being the easiest one to talk about my disconnect with my culture, I’ll start with that. My family is almost entirely still in Puerto Rico; my mom, my uncles and aunts, my cousin and my grandmother. My Dad, my brother and one of my cousins is here in the US, with my cousin being the most recent since she wants to go back to school and go to a good college instead of being stuck there, with no job and no one there to teach her anything worth learning.

My Dad moved here many years ago after divorcing my Mom, and since then, he has been much happier here, and his new wife, a wonderful human being, moved to live with him and regrets nothing. My brother is an interesting tale since, he did move to the US first, then helped me move here, and then moved back to start his own architecture firm with his wife and after their son was born, moved back to the US. Because they wanted to screw him, and wouldn’t leave him alone and would ask favors for his work and would never be able to become a full certified architect. As for me, I move here shortly after I was married and then I was divorced 5 years later. So I’ve been alone for 5 years more or less, and I still do not regret moving here.

My family have a special connection to Puerto Rico. They feel it in the air, in the breezes of the nearby beaches, in the walks around the town with live music and in the sounds of frogs at night, indigenous to Puerto Rico. And they have their own point of view, and I’ve never been one of those people, that have this, symbiotic connection to Puerto Rico and the people around them. When I sit with my family, I’m always quiet, because no one is talking to me, or no one wants to talk about things I talk about normally. And what they talk about is politics, other people I don’t care about and gossip. And none of that is interesting enough for me. This is only part of the disconnect as you will see.

Religion

Puerto Rico is inhabited by mostly Catholics, around over 85% I think from the last time I checked that number. Around 90% of people are happy with their spiritual lifestyle and you will always hear a “Dios Te Bendiga” or “Que Dios te haga un Santo varón”. God Bless You, and Hope Gods makes you into a Holy man; rough translation. But yes, I get this every call, every conversation and everywhere I go when I visit them. And they don’t know I am a nonbeliever, because my grandmother will lose her mind and cry her eyes every night. Worse than losing someone dear, she would hate to lose someone dear, and then ponder on the HellFire she thinks this person is getting. I’ve expressed I don’t by this anymore, and this might be the biggest disconnect. I’m a nonbeliever, a skeptic and most people there are not. I was trapped in a private school that was Catholic for 13 years, forced Mass and confession and trips to guilt trip me and none of it did anything for me. And everyone in my family still believe, and I can’t find the way to tell them. I know they will love me until the end of time, but even I don’t know what could happen. My mom doesn’t go to Church and church don’t want her since she was divorced, and she still believes. My uncle had his wife die of sickness and his adopted son shot in the head, and he still believes. My grandmother had her husband lose his memory, and then die of pneumonia and when she used to walk and drive, would go to funerals of many people that have died of horrible reasons and she still believes they are OK because they are in Heaven.

I’m different. I will tell my Mom after my grandmother passes on. I would hate to be the cause of her passing. Bottom line, this is a big part of Puertorican culture and I don’t believe in it, so this is a dagger in my relation to that island. And I’m kind of not sad about it, since I feel they are missing a ton of information that could help them live better and happier; but I won’t take away that. If they want someday to listen, I will talk.

Culture And Language

With culture and language is a little less since I can talk fluent bad Spanish like everyone there. And as for culture, I have digested the culture and I admire that people down there want to preserve their way of life, their music, their food, their way of doing things. Unfortunately, their way of life is never been something that has changed for the better. Financially, they owe billions, and they cannot declare bankruptcy. Culture will not save the island now with this debt. But it seems like they don’t even care, because their layback attitude and lack of any sort of caring beyond them is why this is a problem. They don’t care because they think everything is going to be alright, and there isn’t an increasing number of jobless people and political corruption and endless borrowing that lead to this mess. Culture-wise, they are the equivalent of sitting in a lawn chair, looking at a nuclear mushroom cloud and not moving because they don’t think much is going to happen. Their perspective is closed minded, on everything, and that goes back to them thinking there is nothing outside of Puerto Rico and that is a really closed set of thinking for adults. I took myself out of the equation and I’m a different person now, and I’m 100% happier. I wish people would follow my lead. They won’t, but I invite them.

Final Thoughts

I don’t hate Puerto Rico, or my family, or my friends and it’s people. I am angry with what is happening and sad at the same time. However, with the lack of respect I got growing up, the bullying, the fighting, the favoritism, and all the ignorance, I was just fed up then. And with things here going better than in Puerto Rico, people leave to have a better life, and that better life, is definitely not in PR and it will get worse. I hope my Mom decides soon to move here, because things will be terrible there. I want to say to PetiteWise that, even though you cannot connect yet with your culture, I want you to know that there are people that are just fine without it. I sound mean and uncaring and that is not my intention. This was just a piece of my brain, telling the world that, a person doesn’t need to associate with their people to be happy. It is a great thing you are doing and I have parts of me that is proud to be a Puertorican with great culture and great sights. I still cheer when one of our athletes achieves something great, and it’s something I can’t help. But there are too many things I don’t connect with them and I’ve learned to accept that and to make peace with it. I wish you the best in your en-devours and you can always reach out to me if you need to talk :).


Leave comments below about this and also feel free to tell me what you think. I’m I wrong? Do you feel similar? Let me know, here is some more information about Puerto Rico’s situation.

http://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory/puerto-rico-governor-warns-default-crisis-worsens-38802151?cid=abcn_fb

Advertisements

4 comments

  1. Chas Rad · May 5, 2016

    Good to see a post by you again, man. I liked what you had to say. Being entirely American with very little exposure to the culture of where my ancestors are from, I find it really interesting when people can talk about their own experience when they have lived a different culture. I like how you broke it down too about how you feel about Puerto Rican values compared to yours.

    I think the good thing about America is that there’s many Puerto Ricans here who are happy to continue the traditional foods and music in America despite not being in Puerto Rico. It might be more prevalent in the south, but it is still prevalent I would imagine. This has inspired me to take a look at my own roots now.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Fico · May 6, 2016

      I agree. It’s more prevalent here but you would be surprised since New York does the Puerto Rican parade and they have a mass of Puertorican presence. Nuyoricans i think it’s what they call them. Some people home claim they ain’t the real deal but so what? They are happy and proud as well so no issues with me really.

      Finding out about yourself is a great thing and finding about your culture can help do that. But ultimately you are not your culture and you without it will not hurt you in the long run. 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  2. petitewise · May 24, 2016

    Finally had time to reply to your wonderful post, friend! My grandma is the same way; extremely attached to Catholicism. A few members of our family are gay, and if she ever found out about them, she would condemn and disown them because of her firm Catholic-ness.
    From your story up above, I was trying to understand the sequence of things. So you were born in Puerto Rico? Did you leave when you were just a child?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Fico · May 24, 2016

      Yay! Reply! To answer your question I was actually born there and I didn’t leave for 20, maybe 21 years. So I have been exposed to that culture for many years of my life. I’ve only lived a 1/3 of my life away from Puerto Rico.

      Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s