Real Talk: What’s been going on over here

I don’t really usually call myself a blogger, even though I have this blog and have had blogs since 2010. I do like to think of myself as some sort of writer. I write daily as part of my job, I write as part of my personal life. Writing gives me fuel in a way not many things do.

I started this blog in 2013 as a creative outlet to let my thoughts develop into further pieces to express all things typical for a 23-year-old living in New York City – hope, frustration, love and hunger. As the last 6 years have gone by, a LOT has changed. Many intentional changes but also many life changes that happen unconsciously, subtly but surely and leave you reconsidering perspectives.

One of my biggest frustrations in the last few years has been not having more time to write. I would complain that I didn’t have enough time, but then when I did have the time I was too tired to do anything and then I would blame myself for not writing. I kept beating myself up as I looked at others embracing and fulfilling their writing wishes with less than average ideas, when I felt I could too contribute to the wonderful world of words – if I only had the time or energy.

Life happens. We can sit, look back and think of all the ways we could have done it differently but that is only useful if you plan on implementing that in any way to your future. Otherwise, what’s the point? People keep telling myself I am too hard on myself and honestly half of the time (or more) I don’t see it. It’s not easy for me to recognize this but hey, it’s a process and I am ok with that.

I guess what I am trying to say is that I’ve missed writing and know that I am not perfect but I still want to continue to share pieces of me and my thoughts to whoever wants to enjoy them. Sure, it’s great when many people read what you have to say, but I think that at times it is just as empowering to combine beautiful words, make them yours, surrender them the universe, and see what happens.

I’ve come back to this blog after various unintentional hiatuses but never acknowledged them to protect myself in case I slipped away again… but not this time. I am putting it out to the universe because I know it’s something that is important to me and as such, it deserves the safety of accountability any other big task receives. Still, you don’t always need a plan or strategy. That’s the beauty of writing, you can just let it flow and let it refresh you in ways you probably weren’t even aware that you needed.

 

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Rico & Melo: Puerto Rican Pups Adoption Story

Ricus, Melus, Ricks, Melito, Riquito, Meloncito, Riquibiris, Meluskis, Bubu.

Those are just some of the ways I address my two little furballs Rico and Melo. I hear no complaints from them… yet. They also have their own Instagram because look at them.

I’ve always wanted a dog. Always. I was (and still am) that person that would drool over cute dogs on the streets and had to fight the need to pet them. A lot of my friends growing up had dogs and I would make sure I visited often to solidify my spot as their dog’s number one favorite. Whether it was my mom saying “no” (I love you still, ma) or life circumstances (college, etc.) I was never able to make my dreams come true. It sounds tragic because it was, don’t judge me.

I always knew my time would come, I just never quite expected it to be this way. As you may or may not know, Hurricane Maria battered my island of Puerto Rico this past September 2017. It destroyed crops, shattered homes and basically turned everything upside down. Little did I know that while I was completely focused on my family’s well-being during the storm, my two little pups were somewhere out there on the streets fighting the storm on their own. This thought still breaks my heart.

Our pups Rico & Melo were rescued from the streets the day after the hurricane hit. No collars, no home but hundreds of tics and two little empty stomachs. My good friends took them in and gave them everything they needed to survive and be well. One thing led to another, and somehow, me and Brian agreed to adopt not one, but two dogs.

Two. What were we thinking? As I type this, I glance over and see little Rico napping on top of Melo and I know that we did the right thing. These two wouldn’t have survived a minute without each other. They may fight and lick each other inappropriately, but they adore each other.

And us? We are officially obsessed.

Like, actually obsessed. It’s impressive how much you can love a non-human, little ball of fur. They are sweet, hilarious, cuddly and loving (watch out, Brian!). They are definitely an undertaking though, and God forbid something happens to them, all hell will break loose. They are worth it though, every cold walk in the morning and every dollar spent buying them toys I know they will destroy in seconds. Not to mention the phone chargers and shoes lost in the process…

Even before they got to us here in Hoboken, they were already teaching us about compassion. In the midst of hurricane relief, strangers to me partnered up to ensure these two could find a safe way to our home. My friend’s family fostered them and provided them with everything they needed, my other friend brought carriers with her all the way from Miami, a couple who didn’t even know us volunteered to fly the pups with them in the cabin during their already scheduled flight. It took a village.

I look at these two and although I know they don’t understand everything I say and feel, I know that at some level they have to know how loved they are. I hope they know because otherwise, I feel like they hate us for having brought them to this bitter cold. They have to know that they are family now and we will protect them forever.

I may never know their past and everything they have endured, but they are home now and our lives will never be the same.

Follow @ricoandmelo on Instagram for more of these two little goof balls!

2017 Musings, Let The Light Shine On

How can one year be charged with so many different emotions? For the past couple of days, I have been thinking about this past year and how crazy it was. Here’s my brain dump fueled by freezing temperatures and memories of warmer days.

Let’s start with the hardest part. Hurricane Maria knocked Puerto Rico down, but our resilience and strength as a country have shone through. Difficult times make us react in ways that surprise us, allowing you to see strength you didn’t even think you had. A crisis, big or small, allows you to grow in painful, yet beautiful ways.

Still, 2017 was so incredibly good to me, I can’t honestly complain. Not only did I get to marry my best friend, but I got to celebrate all wedding-related activities with so many people I love. The fact that people came from near and far to join us means the world, and as we start our new chapter as a family, we love knowing that they will be with us through this crazy journey.

After the hurricane, we adopted two little pups that changed us forever. After the storm, literally came out the sunshine because those two fill us with joy every single day. It’s absurd. I could honestly write about them forever, but I will not bother you with that here (go follow them on Insta, how about that?).

We are thankful for what we have, but still, we are not where we need to be. Challenges and risks come in all shapes and sizes. Some hit us harder than others, but we muster up the courage and keep going because, what else is there to do?

How do you deal with all the bad in the world without letting it overwhelm you? How do you enjoy all the great things without letting them distract you?

Life can be many things, in waves, or all at once. That will never change, life will always spin you in crazy ways but what matters is how we handle it and who we share it with. Everything is better when you share it with those you love, yes, even food. Everybody says you need to live life to the fullest like it is a breezy task. It may not always be that way, but it will always be worth it.

May the new year be full of moments that matter, big and small. Full of unexpected joys shared with special people, old and new. Mostly, may your soul be content and at peace in the midst of all things crazy and if you lose your way, may the good vibes guide you home.

Here’s to 2018.

Here’s To Love

  
Happy Valentine’s Day from Atlanta, here’s to all kinds of love! 

When you call your mom to ask what kind of wash is better for your new shirt, shrink it anyways but know you are still accepted. When you send your friends the perfect funny meme and you feel all warm inside. When you send your friends excessive Snapchats of your own face just to let them know you are thinking about them. When your dad sends you pictures of puppies on a regular basis because he knows they make you happy. When your boyfriend knows to wait before he starts eating so you can snap a picture of the food. When your boyfriend applauds you after you break into random dancing and singing, even though you may have disturbed the neighbors just a little bit.

Here’s to everyone that makes us feel loved and appreciated in the most special, weird and unexpected ways.

Just Read: Someday, Someday, Maybe

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After binge-watching all seasons from Gilmore Girls this summer, I was still hungry for the simplicity and comfort of the show. The logical next step, of course, was to read Lauren Graham’s debut novel: “Someday, Someday, Maybe”. It did not disappoint. Not only did it have me laughing in my morning commute, but it also made me cry happy tears (thankfully not in my morning commute).

I absolutely loved being granted special access to Franny’s struggles and deepest thoughts. There was something so raw and special about seeing her fight to stay real, even when she was not aware of it. Lauren captured some truths about self-love and confidence that not too many feel comfortable sharing. We are all caught in the race of “Who is doing best?” or “Who is more successful?” that we rarely ever stop to think what does it all even mean. Franny was certain that everyone else was in on a “secret” that she had still to learn, when in reality, we all deal with the same issues, in one way or another.

I must admit, sometimes I get really tired of pretending and I’m not ashamed to say it. We all do it at some point and it can be as simple as putting up a good face at a special event, when you’d rather be somewhere else. I also find it hard to believe that all women love waking up every morning and putting on makeup. I personally hate it, but we do what we have to do, right?

Another element that I loved about the story was Lauren’s ability to transport us to New York in 1995. It was so refreshing to see how life was for everyone in this city I see everyday. No overpowering technologies or social media channels, more concrete plans, less distractions and more determination. Running into people on the street was always interesting, since you truly had no idea what they were up to unless someone told you. No social highlight reels thrown at your face to make you believe all of these fantasy lives wee see every time we scroll down.

I want to keep reading real, simple, raw and uplifting books. They just help keep everything in perspective when your life gets so consumed on the little things that don’t always seem so little.

Any recommendations?

Porque yo escribo en inglés…

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Nunca he escrito en español en este blog. Es más, dado a algunos cambios en mi trabajo, no recuerdo la última vez que escribí algo completamente en español más largo que un simple “post”.

Es interesante ver como poco a poco las cosas van cambiando tan lentamente que no te das cuenta hasta que te detienes a mirar atrás. Me gustaría decir que hablo español todos los días y me parece que todavía es así. A pesar de tener un novio gringo (no se preocupen, se lo digo de cariño), vivir en los Estados Unidos y trabajar en una oficina donde casi ni el 1% habla español, todavía encuentro la manera de ejercitar mi lengua materna que llevo en la sangre.

Siempre me ha gustado escribir, en español y en inglés, dependiendo del tiempo o la inspiración. Pero cuando comencé este blog elegí el inglés porque hay mucha gente especial en mi vida que no podría entender mis escritos en español y pues la verdad del caso es que con el inglés llego a más gente. Con esa excusa, por más cierta que sea, he ido poco a poco elevando el inglés más allá del español. Es un poco triste y a veces me da vergüenza, pero ha sido un poco necesario.

Por ejemplo, he pensado hacer una mini serie de escritos en español como dos veces al mes para resaltar lo bueno de Puerto Rico. Parte de lo que me apasiona sobre esa opción es compartir lo bueno que tenemos con personas que no conocen mucho a Puerto Rico. ¿Qué pasa? Ninguna de las personas a mi alrededor me va a entender.

Así termino yo escribiendo en inglés, pensando como rayos explicar lo que es un mofongo o buscando la palabra ideal para traducir patria. Termino envuelta en un “spanglish” que suena ridículo porque poco a poco se me hace más difícil encontrar palabritas en español y es mucho más rápido decirlas en inglés, porque el puertorriqueño siempre me va a entender si hablo español con palabras en inglés, pero el americano no me va a comprender cuando en medio de una oración me tiro la palabra colcha (ha pasado).

Mi inglés se ha vuelto mucho más profesional por necesidad, de eso depende mi cheque y oye, no lo resiento. Me siento orgullosa de poder decir que mi inglés es mejor que el de muchas personas que solamente hablan inglés (por más triste que suene y por más imperfecto que sea mi propio inglés). Cuando se trata del español, por más que lo tenga en la sangre, es como hacer ejercicios. Hacer el aguaje con varias conversaciones por teléfono no es suficiente. Hay que mantenerlo vivo con ganas.

Por eso es que al fin y al cabo, terminé escribiendo este post. Aunque solo me entiendan ustedes, también lo hago por mí. Porque no solo pienso en la medalla de español que me gané en mi graduación cogiendo polvo ahí en mi closet en Puerto Rico, pero también pienso en todos mis compatriotas que también andan por aquí lejitos conmigo. Pónganse a ver películas en español o a leer noticias en español de vez en cuando pa’ ejercitarse. Ya saben, no hay cosa que más moleste que un “status” de Facebook mal escrito y sin ningún tipo de aportación a esta sociedad que tanto necesita.

*Photo by Cristina Nogueras ©

A Quarter of a Century: Thoughts on Turning 25

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Here we are, one more year.

Older? Yes. Wiser? Surely hope so.

Today, I’m turning 25. It’s a weird age, in my opinion. You’re absolutely not a kid anymore, but you have a hard time admitting to yourself that you’re an adult. You’re not old, but you’re not super young either, or are you? It’s a confusing age.

It’s easy to freak out on life and aging, everybody feels differently and everyone has a strong opinion about it. To some I am still blossoming, to others I am ancient. I’m going to say that I’m actually excited about this in-between, silly age.

Some things to look forward to:

  • I can rent cars without any stupid fees, hooray!
  • I still have 5 years to decide what I want to be and where I want to be by the time I’m 30, that’s still a thing right?
  • Hmm, that’s all I can think of…

The thing is, turning 25 is not supposed to be a big deal. It’s just another year, right? For some reason, however, every year in your twenties holds special significance and shows you what you have been able to overcome and achieve. Life in your twenties is ever changing and it can be scary and exciting, all at once. I’m halfway through this roller coaster, but what does that even mean?

Some things I learned:

  • Waking up somewhat early is not the end of the world- There’s actually some beauty to waking up before noon on a weekend and beating the crowds for brunch
  • Sometimes you’re going to have do things by yourself- It might feel weird, but you shouldn’t say no to great opportunities just because you don’t want to go somewhere alone
  • If you don’t ask, the answer is always no- I’m still learning that one. I’ve seen people around me get what they want only because they’ve dared to ask. If you’re afraid that the answer is “no” you might be right, but then again, you might be wrong
  • Family is everything – At the end of the day, they’re the ones that are going to be there for you, even in distance. You may not always see things the same way, but love is stronger than everything else and you will get through it together
  • People are selfish and sometimes, it’s ok for you to be selfish too – This one is hard for me, my instinct tells me to make people feel happy and comfortable but there are a lot of people out there that don’t really care about other people and you need to learn that’s ok. There’s nothing you can do to change that, so try caring a little less about them
  • Your wonderful metabolism won’t last forever- Yes, sadly, this one is true. My stomach has been super rude lately, sending me signals that I shouldn’t be having so much cheese. At first it felt like the world was ending. Heck, it still feels like the world is ending, cheese is EVERYTHING
  • Find that balance between believing anything is possible and losing all of your faith in humanity- I find any of these extremes to be extremely annoying. What is that balance, you may ask? I have no damn clue. There are days that I want to conquer the world and then the next day I want to run away from it
  • Love is awesome and it’s complicated – Love just is, right? Well, love is one of the greatest ironies of life. It can be the most complicated, simple thing in the world and it still makes us go nuts. I hate when Big in Sex and the City says that, “at the end you just want to be with the one that makes you laugh.” I hate it so much I didn’t even want to include the quote, but it’s not too far from reality, even if I don’t like his character (yes, I said it). Life is full of adventures, obstacles, challenges and restaurants. Find someone to share all of these wonders with, someone who will carry you when you’re feet are killing you, someone you can push into the water just for fun, someone that makes you smile against all odds

Let me stop right there before I get to cheesy (mmm, cheese). Here’s to getting older, crossing more places off my bucket list, trying new things and enjoying every moment!

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I have a feeling this is going to be a good year, cheers to that!